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Re: [gang8] RE:taxcuts

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  • kevin donnelly
    In message , schulte- baeuminghaus writes ... The UK omens look promising, the
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 28, 2001
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      In message <20010223154245.MEBL29541.viemta05@[212.186.86.52]>, schulte-
      baeuminghaus <cresscourt@...> writes
      >Michael,
      >
      >Just off the cuff, what might possibly be useful is to get support
      >from a protest group, linked with an active political movement.
      >But is there a significant protest group, for example, concerned with
      >the activism at Seattle, Washington, Melbourne, Davos?
      >I doubt it.

      The UK omens look promising, the precedents less so. George Monbiot, UK
      campaigning environmentalist addressed a ragged army of 500 anti-
      globalisation protesters in Manchester recently as part of UK tour. He
      and his caravan had an audience of 500 in Glasgow and one of 1300 in
      London. Here's how I described the event in a mail list note.
      Army is the wrong word; it was an aggregate of loosely
      affiliated people I saw when the Resist Globalisation tour reached
      Manchester yesterday, Friday 9th February, with its huge banner
      proclaiming Our World Is Not For Sale. Over 500 attended the various
      workshops and the plenary session, representing a number of groups. The
      Socialist Workers Party and the Bookmarx bookstall were in evidence, as
      were the Green Party, Socialist Alliance, Tamils, Earth First, RMT
      Union, UNISON and a number of local lobbies concerning council housing,
      loss of local amenities. There were many young people such as students
      from Manchester, Salford, Sheffield and Keele, who identified themselves
      in conversation.
      There was opportunity for many participants to say their piece
      and there were keynote speakers, such as Kevin Danaher (Seattle), George
      Monbiot, Hilary Wainwright, Lindsey German. They've already visited
      London, Scotland, Coventry and Birmingham. Then it's Liverpool today
      and Sheffield tomorrow: that's a punishing schedule. This brief report
      can only touch on some features that seemed significant to me.
      First the huge turnout, noted above. Undoubtedly the largest
      political rally in many years in this city (the same remark was made
      about the London event).
      Next a kind of resentful bewildering incoherence of the event,
      but it was not the politics of envy, but as Neil Kinnock once said, it's
      the ethics of community. Yes it was well organised in terms of the
      workshops and the schedule was fairly well maintained. The resentment
      turned into anger as speakers gave first-hand testimony to situations
      they had encountered where they had no voice or their representatives
      were not heard, or where even worse, councillors or MPs from the Labour
      party seemed to be part of the problem: Manchester MPs Graham Stringer,
      Gerald Kaufman, Keith Bradley, and Paul Goggins seemed not to be
      present. The RMT and ASLEF trade unions were being harassed by the
      legal system over their activities, there were stories of councillors
      pretending to resist privatisation of housing while becoming directors
      of housing trusts. It was said of Hilary Armstrong (due to speak at the
      CSM conference in Durham), that her husband is an adviser on Housing
      Trust management. George Monbiot gave a detailed account of one PFI
      operation in Coventry where the request for government funds to renovate
      two hospitals was refused and the management told to seek PFI help. The
      outcome was a hugely expensive replacement which will offer fewer beds
      and fewer staff on completion - a familiar story. The brief testimony
      from a Kenyan post grad student about World Bank/IMF policies was heard
      in silence: her mother and other elders of the church having little
      except sympathy to offer to the sick, confine their activities to care
      of the dying and burial of the dead.
      One topic figures in so many of these complaints - money. And
      when I read a free copy of Socialist Worker I read reports from all
      around the UK of similar unrest about PFI, poverty, poor housing, asylum
      seekers, and a parliamentary system that appears immune to these cries.
      The media seem pretty cowed by economic orthodoxy, and although the
      Guardian does have George Monbiot's column most weeks, little direct
      criticism of the money system ever appears. Larry Elliott, the G's
      economics editor says of the Tobin tax that there is no interest in it
      in the places where it matters: Frankfurt, NY, London and Tokyo.
      I just have to start again about the presentation of monetary
      reform ideas. The half dozen or so young students I met seemed bemused
      by the conference and even more so by my attempts to explain what
      monetary reform is about. Corporate Britain seems impregnable, the
      opposition ill-organised yet numerous. One hopeful sign is that the SWP
      seems prepared to co-operate with others to help form a coalition,
      according to Chris Harman. Which reminds me to write to him about
      money. Sheila Rowbotham could not answer my question about who on the
      left knows about money. CCMJ activists have all their work cut out to
      address the churches!
      We, too, have a world to win. I start again on Saturday in
      Leeds at a conference on money, where I shall have a valuable leaflet
      based on Geoffrey's TTM. Incidentally, Mark Seddon, editor of Tribune,
      the Labour Left weekly, rang me today to reassure me that my article
      based on TTM will appear at the end of March or beginning of April. Dum
      spiro spero (while I breathe I hope) was the motto of Philip Doddridge
      18c Independent minister and hymn-writer. I welcome the gritty
      encouragement of people like that who knew that they were not called to
      be successful, but to be faithful.
      KD
      --
      kevin donnelly
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