Aberdeen SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branch from Aberdeen

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Metting Tomorrow (16/03/11) UCU Strike Thursday 17/03/11

Posted by EuanBenzie on 15th March 2011

Hi all,

Just a quick reminder of our meeting tomorrow (16/03/11) at 7.30pm in the Belmont Cinema bar. Primarily discussing plans for the UCU strike on Thursday, organising help for the picket lines and talking about what we can do to support union members.

Hope to see you there,

Aberdeen SSP

Posted in Branch Meetings and Organisation, Democracy, Fighting Public Spending Cuts, Trade Unions, Uncategorized | No Comments »

SSP statement on Tommy Sheridan sentencing

Posted by EuanBenzie on 26th January 2011

The SSP’s statement on today’s sentencing of  Tommy Sheridan can be found here.

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Meeting tonight (07/12/10)

Posted by EuanBenzie on 7th December 2010

Just a quick reminder that the meeting from last week was rescheduled for tonight(07/12/10). We’ll be meeting at 7.30pm in the bar of the Belmont Cinema.  Newcomers are welcome!

Please be careful when you’re travelling tonight, as it’s still rather icy!

 

Hope to see you all there!

 

 

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Aberdeen Cuts revealed

Posted by EuanBenzie on 4th December 2010

Jobs are to go, vital services are to be cut, education is on the verge of only being available to those who can pay for it. Yep that’s situation right now in the whole country. Every working class citizen in Scotland is going to feel the impact of the cuts the worst and Aberdeen has announced whats to go (this time round). Cuts in Aberdeen have already seen swimming pools shut, day centres for the disabled gone and it almost lead to the closure of the charity Glencraft (a charity that trains blind and partially sighted people to manufacture furniture). So without further delay here’s the “highlights” of the cuts!!!….

In total £70,000,000 worth of cuts have been revealed (some cuts proposed are not yet approved however with only £25.5 million of the cuts been implemented I can only assume that the proposed cuts will be passed easily). Aberdeen City council are not even  halfway through the measures to “save” (nice way of saying “cut”) £120,000,000. The confirmed cuts include a £9,000,000 drop in funding for services that help children with special needs. £1.4 million will be saved by “maximising class sizes” at secondary school. In a shocking move the funding to the Fire department is to be reduced to save £2.1 million! It wont be long until scenes like THESE  are hitting the streets of Aberdeen. However I feel that the most stingy one of all has to be the £173,000 saving the council will make on on closing two council-run care homes!

Two angry Aberdonians!

 This announcement comes only weeks after Aberdeenshire announced plans to axe 900 jobs. Most of these jobs will lost be in education as both City and Shire councils have expressed an interest in cutting the number of schools and amalgamating many. In the list of jobs going  most are from the “ring fenced” sectors. Care assistants are set to lose out as are ; teaching assistants, nurses, fire fighters, paramedics. The list goes on and on! We were told by David Cameron and Nick Clegg that vital services would be “ring fenced” but they clearly haven’t. However being a young student from what many would consider a middle-class town I am used to be lied to by the Lib Dems. As for the Tories they were game for these cuts as it is an ideological want.

Time to show the "Red Hand of Aberdeen" to the council!

How can I spell this out to you? I can use three words, “Aberdeen is fucked”. We have been lead by an awful council who have managed to royally fuck everything up! I emphasise EVERYTHING! The case for socialism is as strong now as it ever will be. Aberdeen City Council has been lead by right wing policies aimed at making profits at the expense of the people. The councillors are rolling out savage cuts but continue to lust for Sir Ian Wood and his dreams of concreting over Union Terrace Gardens. Whilst the citizens of Aberdeen are walking the un-gritted streets as the council cannot afford to grit them the council are seriously considering  subsidising this millionaire’s wee project so he can make more profit! It’s madness! As socialists we are fighting against these regressive cuts that are targeting the working classes and the vulnerable. It drives me round the bend when I hear people saying “Socialism doesn’t work”, what evidence is there to show this? Capitalism is failing, miserably! All you have to do is see how this country has been brought down to it’s knees by the rich bankers and this country’s solution? Punish the poor, punish the working classes, punish the students, punish the pensioners in fact punish anyone apart from the people who cause the crisis. That is way our country is run and it is great to see some resistance to this. From students in Aberdeen occupying Tory HQ to students doing mass walkouts in cities all over Scotland. Hopefully this will stimulate more militant action from Aberdeen.  Aberdeen is a great city but at the hands of capitalists it is becoming a soul-less,  poorly maintained city that is at risk of becoming gripped in mass poverty due the public sector being destroyed, the over-reliance on oil companies and the increasing size of the private sector.

Scottish Socialist Youth

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Massive Scottish Anti-Cuts Demo: Here Comes Everyone!

Posted by CelticEwan on 26th October 2010

Mass Demonstration Shows Strength of Anti-Cuts Feeling in Scotland

Last Saturday (23rd) a massive anti-cuts demo took place in Edinburgh as 20,000 people, including SSP members, took to the streets to protest against government spending cuts and demand a fairer alternative that protected public services. Community campaigners and trade union leaders called for resistance as industrial action to defend public services was declared “inevitable” if the cuts outlined by the Con-Dem government last week were implemented. As an elderly Glaswegian community campaigner said to me on the march, “people keep saying to me that “somebody should do something” and “if everybody did something then we could sort this out”, so we need to get “somebody” and “everybody” on the streets with us.”  Saturday’s march represents a first step toward building a mass campaign that can get ‘somebody’ and everybody’ involved in fighting the cuts. For news coverage of the march and SSP analysis of the public spending cuts, what they represent and what is required to successfully resist them, see our main site here.

 Nature of the Cuts, Nature of the Mainstream Political ‘Opposition’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have long argued that the austerity measures taking place across Europe are an attempt to make the mass of the population; workers, students, pensioners, the unemployed, pay for the current crisis in capitalism. It is also an ideological attempt by the Conservatives to do away with many of the social gains made over the 20th century in the form of the welfare state, by attacking universal public services and welfare benefits, including attacks on free/accessible education provision. However, while marginal differences exist across the mainstream political parties on the balance between tax rises and spending cuts in the austerity measures, the SNP and Labour are also fully signed up to the cuts agenda. They will offer only lukewarm criticism of the Con-Dem cuts in opposition, while in power they will implement cuts themselves via the Scottish parliament and local councils, as indicated by recent comments by Alex Salmond  and by Labour’s cuts programme both before and after  the general election. In the absence of mass mobilisation and resistance by the population, they will not attempt to oppose cuts by setting illegal “anti-cuts budgets” or supporting anything more than symbolic, but ultimately ineffectual resistance. They will not want to “rock the boat”, and thus they are unable to represent the grassroots sentiment among the thousands who took to the streets on Saturday. This is likely to become increasingly clear as the savage force of these cuts begins to bite in communities and workplaces across Scotland and Britain.

A Strategy We Need

What we need is to build a pluralist, grassroots, and mass-based campaign against the public spending cuts, creating a social movement not seen since the successful anti-poll tax campaign twenty years ago, where mass non-payment of the new tax and mobilisation of the population forced the government to retreat and Thatcher to resign from office (for an excellent account of the successful strategies used to defeat the poll tax, read “The Poll Tax Rebellion” by Danny Burns, details here). This is not just rhetoric, but our societal reality. These austerity measures will only be defeated by a mass mobilisation of popular democratic power and direct action, and if an alternative equitable and socially-just solution to addressing Britain’s budget deficit and capitalist crisis is developed, campaigned for, and implemented.  The SSP in Aberdeen and across Scotland is committed to both these tasks, and the need is urgent.

Building Resistance in Aberdeen

The sheer brutality of these cuts in Aberdeen is becoming clear, with one possible cost saving measure considered by the council being to close every public park in the city.

To discuss these issues and the work of the Aberdeen SSP, feel free to come to our branch meeting this Wednesday (27th), in the Belmont cinema cafe at 7.30pm, where those who were at the march on Saturday will report back on the events of the day.

Also, there is a meeting organised by the Aberdeen anti-cuts alliance on this Thursday (26th) 6.15 pm at the Butchart Centre, Aberdeen University, about what can be learned from the French resistance to the cuts being imposed in that country. This will certainly be a useful event for both discussing strategies to oppose the cuts and for people to begin building the kind of campaign described above. Further details of the meeting here.

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Aberdeen SSP Report from Suffragette City

Posted by CelticEwan on 13th October 2010

I’m back from Suffragette City!

Originallywritten by Aberdeen SSP member syebot in http://ssy.org.uk/2010/10/im-back-from-suffragett-city/

And it was, as the song goes, outta sight!

Although starting late, the event was fantastic – it was really inspiring to see a number of diverse groups pull together and put on a show, explain what it is they stand for and begin to build a support network with each other.

The night consisted of a number of musicians and performers, with poetry and comedy thrown into the mix, as well as speeches given by a representative of each group present. I spent much of the night in a state of nervous panic, awaiting my turn on the soapbox. Somehow, I managed to string together a few coherent sentences on the SSP and what we at the Aberdeen branch have achieved so far, what we hope to achieve in the future and how the people of Aberdeen can band together with us and start making a change today. I got a bit of a cheer and a clap; people signed up for our mailing list, took stickers, bought badges and copies of the Voice, and were generally up for a good discussion, a bit of banter and some home-made cake.

Highlights of the night were: Euan B giving hell to a poor bloke who disagreed with the SSP stance on Afghanistan; the Communist Party of Great Britain not even coming inside the room and just lurking at the door with their stall; making friends with the anarchists and then returning from the stage to discover the cheeky fuckers had eaten all my brownies; getting some inital signatures on the mailing list for the Aberdeen Socialist Women’s Network (never heard of it? that’s cos I’ve just started it!); getting chatted up by a drunken, middle-aged anarchist who really seemed to like the SSY “Take out the Tories” stickers; and watching Ewan and his Dad play a really great set, then joining in when the entire room started stamping feet in time. Who knew that bagpipes could be such a crowd pleaser?

It was amazing to have these different groups, different people, in the same room and for everyone to be interested in what the others had to say, to listen and to converse, without any major argument or disagreement. It can be difficult, sometimes, for those on the Left to organise as a larger, more cohesive movement. The differences between our groups are slight; we have more in common than our in-fighting would suggest. If we are to overcome struggle and achieve anything, we must work together and find points upon which we can agree. There are some major issues, both locally, nationally and internationally, that Aberdeen SSP is concerned about and could be involved in tackling. The cuts that our public services are facing; the worrying trend in our city and shire councils to ignore the wishes of the people and to only listen to those with big money; the continuing war in Afghanistan, and the conflict and unrest in the Middle East. By building links with groups like Aberdeen SPSC, Aberdeen Stop the War, Tripping Up Trump and Friends of Union Terrace Gardens (to name just a few), the Aberdeen branch can throw their weight behind these campaigns and work with as many people as possible to gain empowerment and equality, and to make our voices heard. Suffragette City helped us on our way to building these relationships, and hopefully we will see some worthwhile activism come to fruitation because of it.

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Aberdeen SSP Involved With Upcoming Radical Culture Event

Posted by CelticEwan on 26th September 2010

 

     “Part call to action, part show, part club night”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aberdeen SSP will be present at a radical cultural event this Wednesday 29th September in the Tunnels, Carnegie Brae. The event is called Suffragette City, and brings together radical and activist groups from around Aberdeen. Along with the Scottish Socialist Party, groups present include the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Tripping up Trump, and the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Each group will have a stall with their materials and will have a chance to get across their views on the issues that concern them. Along with being a chance for various groups of the left to meet with each other and share ideas and experiences, it will also be a chance for particularly young Aberdonians and students to meet the political and activist groups in their area and talk to them about their politics.

   The other aspect of the evening is radical and anti-establishment entertainment. This includes a range of live acts and a clubnight, with full details  from the event’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=124475147603533&ref=ts. One of these acts is a political folk set from our General Election candidate Ewan Robertson (i.e. myself) and a special guest! The event starts at 8pm, and entry is free.

  I would urge anyone who is looking for a fun night of radical music and dance, combined with meeting many of the left activist groups in Aberdeen and having a chance to find out more about their politics, to come along this Wednesday and take part in both the show and the call to action!

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Aberdeen SSP Meeting: 5/7/10

Posted by CelticEwan on 5th July 2010

Members of the Aberdeen SSP will be meeting tonight at 7pm in the Belmont cinema cafe, to discuss the attempted ‘age of austerity’ that The Con-Dem government is planning to impose upon the country in order to make ordinary people pay for the current crisis in capitalism and balance Britain’s budget deficit after bailing out the banks. Community campaigns, trade unions, and the SSP and other socialist groups around the country are mobilising to defend our public services and standard of living from this onslaught. A broad-based, mass campaign will be needed for this to be successful, and an alternative socialist solution to the crisis proposed that puts human need before private profit will need to be developed and have the political weight behind it to carry this through if we are to avoid the suffering and job losses that these cuts in spending will create.

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Aberdeen SSP Meeting to focus on Israeli Defence Force Killings of Aid Workers

Posted by CelticEwan on 31st May 2010

In reponse to today’s atrocities, where at least 9 civilians have been killed by Isreali commandos who stormed ships that were trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, in effect trying to break the Isreali blockade on aid and construction materials there, the Aberdeen SSP meeting tomorrow (Belmont cinema cafe downstairs, 7pm) will focus on this incident and the historical context of the relationship between the Isreali state and the subjugation of the Palestian people in the occupied terrotories.

Israeli state terrorists on board the boat.

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We Must Resist the Privatisation of Public Space

Posted by CelticEwan on 16th May 2010

 Yesterday afternoon members of Aberdeen SSP joined a music session and picnic in Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens. It was a good day out, with some May warmth, music, and some impromptu placard-making. However, the event also had an important purpose and message: to support the I♥UTG campaign to save Aberdeen’s landmark green space from concrete obliteration.

 The story starts back in November 2008. Aberdeen’s Peacock Visual Arts centre had secured 75% of the £13.5 million funding needed to build a new contemporary arts centre in UTG, which would complement and regenerate the existing green space, turning the park into a centre of creative expression, artistic exploration, and overall one of the most exciting cultural projects for Scotland in some time, as you can see here.

Then, Sir Ian Wood, one of Scotland’s richest men and chair of multi-million pound energy firm the John Wood group stepped into the fray with Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) with an alternative proposal: The City Square Project. This £140 million project involves concreting over the gardens entirely, raising them up to street level (the gardens sit in a valley, much like Edinburgh’s Princes St. Gardens) and creating a square bigger than Moscow’s Red Square, surrounding it by shops, and sticking in a parking garage underneath. To sweeten the deal, Wood offered £50m of his own cash, if the taxpayer could pick up the bill for a good chunk of the rest. This is despite the fact that the council is broke, as we complained in our video here, and in the context of the Lib/Lab/Con/SNP spending cuts, will likely be trying to cut services again soon. Needless to say this hasn’t gone down well with a large section of the Aberdonian population, many of whom prefer the idea of an arts centre, as you can see here at compare the square.

   Of course, backed by favourable local press coverage and the business community, Wood pressed on with the project, and Acsef organised a public ‘consultation’ to try and get a stamp of legitimacy for their City Square project, saying they wouldn’t go ahead without public support. Despite a skewed proposal whereby the Peacock Arts centre was not included as a future option for the gardens, and the default answer on the online version was ‘yes’ to the City Square project unless someone changed it, out of 12,000 respondents, 55% said they didn’t want Wood’s ‘vision’. As people familiar with the Donald Trump fiasco will not be surprised by, Wood turned round and said that it was actually up to the council whether the project went ahead or not, and if they didn’t back him then he would walk away with his £50m (saving the council a ton of money in the process of course!).

 So this Wednesday 19 May the council is set to vote on the project. One idea is for some kind of merger of the two projects, but with the projects being pretty much mutually  exclusive, this is unlikely, and so more likely is that it’s going to have be one or the other. In the run up to the vote the I♥UTG campaign have been urging people to write to local councillors and MPs/MSPs to stress their support for the UTG and opposition to the City Square project. There have also been weekly music jams and yesterdays’ picnic to show the council that the gardens are well used and need to be developed further, not buried under tonnes of concrete. While many members of the Aberdeen SSP support I♥UTG, anyone else reading this who wants to do the same can visit here for more information on the campaign, as well as make their views clear to local councillors ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

 

Public Space and Local Democracy

However, isn’t there something familiar about this? Arrogant millionaire? Local councillors bending over backwards? Determined business community backed by compliant local press? Destroyed green space and common heritage to make way for private development? Local opposition campaign ignored or marginalised? Oh yes, that Trump thing…

In fact, both the Trump affair, the UTG controversy, and several other examples around Aberdeen, allude to a worrying phenomenon which socialists need to be proactive and campaign against. In a society with stark inequality, men or women with millions of pounds can command a far higher clout in decision making and planning in public life than ordinary people do. This is why organising together into mass campaigns is the only way to stop wealthy individuals overriding what is supposed to be a democratic planning process. As has happened in Aberdeen, when the cash is waved, reporters courted, and glossy plans purporting civic benefits produced, local democracy can take the back seat. This is despite the very questionable nature of these largely or wholly private developments in terms of benefiting the population: remember that the companies advocating these developments are ultimately in it for what profit they can get out of it, rather than thinking about what is most suitable for the needs of a local area or population. And in an age where the four main parties are about to massacre the public sector in waves of spending cuts, cash-strapped councils are going to be all the more tempted to grab that offered private cash, as again and again councillors turn a deaf ear to protest and the press prints what is needed to keep that advertising revenue flowing in.

   What the grassroots campaigns of Tripping up Trump and  I♥UTG  point to the importance of is that along with having to defend our public services against cuts and privatisation in the coming years, socialists need to get prepared to defend our public spaces, so they can be enjoyed by all of us, not run for the profit of just a few of us, as is certainly the case for Trump’s elite golf course, and will very likely be the result of Wood’s City Square vision. In getting involved in such community campaigns, not only can we ensure that public and green spaces are kept that way, but we can fight for local participatory democracy. This is essential for creating both a democratic and inclusive planning process, and laying the building blocks for a better society, where members of a super-rich elite and their representatives cannot treat the views of ordinary people and local democracy with such contempt.

Posted in Democracy, Fighting Public Spending Cuts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 

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