Birmingham Housing Crisis: Time For A People’s Budget!

The Birmingham Mail recently reported how a family of 2 adults with 3 children, one with ADHD who needs their own bedroom, try to survive in a 3rd floor flat with one bedroom, kitchen, lounge, bathroom surrounded with damp washing. The couple and a child are sleeping sharing a sofa bed with the baby in cot next to it, turning lights out at 7pm to settle the children down.

After 12 months of bidding for properties on Birmingham and other councils’ properties with 100 plus ahead of them in the queue. The council says people have to be “realistic”.

Birmingham City Council’s housing waiting list currently has around 500 applications per week, with just under half deemed eligible to be on the list. It took 6 months for one family to have their claim assessed. The average assessment time for Birmingham is 22 weeks.

The Council’s own report titled Housing Options issued in August 2021 stated that with 60,000 council properties (in 1981 there were 123,000!) there were 18,649 on the register to bid for council homes and 3,700 households in temporary accommodation. Given that the report states there are 80,000 in the private rented sector with an estimated 4,500 currently available, what choice is there?

The council plan to build 2,708 homes by 2029. This is not realistic!

The Trade Unionist Coalition (TUSC) is hosting an open forum for trade unionists, community residents’ groups and anti-cuts campaigners.

Here we will be discussing how we can fight for a budget to fight for that meets the city’s real needs on homes, jobs and public services – a realistic fighting alternative!

The meeting details are

Date: Saturday 27th November

Time:   12 till 2 PM

Venue: Kings Norton Ex-Servicemens Club, 1853a Pershore Road,

Cotteridge, Birmingham B30 3DJ

For more information Call/Text 0797 4493525


GKN Strike: All Out For Victory!


Rallying outside the plant in July

There have been lots of developments since the vulture-capitalists of Melrose announced at the start of the year that the GKN plant in Erdington, Birmingham is destined to be shut down and shipped abroad in order to exploit workers with lower labour costs and wages and weaker trade unions and labour protection laws. A race to the bottom for all those that actually work for a living and not sitting comfortably in a shareholder’s boardroom.

Generations of highly skilled workers in a profitable plant will be thrown onto the scrapheap for nothing more than the greed of a few compared to the livelihoods of the many. However, the latest and most positive development to take place is the courage of the rank and file members of Unite in the Chester Road GKN workforce to overwhelmingly vote yes to being an all-out strike with 95% of the 500 strong workforce voting yes.

The strike has now been suspended until 18th October following Melrose pausing the removal of machinery and operations from Chester Road. GKN Driveline workers will want to see firm guarantees over the plant remaining open before the strike is called off completely – the threat of action has already brought previously hard-nosed Melrose management to the table. We believe any potential deal should be put to Unite members at GKN for full debate and discussion before being settled.

Strike action like always was the last option to be taken due to the utter stonewalling and contempt that has been shown to the workers who have loyally grafted away for decades during their prime years. But Melrose won’t give five them minutes to hear the detailed alternative plans to save the plant, British automobile manufacturing and working-class communities.

Parliamentary motions, rallies, lobbying and an extremely detailed and innovative 90 page alternative production plan for a green-automotive transition were put forward…all ignored and dismissed by the asset strippers Melrose.

If workers have to flex their industrial muscles through collective industrial action then so be it. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that these key workers’ are the ones who really keep factories and other workplaces running, not investment managers.

We at the Socialist Party say GKN and Melrose Industries need to open their books and have the accounts reviewed democratically and transparently by Unite and rank and file workers to truly see what resources are available and where the money is going.

It would be interesting to see what money and bonuses Melrose bosses and shareholders are receiving at the same time as 519 ordinary workers are being told their jobs are on the chopping block.

It was only two years ago in preparation for their hostile takeover of GKN that the top brass of Melrose received large ‘incentive packages’ with the top four executives receiving £41.7 million each, equalling an eye-watering total of £166.8 million! This obscene amount being declared by company management as ‘completely vital and essential’.

Quite a healthy chunk of capital that could have been invested in GKN and its staff. It’s not like top management aren’t raking in some healthy-looking salaries already, Melrose CEO Simon Peckham receiving a pay packet of £976,000 in 2019.

It is the skilled GKN workers that create everything that comes in and out of the factory including all wealth creation in a previously profit-making plant but only receive a fraction of that wealth compared to some of the obscene amounts listed above gifted to Melrose bosses. This is even more of a slap in the face when you consider that the Chester Road plant is situated in Erdington with a climbing unemployment rate of 12.5%.

So it goes without saying this closure will not just be devastating to the workforce but a huge blow to this working-class community as a whole – as we all know when these type of jobs go, they never come back. Birmingham Socialist Party members have seen the immense local community support from the people of Erdington and North Birmingham to keep the plant open when we’ve been campaigning to save GKN plant high street stalls near the factory, with entire working-class communities coming behind the workers!

Frank Duffy, GKN Convenor (right)

As Frank Duffy, Unite convenor at the Chester plant states

‘’Birmingham has been here before. When the massive Rover factory at Longbridge closed in 2005 the impact was felt for years.

Unite’s predecessor union, Amicus, supported research which showed that despite 90% of the workers finding alternative employment, 66% were financially worse off, average incomes fell by more than £6,000 and 25% reported being in debt or being reliant on savings to get by’’

We fully support the alternative production plan drawn up by GKN reps tapping into the decades of on-site experience to both save costs and help kick up a ‘green revolution’ for more sustainable cars and transitioning the sector as whole, echoing the spirit of the 1976 Lucas Plan to convert and retrofit Lucas Aerospace plants for socially beneficial production. Democratic workers’ control and management with all the years of collective experience will be what can save the British automobile industry, not the greed of shareholders hellbent on asset stripping.

The only longterm solution is to nationalise the industry.

Many workers will have questions how this could work. How, for example, can you nationalise factories that only make a component, not a finished article that workers want to buy?

But in reality most factory workers have been through a transition where a factory introduces a new line of product. Here the government would provide the necessary investment to fund the transition, including prioritising switching to environmentally friendly production and products. Instead of setting up task forces to direct workers to non-existent alternative jobs, democratically elected committees involving the workforce and consumers could identify what might be produced and what is needed.

An example like that could spread like wildfire and spark further action across Britain and further afield. It was a Tory government that was compelled to nationalise Rolls-Royce in the 1970s.

It is worth noting also that Sharon Graham, with the support of the Socialist Party, was recently elected Unite General Secretary on a promise to “immediately ramp up the resource required to defend jobs, fight cuts and protect pay”. Now is the time to turn these words into action, with the building of a mass campaign throughout the Birmingham community and further afield, applying pressure on both Melrose and companies involved in the wider supply chain.

Socialist Party members leafletting the plant


With the above in mind, we fraternally offer the following suggestions as part of a plan of action to win the dispute:

  • Take all steps possible to stop removal of machinery and unsold inventory from the Chester Road site, up to and including occupation of the plant
  • Calling for the immediate stepping in from the government to nationalise the plant and its current or repurposed production under democratic workers control and management with compensation only on proven need.
  • Mass demonstrations both on site and in the city centre inviting workers and activists from across the entire labour movement and community campaigns to build a far-reaching sustained fightback.

End The Occupation of Kashmir!

A lively demonstration of around 500 Kashmiris from all over the Midlands calling for the removal of all Indian military forces from their land and marking the second anniversary of the removal of Kashmir’s special status by the reactionary Hindu chauvinist Indian government of Narendra Modi took place in Birmingham.

Despite being confronted with enormous military force, the Kashmiri people show no signs of accepting permanent annexation by India and the discrimination that accompanies it. 

It would be a grave mistake to rely on either the equally reactionary anti-worker government of Pakistan for national liberation or the ‘diplomacy’ of the world’s major imperialist powers. US President Biden has delivered a very mild rebuke to the Indian government, which has more to do with defending the US’s geopolitical interests in the Indian sub-continent than the welfare of the Kashmiri masses.

Kashmiri workers and peasants can only rely on their own strength and organisations to achieve national liberation and urgently need to form a party of workers, peasants and poor farmers armed with a socialist programme to take over the land and major industries in the region so that Kashmir can be governed in the interests of the masses.

Socialist Party members joined the protest, distributing copies of this statement written by our sister parties in India and Pakistan at the time of Jammu & Kashmir having its special status removed. The support for the Socialist Party’ polices were reflected in the £37.50 donated and one person expressed an interest in joining the party.

DHL Workers Fight Back Against Wage Theft

Unite members working for DHL at Jaguar Land Rover are balloting for strike action following the company’s failure to pay workers the wages owed to them. This is despite DHL making €1.3bn profit in the first six months of 2021!

Birmingham Socialist Party spoke to a shop steward at one of the sites affected:

“There were wildcat strikes at Solihull today (10th August) and yesterday, seeing 20+ people walk off the job following the company’s pay errors. The way the company has handled take backs from flexible furlough without consultation has led to some people having £800+ removed from their wages in one go, just before the summer (shutdown) holiday.

We were due to sit down and meet about 2020 pay today for 2000+ hourly paid employees across the DHL/JLR contract.

The meeting was postponed because of the action trackside that was taken by employees themselves individually. Some of them are highly stressed and in severe financial difficulty after the deductions. I know of one individual who can’t even afford to put fuel in his car to get into work.

Who can blame them for taking action – it seems to be the only thing the company understand. The concern from our National Committee is now that the company show more of a desire to investigate the track stoppages and cars lost than to sort out its incompetent wages department.”

Dalian Atkinson Death: We Need Democratic Control of The Police Now!

The jailing of West Mercia Police officer Benjamin Monks for killing former Villa player Dalian Atkinson is a welcome victory in the family’s five year campaign for justice. This is the first time since the 1980s a police officer has been convicted for a death during or following police contact, despite 1800 taking place in the intervening years.

However, it appears that the other police officer involved in Atkinson’s death will be allowed to continue serving. Questions also have to be asked as to why Monks was given access to the taser that he used to kill Atkinson when he had a warning for gross misconduct against his name.

This incident and the many other shocking acts of police violence which disproportionally target black men shows the need for democratic community control over police policy and hiring, and to fight to end the capitalist system which profits from racist oppression.

Here we republish an article written at the time of Dalian’s killing in 2016 by Hugo Pierre from the Socialist Party’s Black and Asian Group

Black footballer’s taser death: stop police racism now

Ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson was repeatedly tasered by police at his home in Telford, Shropshire on 15 August. He died from the incident an hour and a half later. The police claim that they were called to an incident following a “report of concern for the safety of an individual”.

Atkinson is the 16th person to have died after being tasered by police since the weapon was first introduced in 2003. Taser use has increased as more police are issued with them. They do not have the same restrictions on their use as firearms, and the amount of training is usually three days.

Atkinson’s death follows those of many other black people at the hands of police. Only in July, Mzee Mohammed was killed in police custody in Liverpool; last year Sheku Bayoh died of asphyxiation in Kircaldy, Scotland, following a brutal arrest. These are just some of the campaigns trying to get justice for victims of police brutality.

But many more black youth and workers face harassment. On the streets, black youths are several times more likely to be stopped and searched than white youths.

And in the same week as Atkinson’s killing, a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission showed racism and discrimination are still entrenched in the power structures of British society. Black children are three times more likely to be excluded in schools; black graduates earn 23% less than their white counterparts.

As well as fighting for democratic community control over police policy and hiring, we need to fight to end the capitalist system which profits from racist oppression. Socialism can guarantee jobs, homes and services for all, laying the basis for campaigning to eliminate racism once and for all.

Black Lives Matter

Meanwhile, another murder of a black man at the hands of the police – Sylville Smith on 13 August – sparked angry demonstrations in Milwaukee, USA. Underlying the anger that erupted on the streets is the level of segregation and poverty in one of the poorest black communities in the United States.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has sprung up throughout the US following the death of Michael Brown in Fergusson, Missouri.

Reports on the police force in Fergusson showed the commercialisation and privatisation of the police meant black people were criminalised to fund the service. Petty misdemeanours were punished with fines, and defaulting on those fines was followed up quickly with imprisonment.

Protest has spread throughout the US and is now being replicated in the UK and other parts of the world. The movement will continue to fight for justice for all victims of police brutality.

Importantly, big sections of the movement are increasingly moving beyond just campaigning against injustice. They are now moving onto the political plain, and starting to develop a programme of demands to tackle the blight of racism.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s, 60s and 70s was a titanic struggle. The involvement of the trade unions was an enormous boost.

But the best leaders were drawing conclusions that the fight against racism also had to be joined with the fight for something. The fight for a different society where the profit motive was not the driver, but instead cooperation and collaboration between workers of all races. A society where the 1% could no longer have the power to use divide-and-rule of racism to retain its wealth at the expense of the rest.

Today, we have the opportunity to fight for socialist ideas to build the Black Lives Matter movement to fight against racist division and for a socialist world.

Yes To A Clean Air City, No To The Clean Air Zone Charge!


In Birmingham a new tax has been forced on the city by the Tory government which will hit the poorest hardest, takes no account of income or ability to pay, and which is causing growing anger among the community. No, this is not the poll tax again, but sure enough we have a Labour council doing the Tories’ dirty work and hammering the working class instead of fighting back.

On June 1st the city council introduced the Birmingham Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which requires drivers of older and more polluting vehicles to pay an £8 charge to use the roads in central Birmingham.

The CAZ is supposedly an attempt to drive down the levels of air pollution in the city, in particular the ‘fine air particles’ which can cause numerous very serious disease such as strokes and cancer. Birmingham suffers from very high levels of these pollutants in its air, at the maximum limit as recommended by the World Health Organisation. 

Public Health England has reported that air pollution causes an estimated 1460 excess deaths each year in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. A Kings College London study in 2019 showed that pollution caused the shortening of lives of children and specifically named north Birmingham suburb Erdington as a pollution hotspot with as many as 91 deaths attributed to pollution in 2011.

Working class people have always been aware of the problem and most of us agree that something has to be done. But all this shoddy scheme will do is cause inconvenience to a minority of drivers while emissions and congestion continues apace.

Even the city council’s own feasibility study found that introducing a daily charge on motorists would not be sufficient to make the city comply with government’s new emissions restrictions.

There are looming climate and public health crises. Socialists have always argued that there needs to be an urgent shift from cars to public transport, cycling and walking. To facilitate the necessary change there needs to be a massive improvement in the public transport options on offer. 

It is to be welcomed that after many decades of local campaigning, and inaction by Labour and Tory governments, the Camp Hill line is finally being reopened for passenger rail services and the Metro is to be extended. But without a serious plan to tackle over-use of cars across the entire city and addressing the continuing long term decline in bus usage the impact on traffic levels will be insufficient to effectively deal with the problems. 

Immediate steps should be significant investment in bus and cycle infrastructure, make public transport free to all, increase the frequency and reliability of buses with security measures such as additional on-board staff and proper bus stations to enable all members of society to feel safe travelling during at all times of the day and the night. There should be massive investment in all types of electric buses and a push towards demand-responsive bus services which are more flexible to people’s needs. Re-nationalisation of the bus network should be a first step, an industry which has been bailed out by the state during Covid, despite racking up massive profits while overseeing continuous decline in ridership.

Instead the Blairite Labour council has simply gone for the low hanging fruit and introduced a charge for motorists who do not drive the newest or cleanest cars and vans. Unlike when London introduced its Congestion Charge there has been no increase in the frequency of quality of public transport in advance of this scheme. The result is that those who cannot afford to change their car will be either forced to drive a longer route around the city or stump up the £8 charge.

There are now 2 classes of motorist in Birmingham: those who are allowed to drive freely, and those who are not. To make matters worse the council has placed the onus on the motorist to take the initiative in paying the daily charge. Should they forget or fail to pay for any other reason they are liable for a £120 fine!

We now have the spectacle of local Tory politicians like the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street opportunistically arguing against the implementation of his own party’s scheme on the basis that it unfairly hits poorer working class people. Northfield Tory MP Gary “Big Dinners” Sambrook jumps on the bandwagon and writes “this impacts our poorer residents the most who cannot afford to buy shiny new cars.” However, nobody should be fooled into believing that Sambrook holds any sympathies for the suffering of the poor – this character was one of the 318 Tory MPs who shamefully voted down feeding 1.4m of the poorest children during the school holidays last year.

So where is the opposition from Labour? Judging from the comments of Preet Gill MP (Birmingham Edgbaston), we shouldn’t expect much! She supports the CAZ and described it as a “bold, new idea”. Since they’ve been running the city Birmingham’s Labour councillors have sacked 12,000 council employees, tried and failed to cut bin workers pay, attacked the Homecare workers and closed down countless local services.

Perhaps the clearest expression of opposition simply comes from than the boss of the AA, a motoring organisation, who explains the plight of those hit by the charge: “These drivers are least able to afford to replace the vehicles they depend on for work, often night shifts, and sometimes emergencies such as going to hospital. They are also the ones least able to pay the fines.”

Finally we need to replace the remaining petrol and diesel vehicles with affordable hybrid or fully electric vehicles in the shortest time possible. This could be done by nationalising the electric vehicle industry under workers control and management and retooling the existing car plants to produce electric vehicles. 

New Workers’ Party Needed

What is crystal clear is that working class people in Birmingham have no party who will stand up for them either in the council chamber or in Westminster. Labour have proved time and time again that it is willing to stick the boot in to the working class on behalf of the Tory government and the bosses in general. This is because, despite receiving millions of pounds in funding from trade unions, they want to prove that they can be relied on to look after the interests of British capitalism if they are ever to win power again. Keir Starmer has made it clear that he is shredding what remains of Jeremy Corbyn’s radical manifesto of 2017 to this end.

We in the Socialist Party say that this isn’t good enough. The unions should no longer hand over their members’ money to a party which is batting for the opposite side. We need a new mass workers’ party which will take urgent measures to clean up the environment and make sure that it is the rich and the elite of society who foot the bill, not ordinary working class people through charges and fines.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, an organisation involving the RMT transport workers’ union, the Socialist Party, former Labour MP Chris Williamson’s Resist party and others, stands in local and national elections and opposes all attacks on the jobs and living standards of working class people. We believe this can play an important role in the establishment of a new workers party.

We urge you to join the Socialist Party today!

Ted Woodley

Birmingham North branch

Save jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Driveline – nationalise the plant!

On 28 January, not even a full month into 2021, over 500 GKN Driveline key workers based at the company’s Erdington plant received the devastating news that their jobs and livelihoods are to be axed. The redundancy number could be doubled or tripled, with a devastating knock-on effect to others in the associated supply chain.

This is even more horrendous when put in the context of how these 500-plus skilled jobs will be gutted from the working-class community of Erdington, a constituency that has twice the national average of unemployment. And once these jobs are gone, they are gone! Workers will struggle to find new employment with similar wages, forcing workers to struggle to support themselves and their families.

Fast forward to the 19 May, and management turned down the rescue plan put forward by Unite the Union, with convenor Frank Duffy saying: “I’m extremely disappointed in the company’s response to our counter-proposal which showed we were a viable and profitable site. We don’t accept the company’s position and the fight to reverse the company’s decision will continue.”

It is clear that whatever practical plans and viable alternatives were proposed, the notorious asset strippers Melrose was always planning from day one, back in 2018, to sell off and profit from the closure of the plant.

The Socialist Party extends its solidarity to the GKN workers and encourages Unite the Union to take inspiration from its section in Ireland. There, rank-and-file members took industrial action and occupied the Harland and Wolff dockyard. This swung the position of power over to the workers in the negotiations, not the bosses, making clear the need for government intervention to nationalise the plant to save jobs and livelihoods!

There needs to be the building of dispute committees, community support groups, cross-union solidarity campaigns and protests, both on and offsite, inviting all to attend to build up sustained pressure.

Read more on the struggle to save jobs at GKN here

Dea-John Reid Murder: Fight For Jobs, Homes and Services, Not Crime and Racism

Birmingham Socialist Party sends its condolences to the family and friends of  14 year old Dea-John Reid who was tragically murdered on the streets of Kingstanding on Monday evening.

From reports from locals and witnesses to the horrific murder it was clear from the beginning that this was a racist murder after witnesess reported the boy being chased and subjected to racist abuse before being stabbed.

Disgracefully but unsurprisingly West Midlands Police denied and attempted to play down the racist motive of the 14 year old’s tragic murder, only admitting on Wednesday evening what locals had been reporting all along: that racism had sparked this tragic sequence of events.

Currently six people, four men in their 30s and two boys aged 13 and 14, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

Read on for our analysis of the social issues that have fuelled both racism and violent crime in Birmingham

Protesting outside West Midlands Police HQ with Black Lives Matter in June 2020

Independent Investigation Needed

The actions of West Midlands Police in relation to this case and in previous incidents involving the deaths of black men in custody shows that we can’t trust this force to investigate the reason for Dea-John’s murder, including possible racist motives, by themselves.

We need an independent investigation involving elected members of the local community in Kingstanding and North Birmingham, including trade union reps, particularly those involved in working with young and vulnerable people in schools and social services.

Protesting outside Birmingham Council House

Austerity Devastates Brum

Such an enquiry could not just begin to establish the real circumstances of this murder, but also the social problems which provide the backdrop to this latest outrage. The fact that 41.6% of children in Birmingham are living in poverty (the highest rate outside of London). The 9.8% of people unemployed, with many tens of thousands more in precarious work and 55,400 currently on furlough wondering if they’ll have a job to go back to.

Along with the decently paid, secure jobs that have been lost from the city due to the decline of manufacturing, the social ties of working class communities in Brum have been further hit by a decade of cuts to public services, largely administered by the Labour council. Among the 12,000 jobs axed by Birmingham City Council since 2010 will have been many community and youth workers who previously helped young people find a positive future away from street crimes and violence.

Rather than build a campaign to win funding from Westminster for expanded public services that could prevent crime, the Labour Party’s main response via their Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster is to call for a sticking plaster of 450 extra police officers. But if they are not democratically accountable to the communities they police, if they continue to carry out groundless stop and searches focused on Black and Asian young people, this could serve to heighten tensions rather than ease them.

With many young people already feeling frustrated due to the effects of Covid in placing them under lockdown for many months and also robbing them of the opportunity to study and find work, it’s vital that trade unions and democratically run residents’ and community associations work to ensure that any tensions created by this shocking murder are channelled in the direction of campaigning for better jobs, homes and public services rather than a repeat of the riots which followed the murder of Mark Duggan at the hands of the police in 2011.

The tories and the rest of the ruling class in the media have diverted the anger people have about these conditions towards racism. Priti Patel whipped up fear around migrants while the capitalist media raised tensions by filming desperate refugees in dinghies. They also inflamed a cultural war by claiming that BLM was attacking Britain and its values.

Black Lives Matter protest in Birmingham

Build a Mass Movement To Smash Racism

The Socialist Party is fighting to build a mass movement that can smash racism and the class inequality that together press on the necks of young people. To do this we must organise and draw all the lessons and ideas from the movements that have gone before; the slave revolts that led to the abolition of slavery; the Civil Rights movements; the anti-colonial revolutions; struggles against fascists in Britain, and all the struggles of the organised working class and socialists against exploitation and oppression.

Leaving the power to run society in the hands of the existing rulers, the big business boss class, condemns us to having to keep fighting racism. Mass united working-class action and organisation, united around a programme of anti-racism and anti-capitalism, to fight for socialism, with the working class taking power, is necessary.

Coronavirus has revealed all the brutal truths about capitalism – showing how big business bosses and their Tory representatives prioritise profits, and are therefore utterly unable to keep society safe, while workers have been shown to be the ones keeping society going and defending safety. Kier Starmer’s Labour Party has offered no serious alternative and has been absent from all the major protests.

The Socialist Party builds on the conclusion of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers: “You can’t have capitalism without racism”. What does that mean for building the Black Lives Matter movement? It means building a mass united movement of working-class people with anti-racism at its heart; that fights for workplace safety and PPE for all who need it; for fighting trade unions; for free education; for democratic working class control of the police and for a future for all young people. It means building a new mass party of workers and young people because we can’t trust the capitalist politicians with our lives and our future.

And it means fighting for the alternative to capitalism – socialism. Capitalism is outmoded. It can’t offer us a future.

Birmingham Stands With Palestine

Following the recent assault by the Israeli Defence Force on the West Bank and Gaza, two recent protests took place in Birmingham, at which Socialist Party members were in attendance.

On Tuesday 11th of May, a protest was called for 6PM outside of Waterstones in the heart of Birmingham’s shopping district to address the ongoing atrocities in Palestine. While this demonstration was called with little notice, a small contingent of comrades intervened with leaflets and petitions and were greeted warmly in their show of solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and their struggle for their very survival. 

The protest itself pulled a large crowd, managing to block almost the entire street in a flurry of flags and placards, which only grew and grew as it went on. Throughout the activity was a continuous stream of impassioned speakers with powerful messages to the masses, imploring governments and people from all walks of life to bring a stop to the violence and occupation from the Israeli forces, and restore peace to the region.

Victoria Square in the centre of Birmingham was almost filled to capacity with an angry demonstration against the Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian population. The mood of many of the demonstrators has shown how the Middle East can be seriously destabilised by the Israeli government’s actions.

Much of the vitriol was directed against the British government for failing to support the Palestinians and for selling arms to Israel. Many were calling for the government to stop selling arms and for a boycott of Israeli goods. The Gaza situation was likened to apartheid South Africa.

While the demo was quite correctly angry at these events no political strategy capable of pushing the Israeli government back was outlined by any of the speakers at the rally, in facts some of the speeches could only result in widening divisions between Jews and Palestinians and create an even more dangerous situation.

Disgracefully, the organiser, who is the Secretary of Birmingham Trades Union Council, refused a request from the Socialist Party to speak at the rally because we wanted ‘a cosy chat with the Israeli working class’. Today’s events have only been made possible because of the failure of Palestinian nationalist organisations and their shadows elsewhere to appeal to Jewish workers on a class basis and draw them away from anti-working class reactionaries like Netanyahu.

Thankfully that sectarianism wasn’t shared by the majority of the demonstrators who received our leaflet well and donated £28.40 with 31 people signing our petition.

We’re holding a Zoom meeting to discuss how Palestine can win genuine liberation at 7:30pm on Thursday 20th May – click here to log in to the meeting or enter meeting ID 419 333 9324

For further analysis on the situation in Israel and Palestine, check out our latest article.

Tories Triumphant, Labour in Turmoil – We Need A New Workers’ Party!

After the results from the elections on the 6th May, which saw the Tories strengthen their grip on the West Midlands Mayorality and make gains on Birmingham City Council, the Labour Party crisis continues.

Kier Starmer and his supporters blame the outcome in Hartlepool and elsewhere on left policies and not distancing themselves from Corbyn enough. How should the left of Labour and the trade union leaders respond? How can socialists prevent further disenfranchisement of the working class, youth and previous Corbyn supporters?

Check out the latest article from the Socialist Party looking at what’s behind the results of last week’s elections and the next steps for socialists: