Hope and Opportunity

As we wallowed in the ‘commemoration’ of the start of the First World War (when does commemoration tip over into wallowing and celebration?), another anniversary slipped by largely unnoticed. August 2014 not only marked 100 years since the start of WW1, a conveniently long enough time to ensure that no one is still around to recall what a huge disaster it was, it also marked three years since the Croydon Riots. Take a stroll up London Road: the devastation is still apparent. The only green shoots in evidence are those growing out of abandoned and run-down buildings.

It is worth recalling that Boris Johnson, the then and regrettably still Mayor of London, was on holiday in the USA at the time. Our elites don’t like to stint on their holidays!  After all, it cannot be easy to hold down public positions, well paid second  jobs and consultancies at the same time as has become their custom and expectation. They also need lots of time to invest their grotesquely huge pension savings ready for the time when they will no longer be ‘serving’ us. In Johnson’s absence, the BBC turned to his predecessor, the principled and independently minded Ken Livingstone. Ken condemned the violence, but dared to point out that it was caused by depriving young people of “hope and opportunities”. For this he was roundly condemned in the capitalist press and media.

Ken, of course, was right. A report earlier this week from KPMG, an organisation that generally concerns itself with reducing in any dubious manner that remain just inside the law the taxes of corporations and wealthy individuals, not with the plight of workers, found that 22% of those in work receive less than the living wage of £7.75 an hour (£8.80 in London). in 2012 the number of teenagers staying on in school after the age of 16 fell for the first time in a decade and the proportion of 18 year olds not in education, employment or training’, so-called NEETS, rose by 8% in the same year. It would take a very optimistic youngster, not having been born into the 1% of the population that comprises our ruling elite, who did not to feel deprived of hope and opportunity by these findings.

Meanwhile, to end on a positive note, see you all at the Croydon Assembly on Saturday 15 November when we can discuss what is to be done about the mess we find ourselves in..

Communist Party Candidate for Croydon North Appears on Croydon Radio

Ben Stevenson, the Communist Party candidate for the Croydon North by-election, delivered a cracking contribution to yesterday’s by-election debate on Croydon Radio. It was a great boost to the campaign and his points were well-received by listeners. During the show, one listener commented via the Shoutbox that he “was pleasantly surprised by communist party policies and their practical solutions”.

Mr Stevenson was the first candidate to speak. He attacked the Conservative-led Government’s misguided and totally unnecessary cuts, which were making ordinary people pay for a crisis which is not of their making and directly leading to unemployment in Croydon North. He said, ‘This is a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.’

He went to say, ‘Croydon North needs investment in jobs, manufacturing and green technologies. We need to challenge the power of Tesco, Vodafone and the other transnational corporations, who have the resources to ride out the recession, and support local businesses, including cooperative enterprises. Young people now have an awful choice: they can go on the dole or they can rack up huge debts by going to university. This needs to change.’

In response to a question from a listener, about how to avoid a recurrence of the Croydon riots, Mr Stevenson said, “The important thing is to understand why the riots happened. Lack of police accountability was clearly an issue. But it’s no coincidence that the riots occurred across the country in areas of high deprivation and significant unemployment. The key to preventing future unrest is to tackle these problems and offer young people hope through proper access to decent, affordable education.”

Following the programme, Mr Stevenson said, “It was great to have the opportunity to get Communist Party policies across to Croydon Radio listeners. Our campaign is steadily building momentum and I look forward to talking to Croydon North residents over the next few weeks.

“And it’s always good to hear what other candidates have to say. Steve Reed talked a lot but actually said very little. He’s still rooted in a Blairite dead-end and has little to offer Croydon North voters.”

Mr Stevenson concluded, “I was happy not just to put forward our policies in Croydon but also to demonstrate my support for community radio. Communists in Croydon have a long history of involvement in supporting local community initiatives and if Croydon is to be a vibrant borough, both culturally and economically, we need more of these kind of initiatives.”

Listen to the podcast at: http://www.croydonradio.com/podcast/library.php?CatID=7 (click on the ‘Lee, Robin and Ben’ download).

Croydon and beyond

by John Eden

I don’t have my own computer, so my blogs are going to be rather intermittent. my first blog was to draw the the compassion between events that might seem unconnected to some, that the connection between the cuts being imposed in Croydon and the events in the middle-east,and that they have a common cause the economic crises of the capitalist system, and this is the underlying reason of the riots in Croydon and the Arab spring. There are many who don’t share this view of course, they may agree that the riots in Croydon are caused by the economic crises, but not the latter or vice-versa, or they don’t agree at all with the proposition. I have for the last four weeks been reading and re-reading two books, one about the ” History of the Arabs” by Peter Mansfield said to  be a very good introduction to the subject, and another by Nickolaos Van Dam, the “The struggle for power in Syria” and I have also researched on the web

There are those who think that the crises in the middle-east is the creation of imperialist intervention particularly by the United States,Britain and France, paraphrasing the Syrian regime,Russia and China,and that it as nothing to do with the impact of the economic crisis on the internal contradictions of Syrian society. Russia’s defence of the regime as more to do with the retention of their only military base outside the former Soviet Union, and the desire to be a great nation in world affairs, and to sell arms, here is an example of the importance that arms can play in the internal politics of Syria. In the struggle for the power in Syria in 1970,  between the cilvilian Bathist Party led by Salah Jadid and the Military Bathist Party led by Hafiz al-Assad, the Soviet Ambassador sided with the former, the USSR was the main supplier of arms to the regime, the chief of staff of the military was sent to China, and waving the “Little Red Book”,proposed to by arms from there, the USSR backed down. Salah Jadid fell shortly afterwards, this may have been only one factor in his demise, but it was a factor in Syrian-USSR relations. More to follow later, comments welcome!