Action Points: North East People’s Assembly Planning Meeting, 5:30pm, Tuesday 13th January, Qulliams Tea House, Newcastle

Click here to see action points from previous meetings

New North East PA Logo

1) Discussion of priorities between now and the general election

2) People’s Question Time

3) NHS: i) strike ii) 999 campaign day of action

4) Local anti-cuts protests i) Gateshead Stop the Cuts 7th Feb ii) Newcastle March for Homeless 15th April

5) National PA events: i) Student Assembly ii) Women’s Assembly iii) National Assembly

6) NEPA15 proposal
7) Proposal for discussion of election and political parties
 8) Finance/fundraising
 9) Website revamp proposal
10) Security issues
11) AOB

Present: Tony D, Theresa E, Matthew G, Alex S, Fran P, Tony P, Martin L, Ron B, Maria N, Rowan O, Mark T

Apologies: Joan H, Hannah, Mollie S, Steve, Carla K, Terry W

1)

Cuts will continue, realistically, after the election.

Unity to be stressed.

Combining local events with the national movement is vital.

Events abroad (Greece) might affect UK politics and the economy.

Current affairs (Paris shootings) and the ensuing racist backlash affect British politics, so we must not ignore those issues.

Liaise with affiliated TUs (who are limited as to how they conduct campaigns), so we can campaign with each other’s support.

2) PAQT on 5th Feb

3 of 5 panelists confirmed: Christine Blower, James Meadway, Shirley Ford

This event is going to be – “unashamedly” – an anti-austerity event. Further events (hustings) to be planned for nearer the election date.

We might need the National Office’s help to recruit a nationally known speaker. This could be a national union official or Labour MP.

TU and Labour representation on the panel was discussed.

Chairing: Tony D or Mollie S.

Cris McCurley discussed as possible panelist.

Rufus Hound: waiting for reply.

Event to mirror the London PA / BBC QT events.

Technicalities of how to submit the questions were discussed. This max 90-minute event will mean that we won’t be able to deal with more than 5 to 6 questions.

Alex and Matthew volunteered to select the questions which we encourage people to submit in advance and when they arrive.

Stewards: Maria, Rowan, Ron, Hannah, Martin. Stewards to meet at 6:00pm for 7:00pm event start.

Publicity: 26 of 200 tickets sold. Invite friends and family directly. Flyers and posters have been ordered, so now we need volunteers for flyering. The FB event banner can now be used in combination with portraits of panelists.

Tickets are £4/£3.

Tickets are sold through eventbrite, but anyone can make physical tickets and sell them on.

Local PA convenors to be contacted re 5 February event (Tony D, via Facebook)

Matthew in touch with local press for write-up after the event. Matthew to clarify if press would be able to advertise the event beforehand. If not, Tony D to write press release.

Alex to email eventbrite contacts.

3) NHS

Local PAs should get in touch with NHS activists for 14 Feb actions

Strike dates: 29 Jan and 25 Feb

4)

Gateshead event announced. 200 flyers to be distributed at our QT event.

Newcastle ‘march for homeless’ event announced. Maria in touch with City Council over legalities and charities. Maria to get in touch with NEPAL re organising this event.

Unity Festival (23 May), supported by NEPA. We can put up a stall and officially represent NEPA.

5)

31 January Student Assembly

Women’s Assembly cancelled

National Assembly 28 February: Tony to contact local PAs.

6) NEPA15 all-day event

2nd half of Sep or 1st half of October for daytime event on big scale

Separate fundraising cultural event to be organised (agreed in December meeting, reaffirmed tonight, to be discussed for 3rd time in Feb meeting).

Separate culture event will raise money. It may also result in better attendance.

7)

Simon H co-opted to re-join the coordinating group.

8) Finance

Brief report given by Mark T.

PayPal setup had been agreed, but only 3 people have subscribed via standing order (£3 per month typically).

Printed forms to be prepared for QT event (Mark T).

We need to appeal to more people to donate to NEPA. Existing members should set up SOs asap.

9) Website

Matthew to move contents to a section of National website. This is also where minutes will be posted.

10)

Security issues: EDL presence at recent left-wing meetings in Newcastle and Teesside means we need stewards for our QT event. Stewards to liaise with venue staff and (if necessary) police. In case of disruption, we will continue with the event regardless.

11)

Future meetings: every 2nd Tuesday of the month. Tony to book a room for 7pm start on Tues 10 Feb.

12)

12 Feb: Sunderland PA fundraising event with Ron Brown and the Mayday Band.END OF MEETING

 

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NHS Workers Strike Against The Pay Freeze

nhs_strike_sunderland_midwives

A report from the picket lines in Sunderland as NHS workers strike against a four-year long public sector pay freeze.

NHS staff in England went on strike for four hours this morning demanding that the government award them a pay rise. This is the second time NHS workers have walked out in the last two months in their efforts to smash the four-year long public sector pay freeze.

Picket lines outside hospitals and ambulance stations were colourful and well attended, seeing a diverse array of NHS trade unions working together to grab the attention of government, colleagues, media and members of the public alike (check out #NHSpay on twitter).

For more of this article, go to http://www.counterfire.org/news/17535-nhs-workers-strike-against-the-pay-freeze

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Action Points: North East People’s Assembly Meeting, 11th November, Quilliams Tea House, Newcastle

New North East PA Logo

To view action points from previous meetings, click HERE

Attending: Alex S, Hannah S, Matthew G, Mark T, John G, Tony P, Martin L, Rose C, Simon H, Joan H, Georgina S, Richard, Glen R, Emma C

Apologies: Mollie S, Steve C, Carla K, Tony D, Fran (late), Ron B

1. Nov 1st debrief 

Finances – Ticket Sales = £1,700 (minus £300 tax) (including over 200 sold by 3 sellers) £500 from Collections on the day, Trade Union donations = £600 (maybe more to come). Total Income = £2,700, Total Expenditure £3,200. Current balance = minus £500.
Everyone (including local groups) encouraged to push Fundraising Appeal.

Edit: Current balance now at -£183.26 after revisions.

Possibility of setting up local appeals for local groups with bank accounts.

General Feedback –

Matthew to create a wider ranging questionnaire to add to Joan’s survey specifically about the evening show

2. Future Events
Wed 19th Nov – South Tyneside PA AGM, location TBC, 6:30pm.

Wed 19th Nov – Newcastle PA meeting, TUC Centre Agianst Unemployment, Cloth Market, 7:30pm

Fri 21st-23rd Nov – Occupy Democracy demo in Newcastle? Deferred to a later date (Occupy London to announce future dates, could latch onto that).

Tue 25th Nov – Teesside PA meeting, St Marys Centre, Middlesbrough, 7:15pm

Mon 24th Nov – NHS Strike (7am-11am) Social media ‘blitz’ in the run up to it. Contact Unions to find out best time to turn up to picket lines.

Wed Dec 2nd/3rd – Autumn Statement day of action – National PA doing something on eve (2nd). Dec 3rd agreed as the date. Working group of Matthew G, Tony P, Geogrina S & Simon H. Local groups encouraged to do something.

3. AOB

Who are you voting for? Deferred to next meeting.

Question Time events. Thurs 22nd or 29th. Agreed to pursue Newcastle event. Centre for Life suggested. John G & Mark T to help to Alex S arrange.

Tony D relations with Trade Unions proposal to be differed to next meeting.

Emma C offered to create memes/infographics & help with website.

Tony D, Emma C & Hannah S to set up Gateshead Local Group.

Next Meeting: Tues 9th Dec, 7pm. Tony D & Matthew G to find venue.

END OF MEETING

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Programme for The 2014 North East People’s Assembly

NEPA14 Programme Front

NEPA14 Programme Back

Tickets are on sale from the Northern Stage box office:
http://www.northernstage.co.uk/whats-on/north-east-peoples-assembly-2014
£10 all-in-one ticket (£5 concessions) – £6 daytime only (£3 concessions) – £6 evening only (£3 concessions)

11am-midday Stage 1 (Northern Stage) – Plenary: Breaking the cuts consensus

Beth Farhat is Secretary of Northern TUC – the first woman to hold the region’s leading trade union position – and a prominent voice against austerity in the north east.
Kevin McHugh is PCS national deputy president and a leading union activist locally.
Linda Hobson is an experienced nurse, branch secretary of Newcastle Hospitals Unison branch and a Labour councillor in Newcastle.
James Meadway is a senior economist at new economics foundation and has recently completed his PhD research in the economics department of SOAS university in London.
Fazia Hussain-Brown is a regional organiser for Unite the Union who is active in Teesside People’s Assembly.
Amelia Womack is deputy leader of the Green Party.

12.15-1.30pm Workshops:

Stage 3 (Northern Stage) – Alternatives to Austerity
Andrew Fisher is an economist at Left Economics Advisory Panel and author of ‘The Failed Experiment: how to build an economy that works’. James Meadway is a senior economist at new economics foundation and has recently completed his PhD research in the economics department of SOAS university in London.

Mezzanine (Northern Stage) – Organising against cuts locally
Mollie Stevenson is a leading activist in North Tyneside People’s Assembly. Mark Tyers is convenor of Sunderland People’s Assembly and an activist in Sunderland Unison health branch. Steve Cooke is secretary of Teesside People’s Assembly, a Unison local government activist and musician. Matthew Giles is convenor of South Tyneside People’s Assembly and a co-organiser of the North East People’s Assembly 2014.

Collingwood Room (Civic Centre) – Cuts, climate change and the environment
Amelia Womack is deputy leader of the Green Party. Judith Kirton-Darling is a Labour MEP for the North East and member of the European Parliament’s Committee for International Trade, who has previously been Confederal Secretary of the European Trades Union Congress. Debbie Reed is an experienced environmental and peace campaigner who is active in the Transition Tynedale project. Richard Hopkins co-organised the recent Climate March in Newcastle and is co-founder of Climate Change North East.

Armstrong Stevenson Room (Civic Centre) – Racism, immigration and Ukip
Laura Pidcock runs the education team at Show Racism the Red Card and is a Labour councillor in Cramlington. Dipu Ahad is a Labour councillor in the west end of Newcastle, one of the organisers of the Newcastle Unites anti-racist coalition, and a leading anti-racist, anti-war and pro-Palestine campaigner locally. Mick Bowman is a Unite Against Fascism activist, Unison international officer in Northumberland, and human rights campaigner.

Hatton Gallery – Creative resistance: art, austerity and protest
Phil Kitchen is a musician, singer, songwriter and former adult education tutor. Amina Marix Evans runs Borderline Books, which sources books from publishers, libraries, shops and individuals and gives them away free of charge to organizations working with homeless people, former prisoners, refugees and asylum applicants, women and children in refuges and shelters. Dawn Furness is a professional opera and cabaret singer and vocal coach who has campaigned against cuts to cultural funding. Kate Fox is a stand-up poet, journalist, comedian and broadcaster.

2.30-3.45pm Workshops:

Stage 3 (Northern Stage) – Women, austerity and resistance
Umme Imam is director of the Angelou Centre in Newcastle’s west end, which works with women in local BME communities, a former lecturer in Youth and Community Work at Durham University, and an expert on issues around domestic violence. Lizi Gray is women’s officer of Northumberland University Students’ Union and a socialist and feminist activist. Kate Fox is a stand-up poet, journalist, comedian and broadcaster.

Mezzanine (Northern Stage) – The changing role of trade unions
Tony Dowling is Chair of North East People’s Assembly and membership officer of Gateshead NUT. Fazia Hussain-Brown is a regional organiser for Unite the Union and is active in Teesside People’s Assembly. Mark Robertson is one of the victorious strikers at Tyneside Safety Glass in Gateshead, where workers recently took concerted strike action to win a pay rise and improve conditions.

Collingwood Room (Civic Centre) – Save our NHS
Dr David Wrigley is a GP, blogger and campaigner in Keep Our NHS Public. Linda Hobson is an experienced nurse, branch secretary of Newcastle Hospitals Unison branch and a Labour councillor in Newcastle. Jo Adams was co-organiser of the Jarrow-to-London People’s March for the NHS and is a co-founder of the 999 Call for the NHS campaign.

Armstrong Stevenson Room (Civic Centre) – Stand up for Education
Kevin Courtney has been National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary since 2010 and previously worked as a teacher for many years. Gail Edwards is a lecturer in education at Newcastle University, running the MA in Education Research, and has previously been a school teacher and LEA advisory teacher. William Pinkney-Baird is a student and anti-cuts activist at Durham University, and an active member of the Green Party.

BSTC.B.32 (Barbara Strang Teaching Centre, Newcastle Uni) – Cut War not Welfare
Alex Snowdon is Secretary of Newcastle Stop the War Coalition, Chair of Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a co-organiser of North East People’s Assembly 2014. Val Anthony is former North East co-ordinator for Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and continues to be involved in both CAAT and Newcastle Stop the War Coalition.

4-5pm Stage 1 (Northern Stage) – Rally: No More Austerity

Mark Robertson is one of the victorious strikers at Tyneside Safety Glass in Gateshead, where workers recently took concerted strike action to win a pay rise and improve conditions.
Rehana Azam was a co-organiser of this summer’s historic People’s March for the NHS and works as the GMB union’s National Officer for the NHS.
Tony Dowling is Chair of North East People’s Assembly and membership officer of Gateshead NUT.
Judith Kirton-Darling is a Labour MEP for the North East and member of the European Parliament’s Committee for International Trade, who has previously been Confederal Secretary of the European Trades Union Congress.
Kevin Courtney has been National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary since 2010 and previously worked as a teacher for many years.

6.30-9.30pm Stage 1 (Northern Stage) – The People’s Assembly Show

Steffen Peddie is a comedian from Newcastle, who regularly performs at The Stand chain of clubs amongst others, has made regular appearances at comedy festivals across the UK and starred in the BBC2 sitcom Hebburn.

Mike Milligan has many years’ experience on the national and international comedy circuit; he has written and performed for TV and radio, and also writes a popular weekly column in the Evening Chronicle.

Peculiar Disco Moves are a north-band combining addictive pop music with off-the-wall lyrical tirades, whose latest single ‘Lost for Words (Please Don’t Tell Me, Please Don’t Say)’ was issued in May 2014.

Pete Scott, Newcastle-born singer-songwriter, started out singing in folk clubs in the 1970s, has performed both nationally and internationally, and combines writing and performing with freelance music teaching.

Dawn Furness is a professional opera and cabaret singer and vocal coach who has campaigned against cuts to cultural funding.

Kate Fox is a stand-up poet, journalist, comedian and broadcaster.

Backscratch is a newly formed theatre company based in County Durham; drawing inspiration from the North East, the group mixes theatre with music and media, and is made up of writers, performers and musicians Jack Burton, Michael Daynes, Tom Burton and Laura Emerson.

Fertile Ground nurtures a new generation of dance artists; the graduate dance company is led by Artistic Director Dora Frankel and is made up of dancers Holly Bellamy, Kayleigh Fisk, Alicia Meehan, Alys North and intern Joel Pearson.

The Mayday Band is Ron Brown and Mike Hirst, both of them musicians with political bite.

Joan Hewitt, who comperes the show, is an award-winning poet, anti-cuts campaigner and a co-organiser of North East People’s Assembly 2014, whose poetry has been published in numerous anthologies as well as her own collection ‘Missing the Eclipse’.

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Action Points: North East People’s Assembly Planning Meeting, Thursday 14th August

North East People’s Assembly 

Planning Meeting

Thursday 14th August, 5:30pm, Northern Stage Bar

 

GetAttachment (1)

 

For action points from previous meetings, click here

Present: Alex S, Matthew G, Mark H, Fran P, Tony P, Joan H & Tony D

– Tony D and Tony P are overseeing 1 Nov flyering at NHS March on Saturday. (I assume Tony D is also taking the banner, though this wasn’t discussed). Tony P is walking at least 2 days of the March.
 
– We assume Teesside PA will have a speaker at the Darlington NHS meeting on Monday, and leave it to them.
 
– Sunderland are considering a minibus to London for the final part of NHS March on 6 Sept. We will support and promote if this, or anything similar, happens.
 
– Tony D is reminded to promote the mobilisation to the NATO demo on 30 Aug on our email lists, as it is supported by People’s Assembly nationally and regionally.
 
– We will NOT be organising transport for either the Sat 27 Sept Ukip conference demo or Sun 28 Sept Tory conference demo, as they are regional protests, not priorities for us, and unaffordable. If other organisations put on transport, we will support and promote.
 
– We will be putting on 1 coach from Newcastle for the 18 October TUC demo. Tony to book a coach and take responsibility for bookings. We expect to lose money on this, which highlights the need for fundraising. Tony will look into possibility of co-operation with Unite, esp Unite Community, on the coach.
 
– We will launch a major fundraising appeal, due to currently being in debt and the further costs which are ahead of us. Mark T is asked to circulate his draft appeal to a number of others – this must NOT be circulated publicly without being looked at by other activists. We will request personal donations in this appeal. We are also asking Mark T and Peter B to oversee getting union donations.
 
– We will NOT be organising any fundraising events between now and 1 November. Our focus as activists is on building 18 Oct demo and especially the 1 Nov regional assembly. Our focus for fundraising is seeking individual and union donations through the appeal.
 
– Alex is delegated from NEPA to the national meeting on Sat 13 Sept. Joan (N Tyneside), Matthew (S Tyneside) and Mark T (Sunderland) are also known to be going.
 
– Joan is looking into booking Quilliams for Tues 16 Sept. This will be a major NEPA planning meeting which all activists are urged to attend. The main focus will be an action plan for promoting the 1 Nov event. It will include feedback from the national meeting.
 
– There was some discussion about the campaign against Joan Rivers coming to Newcastle, though this is outside NEPA’s remit so no decisions were taken.
 
 CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE NORTH EAST PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY CONFERENCE ON NOV 1ST

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Action Points: North East People’s Assembly Planning Meeting – 17th July – Quilliams Teahouse, Newcastle

North East People’s Assembly Planning Meeting

17th July, Quilliams Teahouse, Newcastle

Action points from previous meetings can be found here

GetAttachment (1)

Attending – Tony D, Matthew G, Jonathan P, Tony P, Martin L, Fran P, Joan H & Peter B.

Apologies – Alex S & Clare H.

Action Points

Reports:

North Tyneside PA Report:

Very good meeting, well attended, got a pledge of £260 from Unite branch. Tyneside Safety glass won their strike days later.

NHS Stall in Jarrow: Very good, good cooperation from all involved (STPA, Labour, PSA & 999) Local MP appeared.

Durham Miners Gala: A lot of leaflets handed out, sold out of revolting rabbits. Could have done with a few more dedicated people.

10th July Strike rally: lots of leaflets handed out.

 

Events:

21st July – North Tyneside People’s Assembly Meeting, Magnesia Bank, North Shields

8th August – Sunderland NHS Public Meeting, Age UK, Sunderland.

13th August – Sunderland Fundraiser for 999 for NHS, Independent, Sunderland.

15th August – South Tyneside 999 NHS Public Meeting, Alberta Club, Jarrow.

 

North East People’s Assembly – 1st November:

Joan updated those present on the latest line-up of the evening show, presented suggestions for further acts.

Working group to meet on 30th July at 6:30pm at Quilliams

Plenary Speaker Suggestions: Salma Yaqoob, Russell Brand?

 

Jonathan to take 100 leaflets to hand out at Young Labour meetings

Matthew to take 200 to give out in South Tyneside

Joan to take 200 to Whitley Bay and NTPA meeting

Tony P to take a ‘wedge’ and take some to Hexham (Matthew to send Hexham PA details to Tony P)

Martin to also take some to the City Library

Peter to also take some to the Linskill Centre, North Tyneside

Jonathan to take some on the coach to Gaza demo

People to leave leaflets at The Stand Comedy Club, Bar Loco and pubs/clubs

Tony P to take some leaflets to Durham PA and People’s Bookshop

Joan to hand some to Jazz Café

Theresa & Lilliana handed some out at the Ousburn Festvial

Beth Farhat to hand some out

Jonathan to send e version to Jude KD

Agreed to use #NEPA14 for any tweet/Facebook posts to do with Nov 1st

 

 

 

October 28th TUC Demo:

No train booked for demo, encouraged to block book train seats

Possibility of booking a coach with TUC and/or Unite Community

Possibility of TUC speaking tour around the region (rally?)

 

National Assembly – Saturday 13th September:

Matthew G & Joan to provisionally attend

Info to be put online

 

Collection – £10

 

END OF MEETING

 

Book your tickets now for the North East People’s Assembly Conference 2014 at Northern Stage, Newcastle: http://www.northernstage.co.uk/whats-on/north-east-peoples-assembly-2014

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Letter in The Journal Newspaper (10th July strike)

Dear Editor,
Tomorrow (10th July) firefighters, teachers, civil service workers and staff in local government will be going on strike. These are the people – workers – who help keep our society together.
And they continue to do this whilst suffering the longest fall in wages for generations. Pay for many workers is down by a fifth in real terms, thousands have lost job cuts and many of our vital services have been lost or cut to the bone.
So Thursday’s co-ordinated strike action, involving 6 trade unions – NUT, Unite, Unison, PCS, GMB & FBU – is a chance to fight back against the attacks on these workers and the vital services they provide.
The strikes are part of a wider movement against the austerity policies of this hated and hateful Tory-led coalition government. Austerity damages the fabric of our society and simply widens the gap between the rich and the rest. Austerity is a trick with which the rich are transferring more and more of the wealth of society into the hands of the few.
Everyone should support these strikes because they are a vital part of defending services which we need as a society. Last month’s ‘No More Austerity’ demonstration in London organised by the People’s Assembly showed that people are beginning fight back against the government’s punitive policies.
Tomorrow we will be joining the march and rally in Newcastle organised by the striking unions. Join us – and them – to show your support for the striking workers and to send a message to government that #WeAllNeedAPayRise. Assemble outside City Hall at 11am.
Tony Dowling,
Chair, North East People’s Assembly
More info about the Newcastle Strike Rally: https://www.facebook.com/events/381144902033458/
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