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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 November 2014
Owen Jones: no answers
Owen Jones, photo Senan (Click to enlarge)
Ben Mayor, Leeds Socialist Party
Owen Jones, the celebrity, journalist and Labour member, spoke to a packed lecture theatre on 15 November. The meeting was organised by Leeds Labour Party and hosted by Alex Sobel, their parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West. Socialist Party members and TUSC supporters had many productive discussions with those attending.
It began full of anticipation. Jones's lively speech articulately explained the appalling situation facing the majority today.
You might have thought this would lead to a discussion filled with ideas and energy for the fightback. But contributions were mostly pre-vetted by the chair - with notable exceptions on the rise of Podemos in Spain and the role of the media.
We heard very little from the parliamentary candidate. And Jones was not able to give a conclusive answer to the final contribution, questioning the role of the modern Labour Party. He could only put an abstract position of "working together" and "hope".
Jones did speak of the failures and mistakes of the workers' movement. He also mentioned in passing, with no real detail, past betrayals by the leadership. But his only answer to Labour's political failings was "get on the streets" - and join Labour!
If Socialist Party members and TUSC supporters had been allowed into the discussion, we would have outlined that Leeds Labour council is planning to cut, among other things, around 500 adult social care jobs. Neither Jones nor Sobel mentioned the attacks.
GMB representatives who organise council workers spoke to us beforehand. They are convinced these cuts can be fought, and it comes down to a matter of political will. The Labour Party has no desire to fight the cuts.
This attitude was summed up by a young worker and student who left proclaiming they want to stand for TUSC in the local elections. "If no one represents our ideas and what is best for us, then we have to, it's as simple as that."
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In The Socialist 19 November 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workers unite to defend the NHS
Solidarity vital to defend trade union rights
Leaked document reveals union busting plan
Toxic mix in Rochester and Strood byelection
Rotten to the Greencore
Fraudster bankers couldn't give a Forex
The beautiful game looking ugly
Them & Us
International socialist news and analysis
Unreported Nigeria: Class struggle and inequality
Israel/Palestine: Wave of rage answers new repression
Youth fight for jobs
We can defeat low pay and zero-hours!
Fighting for decent working conditions
Socialist Party workplace news
Labour councils attack organised workers
Campaigning against rail cuts and profiteering
Power station builders walkout over blacklisting
Local government unions accept shabby pay deal
Unison Wales FE strike ballot
Raging tenants evict rich landlord
'We will not move!'
Students' victory in housing battle
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Teacher and health worker take fight to Oxford council
Bitterne walk-in's bitter win
NHS is going to the dogs
Owen Jones: no answers
The Socialist 19 November 2014 |
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