Dundee SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branches from Dundee

Archive for the 'Education' Category

Unite with other unions against the cuts

Posted by alangdundee on 10th June 2010

Main parts of our leaflet for EIS conference at the Caird Hall in Dundee.

The election of the Tories – the Twin Tories, with the treacherous Lib Dems joining forces with the Tory Butchers – marks a new threat to education workers, education services and communities. We all face a level of carnage to jobs, conditions and services not experienced since Thatcher at her most rampant.

Cameron and Clegg have lost no time in pronouncing their top priority is to cut public spending.

These upper class butchers want to wield the axe to jobs, pay, pensions, benefits, public services – to enrich their own class even further.

Cameron’s claims that we all face pain for years to come is false to the core.

The bankers who enjoyed a bountiful handout from public funds don’t face ‘pain’ – for instance, 100 of them at the RBS recently awarded themselves a £1m bonus each!

The richest 1,000 fat-cats whose incomes rocketed by 30% last year, to £353billion! – do not face ‘hard choices’ or ‘painful decisions’.

It’s Scotland’s 630,000 public sector workers, alongside workers in the private sector, our families, our communities, who face a massacre – unless a united, determined, militant campaign of resistance is built, starting now!

In resisting the cuts, EIS and other unions need two central guiding principles: unity in action is our best defence – and a convincing set of policies to explode the myth that cuts are unavoidable.

Teachers, civil servants, council and NHS workers have marched and taken strike action against cuts.

It would be fatal if these fights were kept separate and apart, or if any union adopted the notion that cuts are inevitable – but ‘not in our service’. That would weaken the resistance and guarantee cuts to all services.

So SSP members in the EIS (and in all other unions) strongly advocate united action – across all public sector unions and alongside community groups, anti-cuts campaigns, Save Our Schools campaigns…

EIS and other unions should build a united public rally on Saturday 26th June, after new levels of carnage are announced in the 22nd June Butchers’ Budget – as a springboard for building a mass march in the autumn, when even more cuts will be announced in the government’s Spending Review.

Such events would help build the fighting morale of tens of thousands who right now are terrified of what the future holds.

Equally important in building a rebellion against cuts from a government that has no mandate in Scotland – with 85% voting against the Tories – is a convincing set of policies that exposes the lie that cuts are necessary and unavoidable – a monstrous lie peddled not only by the Tories and Lib Dems, but also New Labour and the SNP! Otherwise many people will fall for the argument that there’s not enough money to defend jobs and services, that cuts are a necessary evil – and then fall out amongst themselves over where the cuts should occur.

That divide-and-conquer trickery lies behind the Tory plan to consult people over what to cut! There is no need for any cuts! There are oceans of wealth swilling around – but in the hands of the bankers. billionaires and boardrooms of oil companies – not in the hands of the public.

The SSP fights for alternatives that would create jobs, improve services, protect conditions. Commit EIS to action against the cuts – alongside other unions – and argue for socialist policies that would fund the expansion of jobs and services. And join the SSP – for an independent socialist Scotland.

Twenty’s Plenty in a class

The Scottish Socialist Party has an unrivalled track record of standing up for kids, communities and education. We have consistently fought school closures that lead to larger classes, job losses, increased stress for staff, worse education.

We have led several Save Our Schools campaigns, uniting parents, communities and trade unionists – demanding smaller classes and investment in community-based schools within easy, safe reach of children’s homes.

We led the mass opposition to Labour’s school closures in Glasgow last year. During that campaign we popularised the slogan Twenty’s Plenty in any class, and lobbied the SNP government to pass legislation to limit classes to 20 for all age groups.

At the recent STUC Congress, SSP members pushed this policy and won the backing of the conference for a campaign for classes of 20 maximum for all.

In East Dunbartonshire, when the Labour-Tory Coalition announced closure of 8 primaries last week,the SSP called a protest demo and public meeting to set up a Save Our Schools campaign.

150 local people joined the demo, the councillors took fright, and shelved their butchery – for now!

EIS shares the SSP’s policy of 20 max in a class. The time is rotten-ripe for the EIS leadership to lead action in support of this policy – including industrial action.

Posted in Dundee, Education, Free School Meals, Leaflet, Public Services, Richie Venton, Save Our Schools, Schools, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Build a mass, united Public Sector Demo on 10th April

Posted by alangdundee on 9th March 2010

Make the rich pay – bail out all public services, not bankers’ and billionaires’ profits

By Richie Venton – SSP national workplace organiser

Two major trade union events in the space of 48 hours demonstrate the seething anger at public sector cuts, the potential for a united resistance across the trade unions, and the potency, increasing popularity and urgent necessity of the Scottish Socialist Party’s alternatives to this assault on jobs, services and conditions.

EIS 10,000 march

On Saturday 6th March, 10,000 teachers, lecturers, nursery staff, parents, pupils and other trade unionists poured out of Glasgow ’s Kelvingrove Park , snaking their way round a mammoth route to the EIS union’s rally in the SECC.

This was the first national demo called by the EIS in decades. The overwhelming majority of the marchers had never been on a demo before. The age profile was a whole cross-section, from toddlers in buggies and primary kids, through trainee and newly qualified teachers, to bearded veterans of the profession – united in their fury at education budget cuts, whilst bankers’ bailouts, renewal of Trident weapons and bloody war cost the public a fortune.

Anger at that obscene contrast was reflected in speeches by the EIS president and others at the rally. They denounced the governments of Westminster and Holyrood for regarding these expenditures as more important than the education of our children, who represent the future, and lambasted the SNP government for now confronting children with the choice of either free school meals or smaller classes, when they had promised both and children deserve both.

SSP on the march

The EIS march is part of a campaign they have entitled “Why must our children pay?”

The SSP was the only party with a leaflet that directly dealt with the issues of the march, demanding “make the rich pay – not our kids; bail out education and all services – not bankers’ profits; 20’s plenty in any class – give our kids a chance.”

People snapped up the leaflets, smiled and murmured their agreement with the headlines, turned and quoted it to their friends as they assembled to march off.

The lively SSP contingent was joined by parents and children who fought the heroic Save Our Schools Campaign in Glasgow last year. As we marched we led the chant “Twenty’s plenty in any class – give our kids a chance”, which caught on with the crowd marching and bystanders on the pavements.

As the 10,000 trod towards the end of their marathon march to the SECC rally, we improvised an SSP “street meeting” on the pavement as they passed us! We belted out our message on a very loud PA system: “The SSP demands that the government tax the rich, to bail out education, not bankers’ profits and bankers’ bonuses.” Several sections of the march shouted back their agreement with us as they marched past, and even more contingents applauded us as they marched past. A sign of how profoundly the bankers’ bailout has changed people’s consciousness, including their open-ness to the SSP’s unashamed socialist demands.

The EIS leadership promised in speeches that this mass demo is just the start of the campaign, which is to be welcomed, and which EIS union activists and members will make sure is the case.

It is absolutely right that as the union representing 60,000 members in education they should take up the cudgels in defence of that service. But what would be tragic, and totally divisive and counter-productive, is if the EIS leadership argued for cuts in other services to save education; unity of opposition to all service cuts, combining the power and scale of members of all public sector unions and the communities they service is what is urgently needed to stop the slaughter.

Biggest civil service strike since 1987

It was therefore encouraging that an EIS representative (as well as speakers from the FBU, UNISON and STUC) addressed the 8th March strike rally in Glasgow, called during the 48-hour stoppage by all civil service workers, members of PCS.

This was the biggest civil service strike since 1987. Across the UK, over 250,000 workers brought services to a halt in tax and customs offices; Job Centres; driving centres; the Courts; the MoD; passport offices; the Scottish parliament (for the first time ever); Westminster … to name but some. 30,000 of these strikers were in Scotland .

They are overwhelmingly low-paid workers, whose partial compensation for low pay has been a modest average pension of £6,500 and a reasonable redundancy scheme – which is now under assault. The government has set in motion the legislation to slash the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, cutting the package that most workers would get on being made redundant by up to one-third, tens of thousands of pounds each. A sure sign that the Labour government (backed up quite openly by the Tories on this) want to slaughter tens of thousands of jobs on the cheap – in addition to the 100,000 already shed in the past 5 years – and usher in privatisation by making the prospect more attractive to the privateers.

The response to the 48-hour strike was absolutely overwhelming – forcing management to stoop to tricks like jetting in a handful of scab managers from Newcastle to open the Glasgow DVLA office.

Socialism in the civil service

Again, not only did SSP members in PCS play an instrumental part in building the strike, but our policies were more widely and eagerly embraced than for a long time: on the picket lines, at the PCS strike rallies in Glasgow and Dundee, and at the SSP public meeting in Glasgow after the union rally. This was a really large meeting, with over half those present attending their first ever SSP meeting. And strikers were enthusiastic in their support for our socialist aims – many commenting wryly that if only we could get a fair hearing in the media, imagine how popular our case would be – as well as our proposals on how to build public sector unity against all cuts in the immediate future.

Unity against the carnage – build 10th April Demo

Alongside a rolling programme of further industrial action by the PCS, railway workers are striking (Scotrail) and balloting for pre-General Election strikes (Network Rail). Numerous anti-cuts campaigns, involving council workers’ unions and communities, are campaigning against the brutal council cuts that loom. Already 5,000 council jobs face the chop, with hair-raising predictions of 32,000 jobs (one in every eight!) being butchered by 2014. And community centres face closure up and down Scotland .

So an immediate opportunity to tie all these strands of struggle into a rope to restrain the axe-wielders presents itself on Saturday 10th April. Scottish UNISON is calling a mass, national demonstration in Glasgow that day, in defence of public services.

SSP members in all the various trade unions – alongside other union members – need to move heaven and earth to make this an almighty display of the power of a united working class on the march, by calling on their unions to mobilise members into an event that dwarfs even the brilliant 10,000 on the EIS march.

As Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and SNP politicians sharpen their knives in a grisly pre-election competition for whose cuts are the deepest, the SSP in contrast will stand up for public sector workers and the communities that depend on public services.

We will build for a united march for public services – not private profit, demanding the governments tax the rich and bail out all public services – not bankers’ and billionaires’ profits.

We will campaign inside the unions for measures that would fund these services, protect and create jobs, and begin to re-distribute wealth from the millionaires to the millions.

Measures such as a 10% tax on every millionaire (to fund 80,000 new jobs in Scotland alone, on £25,000 a year for 3 years!); restoration of income tax on the rich to pre-Thatcher levels (83%) and likewise Corporation Tax on big companies, from the current paltry 28% to the 52% it was at before Thatcher and then New Labour made this country a tax haven for the tax-dodging rich.

A sea-change has begun in the outlook of workers in the frontline of public sector carnage by the parties that back big business and the profit system. Socialist measures – including full-blown public ownership of the entire banking sector, natural wealth, services and big industries, but with democratic control – are increasingly convincing to people whose future is under threat.

The time is ripe for the potential power of a united trade union movement to be mobilised – starting with 10th April – and for socialist demands to be boldly advanced amongst an increasingly receptive crowd of angry workers. The SSP will do its part, emboldened by the events of the past 48 hours.

Posted in Campaign, Demo, Education | No Comments »

Socialism 2010

Posted by alangdundee on 18th January 2010

Friday 5th February-Saturday 6th February.
Maryhill Community Centre, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow, G20 7YE

The SSPs annual educational weekend is taking place soon.

Friday night will have a rally with international speakers, expected guests include members of Frances NPA, Portugals Left Bloc and Denmarks Red-Green Alliance.

Saturday will have workshops and educationals on a variety of subjects

More details posted soon, or keep checking the SSP site

Posted in Education, France, Glasgow, International, Meetings, Scotland | No Comments »

Neoliberalism As Water Balloon

Posted by alangdundee on 17th October 2009

Excellent educational short explaining neoliberalism and what’s happened to the economy.

Neoliberalism As Water Balloon

Posted in Economy, Education, Media, Privatisation, Video | No Comments »

Twenty’s Plenty in any class!

Posted by alangdundee on 2nd October 2009

by Richie Venton – Glasgow Save Our Schools Campaign organiser

Several developments on the provision of schools and education in recent weeks have exposed the rotten stench of New Labour’s hypocrisy, the backsliding of the SNP in the face of the recession, and the truth of the predictions and policies of the Glasgow Save Our Schools Campaign, consistently championed during our mass struggle against school closures since January.

At the heart of the matter is the key issue of class sizes.

In ferociously fighting 25 primary and nursery closures by the Labour-run Glasgow City Council, we countered their excuses about falling school rolls dictating closures by demanding cuts to classes of 20 maximum, for all age groups – as a means of protecting and creating teachers’ jobs, improving the attention given to individual children and therefore the quality of their education.

We coined the slogan Twenty’s Plenty in any class, popularising the policy of the teachers’ union, EIS, and the Scottish Socialist Party.

We welcomed the pledge of the incoming SNP government to reduce classes to 18 in Primary1-3, as a radical step in the right direction. In the SOS Campaign’s official meeting with SNP Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop in June, I argued the case that her government’s reliance on the ‘Concordat’ between Holyrood and local authorities – whereby they appealed to councils to retain teaching staff levels whilst school rolls fell as a means of implementing P1-3 classes of 18 – was being ripped to shreds, incapable of achieving its own goals, and that surely the government should pass legislation to enforce smaller classes. That point was repeated in writing to her. No reply was forthcoming, oral or written.

Campaigning works!

However, the pressure of our campaign has played some part in two important recent steps in the parliament. The Public Petitions Committee recently agreed to seek the written responses of the government and several councils to the issues raised in our petition to the parliament, in which we demanded a public inquiry into the effect of school closures on class sizes, educational standards, jobs and other social impacts.

And now, under the pressure of parents and campaigners in revolt against school closures, plus legal cases enforcing larger class sizes in popular schools through placement requests, Fiona Hyslop has announced plans to legislate to enforce maximum classes of 25 in P1.

New Labour has unleashed the dogs of war against Hyslop, barking out accusations of betrayal, of desertion of the pledge of 18 maximum for a cap of 25.

Labour gives hypocrisy a bad name

Such accusations from New Labour stink to the high heavens. They give hypocrisy a bad name! This is the same New Labour who openly, publicly denounced smaller class sizes as unworkable in Glasgow – and whose Labour Lord Provost accused me of a middle class agenda(!?) for promoting classes of 20 maximum at public consultation meetings, telling me with a perfectly straight face that smaller classes don’t work for working class kids!

It’s the same New Labour whose Glasgow city council arrogantly dismissed our repeated arguments that the school population was set to rise again, with a 4 per cent growth in live births in recent years, and our dire warnings that their closures would lead to bigger classes and worse education – as well as job losses.
Well who was right and who was wrong? Average classes of 21 in the schools closed have leapt up to classes of 25 and more in the schools the kids have been shunted into this term. Only one in seven qualified teachers have got a full-time teaching job. Over 200 Glasgow teachers only heard which school they were working in the day before term started! And in an incredible, but shameless admission last week, Glasgow city council leaders conceded that actually there are more children in Glasgow than we had been expecting. In an ominous threat of further cuts and closures, they whined that this meant £2m less in savings through closures than projected.

So criticism of the SNP government from New Labour holds absolutely no water; and Labour pointedly says not a word about what they would do about cutting class sizes!

SNP backsliders

However, severe criticism of the SNP is richly deserved. They are backsliding on their election promises, whilst trying to disguise their cowardly retreat with headlines, smoke and mirrors. Alongside this miserably small step on reducing class sizes, they are slashing the intake to teacher training, as a perverse solution to the lack of permanent jobs for newly qualified teachers.

Of course any parent or teacher will welcome the legal limitation of P1 classes to 25 next year, in place of the current legal limit of 30, introduced in 1999. Of course if that was extended to P2 and P3 in later years it would be a painfully slow, gradual step in the right direction. And those of us who have fought a high profile battle for smaller class sizes, demanding legal measures to enforce them, as opposed to relying on the (non-existent) goodwill of councils, can celebrate making some impact on government policies.

But a ceiling of 25 for P1 is pathetic compared to the SNP manifesto pledges, and would only have a paltry impact in real life. Just 6 per cent of kids in Scotland in P1 are in classes above 25! So for 94 per cent of them, this has no effect – apart from the welcome protection against future increases as Labour, Lib Dem, Tory and SNP councils pass on cuts.

Twenty’s Plenty

And why restrict it to the first year of school? At present, P4-7 and the first two years of secondary school are only restricted to a maximum of 33, with a limit of 30 for the final four years at secondary.

And as any teacher at primary or secondary schools will testify, even a cap of 25 would still present them with the task of crowd control in many classes, rather than being able to devote time to the individual needs of kids’ learning.

The demand for no more than 20 in any class, right throughout school years, is justified, proven to be right by numerous academic studies, would transform kids’ learning experience and secure jobs for new generations of teachers, reducing the stress of the job in the process.

The Scottish Socialist Party will persist with this demand, alongside other parents and teachers, whereas the mainstream parties put cash before kids, whether in periods of recession and/or rampant profiteering for the few.

Posted in Education, Public Services, Save Our Schools, Schools | No Comments »

Glasgow Save our Schools

Posted by alangdundee on 4th April 2009

Occupation

Save Our Schools parents and education workers are occupying Wyndford Primary and St Gregorys in Maryhill. People living near by are asked to go to the school with food supplies and messages of support. Text messages of support to:

Wyndford: 07894 123721

St. Gregory’s: 07776 396152

Demonstration in support of schools occupations today (Saturday 4th April) at 12 Midday

The Glasgow-wide Save Our Schools Campaign is appealing to people from the local community and across Glasgow to join a demonstration in support of parents occupying Wyndford and St Gregory’s primary schools today at 12 noon.

The support event is at Wyndford and St Gregory’s schools, Glenfinnan Drive, at the back of Maryhill Rd Tescos.

SSP on the Save our Schools campaign

Posted in Campaign, Demo, Education, Glasgow, Occupation, Public Services, Save Our Schools, Schools, Scotland | No Comments »

1984 – 85 Miners’ Strike – A Personal Recollection

Posted by alangdundee on 8th March 2009

There is an excellent and detailed post on SafeSpace about the Miners Strike. If you are too young to remember, or have only heard the medias accounts, it is well worth reading. Even if you are neither of these it should be read, as you will probably relate to the take by having heard hundreds like it.

The personal recollections of one woman’s memories of it, how it affected her family and how they viewed the portrayal in the media. It should be a real eye opener for those who dismiss the lefts and working classes hatred sheer hatred of Thatcher. The Tory policies destroyed families and communities and they should never and will never be forgiven for it. It is also why the attacks on New Labour for having the same policies as the Tories are pretty much the worst insult you can throw at them.

Posted in Education, Power, Public Services, Scotland, Trade Unions | No Comments »

Save Our Schools in Glasgow

Posted by alangdundee on 21st February 2009

We like to occasionally report on activity going on around the country.

In Glasgow the Scottish Socialist Party have been involved in a campaign to save a series of schools from closure and merger.

Photos from the Save our Schools Glasgow demo.

A report on the campaign Save Our Schools work can be found here

Posted in Campaign, Education, Glasgow, Public Services, Save Our Schools, Schools, Scotland | No Comments »

Global Economic Crisis

Posted by alangdundee on 19th September 2008

Raphie De Santos

Raphie De Santos

Raphie De Santos of the Scottish Socialist Party has written a series of articles about the current economic crisis. He has also written a pamphlet which is now going for it’s second printing. If you would like a copy, then contact us, the last run were £2.50 each so it should be around that amount. We will have copies on our stalls very soon.

Raphie was head of Equity Derivatives Research and Strategy at Goldman Sachs International. He was an advisor on derivatives and financial markets to the Bank of England, London Stock Exchange, London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange and the Italian Ministry of Finance.

Raphie has been a guest lecturer on derivatives and financial markets at Harvard and New York universities and the London School of Economics and has spoken at the annual Nobel Foundation conference in Stockholm.

Articles on the Economic Crisis

Posted in Economy, Education, International, Scotland | No Comments »

The Power of Community: How Cuba Became a Low Energy Society

Posted by alangdundee on 19th September 2008

Roberto Perez
The Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, University of Dundee

Saturday 27th September – 6pm

Drinks reception to follow

When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil, fertilizers, and export trade market in the early 1990s, the country faced virtual overnight economic collapse and an immediate crisis – feeding the population.

The story of how Cuba successfully developed permaculture in response to this crisis will be outlined in a thought-provoking lecture by renowned Cuban permaculturalist Roberto Perez in a major lecture at the University of Dundee.

Cuba has in the past 18 years transformed its food production using organic agriculture and Havana produces over 60% of its food requirements from within the city limits. The Cuban people’s hardship, ingenuity, and triumph over sudden adversity, through cooperation, conservation, and community, to create a low energy society is a truly inspirational story as evidenced in the documentary, The Power of Community in which Roberto features.

This lecture is being held in celebration of the University of Dundee being awarded Fair Trade Status earlier this summer.

The lecture is free and tickets can be obtained from the Tower Building Reception, or from the online store at: or by emailing: events@dundee.ac.uk events@dundee.ac.uk

Socialist Unity have an article about his tour which also links to some articles he has written.

Posted in Cuba, Dundee, Education, Environment, International | No Comments »

 

Promoted by Kevin McVey on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party, Suite 370, 4th Floor Central Chambers 93 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LD.