Saturday, 25 November 2017

Book launch: Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets & States by Derek Wall

Book launch:

Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals: 

Cooperative Alternatives 

Beyond Markets & States by Derek Wall

7pm, Friday 1st December
314 New Cross Road
London, SE14 6AF
About the book
Elinor Ostrom was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. Her theorising of the commons has been celebrated as groundbreaking and opening the way for non-capitalist economic alternatives, yet, many radicals know little about her. This book redresses this, revealing the indispensability of her work for green politics, left economics and radical democracy.
Ostrom has often been viewed as a conservative or managerial thinker; but Derek Wall’s analysis of her work reveals a how it is invaluable for developing a left political programme in the twenty-first century. Central to Ostrom’s work was the move ‘beyond panaceas’; transforming institutions to widen participation, promote diversity and favour cooperation over competition. She regularly challenged academia as individualist, narrow and elitist and promoted a radical take on education, based on participation. Her investigations into how we share finite resources has radical implications for the Green movement and her rubric for a functioning collective ownership is highly relevant in order in achieving radical social change.
About Derek Wall
Derek Wall is the author of numerous books including Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals (Pluto, 2017), Economics After Capitalism (Pluto, 2015), The Rise of the Green Left (Pluto, 2010) and The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom (Routledge, 2014). He teaches Political Economy at Goldsmiths College, University of London and was International Co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Motions passed by UCU retired members conference Wednesday 15 November 2017

NB I have omitted some motions that were concerned with internal UCU matters and not included some amendments as I have lost my notes, but my recollection is that these concerned points of detail .
Motion 1              Railway System           
Proposer              Northern & Scottish Retired Members Branch

UCU Retired members note with dismay the effects of this Government’s continued austerity drive, and its support of the disastrous policy pursued by Southern Rail, of allegedly trying to modernise its Railway System at the expense of the most vulnerable travellers. Southern Rail’s abolishment of staff, stations and ticket offices has an adverse effect on older people and those with disabilities. This means in practice, that by abolishing train guards they are removing any vestige of health and safety for the disabled, on both train and platforms. How are the seriously disabled going to get on and off trains? Who is going to provide the assistance for getting wheel chairs on and off trains? What about the many stations that will no longer be staffed? How are the disabled expected to cope with that situation, or will the train driver be expected to help? Of course there will be ticket machines. How will the partially sighted cope; the disabled and older people manage, with this new technology?
Many rail stations have toilets for handicapped people, where you are required to find someone who can give you the key, this can be very difficult for some to achieve. Why can’t we have ‘smart’ train tickets, which could be used to enable travellers to access ‘closed’ toilets on trains and stations? We have noted the series of strikes that have taken place on Southern Railways and fully support the trade Unions involved.
Motion: This AGM of Retired Members Branches notes that the Conservative Government has made cuts to the Rail system, which seriously affects all disabled UCU members, and UCU retired members. We therefore call upon our National Executive Committee to fully support the National Pensioners Convention, and the Rail Unions in their efforts to fight against the closure of stations, and the introduction of driver only trains. The closure of Stations will make it impossible for disabled UCU members and UCU retired members to travel late at night, and even during the day when stations are only ticket machine operated. If Southern Rail win this dispute then all the other train operators will be quick to jump on the band wagon. We also ask that the NEC raise their concerns within the Labour Party and the TUC and seek support to ensure a successful outcome to this very important issue

Motion 2               The Rise in the state Pensions Age
Proposer              Northern Retired Members Branch

This AGM of UCU retired members branches notes with concern the raising of the State Pension Age and supports the campaign against this by the National Pensioners Convention.
We further note that owing to the rise in levels of stress and decline in levels of job-satisfaction, many members of UCU will be forced to stop working, many years before the retirement age officially designated by USS, TPS and our employers.
The consequence of these developments is that there will be an increasing gap between the age at which the State Pension begins and the age at which our members actually cease employment. As a result, retirees will face increasing levels of financial hardship.
This AGM calls on the NEC to develop policies and negotiation strategies designed to improve the USS and TPS pension schemes in order to mitigate the effects of the increase in the State Pension 
We note that many other trade unions in the public sector who have occupational pension schemes, will be similarly affected who therefore urges the NEC to liaise with our sister unions to achieve aims.

Motion 3               Climate Change, Airport Expansion and Fracking
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch

We recognise that the motion on Climate Change passed at this year's TUC makes progress towards UCU retired members resolution 7.6 of our 2016 annual meeting. However, we regret that there is no mention of opposition to fracking or airport expansion. We therefore call upon the UCU NEC to continue to campaign within the trade union movement in support of all the demands raised in UCU Congress 2017 resolution 17: Climate change, jobs and airport expansion.

Motion 4               Universal Benefits
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Conference believes that the old age (universal benefit) pension should be paid to all over the age 60 and be equivalent to at least half the average wage or 200 pounds, whichever is the greater. Conference commits to the defence of the triple-lock. Conference notes that to achieve this will take a number of years and the first step should be the increase of the present pension by a yearly increase of RPI + 2%. Conference therefore resolves for UCU to express our view on the relevant bodies.

Motion 5               Support for research-active retired members
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Recognising that many retired members wish to continue with their research or conduct research for which they did not have time due to pressures of work while they were employed, calls upon UCU to do all it can to secure access to facilities such as libraries and email for retired academic staff. This would also be in the interests of their previous institutions although many are too stupid to see this.

Motion 7               NHS
Proposer              West Midlands Retired Members Branch
This Retired Members AGM deplore the government's funding attack on the NHS and the consequent pressure on Trusts to abandon the NHS founding principles.  For example, Shropshire has declared that the planned reconfiguration of two hospitals is for the "greatest good for the majority": utilitarianism has replaced universalism despite Para 14T of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

We deplore the consequent limitations on access and especially the negative impact on retired people.

We urge retired members' branches to engage in local campaigning to protect the NHS.

We request UCU head office to set up a national web-based forum to assist all branches to work on national NHS campaigns using College and University campuses to promote the importance of a universal health service.

We call on the NEC to pay the £500 to affiliate to the Health Campaigns Together pressure group.

Motion 10            Raising of the State Pension Age
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch

This meeting notes that:
•        the proposed raising of the State Pension Age will present financial difficulties for many UCU members retiring some years before receiving a State Pension
•        many workers in all areas of employment, especially those with inadequate occupational pensions, or no other pension, as well as those who are willingly or unwillingly unemployed will face the same difficulties many years before reaching the State Pension age.
•        The raising of the State Pension Age will add to pressures to raise the qualifying age for occupational pensions.
•        many workers in precarious employment are particularly dependent on the state pension because they have little opportunity to accrue a decent quality occupational pension.
It therefore calls for UCU to support the NPC campaign against raising the SPA, and to work actively in the TUC to raise wider awareness of these issues among existing workers, awareness of the risk of poverty in old age and to develop a campaign with all other unions.

Motion 11            Supporting the NPC Pensioners’ Manifesto
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

This meeting calls on UCU to agree to support the NPC Pensioners Manifesto:
• A state pension set above the official poverty level, around £200 a week and linked to the triple lock of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%.

• Greater funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation in the health service and a national social care system funded from general taxation, free at the point of delivery and without means-testing.

• Maintenance of universal pensioner benefits such as free bus travel, a £500 winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and a free TV licence for the over 75s.

• More homes that are both affordable and suitable for everyone, whilst recognising the specific barriers to downsizing that older people face.

• New legal protection for older people from all forms of elder abuse, to ensure dignity and raise standards of care.

• A Brexit deal that safeguards the payment of pensions, protects EU care workers and the rights of UK pensioners living abroad.

Motion 12            Discussion of extending the Equality Act 2010 to include single people as a protected group
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

 This meeting notes:
•        Under the Equality Act 2010 married people and people in civil partnerships are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status, but single people are not.
•        Therefore it is still lawful to treat single people less favourably than married people and those in civil partnerships.
•        That lack of legal protection can give scope for expression of negative attitudes towards single people.
•        As people become older, they are more likely to spend a period of their lives as single people as a result of bereavement.
•        That if health and social care services are organised on the assumption that people have or ought to have a ‘next of kin’ family member who can look after them in periods of illness and disability, this disadvantages single people.
•        That there are various forms of existing discrimination against single people, such as single person supplements charged by holiday firms often for inferior accommodation.
•        That the current discussion of loneliness as a health problem, while valid in itself, could foster negative stereotypes of the lives of single people, especially if there is a confusion between ‘loneliness’ and ‘living alone’.
This meeting calls upon UCU to discuss in its Equality Committee and any other relevant bodies the case for extension of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to include single people, so that they too are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The People's Assembly Against Austerity: Budget Protest

Chancellor Phillip Hammond will announce the Budget next week and outline the Government's spending priorities for the next year.

We're calling a protest at Downing Street the night before to urge the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to close tax loopholes and force the tax avoiders to pay their fair share, to end the public sector pay cap with an increase above inflation, and to properly fund our NHS and public services.
Protest: 6pm, Tuesday 21 November, Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London
** We're asking everyone to take 10 minutes today and invite your friends on Facebook: click here to invite your friends** Please also Tweet using hashtag #SackTheTories


We're pleased to team up with Health Campaigns Together, Unite Community, Axe The Housing Act and many other campaigns to organise this protest. (If your campaign would like to get involved please get in touch)

It's fair to say that this Government hasn't had the best few weeks. Theresa May's authority is dwindling even in her our party while a growing crisis in the cabinet, based on inappropriate behaviour from ministers, leaves a question mark over whether this Government will survive the next few weeks in office.

But the crisis around the roll out of Universal Credit is growing which will push thousands into poverty, the Paradise Papers revealed the huge extent of Tax Avoidance where the rich are thieving money which should be spent on services, and the head of the NHS last week warned billions of pounds extra is needed if the NHS is to survive this winter.

Come along, bring friends and workmates. Let's make sure this weak Government feels the growing opposition to their damaging austerity measures.

Foodbank Collection
As part of the protest we're collecting food which will be donated to local foodbanks so their shelves are stocked to deal with the fallout from Universal Credit and the continuation of austerity policies in the budget. We will also be using the thousands of pounds that was raised through sales of Captain Ska's track 'Liar Liar' to buy tonnes of food and deliver it to foodbanks across the country. But before it's delivered, we'll be displaying all of it right on the doorstep of Downing Street to show Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the effect their damaging policies are having on ordinary people.

Items that are needed for Foodbanks:
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned veg
  • Tinned fruit
  • Pasta sauces
  • Instant coffee
  • Milk (UHT or powdered)
  • Fruit juice (long life)
  • Tinned pudding
  • Jam / preserves
  • Instant mashed potato
  • Male and female toiletries

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Green Seniors’ meeting: Wednesday 6/12/2017


Green Seniors’ meeting: Wednesday 6/12/2017 6pm meeting at the Green Room 7 Grand Arcade Tally Ho Corner North Finchley 

1.   Apologies and alterations to agenda
2.   Notes: Green Seniors meeting  at GP utumn conference and 21/7/2017 accuracy and matters arising
3.   .   Leaflet for new members and design offer from cp
5.   Ucu Retired Members’ conference 15/11/2017
7.   GPEW Conference: Stall, Fringe, Meeting, 
8.   AoB

·         IT: problems with services only being accessible via IT, not everyone has access/ is able to use
·         IT: also a potentially liberating tool for Seniors, computer courses needed
·         Segregation of Seniors from others in the community
·         Social isolation of Seniors
·         Managerialism taking over the way society interacts with Seniors
·         Vulnerability to scammers and crinminals, especially of isolated Seniors
·         Voluntary Euthanasia?
·         Commercial /capitalist exploitation of the growing senior market esp in pharmaceuticals , IT, mobility aids, transport ,entertainment. Including  side lining of natural remedies
·         Landslides due to deforestation of hillsides.

Notes Green Seniors  Friday 21 July .6.00

1.  GS email list address is".
2.  Notes Green Seniors meeting 3/3/2016: agreed for accuracy.
3.   Matters Arising
a) May meeting postponed due to General election.
b) Nominations still open for post of Green Seniors  Treasurer.
c)  No progress with crowdfunder, might not be with it if the only expense was conference leaflets. Donations invited.
d) Pedestrians Association Aka Living Streets had responded to Maureen refusing to take up dangers to pedestrians from cyclists on pavements.
e) Museum charges now raised to prohibitive levels for many seniors.
f)   Lucas conference working groups: (on Arms Conversion, Localisation, Robotics and Just Transition) continue next meetings 24/7/2017. PM to attend.
g) GPEW Spring Conference, a successful eent combined with world and European Greens, some contacts made.

4.  General election:
a) Rumours of November/December election
b) Ongoing Brexit problems
c)  Disappointing GP performance but actually got 2nd highest GP total vote.

5.  Gp autumn conference 7/10 october, Harrogate:
a) Stall:PM to book
b) Meeting: PM to book, and facilitate, volunteers to help needed.
c)  Motions: Alan Borgars proposing motion on fire proofing, Peter Allen proposing motion on prioritising NHS campaigning. See GP members’ site

6.  Future activities and events/Aob
a) National Pensioners’ Convention: The Message – quarterly newspaper 20p/free to affiliated groups and other publications available from:
b) National Pensioners’ Convention aims now posted at
Could be used  as a template for Green Seniors. 
c)  Which MP’s to contact on pensioners issues
Source Wikipedia 21/7/2017

e) Maureen Childs to organise debate of Elders’ issues at Toynbee Hall
f)   Toynbee Hall research into needs of Elders in Tower Hamlets, Maureen Childs has contacted researcher Natasha Munoz and will further contact to ascertain how many Senior Centres have closed in Tower Hamlets.
g) Seniors reported to be entitled to double length GP appointments.
h) GP appointments.being replaced by skype and/or internet in some areas(?)
i)    Sheltered housing: reductions in workers, leading to reduction in residents’ access to facilities.
j)    MC and PM had attended Tower Hamlets and Brent air pollution meetings.
k)  Age Action Alliance  MC
l)    Ransackers, problems in using Uni facilities
7.Date of next meeting: 22/9/2017 6pm meeting at the Green Room 7 Grand Arcade Tally Ho Corner North Finchley