Thursday, 26 August 2010

Coalition of Resistance Update 25 August

Coalition of Resistance Against Cuts & Privatisation | Newsletter 2 | August 26

Coalition of Resistance against Cuts & Privatisation

"Resistance is the secret of Joy!" Alice Walker.

Image by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps

Coalition of Resistance supporters meeting:

Thursday September 2,
6.30pm University of London Union
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HY

Signatories this week include the Ryde and East Wight Trades Council, UCU National Executive member Caroline Gray, campaigner and journalist George Monbiot, Clive Searle, National Secretary of Respect, Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU, writer, activist and cricket lover Mike Marqusee, Alex Kenny National Executive of the NUT, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Sally Ingrey UCU anti-casualisation rep at City and Islington college, musician Katy Marchant, actor Celia Mitchell, artists Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps (Thanks for above image)and many others.

At their meeting this week The Haringey Alliance for Public Services agreed, after hearing from Paul Mackney, to support the Coalition and send delegates to the conference .

COR will be supporting and sending speakers to a number of important anti-cuts meetings in Gateshead, Bath, Northampton and Leeds.


Following our appeal for web help we have have had many offers of support
A new website is under construction and will be live by Friday.
It will compile news and information about the cuts and the opposition from around the country.

Thanks both to Mark Thomas and Mark Steel who have agreed to link their own websites to ours.
Thanks also to Mike and Rebecca for their design ideas (see image left).
A number of artists, musicians, filmmakers and actors have initiated projects to support the work of the Coalition.

What you can do to help

  1. Keep circulating the statement to get more support and send in new signatures - the bigger our network the stronger the resistance. Some groups have been doing street stalls to spread the word.
  2. If there is no existing anti-cuts group in your area to join then please set one up. We will put you in touch with others and help with speakers
  3. Pass resolutions in your union, anti cuts campaign, trades council, tenants group, backing the statement and supporting the conference.
  4. Send us reports of cuts and local campaigns.
  5. Donate to the coalition. Please make cheques out to Coalition of Resistance and send to 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.
    ( thanks to the Green Left for their £100 donation towards the conference costs )

Coalition Conference Saturday Nov 27

10 am - 5pm Camden Centre, London WC1H 9JE
(Map) Registration forms for the conference will be available at next weeks meeting.

Contact details

Phone: Andrew on 07939 242229
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Protest at Tony Blair's book signing 8 September 2010


Join us to demonstrate against Tony Blair's book-signing and bring banners and something which will make a lot of noise!
Not known for his generosity, Blair has stated he will donate the proceeds of his book to charity, ironically to a charity where most of the victim's injuries were caused by his decision and the direct result of his lies!  This is only a PR stunt and comes from fear of the mounting criticism and hatred from the British Public and media. We know this man will not do anything unless there is something in it for himself.  Does he think a few million is going to make up for the devastation he has caused to millions of people, taking us into an unnecessary war in Iraq with lies, just so he can personally benefit?
Before the war, he was not only broke, but in debt, but he has amassed a personal fortune worth conservatively, £45 million, (US$72 million), the true figure is not know, as he has it  hidden in a maze of secret companies, as any corrupt person would do!
This very clever and malevolent man persuaded and intimidated his own government for his own ends to invade Iraq, without any justification and based, now we know on lies, resulting in the deaths of our soldiers and over a million Iraqis, many of them innocent children. How do you make up for the total devastation of a country and the ever-lasting grief of millions of people,  with a few measly pounds from such an extremely wealthy person? A so-called Catholic convert, even a billion "Hail Mary's" will not give him absolution from this sin!
A pariah in his own country, but a hero in America?  But Blair's continuing involvement in Libya and friendship with Gaddafi is a slap in the face for all the American Lockerbie victims and their families, including the other atrocities Gaddafi has been involved in. Americans are now looking again at this man they think is such a hero. Making a fortune is not a crime, but the way you do it, can be.
His actions have proved that this ex-Labour Prime Minister is an amoral, self-serving and arrogant man who will go anywhere and do anything to increase his wealth, regardless of ethics or integrity and totally ignoring the suffering to others.  How can Blair continue to profit from this blood money, when many believe he should be tried as a war criminal? His actions brought terrorism to our shores and has divided its citizens.
It is also obscene that we, the taxpayer are still paying for his personal security and for security on all his many homes, even when he is not there.  This is totally unacceptable in such a recession, when many are suffering and he has more than enough money to protect himself and his family.  He has betrayed this country and its people and we do not owe him anything. Please contact your MP and demand that this protection from the Public purse stops now!
We would ask you to stop buying from Waterstones, who are also making a profit from this blood money. There are many other bookstores just as good. Foyles, WH Smith, Blackwells, Stanfords,
Grant & Cutler, Travel Book Store and many others.
Join us on 8th September to show your opposition to Blair!

Clare Solomon
University of London Union President
020 7664 2001

Monday, 23 August 2010

Israeli army's female recruits denounce treatment of Palestinians

Facebook images of an Israeli servicewoman posing with blindfolded Palestinians have caused a storm. Now two former female conscripts have spoken out about their own experiences

  • Harriet Sherwood
  • The Observer, Sunday 22 August 2010

    It was a single word scrawled on a wall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that unlocked something deep inside Inbar Michelzon, two years after she had completed compulsory military service in the Israeli Defence Force.

    The word was "occupation". "I really felt like someone was speaking the unspoken," she recalled last week in a Tel Aviv cafe. "It was really shocking to me. There was graffiti saying, 'end the occupation'. And I felt like, OK, now I can talk about what I saw."

    Michelzon became one of a handful of former Israeli servicewomen who have spoken out about their military experiences, a move that has brought accusations of betrayal and disloyalty. It is impossible to know how representative their testimonies are, but they provide an alternative picture of the "most moral army in the world", as the IDF describes itself.

    Concerns about Israeli army culture were raised last week following the publication on Facebook of photographs of a servicewoman posing alongside blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinians. The images were reminiscent of the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq. But the former soldier, Eden Abergil, said she didn't understand what was wrong with the pictures, which were described by the IDF as "ugly and callous".

    Israel is unique in enlisting women at the age of 18 into two years of compulsory military service. The experience can be brutalising for the 10% who serve in the occupied territories, as Michelzon did.

    "I left the army with a ticking bomb in my belly," she said. "I felt I saw the backyard of Israel. I saw something that people don't speak about. It's almost like I know a dirty secret of a nation and I need to speak out."

    Michelzon, now 29, began her military service in September 2000, just when the second intifada was breaking out. "I joined the army with a very idealistic point of view – I really wanted to serve my country." She was posted to Erez, the crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, to work in the radio control room.

    "There was a lot of tension, a lot of shootings and suicide bombings," she said. "Little by little you understand the rules of the game. You need to make it hard for the Arabs – that's the main rule – because they are the enemy."

    She cited a routine example of a Palestinian woman waiting at the crossing. Michelzon called her officer, asking permission to allow the woman through. She was told to make such a request once the woman had been kept waiting for hours. "I felt very alone in the army. I couldn't talk about the things I felt were misplaced," she said. "I didn't have strong views but I felt uncomfortable about the talk, about soldiers hitting Arabs and laughing. I thought everyone else was normal and I was the one who wasn't. I felt an outsider to the group experience."

    At the end of her service, in June 2002, Michelzon said she felt the need to escape and took off to India. "I went through a breakdown little by little," she said. It was only when she returned to enrol in university, and two years of therapy, that she began to consider her "duty" to speak out. She also came across Breaking the Silence, an organisation of army veterans who publish testimonies from former soldiers on life in the occupied territories to stimulate debate about the "moral price" of the occupation.

    Michelzon gave evidence to the group and two years ago appeared in a documentary, To See If I'm Smiling, about the experiences of young women in the army. The film, she said, was criticised by all sides. The left focused on "the bad things we did and not on the fact that we wanted to start a discussion. We wanted to put up a mirror and tell Israeli society to look itself in the eyes.

    "From the right, the reaction was, why are you doing this to your own people? Do you hate your country? But I did it because I love my country. We had to fight to say we want to talk about the political situation."

    The psychological impact of military service on women is undeniable, according to the testimonies of Michelzon and others, particularly those who serve in the occupied territories. "If you want to survive as a woman in the army, you have to be manly," she said. "There is no room for feeling. It's like a competition to see who can be tougher. A lot of the time girls are trying to be more aggressive than the guys."

    Her experience is echoed by that of Dana Golan, who served in the West Bank city of Hebron in 2001-02 as one of about 25 women among 300 male soldiers. Like Michelzon, Golan only spoke out after finishing her service. "If I had raised my anxieties, it would have been seen as a weakness," she said.

    Golan, now 27, said the "most shaky moment" of her military service came during a search for weapons in a Palestinian home. The family were awoken at 2am by soldiers who "turned their whole house inside out". No weapons were found. The small children of the house were terrified, she recalled. "I thought, what would I feel if I was this four-year-old kid? How would I grow up? At that moment it occurred to me that sometimes we're doing things that just create victims. To be a good occupier, we have to create conflict."

    On a separate occasion she witnessed soldiers stealing from a Palestinian electronics shop. She tried to report it, only to be told "there were things I shouldn't interfere with".

    She said that she also saw elderly Palestinians being humiliated on the streets, "and I thought these could be my parents or grandparents".

    Israel is discomfited by these testimonies, she said, partly because of the universality of military service. "We grew up believing the IDF is the most moral army in the world. Everyone knows people serving in the army. Now when I say we are doing immoral things, I am talking about your sister or your daughter. People do not want to hear."

    The IDF is proud that 90% of its roles are open equally to men and women. "Serving in a combat unit where you have daily contact with people who might do you harm is not easy – you have to be tough," said Captain Arye Shalicar, an army spokesman. "It's not only a female thing, it's the same for everyone. In the end, a combat unit is a combat unit. Sometimes things happen, not every deed is 100% correct or fair." The army, he said, has procedures for reporting misdeeds which soldiers are encouraged to follow.

    Both Michelzon and Golan have no regrets about speaking out. "For two years I saw people suffering and I didn't do anything – and that's really scary," said Michelzon. "At the end, it felt like the army betrayed me – they used me, I couldn't recognise myself. What we call protecting our country is destroying lives."

  • Wednesday, 4 August 2010

    The time to organise resistance is now: sign up HERE

    The time to organise resistance is now

    We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight

    It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government's budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

    The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers' profligacy.

    The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.

    Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.

    We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries.

    This government of millionaires says "we're all in it together" and "there is no alternative". But, for the wealthy, corporation tax is being cut, the bank levy is a pittance, and top salaries and bonuses have already been restored to pre-crash levels.

    An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear "deterrent" by cancelling the Trident replacement.

    An alternative strategy could use these resources to: support welfare; develop homes, schools, and hospitals; and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public transport, thereby creating a million jobs.

    We commit ourselves to:

    • Oppose cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services.

    • Fight rising unemployment and support organisations of unemployed people.

    • Develop and support an alternative programme for economic and social recovery.

    • Oppose all proposals to "solve" the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating.

    • Liaise closely with similar opposition movements in other countries.

    • Organise information, meetings, conferences, marches and demonstrations.

    • Support the development of a national co-ordinating coalition of resistance.

    We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm), at Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.


    Tony Benn

    Caroline Lucas MP

    John McDonnell MP

    Jeremy Corbyn MP

    Mark Serwotka - General Secretary PCS

    Bob Crow - General Secretary RMT

    Jeremy Dear - General Secretary NUJ

    Michelle Stanistreet - Deputy General Secretary, NUJ

    Frank Cooper, President of the National Pensioners Convention

    Dot Gibson, General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention

    Ken Loach

    John Pilger

    John Hendy QC

    Mark Steel

    Kevin Courtney - Deputy General Secretary NUT

    Cllr Salma Yaqoob

    Lee Jasper - Joint Coordnator Black Activists Rise Against Cuts [BARAC]

    Zita Holbourne - Joint Coordinator of BARAC campaign & PCS National Executive

    Ashok Kumar - VP Education & Welfare LSE Student Union (SU)

    Hilary Wainwright - Red Pepper

    Francis Beckett - Author

    David Weaver Chair of the 1990 Trust

    Viv Ahmun Director Equanomics UK

    Paul Mackney - former General Secretary NATFHE/UCU

    Clare Solomon - President University of London Union (ULU)

    Lindsey German - Convenor, Stop the War Coalition (personal capacity)

    Andrew Burgin - Archivist

    John Rees - Counterfire

    Romayne Phoenix - Green Party

    Joseph Healy - Secretary Green Left

    Fred Leplat - Islington Unison

    Jane Shallice

    Neil Faulkner - Archaeologist and Historian

    Alf Filer - Socialist Resistance

    Chris Nineham

    James Meadway - economist

    Cherry Sewell - UCU

    Alan Thornett - Socialist Resistance

    Peter Hallward - Professor of Modern European Philosophy

    Matteo Mandarini - Historical Materialism Editorial Board

    John Nicholson - Secretary Convention of the Left

    Michael Chessum - UCL SU Education & Campaigns Officer

    Mark Curtis - Writer

    Nick Broomfield

    Sean Rillo Raczka - Chair, Birkbeck College Students' Union, NUS NEC

    Robyn Minogue - UoArts NUS Officer

    Prince Johnson - President Institute of Education SU

    Roy Bailey - Fuse Records

    Doug Nicholls

    Granville Williams

    Gary Herman - (CPBF National Council member, in personal capacity)

    Louis Hartnoll - President UoArts SU

    Sarah Ruiz - former RESPECT Councillor and Community Activist in Newham

    Michael Gavan

    Mary Pearson - National Union of Teachers, Vice President Birmingham Trades Union Council

    Joe Glenholmes - Unison, Life Member Birmingham Trades Union Council Baljeet Ghale - NUT Past President

    Jane Holgate - Chair of Hackney Unite and Secretary of Hackney TUC

    Marshajane Thompson - Labour Representation Committee NC

    Richard Kuper

    Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary

    Trevor Phillips - Campaigner

    Stathis Kouvelakis, UCU, King's College London

    Carole Regan

    Bernard Regan

    Roger Kline

    Hugh Kerr, former MEP

    Nina Power Senior lecturer in Philosophy, Roehampton University

    Norman Jemmison, NATFHE Past President, NPC

    Kitty Fitzgerald, Poet and Novelist

    Iain Banks. Author

    Arthur Smith, Comedian

    David Landau

    Anne Orwin Actor

    To sign the statement email: