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National Conference


Report on the 4th Occupy UK and Ireland Conference held at Occupy Southend between April 13th and April 15th, 2012.

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1943.97

Community Comment



Notes on resisting the attack on the NHS, by Norman Traub


MAKING THE BILL UNWORKABLE – RESIST EVERY ATTACK
Contact local Clinical Commissioning Groups to sign up to the PLEDGE.
Organise a campaign against any threat of privatisation or cuts.
Encourage health workers to take action against cuts.
Work with the new ‘healthwatch’ patients’ groups, but ensure that
local patients’ and campaign groups act as effectively opposition.

COORDINATING THE CAMPAIGN
Whilst we need as much coordination as possible at national level,
local groups are key to mobilising and effective campaigning.
Organise fringe meetings at union conferences to publicise and win
backing for the campaign.

NATIONAL NHS SUPPORTERS CONFERENCE 23 June
Friends House, Euston Rd, NW1 organised by Keep Our NHS Public and NHS
Support Federation will be a chance for all organisations to discuss
the way forward

GET THIS PLEDGE AGREED
This Clinical Commissioning Group will uphold the principle of "first
do no harm". We will take no action and adopt no policy that might
undermine our patients' continued access to existing local health
services that they need, trust and rely upon.
In the spirit of clinically-led commissioning, we reserve entirely the
right to decide who we contract with to provide services for our
patients. We will take those decisions on the basis of the best
interests of our patients and wider local communities, and we will
refuse to allow Any Qualified Provider to be imposed on us from above.
In the interests of transparency we will not engage in any contracts
or negotiations which impose conditions of commercial confidentiality.
We will consult local communities before implementing any changes that
affect them, and our Board will make all major decisions relating to
services in public session.


SAMPLE LETTER TO GP

Dear Dr …………,
Prior to the approval of the Health and Social Care Bill, Government
ministers on numerous occasion stated that one of the main aims of the
legislation was to give patients “choice”. I now wish to exercise that
“choice” and request that I not be offered or referred for any tests,
treatment or care available through providers in the private sector.
Furthermore I would ask that this request of “NPP” or “No Private
Providers” be made explicitly clear on all my records.”
Yours sincerely,


From Norman Traub - Socialist Resistance


The 4th Occupy UK and Ireland National Conference hosted by Occupy Southend at their camp took place on the 14th and 15th April. The conference was attended by 40-50 people. They came from all parts of the country and were noticeably of a younger age group and the gender balance more even than is usually to be found in meetings of left wing movements. It appeared that most participants did not belong to political parties apart from the odd Green Party member, many more had been involved in local struggles before joining the Occupy movement.


The conference involved a General Assembly, workshops, skills shares and training sessions dealing with subjects as diverse as media and legal skills, women’s networking and non violent direct action training. Among the issues discussed at one of the sessions I attended were individual and collective action, what the term ‘occupy’ signified and whether it was always necessary to occupy a physical space. There was some demoralisation arising from the eviction of the camp at St Paul’s Cathedral in London and measures to raise the morale of those affected were discussed. The discussions were lively but at times tortuous when trying to come to grip with concepts, which those with a more political background would find easier to tackle. The need for better communication between the different occupy groups and in particular the function of newspapers and networking via Facebook, was discussed. There was also discussion on the role of the Occupy Movement in ongoing and future struggles and the most effective way it could influence the course of these struggles .


The only invited speaker to the conference was Chris Nineham from the Stop The War Coalition(STWC) and he dealt with the danger of an attack on Iran and the demonstration against NATO outside the US Embassy on the 19th May.


Members of Southend STWC were among those who took part in the discussion. Their participation in the conference underlines the importance of forging of close ties between the Occupy Movement and left wing organisations and coalitions throughout the country.



WHAT OCCUPIES YOU?


A letter by John Haran to the Echo


Dear Sir,


Trevor Murdin doesn’t buy into the Occupy movement – a worldwide movement with camps and support in the millions from the U.S.A to Australia and the UK … from New Zealand to the South American continent and Canada … from Israel to Iceland and Ireland … from South Africa to South Korea … Norway to Nigeria … Hong Kong to Mongolia … and Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy et al all over Europe that is seeking a new settlement from the world’s political leaders. (March 28th)


Moreover, he continues to wrongly misrepresent this worldwide protest movement seeking to reform the system we all labour under as anti-capitalist which it is not … as illustrated by Andrew Dobbington who took him to task over his preconceived misconceptions. (April 6th)


No, Trev prefers to shoot the messenger on arrival in Southend on the grounds that they are a bunch of vindictive serial protesters who benefit only too well from the very system they would hold in need of urgent reform.


This without recognising that those committed enough to camp out in protest are keeping the spotlight on a system that is promoting a hugely destructive burgeoning wealth gap - with all the concomitant political influence that only wealth can buy in capitalist democracies - causing growing inequality, massive youth unemployment and other social ills by the shed load while bankers get bonuses and bail-outs by the bucketful and lesser mortals only government cutbacks.


Yet our man doesn’t buy into any of it because of personal prejudices that would actually conspire against his own best interests … it’s just the system to Trev - it seems - protested by his usual sandal-shod, tree-hugging, muesli-munching suspects and what can an ordinary steel-toe-capped, tele-slumped, beer-swilling fish and chip-gorging mortal do but accept it … a counsel of despair if ever I’ve heard it.


Interestingly, next to TM on the very same Letters page appeared Independent Councillor Martin Terry questioning a large private sector landlord/developer’s £8,000 donation to the local Conservative Party and a connection to Tory attacks on resident associations that are trying to defend themselves from the very same landlord. (Same issue Echo March 28th).


Indeed, should we be concerned that money in politics – both at the national and local level – can have a corrupting influence or just accept the situation as it is merely because it is the current system?


I suppose its all about whatever ‘Occupies’ you when all’s said and done.


And never mind Occupy Southend camping out in the dark for illuminating reasons that may one day tempt even Trevor Murdin to remove his old bounce to a place where the sun can actually shine on it, what about him ditching his prejudicial stereotyping and truly finding out what is going on in a very diverse movement?


Because for all his epistolary bluster, Trev comes across as a guy with similar concerns.



Hi,

I read with interest Mark's letter regarding the banking system and lawfulbank.com. I researched the contents of the letter on line and found it to be true. I never understood how it all worked until now and quite frankly I am shocked. Roger Hayes is setting up the Lawful Bank and I would like to encourage others to examine his plan, and pledge their support to him if they wish.

Sarah


Dear Occupy,

Had to email you this re the House of Lords and the involvement of some Conservative Lords with the private health sector.


“This is a list of Conservative Lords who all have financial links to companies involved in the private healthcare industry. There are 62 of them out of a total of 216 peers who have these interests, which amounts to 28%. This represents at best a conflict of interest and at worst institutional corruption. They should not have been allowed to vote on the Health and Social Care bill with such interests, and reform of the Lords must take place to prevent this happening in the future.

The interests in private healthcare range from having shares in companies set to benefit from the bill they are voting from, being chairman, advisors of healthcare companies and getting the company in a position to benefit from the NHS privatisation. Some work as advisors for investment companies that heavily invest in companies that will benefit from the bill. Others are directors of companies that are in direct competition to the NHS. Some have donated to the Conservative party, and in fact that is why one of them was made a Lord. They represent a merry-go-round of self-interest, viewing an NHS developed by public money since its inception, they simply want to hand it over to the corporations they work for. They are corporate servants, make no mistake about that, and won’t stop unless they are made to.”


Conservative Lords and their financial links to companies involved in private healthcare.

Paul S.


Dear Occupy,

THE PROBLEM

When you go into a bank and agree a loan they don't print new notes, mint new coins or move any precious metal a single inch. They simply type into your account the amount they have agreed to loan. They have created money out of nothing and it has cost them nothing to do so. But from that moment you start paying interest on that money which has never, and will never exist. This is called credit. Through crazy banking laws banks can lend at least ten times the amount they have on deposit. Every time you put a pound in the bank you are giving them the right to lend ten pounds they do not have. This system of so called fiat money and fractional reserve lending means that banks can create money out of thin air whenever they choose. Personal, national and third world debt, none of this really exists except as figures on a computer screen. Think about the suffering, poverty and death that these crushing debts cause everyday and yet they are just figures on a computer screen.

This is how it works

First you make lots of loans at low interest rates to encourage people to borrow money from you. This increases dramatically the amount of money in circulation and so makes more for people to spend. Its an interesting fact that people tend to get more into debt during a boom because they are so confident financially that they borrow more money to buy a bigger car, bigger house and better holidays. Then when the boom reaches the optimum point for the sting to be most effective, the banks under central co-ordination begin to take money out of circulation. They push up interest rates through the Bank of England and suddenly a lot of money that had been circulating and buying products is withdrawn to pay the higher rates to the banks, and the banks change their policy to ensure that they make fewer new loans. This means that more money is coming out of circulation (a recession). Robert H. Hemphill, a credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta said "this is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous, if not we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible. But there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that out present civilisation may collapse unless it becomes understood. and the defects remedied very soon."

The answer - lawfulbank.com

Mark


Dear Sir,

In 2013 my father will retire from work. In doing so he will have to sell his house as he won't be able to afford the £600 mortgage on his pension.

I contacted my local MP explaining the situation that my father was given a high mortgage by mistake. The MP who I spoke to earns almost £400,000 a year - he has no worries of never being able to pay off a mortgage, unlike the rest of the population of the UK. So we are left to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Food prices rise, fuel costs rise, taxation rises, and yet we are expected to pay these rises with the little money we have.

MPs, like my local one, do not care about you or me or anyone. In a similar situation they just don't want to know. Regarding my situation, my local MP fobbed me off and suggested we contact the mortgage lender to arrange an alternative, which the lender will agree to, so thank you Mr. Right Honourable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MP.

My guess is that things will get much worse in this current system unless something is done soon. More and more people will become homeless because of the current system.

Anon


Dear Sir,

Echo Comment – applauded by an impressed Trevor Murdin who could hardly add another word to such a brilliant appraisal other than some nonsense about twits doing something useful instead of lolling round a graveyard stopping thieving little scrotes nicking lead off the Church roof - had it that the Occupy protesters at St. Mary’s Church were nothing but a bunch of banner-waving anarchists spouting anti-capitalist theories with no solutions to the failure of our organisational systems squatting, unforgivably, on sacred ground in order to peddle their delusions. (Feb 21st & 23rd)

Excuse me … I can understand such sadly uninformed OTT twaddle coming from Trevor Murdin – the Echo’s own WVM columnist in residence at one time - but an Echo editorial?

Dear oh pray what’s going on down at the Echo – let alone the Church – and can anyone see any semblance whatsoever to things as they are in reality here?

Indeed, who in their right mind could seriously suggest that a worldwide protest movement - with support in the millions - seeking to impress upon our political leaders that a system promoting the concentration of wealth in the hands of just 1% of the wage-earning population at the expense of the other 99% needs a little tweaking, is anti-capitalist?

Personally, I think that Echo Comment has configured itself incorrectly this time whilst downloading personally skewed top-down hierarchical prejudices leaving it in dire need of updating from the bottom up.

And it would be interesting to find out what the other 99% of the Echo’s staff think about such ‘delusions’ regarding reform of a system that is producing such huge inequalities in their lives.

Moreover, did not the Vicar of St. Mary’s himself – in that open letter published in the Echo requesting that the protesters leave – state that the Church itself has long-been asking the same questions about the sort of society we want to live in as are the Occupy movement … although with a whole lot less success it has to be noted. (Feb 24th)

Does Comment thus hold the Church to be equally delusional?

In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that a disgruntled underpaid Echo employee might even have managed to copy and paste Trevor Murdin into Comment for a vengeful laugh … something that Trev seems to tantalisingly hint at in some measure in his missive to us - or was it the theft, forgive me, of his intellectual copyright.

It surely could not have come from the pen of the Editor of our local ‘Peoples’ Paper’ … could it??

Yours faithfully,

John Haran


Dear Sir,

Echo Comment has it that the Occupy movement’s decision to choose St. Mary’s churchyard as a campaign kick-off point in Southend resulted merely in a masterclass in negative publicity. (Feb 29th)

It sure was … but for whom one may well ask?

For did not Jackie Callow’s subsequent letter compellingly illustrate that no-one involved could possibly have suspected that ashes had been scattered in carefully chosen parts well away from the gravestones – parts that even dogs on the street had access to in their own inimitable way without raising even concerns? (March 1st)

And has not the Church long been asking the very same questions as the Occupy movement without anything like the same success and should – one would think – thus welcome a helping hand in order to expound upon its concerns as initially happened at St. Pauls?

So that now – if Comment’s fulsome praise of a ‘more robust’ Diocese of Chelmsford is anything to go by – we will doubtless have Essex Churchman to add to those who are the butt of those daft nationwide Essex jokes that have insultingly been doing the rounds for the past forty-odd years to my knowledge.

Negative publicity’s the word all right.

It’ll only take Occupy Southend to now find – in the absence of a Christian church to be found anywhere in the Borough to back their biblically-inspired ideals – a Mosque willing to publicly back their campaign and this laughable picture will be complete.

As for Comment craving practical solutions to the world’s economic woes not more ‘illegal campers without a shred of integrity who don’t stand a hope of changing society’ … those solutions can come later as the politicians are forced to contemplate questions that have now come to the fore simply because of the worldwide Occupy movement.

But make no mistake the discussion has begun … and it has taken the integrity of direct action to do it.

Simply rushing to shoot the messenger upon arrival in Southend like this with no heed to the message is foolish in the extreme – suspiciously foolish say some - and it is highly surprising that Comment doesn’t have more of a care towards its own integrity in this respect.

Yours faithfully,

John Haran