Chairman Shopland pisses all over himself!

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Wessex Solidarity

With the self-confidence of a drunk urinating into a gale, Jason’s made a video defending the party, we have no hesitation in reproducing it here and urge you to watch as it tells you everything you need to know about this would-be politician.

He gets off to a shaky start, clearly he hasn’t thought it through, rambling that he knows who the author is, “a friend of the lord mayor”. Among his persecutors he lists the labour party, the ‘left wing’ of Plymouth, and the local M.P. Active for Plymouth are “just normal people not right wing or mental people or anything else like that”.

He thinks secretary Popescu is entitled to be bigoted against gypsies because he’s Romanian – apparently being racist isn’t a problem if you’re a foreigner (like say, Hitler or Hirohito) so he can say what he likes about marginalised ethnicities from his home country “… happy days”.

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If you don’t ask, you don’t get

Scottish unemployed workers’ network


This week’s report involves a recent case that came to us via email, which raised issues that have become all too common since the introduction of Universal Credit (UC). We reproduce below the initial inquiry from Alan, which is not only well written, concise, but also a model of clarity;

‘I have been helping a friend by accompanying him to his Job Coach interviews. Unfortunately, during an interview I couldn’t attend, they got him to update and sign his job search commitment to include job coach recommendations. He has since been sanctioned for not going to an Open Day at XXX Hotel. He says that the updating of his commitments occurred after The Open Day.

He suffers from Vestibular Disorder and, although his health has improved, he has problems with balance and also standing for a long time. He therefore has not been applying for jobs like bar or waiting work that he knows he could not do. In my opinion it is clear he has other mental issues though he does not see this himself. His doctor gave him a line recommending part-time work only. He has asked for a mandatory reconsideration of the sanction and a new job coach.

During a job coach interview that I attended Colin was told that if he did voluntary work, the hours he did would be taken off his job search hours commitment and that he could get travel time deducted as well. During the job coach interview before he was sanctioned, the job coach reneged on this and told him none of the hours would count.’

After a phone conversation with Alan, we arranged to phone Colin to discuss the case with him and our strategy, and also arranged to meet him fifteen minutes before his appointment with his new ‘job coach’. Colin is very keen to get off Universal Credit and back into the world of paid work, but, as he realises himself, he should really be treated as ‘having a limited capability for work’. Like countless others, however, he had failed his ESA Work Capability Assessment (WCA), and was now expected to meet the full job search demands. Our strategy, therefore, centred on renegotiating his ‘claimant commitment’ so that his job search hours would be reduced, his voluntary working hours deducted from his job search hours, and that he would not be expected to take work that meant long periods of standing – such as the bar jobs he was ‘recommended’ to apply for and which led to him being sanctioned.

With all the problems that Colin had experienced with his previous ‘job coach’, who appeared to view him as little more than sanction fodder, Colin was understandably nervous about going into the buroo. We attempted to put his mind at rest, assuring him that everything would be fine, and that he would probably notice a big change in the attitude of his new ‘job coach’. And, as we had predicted, the new job coach could not be more helpful, and all of the changes we proposed were agreed to in what was a very pleasant and productive half hour. Of course, it should be totally unnecessary, for Colin – or any other claimant – to be accompanied into meetings with their ‘job coach’ by a SUWN volunteer in order to have the issues and problems they raise to be taken seriously. The major lessons that claimants should take from this ‘wee victory’, however, is that if you are in a similar position to Colin and have recently failed a ESA WCA, this doesn’t mean you have to simply accept everything that your ‘job coach’ demands of you as a UC claimant. Most of all, remember the old adage – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

The names of all people in this report have been changed to ensure their anonymity.

Far right ‘Active for Plymouth’ exposed.

Disturbing news from comrades in Devon:

“Active for Plymouth” is a new far-right group in Plymouth. They act like they’re just a common-sense party run by ordinary people. They are anything but! Their leader is a conspiracy theorist, expelled from his last party for racism. Their secretary has put out hateful campaign material ranting against gypsies. And what’s more, there are concerning links to Plymouth’s extreme right. We’re putting out the truth of what they’re really about, so that no-one gets taken in by their election campaign this month.

Jason “tinfoil hat” Shopland

Jason Shopland has been trying to get elected for the past few years. Standing for UKIP in 2015, he went on to start “Plymouth Independents” the next year. The party only lasted a few months but still found time to kick out Shopland for racism

He’s now set up his own party “Active for Plymouth”, which he’s the chairman of. That hasn’t stopped him spreading conspiracy theories about the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand. Before they had even finished counting the bodies he was putting out this shite:

Spouting gross and disrespectful conspiracy theories about a terrorist attack, while his friend says they “had it coming” – this is a disgusting and irresponsible reaction to terrorism.

Since far-right terrorism is a huge threat [1] we all have a responsibility to push back against it. None more so than those on the same side of the political spectrum, moderate or no. From the Muslims of the world we have seen huge marches against terrorism, and countless fatwas condemning it as clear as day. Yet the response from the right to terrorism in their own ranks has been lackluster at best. Could it be there is really a lot of support for it lurking underneath?

Jules Hates Gypsies – Popescu’s Racist Rant

Iuliu Jules Popescu is secretary of Active for Plymouth and standing for election on their ticket. He ran for election under “For Britain” last May. [2] While his election campaign has only put out a few videos, one of them is already pretty shocking. In “My opinion on Free movement versus immigration control”, he said:

“Every time Gypsies with Romanian passports come over and do their thing – which is mostly rob, steal, or scam someone like we’ve seen in the Herald a few hours ago – the media will say a group of Romanians did this or that. Now I’d much rather they didn’t come to Britain at all because that would be much better for everyone wouldn’t it?” – from facebook video https://www.facebook.com/julesplymouth/videos/2177334985918890/

In UK law Gypsies are a racial group, so legally this may be hate speech. [3] The far right have always hated Gypsies and travelling people, and the persecution continues to this day. Neo-nazi’s in Ukraine recently burnt a Roma camp to the ground. [4] Only this month far right goons drove Roma families out of a town in Italy. [5] That’s the background to Popescu’s words.

We see this prejudice again in Shopland’s letter to the council about travellers. “many of us have kids” – what does that mean, does he think travelling people are all child snatchers?

This attitude is also written into their official policy:

There aren’t enough legal sites for travelling people to go to. [6] So what this policy will really mean is hounding people from place to place for no reason. Hate speech and hateful policy. Is this who we want representing our city?

For Plymouth or “For Britain”?

While he claims to have resigned from UKIP due to “extremist elements”, that didn’t stop Shopland working with one of those extremist elements, Anne Marie Waters:

He tried to organise a meeting for her in Plymouth, which didn’t go to plan. When the venue found out what the meeting was about they cancelled and wanted nothing to do with it.

(post author is one of Jason’s accounts – using a Corbyn picture since he got trouble from facebook…)

It seems Jason realised that Plymouth, one of the most bombed cities during the Nazi blitz, could never support an obviously far-right party. So he formed “Active For Plymouth” shortly after. The link is clear in the name so we have to ask, is this just an attempt by a fan of the “For Britain” party to sneak their ideas in by the back door? For Plymouth’s original logo looks a lot like For Britain’s too. All they’ve done is change the colours to green and black!

Anne Marie Waters has a whole documentary about her, and her links to white nationalism [7]. See also these articles for the truth about her and her party

Last point on this – For Britain whinges that the “far-right” label is unfair. That’s hypocritical nonsense, just look at how Jason Shopland portrays his political opponents! Compared to this, we go VERY easy on him…

 


Far-right Fanclub

Active For Plymouth has also shown support for other far right figures and causes. Here they are promoting a DFLA march. The DFLA pretends to be a neutral group of people “protesting extremism” but the truth is they have well documented far-right links and members. This article has the details – http://flaf.org.uk/dfla-battens-bootboys/

After marching with them, the party escalated to promoting Tommy Robinson and For Britain openly:

The Central Connection – Shopland’s links to far right terror supporters

The most concerning thing about Jason Shopland is the circle of people around him, which includes violent extreme right and terrorism supporters. The evidence for this comes from facebook, so it’s not cast-iron proof. Even so, just for a man to be “friends” with these people should set alarm bells ringing…

…and trying to blame the attack on Muslims

Jason’s had it all pointed it out to him, but this “Al Holbeach” character is still helping run Active for Plymouth’s facebook group at the time of writing. It seems supporting terrorism is acceptable for this party? Since Jason is an admin he can remove Al Holbeach any time he wants…

for ID:

Jason’s friendship group also includes extremists who claim to be in the hooligan firm “The Central Element”. A facebook friendship doesn’t mean they’re friends in real life, but let’s agree the man has some questions to answer. Perhaps he should start deradicalising his own before he goes after other groups?

Here’s Danny Robinson (right) holding a UVF flag, alongside Gary Miller (not on Shopland’s friend list) carrying a TCE Flag (The Central Element). The UVF is a proscribed terrorist group who did the worst bombing in the north of Ireland during the troubles [8]

Danny Robinson was a member of the racist BNP, seen in a leaked BNP membership list in 2008 [9]

Here’s another facebook friend of Shopland’s, Gaven Hewett (aka Gavin), promoting terrorism to the public from his house

and seig heiling,

at an Argyle game

Hewett is a member of the Active For Plymouth facebook group too…

In 2004 while a member of the BNP, Hewett was banned from every takeaway in Plymouth for hurling racial abuse at staff and throwing things at them – [10]

Brian Hornigold, added to the group by Jason himself, is a blatant neo-nazi. His profile picture is a well-known neo nazi symbol [11], and he’s publicly posted the famous neo-nazi “fourteen words” quote, from David Lane who formed far right terrorist organisation “The Order” [12]

And Nazi punk Jamie Waters, reportedly banned from several Plymouth venues for starting trouble at gigs. Jamie Waters is on Shopland’s friends a list and is a member of the Active For Plymouth facebook group too. Should someone with these connections be chair of a political party representing Plymouth?

Steve Minns – not funny

Steve Minns

Steve Minns, another of their candidates, fancies himself a racial comedian. Here are his facebook posts, you can judge for yourself…

Valid Concerns?

Since this article quoted the far right, it’s only right to end it pointing out what’s wrong with them. Not just Active for Plymouth but the movement they’re part of.

So firstly travellers. There are not enough legal sites in the UK or in Plymouth, simple as. [13] [6] Even though making them would take barely any land at all. [14] And this is despite decades of broken promises, and decades of self-help foiled by a corrupt planning system. Ever since the government forced travellers from the roadsides many have been hounded from one site to the next. An that’s not to mention discrimination from the police [15], and biased portrayal in the mainstream media. [16] So Active for Plymouth’s policy of “forcing” travellers from unauthorised sites adds up to racial harassment. With nowhere to go they will be forced to abandon their culture. Which is what Jules the Gypsy-Hater seems to want.

Secondly on imigration they have no idea what they’re on about. In Popescu’s video he seems to say everyone with a job offer should be able to migrate? “If you come here to work, great. If not then we don’t need you, we don’t want you.” [17] That would mean a lot more migrants than there are now! Fair enough, but I don’t think that’s what they were aiming at. Vague policies like “more control” give people a mask to hide behind. Both Labour and Tories have been saying the same words for years after all. So what does Active for Plymouth really want? We do know Jason Shopland doesn’t want refugees settled in Plymouth [18]. (Even though his own Freedom of Information request revealed only 31 people have been settled here) [19] . For the truth about immigration, the TUC’s booklet “migration and the South West” is good – https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/migration-and-south-west

Since For Britain and the rest of the right talk about grooming gangs, that deserves a quick word too. For the truth listen to the actual survivors, like Sammy Woodhouse [20]. Who, by the way, has criticised the way the far right is going about this. [21]

Finally, a starting point on terrorism – since For Britain also talk about this. The far right has organised lots of protests against terrorism. Fucking pointless if you ask us. Who’s going to listen, the terrorists? And as to getting the government to fight terrorism better, totally up the wrong alley. The government already harasses and interrogates thousands of innocent people they think are Muslim. Ever heard of Schedule 7? [22] Unless we stop them wasting resources on innocent people then all we’ll do is cause them to fuck with more people for no reason.

Meanwhile, what is the left doing? WE are the ones who have been fighting ISIS! [23] [24] It is thanks to left-wing Kurdish forces that ISIS has been pushed back and back until they have nothing left. [25] Many uk left wing activists have gone over and given their lives fighting against that terrorist death cult. Yet the far right insult them by acting like fascists and Islamophobes are the ones resisting ISIS. Nonsense!

Notes:

[1] – https://www.economist.com/international/2019/03/21/why-white-nationalist-terrorism-is-a-global-threat

[2] – https://resistinghate.org/for-britain-candidates-for-may-elections/

[3] – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/discrimination-because-of-race-religion-or-belief/discrimination-because-of-race/#h-what-is-race-

[4] – https://www.rt.com/news/425153-ukraine-neo-nazis-roma/

[5] – https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italy-roma-protests-fascists-far-right-torre-maura-a8855166.html

[6] – Plymouth has one small site with 15 authorised permanent pitches – https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/communitiesandneighbourhoods/communityconnections/gypsyandtravellersites . There are supposed to be 40 more permanent pitches, and 15 more transit pitches

https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/communitiesandneighbourhoods/communityconnections/gypsyandtravellersites . Even though central government funding is available, the council does nothing while unauthorised sites cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds to remove

[7] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IM4wtEr4No

[8] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Volunteer_Force

[9] – https://file.wikileaks.org/file/bnp-membership-list.txt

[10] – https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/07/294820.html

[11] – https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/celtic-cross

[12] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Words

[13] – see page 33, http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8083/CBP-8083.pdf

[14] – https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/news/2014/11/one-square-mile

[15] – https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/news/2018/06/shocking-new-research-shows-extent-police-discrimination-towards-gypsies-and

[16] – https://www.nuj.org.uk/documents/briefing-gypsies-roma-and-irish-travellers-in-the-media/parliamentary-travellers-media-seminar-briefing.pdf

[17] – https://www.facebook.com/julesplymouth/videos/2177334985918890/

[18] – https://www.change.org/p/plymouth-city-council-stop-plymouth-from-taking-refugees-from-the-isis-crisis

[19] – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/housed#incoming-1235471

[20] – https://twitter.com/sammywoodhouse1

[21]- https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/47359/Tommy+Robinsons+racists+turn+on+Rotherham+survivor

[22] – https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/human-rights/countering-terrorism/schedule-7

[23] – https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/only-democratic-multi-faith-and-multi-racial-socialism-can-overcome-fascism

[24] – https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-syria-ypj-ypg-women-feminism-middle-east-a8838591.html

[25] – http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/23032019

“Give Me My Job Back, Say Sorry, and Don’t Do It Again” – Interview With A Worker Sacked For Being Trans

Illustrates the importance of joining a fighting union – preferably before they start giving you grief.

Red and Black Leeds

A few years ago a trans IWW member was fired for using the toilet at work, but after the company was picketed by the union, they got their job back. On trans day of visibilty RABL distributed a leaflet making reference to the case and were kindly sent an interview that was done with the worker during the campaign, before they got their job back, but was never published. We’re reproducing it here to illustrate the impact of transphobia on workers and the importance of sticking up for each other:

Can you explain what happened while you were working in [the company]?

I started using the women’s toilets in late December, having worked for [an agency] in [a company’s] office since June 2014. I’ve been going through gender transition for about 5 years, in stages of trying something new and moving on when I feel comfortable with it, and I…

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Fear and self-loathing on Universal Credit

scottish unemployed workers' network

fear and loathing

Being on the front line of welfare reforms, we are constantly made aware that the founding aims of the welfare state are being turned on their head. People pay taxes and National Insurance contributions towards a system that once protected them, but now turns on them when they need it most, and then reduces them even further rather than raising them up. Denis Curran, the inspirational founder of Loaves and Fishes, damningly observed that the most insidious aspect of the Tory welfare reforms was not sanctions, hellish as they are, but the way that the DWP were getting inside the heads and messing with the minds of the very people they had a duty to care for. We see evidence of this at almost every stall, and recent experiences strongly suggest that the problem will worsen as UC takes further root.

We are coming across too many people who blame…

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System Series – Part Four – A history of revolutions

Angry Workers of the World

funny-chick-weapon-shell-fighting1This is a draft for the fourth part of our system series – it will be published in our local workers’ paper WorkersWildWest. We want to write something basic about the system we live in and the possibility of social revolution – for our colleagues. We don’t want to compromise on the complexity of the issue and we try to avoid lefty jargon. Let us know what you think and we can re-work the draft:

angryworkersworld@gmail.com

——

In the first part of this series we wrote about how the current system emerged. We saw that the struggle of serfs and peasants was strong enough to break the personal oppression by the landlords – but they were not strong enough to keep their land and get hold of the means to produce what they needed to survive. A new system emerged where they had to sell their life time and energy…

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Outcome from our first meeting

Green Anti-Capitalist Front

Critique of XR – although everyone who attended had their
own critique with XR, building a positive narrative of what an anticapitalist future
might look like is more important that pointing out the failures of others. We
can bring people around to our way of thinking by articulating an alternative.

GAF as network – climate change is one of the biggest issues
of our time. GAF could unite groups and individuals in different anticapitalistic
tendencies to fight together.

Youth Strike – this movement is inspiring. We should work to
spread anticapitalist ideas amongst students whilst respecting their self-organisation.
We do not want to control or recruit them but we do want them to learn of the
role capitalism plays in environmental destruction.

Political statement – the GAF manifesto could be refined.
Ideas include the decolonisation of the non-violence narrative and more on
building a positive future. We will delay working…

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