Breaking – Love Activists Occupy Bank of England Building in Liverpool

LOVE ACTIVISTS have seized control of a Bank of England building in Liverpool, Merseyside.

In the early hours of this morning, Love Activists seized a disused Bank of England building, one of only 3 in the UK. This bank had been taken as part of the Love Activists ‘Reclaim the Banks’ initiative.

Over the next few days, we want to create a welcoming community space and social centre, with rooms for performance art, film screenings, skillshares and workshops, as well as a free street kitchen and safe space for the whole community.

We are issuing an urgent call out for:
– OCCUPIERS
– ACTIVISTS
– STREET KITCHENERS
– ARTISTS
– PERFORMERS
– MUSICIANS
– POLITICAL SPEAKERS from any background
– and, THE WHOLE LOCAL COMMUNITY to come down, join in and enjoy the new space.

If you are interested in using the space for anything at all, please contact Danny on 07956 520647. 

As well as as many individuals as possible, we also have a Wishlist:
– barricading equipment – wood, nails, drills, anything a bit ‘DIY’
– film screening equipment that can be lent (and some kind technical person to operate it!)
– STREET KITCHEN – any donations of food, blankets, any unwanted clothing for the FREE SHOP.
No money please, only Love and yourselves!
More to be updated as the occupation commences.
Address – 31 Castle Street, Liverpool, Merseyside.
HOMES NOT BANKS!

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Fuel Poverty and you

The Winter of 2013-14 claimed an excess of over 30,000 deaths in the United Kingdom caused by inadequate housing to deal with the cold, up 30% on the year before. It is unsurprising that England & Wales suffer above average Excess Winter Mortality rates (EWMs) compared with the rest of Europe, and perhaps even less surprising that we in the North-West face the brunt of that. With another chilling winter just around the corner, the stage is set for another onslaught by the big energy companies to squeeze every last penny they can out of us, regardless of the human cost.

A 2012 survey which found that there were three times more people living in Fuel Poverty than the Government had previously predicted. This has been eagerly leapt on by “The Big 6”* energy companies, who are now relishing in relaxed laws allowing fracking underneath our homes without our permission. It is this form of extreme energy extraction, they insist, we must embrace – or else freeze. When it comes to picking between illnesses from the cold, or risking drinking carcinogenic water from our taps, that is not a choice; it is a threat.

Which would you prefer?

Yet we are not helpless as they would have us believe. Though the political establishment and energy companies will not listen our pleas, together, we are strong enough to defeat them; but it is up to us, and us alone. Taking your money and boycotting “The Big 6” by switching to a provider specialising in renewable energy, will not only save you money in the face of rocketing fossil fuel costs, but punish these greedy capitalists who regard the threat to your life as no more than collateral damage.

Get started by visiting www.unfrack.me, to find an alternate provider that works for you!

Winter is coming!

There’s no time to lose! The revolution is now!

Reclaim the future – Reclaim the Power!

 

*- The Big 6 = British Gas, Npower, E-on, Scottish Power, SSE, EDF

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/26/winter-deaths-rose-third

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fuel-poverty-deaths-three-times-higher-than-government-estimates-7462426.html

http://frack-off.org.uk/three-lords-and-one-baroness-frackings-vested-interests-inside-government/

Burning fossil fuels doesn’t affect me…does it?

Yes! Here’s 5 reasons explaining why…

1) Global warming? Then where’s all this snow coming from?!

Did you know, most climate scientists have stopped calling it “Global Warming” in favour of “Climate Change”. This is because each region of the planet will be affected differently.

For example, Aberdeen is as far away from the equator as Moscow, yet we don’t have temperatures any near as chilly as -60*c in the winter! This is because the ocean currents are regulated by the melting of the polar ice caps. They bring warm waters from the west coast of Africa back up North, and thus provide Britain with a “temperate climate”. 2014 saw the warmest March, April, May, June, August, September and Halloween EVER on record.

As the ice recedes at it’s current rapid rates, it is increasing the ocean currents and pushing more warm water towards us. BUT, if the ice caps disappear, that means there will be very little of this water coming our way,  it’s quite likely that Britain will be extremely cold in the future!

2) Spiraling Food prices?

We have all felt the pinch since the recession started in 2008, and a record number of food banks have sprung up around the country to deal with the ever increasing number of hungry – many of whom work yet still receive poverty pay.

Yet a changing climate means food crops will be less likely to grow under unstable weather patterns. Imagine if 10% of the planet’s arable land used for growing were to disappear.

Businesses who sell food to their customers will find themselves 10% down on the produce they are able to sell. Are they going to accept a 10% loss in profit? Nope. That 10% will be passed on to you, the consumer.

3) Natural disasters? Surely not round here!

January 2014 saw huge flooding across the South West. In fact, it led to the largest ever pay out needed to be made by insurance companies in the UK! So did they pay out? Of course not!

They took one glance at the costs, and decided they weren’t going to cover the victims’ for the full rates they had been paying for years. The insurance companies can thus use “natural disaster” risk as an opportunity to increase premiums for your property, with the likelihoods that if they’re actually needed they’ll just take your cash and run. One local council was even caught charging it’s constituents £25 per single sandbag for home defenses! Talk about value for money!

4) War

In 2003 the United Kingdom and United States of America, plus a few allies, fabricated evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and were about to use them.

Under the guise of humanitarian intervention, the invasion occurred, Iraq was destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people died, millions were displaced, and no WMDs were ever found. The botched invasion cost trillions of pounds to wage, which took money directly out of our public services.

Then came the security threats, with violent attacks taking place in Britain as  a retaliation. Unfortunately, if your economy is dependent on the purchase and sale of fossil fuels, as well as it being central to production of consumer goods and motoring around, there comes a point where conflict becomes inevitable.

5) Scarcity and rising costs

The cost of fossil fuels have been steadily rising since the 1970’s, reflecting the scarcity of them as a commodity. Ever heard of peak oil? That is the term given when total production begins to decline. This too, forces up the costs (think about what you read in the food section!).

With developing countries like China, India and Brazil hungry to mimic western consumer patterns and using ever more fossil fuels, the price squeeze is intensifying.

Which would you rather? Pay more and more every month for the same amount of gas and electricity, or get it for free from a diverse range of renewable sources?

An introduction to Reclaim The Power

Reclaim the Power is a grass-roots, anti-capitalist initiative born out of the Climate Camp movement.

We reject the belief that real and meaningful change will ever come from the good nature of the privately educated, millionaire politicians, with their financial interests tied up in big business, banking and especially fossil fuels.

Instead, we see the real and only driver for positive social change as you and me, our friends and our community. It is only through meaningful and creative direct action that we will win our objective of creating an egalitarian and truly sustainable society.

One of the major hurdles to achieving this is obviously the fossil fuel industry.

Not only do the idle shareholders earn trillions of pounds a year, receive huge government subsidies and extort their customers, the damage done through the burning of fossil fuels has almost taken us passed the tipping point.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now predicts “runaway climate change” is likely to occur in little more than 30 years.

This is why we are advocating an immediate switch to localised, clean, renewable energy.

Not only is it the necessary first step in reversing climate change, but takes the power away from large, unaccountable private companies, who care nothing about the social consequences of their policies.

This is why we must reclaim the power!

Government legislates for £30bn of cuts or tax rises

Sterling notes and coins

In announcing new targets for reducing the deficit and debt as a share of national income in the next Parliament, have the Tories and Liberal Democrats put Labour on the spot or done the main opposition party a favour?

What they are proposing – and Parliament will vote on next year – is that the cyclically adjusted current budget should be in balance by 2017/18 and debt as share of GDP should be falling by 2016/17.

Just to remind you in case you have forgotten (surely not) the cyclically adjusted current budget is all spending on day-to-day items – such as civil servant salaries and welfare – adjusted to exclude payments that rise and fall with the economic cycle and also excluding investment (in roads, hospital buildings, and so on).

Now, as it happens, this law enshrines what the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s forecasting arm, expects.

The OBR forecast ten days ago that debt as a percentage of GDP would peak in 2015/16 at 81.1%, and that the cyclically adjusted current budget would be in surplus to the tune of 0.7% of GDP in 2017/18.

Will Labour sign up?

But that doesn’t mean these targets are undemanding.

The Treasury says that to meet these targets a new government would have to make additional tax rises or spending cuts of around £30bn – equivalent to 30% or so of the budget of NHS England.

Now this target is more demanding than Labour’s current plan – that is, to see debt falling as a share of GDP and a balanced unadjusted current budget by 2019/20 at the latest.

Would it therefore be difficult for Labour to sign up for these new legislated targets, the new fiscal targets? Will Labour vote for the new targets?

Risk

I expect Labour probably will vote with the Tories and LibDems. Why?

Because it would shoot the Tories’ and LibDems’ main pre-election fox, namely that Labour won’t be tough enough on mending the public finances.

Note that even if Labour does sign up to balance the cyclically adjusted current budget in three years and reduce debt as a share of national income in two years, it will still have £50bn more to spend than the Tories by £2019/20 – because the Tories want a big surplus on the overall budget, including investment spending by then (see The £50bn gap between Tories and Labour).

So the risk for the Tories and LibDems is that their new Charter for Budget Responsibility would make a Labour government more credible as a prudent steward of the public finances, while still giving Labour plenty of scope to cut less than the Tories.

Update: 16.18 GMT

So, I have had it confirmed that Labour will vote for the updated Charter for Budget Responsibility.

An excited senior member of the party said to me: “It’s even worse for them than we thought. They have downgraded the goals from a target to an aim. And it’s a rolling three-year target. Good grief.”

Or to put it another way, Labour is delighted to vote for a law that might make voters more confident the party is to be trusted as steward of the public finances, but doesn’t appear to bind its hand in a severe way.

Further update: 16.36 GMT

The Tory Treasury makes the perfectly reasonable point that Labour deciding to vote for the updated Charter for Budget Responsibility does modify its fiscal position.

“They have changed the core of their economic policy in the space of a few days,” said a senior Tory official – adding that surely this would impair its credibility.

Except that voters may care more that Labour is limiting its scope to tax and spend by backing the new debt and deficit objectives.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About TTIP

12cartoon-bed-with-business Image: Corporateeurope.org

   

    1.   WHAT IT IS

TTIP is the largest trade deal ever to be done on the history of the planet, between the world’s two largest economies and is the biggest change to happen to the UK since the formation of the EU

    2.   HOW IT IS BEING DONE

Large corporations are meeting with European bureaucrats behind closed doors, agreeing on each piece of a treaty separately.  No one has access to the entire document.  We only know this is occurring thanks to Wikileaks

    3.   WHAT POWER IT WILL GIVE AND TAKE AWAY

In it’s current form the treaty will give corporations the power to sue national governments – like our lot – if they get in the way of making profit

    4.   THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR PAID HOLIDAY!

This means workers’ rights that…

View original post 154 more words

What You Need To Know About TTIP

What You Need To Know About TTIP.

By Thomas Barlow

What is it?

  • TTIP is the largest trade deal ever to be done on the history of the planet
  • It is between the world’s two largest economies – the EU and the USA – making the largest trade zone in the world – like the EEC but even bigger
  • It is about regulation and tariffs – basically making laws the same or similar in both areas
  • This is the biggest change to happen to the UK since the formation of the EU – and means giving up far more rights and democratic control

Image:dw.deHow This Is Being Done

  • This is being decided in secret – even the politicians that are involved are only being given parts of the agreement to review
  • Workers, charities and legal bodies are barely represented – 90% of all the lobbyists represent multinational corporations
  • What we do know is mostly through illegal leaks – the process is obscure, bureaucratic and hidden

What Damage Will Be Done

  • Corporations will be able to sue governments for future lost earnings, if for instance, environmental regulation stops a profitable enterprise, or minimum wage increases decrease profits.
  • The courts of arbitration to make these decisions will be three corporate lawyers who will meet and decide in secret – this does not sound like an open and democratic process

What does this mean for us?

  1. NHS under threat – if opened up to US style competition laws and companies, the NHS may be broken up entirely, or at least sold off from within – cheap does not mean good, and profit has to come from somewhere – that means patients being seen as money rather than people
  2. The promises to freeze gas, water, transport, rent or other price controls may have to be scrapped
  3. Any minimum wage increases would have to be agreed by large corporations, essentially making it worthless – in fact minimum wages may eventually be removed as a barrier to profit
  4. Food regulation banning GM, hormone treated meat, chlorinated chicken, and cloned cattle in the EU may have to be lifted so we can import US food products
  5. Fracking may have to be legalised against national and local government objections
  6. There will probably be further banking deregulation, creating the conditions for a another crash
  7. Workers rights – including statutory holidays, collective bargaining and workers councils are under threat – none of these exist in the US and as such would be seen as unfair impediments to profit in the EU
  8. Environmental legislation is under threat – if corporations can sue for environmental protection, then either the tax payers will have to pay companies not topollute, or they will pollute and destroy with no checks
  9. Tax increases will have to agreed by corporations, so as not to destroy profit making.  The power to set taxes is a national government’s key power.
  10. Previous trade agreements (like NAFTA) have lead to a loss of jobs and an increase in poverty for all nations concerned, rather than the prosperity promised
  11. Intellectual property will be more closely guarded. It will be harder to use the internet freely without threat of legal action, and small companies will lose patent rights 
  12. It threatens to unleash greater commercial surveillance of citizens in the EU as it will create better mechanisms for the NSA and other US agencies to gain information about us along with all US companies
  13. It will further place the internet under the power of the most powerful corporations (like slowing down streaming and download speeds if you don’t pay a premium as is happening in the US).

14. Claims that it will boost the economy and jobs arevastly overblown”. A report commissioned by the British government concludes that ISDS “is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs.

15. “The most terrible power the state can wield is to take children away from their parents for ever”this privatisation is occuring with G4S and Serco, if – or more likely when – they fail and commit hideous misdeeds it will be impossible to take this power back.

  • Essentially this will lead to the worst aspects of the US system being forced upon us – something I’m sure we don’t want.  And this is without consultation or the agreement of the people of the UK, or Europe.
  • Even the supposed benefits of this – which are stated as fact – are actually best possible outcomes that will occur in 25 years from now.  And the stated benefits are tiny.
  • Essentially decisions will be fully taken out of the hands of politicians and put in the hands of business- there will need to be no facade that our ‘elected and controllable’  government will be able to set economic policy.
  • This is a true attack on British democracy (such as it is) – far greater than the threat of EU bureaucracy – there should be a popular backlash against this.

keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org.uk

How Do We Know These Things Will Happen?

What We Can Do + What We Need To Demand – This Is An Opportunity

Right now we need to demand:

  1. They open the doors and make the negotiations public
  2. They kick out all the corporate lobbyists
  3. Take out any references to corporations being given the power to sue national governmentsbefore any deal is even to discussed
  • Ultimately we need to demand the ending of TTIP – it represents the biggest corporate power grab in history, and must be stopped if there isany chance for democratic process to survive and thrive.

http://www.unison.org.uk/content/ConNewsArticle/5392

http://occupylondon.org.uk/stop-ttip-articles/

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/vince-cable-fix-ttip#petition

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/ttip

  • Encourage your union branch, community group, party, or any other organisation you are part of to take an active stance on educating its members about and opposing TTIP
  • See this as an opportunity.  There was once an alter globalisation movement that linked groups from across the world, started in opposition to NAFTA.  We need a global movement right now, and this can be the campaign that brings us together.