Jeremy Corbyn Leader of the Labour Party

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The following is based on notes that our Political Education Officer, Valerie, took when Chris Williamson kindly visited Loughborough Labour Party and spoke about the media coverage of Venezuela.

 

Chris Williamson joined the Venezuelan Solidarity Committee when he was elected to parliament in 2010. 

Venezuela is a developing nation but under Chavez and Maduro citizens in absolute poverty has been dramatically reduced. The country has the largest oil reserve in the world, the revenue of which belongs to the development of Venezuela for her people.

Chavez used the revenues from these oil reserves to address poverty and invest in public services such as education, health and housing whereas previously the oil revenues enriched the elites and foreign corporations. As these reserves have become focused on economic growth for the poor, the elites axiomatically lose their power BUT they are still fabulously wealthy.

Twentieth Century successive US Presidents to the present day have interfered in the region. Here and elsewhere during the Thatcher years and in successive years governments have increased inequality all over the world. Chavez made oil revenue a solidarity tool. See documentary on Youtube The Revolution Will Be Televised.

In 2002 a 48 hour coup occurred. (see John Pilger’s documentary - unmissable). Chavez was arrested and he spoke to Fidel Castro who advised him not to become a martyr. The coup was not successful. This Bolivarian revolution has never been accepted by the elites.

 

Current situation

Chris acknowledged that there are difficulties and that the police and security services have ‘overstepped the mark on occasions’. But where perpetrators have been identified they have been arrested and charged There are conflicts which are patchily spread and geographically concentrated. Our UK news outlets, however, have given no information about human rights abuses to left wing protesters, and have implied that the responsibility for violence can only be placed at the door of the Maduro Government, implying it is a totalitarian state.

 

Oil values have collapsed. There has been an over-reliance on oil and 19 years ago when Chavez came to power the country was too slow in diversifying its economy, but changing an economy takes time and 19 years is a relatively short time, particularly when faced with internal challenges and external interference from the US.

 

US Latin American foreign policy continues to interfere with Venezuelan democracy and economic policy. US federal budget is sponsoring right wing opposition. There have been protests on the streets and their media have reported violence but the right wing opposition is organised and violent. A young Chavista was spotted having petrol poured over him and being set alight. This was after he had been beaten. The young man was 21 years old. This is not an isolated incident. Over one hundred citizens have been killed recently and majority of these have been at the hands of right wing opposition. There have been decapitations.

 

Nearly all Venezuelan media outlets are hostile to the government. When asked about the violence in Venezuela, Jeremy Corbyn called out the violence on both sides. Chris described economic sabotage where the economy is run by the elites who are withholding medicine and food supplies. Many protests are being concentrated in certain states.

 

US intervention includes not only Trump's activities but President Obama signed an executive order authorising sanctions on the pretext that Venezuela was a national security threat to the USA. Parallels - with the tactics to undermine Salvador Allende in Chile when Richard Nixon said he was going the “make the economy scream” in Chile.  Following the coup d'état during Pinochet years death squads and torture were commonplace.

 Progressive Reforms  

  • Life expectancy has increased

  • Infant mortality rates decreased

  • Massive investment in healthcare and education

  • Illiteracy eradicated

  • Four year increase in school attendance

  • Investment in adult education

  • House building programme - 1.7 million affordable homes

 Jeremy Corbyn praised this. Inflation is, however, high.

 

Constituent elections

In 1999 Chavez called a Constituent Assembly Election which has been part of the constitution for many years predating Chavez’s election in 1998. President Maduro recently called a Constituent Assembly election in an attempt to bring an end to the violent street protests the country is more recently quiet. In recent state elections, Eighteen of the twenty three states went to the Chavistas. In 2018 there will be presidential elections and Maduro could lose; it’s a democracy. President Jimmy Carter has observed the elections in Venezuela and has reported that they are the ‘safest elections in the world’. 

Western media does not cover other Latin American news.

Venezuela has 6 million Colombians living there, some are refugees (figure not given). After Syria, Colombia has the highest number of citizens who are seeking refuge abroad after Syria. 

Brazil has placed a twenty year spending freeze on education and health. There have been massive cuts in their housing programme - all these policies are now enshrined in Brazil’s constitution. This was after the Workers Party President, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office by 62 senators on bogus trumped up charges, even though she had received 54 million votes in the previous presidential election. Former Workers Party President Lula is highly popular in Brazil but the current President Temer’s approval rating is only 2%. There is a broad constituency of protests against Temer’s reforms but these people have been brutally repressed by security services - there has been little or no news coverage in the British media of these events, even though a number of the Senators behind the removal of Dilma who in turn have been identified for corruption activity.

Ecuador: EXXON/CHEVRON, despite numerous claims and counter claims in the courts, still refuse to take responsibility for its obligation to clean up contaminated land that had been drilled from 1964 to 1990. (link) Ecuador has seen a six fold increase in endemic tax avoidance. A recent referendum about fund-holding in off shore tax havens resulted in the requirement that all who engage in this avoidance activity have a year to declare their interest(s). Ecuador has a ‘dignity wage’ (living wage) and a minimum wage policy. Companies must pay the minimum wage,but the dignity wage is discretionary.  However, if companies do not pay the dignity wage then dividends cannot be paid to their shareholders.

Bolivia venerates Che Guevara. Their health programme is modelled on Cuba’s. The man who killed Che Guevara has benefited from Cuban doctors participating in Cuba’s health care programme in Bolivia.

 

Nicaragua: The Sandinista government has been returned. They have a tripartite system composed of politicians/unions/business to deliver reforms.

US interference in Latin America continues to but that is nothing new! The Labour Party is calling for self-determining nationhood across the world. International solidarity is needed to push-back of right wing resurgence to support progressive movements across the world. Chris stated: “Latin America was subjected to an extreme version of neoliberalism, that was inflicted at the point of a gun and resulted in around 40% of the population living in poverty”.

The UK Parliament’s all party parliamentary group for Venezuela seems to have been established as vehicle to attack the Maduro government and regrettably a number of Labour MPs have used it as a proxy war against the Labour leader, who has previously praised the progress made by Venezuela under Hugo Chavez.

 

Q&A

Q: What part is the Church playing in Latin America?

A: Chris could not answer for Venezuela but did mention the Pope’s visit to Ecuador two years ago where there was large public attendance.

 

Q: Can we revive ethical foreign policy?

A: Ethical foreign policy is definitely uppermost in Jeremy Corbyn’s thinking. It will be delivered upon but ‘there will be compromises in power’. Stephen Sacker with Emily Thornberry have made known their real concern about the UK Press undermining the Labour Party’s values system. They have raised and are committed to ethical foreign policy. As regards President Maduro, Emily Thornberry has the same view as Jeremy Corbyn. Countries with socialist values are under internationally imposed duress and JC’s recognition of this is being used to undermine his authority in the UK.

Chris recommended Ken Loach’s film The Spirit of 1945 - post war Attlee Labour government.

Chris talked about his role within the Shadow Cabinet and spoke extensively about Grenfell Tower and allied problems of fire safety under this Tory Government

Chris Williamson talks about Venezuela

The following is based on notes that our Political Education Officer, Valerie, took when Chris Williamson kindly visited Loughborough Labour Party and spoke about the media coverage of Venezuela.  ...

Colin Hamilton and Mary Draycott are the Labour candidates for the Hastings Ward elections October 26th 2017

Mary and Colin

Mary and Colin have many years service working in the community and the voluntary sector. They are already working hard in the Hastings Ward listening to concerns and issue from local people, businesses and voluntary groups.

Contact details- Tel: 07929176027

email: Hastings.maryandcolin@gmail.com

Post: Unity House, 21 Fennel St, Loughborough, LE11 1UQ

Hastings Ward By-election

Colin Hamilton and Mary Draycott are the Labour candidates for the Hastings Ward elections October 26th 2017 Mary and Colin have many years service working in the community and the voluntary...

Jeremy Corbyn MP addressing the meeting at Emmanuel Church HallCLP Vice chair Emma Ward Introducing Jeremy

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP addressed a packed meeting of local Labour Supporters at Loughborough's Emmanuel Church Hall last Friday, 8th September.


He first emphasised that the country's most pressing need is for a ready supply of Council Housing, explaining that inadequate housing conditions impacted on the Education of young people, the Health & Welfare of older and disabled people and the ability of people to gain suitable employment.

Continuing, he covered the Labour Party Policies on the NHS, Education, Adult Social Care, The Environment, Foreign Policy, Local Government and much more. A Labour Government, he said, will reverse damaging policies of austerity and improvements to vital services will be paid for by increased corporate taxation and taxation of the very rich.


Mr Corbyn emphasised that Labour was the only party to cost its manifesto at the recent general election, and that the policies contained in it would form the basis on which it would fight the next general election, which he hoped would come sooner rather than later.


He spoke for some 40 minutes without notes, with frequent bursts of applause for the points he made, before taking questions from the audience, including one from 9 year old Thomas Ronald. Jeremy received a lengthy standing ovation from the audience at the end of the evening.


Paul Boldrin, Chair of Loughborough Constituency Labour Party, said that the meeting had been both stimulating and enjoyable. There was also wide admiration among those present for the clear and personable way that Mr Corbyn had outlined Labour's policies, without unduly attacking other political parties.

The visit to Loughborough was the last of a long day of events for the Labour Party leader, who despite this, was, as ever, more than happy to stay behind and chat and have photos taken with the audience.

Jeremy Corbyn visits Loughborough

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP addressed a packed meeting of local Labour Supporters at Loughborough's Emmanuel Church Hall last Friday, 8th September. He first emphasised that the country's most pressing...

Labour retains Shelthorpe seat in a close run by-election

On 3rd August there was a by-election in Shelthorpe Ward.  Having worked very hard on the campaign, we’re delighted to report that Richard Huddlestone is the new Labour Councillor for the Ward.  He won by 4 votes which shows the importance of a well run campaign and the need to Get Out The Vote on election day.  Congratulations to Richard who will be an excellent councillor and to all of those who helped throughout the Campaign.

richard.jpg

Labour retains Shelthorpe seat

Labour retains Shelthorpe seat in a close run by-election On 3rd August there was a by-election in Shelthorpe Ward.  Having worked very hard on the campaign, we’re delighted to report...

At the weekend, our candidate Jewel Miah published his election pledges.

‘These are my pledges to you, as your member of parliament I will be your voice on the big issues that affect us all’ 

Jewel is from Loughborough and he knows the everyday issues that affect ordinary residents as they affect him and his family too. He will stand up for what matters and promises to stand by the pledges he makes.

He is opposed to a hard Brexit and wants a deal that protects Jobs, your rights at work and allows access to the single market - Leaving Europe on good terms.

Economic Security, Jobs and Dignity in Retirement

Jewel understands the Economy; he has experience in running a multi-million pound business and knows that a strong economy is the heart beat of our country and its future prosperity. He gets it. However the economy has to work for everyone and not just for those at the top. Labour will protect the triple lock for pensioners and introduce a minimum wage of £10 per hour for workers.

A Secure and well-funded NHS and High Quality Social Care

• Secure NHS funding

• Reduce A&E waiting times

• Better access to your GP

• More money for essential Social Care

A Future Bright for Everyone

• Stop the £3bn cuts to school funding proposed by the Conservatives

• Free school meals to all primary school children

• Scrap University Tuition Fees

Safe and Secure Neighbourhoods

• 10,000 more police officers to tackle increasing crime

• Tougher sentences for criminals

• Work directly with the Police and Crime commissioner to tackle Burglaries, violent crimes and Anti-Social behaviour

A Home for All

• More affordable homes built in the right places

• Secure tenancies for long term tenants

• No building on the green belt and outside village boundaries

• Licensing of Houses of Multiple Occupation

Download the pledge card - click here! [X]  

A Strong Local Voice on Big National Issues

At the weekend, our candidate Jewel Miah published his election pledges. ‘These are my pledges to you, as your member of parliament I will be your voice on the big... Read more

Jewel Miah has been selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough.  

Jewel Miah

He's lived in Loughborough since he was 3.  Jewel is married with three children all of whom attend local schools.

As well as holding down a management job for a major global organisation, Jewel is also a Charnwood Borough Councillor and a Leicestershire County Councillor.

Jewel is an active campaigner.  One of his key issues was to campaign to keep open a local secondary school which was successful.

Jewel is a great candidate and will make an excellent MP for Loughborough.

Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough

Jewel Miah has been selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough.   He's lived in Loughborough since he was 3.  Jewel is married with three children all of whom... Read more

Last week the Government called a ‘snap’ General Election to be held on Thursday 8th June.  Our campaign in Loughborough is currently being planned.  Members will be updated weekly on our campaigning work.

If you’re not already registered to vote you can do so through the following website:   www.gov.uk/registertovote.  The deadline to register to vote is Monday May 22nd.   If you’d like a postal vote then follow this link:  https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/files/documents/postal_vote_application_form/Application%20to%20vote%20by%20Post%202016.pdf.  You need to apply for a postal vote by 5pm, Tuesday May 23rd.

On June 8th the polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.  Your polling station will be set out on your ballot paper.

 

If you have any questions about the General Election please email the CLP Secretary:  gillbolton@gebbusinesssolutions.co.uk.

 

General Election 2017

Last week the Government called a ‘snap’ General Election to be held on Thursday 8th June.  Our campaign in Loughborough is currently being planned.  Members will be updated weekly on...

On 4th May 2017 the Leicestershire County Council Elections will be held.  In Loughborough Constituency Labour Party we will be contesting seats in 8 divisions (a division is an electoral area and generally comprises two or more Borough Council wards).

The divisions and Labour Party candidates are listed below, together with their email addresses.  Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Please feel free to contact your candidate with any questions you may have or any offers of assistance with canvassing and/or leaflet delivery.

If you don’t know your division then please email us at:  gillbolton@ntlworld.com and we’ll get back to you with the answer.

 

Division

Candidate Name

Email Address

Loughborough East

Loughborough North

Loughborough North West

Loughborough South

Loughborough South West

Quorn and Barrow 

Shepshed

Sileby and The Wolds

Jewel Miah 

Betty Newton

Max Hunt

Robert Sharp

Paul Boldrin

Alice Brennan

Claire Poole

Valerie Marriott

jewel.miah@live.co.uk

cllrbettynewton@yahoo.co.uk

cllrmaxhunt@yahoo.co.uk

Wrssharp@aol.com

boldrinp@gmail.com

Alice4QuornandBarrow@gmail.com

cllr.clairepoole@googlemail.com

Valerie4SilebyandtheWolds@gmail.com

Leicestershire County Council Elections – May 4th 2017

On 4th May 2017 the Leicestershire County Council Elections will be held.  In Loughborough Constituency Labour Party we will be contesting seats in 8 divisions (a division is an electoral...

Ashby & Garendon: Thurs. 2nd Feb, The Hut, Old Ashby Rd, LE11 4PG, 7.30pm.

L'boro East - Wed 1st Feb, Unity House, LE11 1UQ, 7pm.

L'boro North - Weds. 8th Feb, The Anchor Inn, Hathern, LE12 5JB, 7pm.

L'boro South - Wed. 8th Feb, 128 Park Road, LE11 2HJ, 7pm.

Woodbrook- 6th March, Ronald West Court, Langdale Avenue, 7.30pm

Upcoming Branch Meetings February

Ashby & Garendon: Thurs. 2nd Feb, The Hut, Old Ashby Rd, LE11 4PG, 7.30pm. L'boro East - Wed 1st Feb, Unity House, LE11 1UQ, 7pm. L'boro North - Weds. 8th...

Two Hundred Years of Struggle: a History of the British Left

A lecture series by acclaimed local speaker Dr Ray Sutton, open to all and recommended for anyone interested in the history and underlying philosophy of the Labour movement. What better way to spend a Monday evening!

Venue: Unity House, Fennell Street, Loughborough on Mondays 7.30-9pm

Admission: £3 per session attended, or by small donation if on benefits

Tutor: Ray Sutton MA PhD 

9 Jan

The radical tradition: the Peasants’ Revolt to the Luddites

16 Jan

Europe 1848 to 1900: the rise of the working class

23 Jan

William Morris’s Green Socialist Vision

30 Jan

Foundation of the Labour Party to Bolshevik Revolution

6 Feb

Anarchism and Trotskyism: what do these terms mean?

13 Feb

Women in Revolt: the Fight for Women’s Suffrage

20 Feb

Rosa Luxemburg and the German Revolution of 1918-19

27 Feb

The British General Strike of 1926

6 March

Lenin and Gramsci’s Marxism

13 March

Anti-Fascism and the Popular Front of the 1930s

20 March

Europe 1945: the Left triumphant!

27 March

New Social Movements & Politics in the 1960s and 70s

3 April

Limits of Trade Union Militancy: Miners Strike of 1984-5

10 April

‘New Labour’ and Blairism: why that project failed

Two Hundred Years of Struggle: a History of the British Left

Two Hundred Years of Struggle: a History of the British Left A lecture series by acclaimed local speaker Dr Ray Sutton, open to all and recommended for anyone interested in...

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