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Report from Birmingham IOPS chapter meeting, Tuesday 5th February 2013

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We were informed about a new book about the life of Michael Albert, it can be found on ibooks and is in Graphic/Comic form.

 At the last meeting Tom was asked to enquire into possible venues to host the National Gathering in Birmingham. Given the low level of interest to date and a disagreement that needs to be resolved we have decided to postpone the event.  A separate anouncement on this issue has been posted by Tom,we will keep members informed of any developments.


Remy Herge a new French member of the Birmingham chapter was introduced and welcomed.

Stephen reported back about his involement in the Walsall Against the Cuts campaign and  the 38 Degrees re-saving the NHS. Stephen has become part of the Walsall Against the Cuts team, organising various events and demonstrations. Stephen has been asked to take the lead as a patients represenative on a new scrutiny body within the new Clinical Commissioning Group.


Tom and Mark  have had some success with their involment in the " Communities Against The Cuts" campaign. To date the group have had several successful efforts in preventing cuts in the Birmingham area. Tom and Mark attended a city wide event and Tom chaired an outdoor meeting of about 170 people. A protest was held outside the Birmingham Council House. A section of the demonstration marched down the main street in Birmingham, whilst a smaller group occupied the main council chamber. The police were called to control the event but Tom said they were rather supportive. This should not come as a surprise given that the Police are facing deep cut like all Public Sector workers. The event made television and local news and exposed that the local Labour Group are doing little to fight the cuts. More action is proposed for the 26th of February , IOPS again will participate.

Mark said that Tom did an excellent job of chairing the Birmingham Cuts event, and he said at the end of the event those in attendence were actually participating rather than simply moaning.  Mark said that the anti cuts groups could use Z Social to network the West Midlands campaign he is going to suggest this at the next event.

Tom suggested setting up a Reading Group  and to invite others on the left to attend and it was suggested that Preeti's list relating to issues and problems other left groups have grappled with should be set as our first topic.

Finally the introductory IOPS video was viewed and all members thought it was rather good.


 Action points:

Tom to send a post to all members about the postponement of the national gathering.

 Tom to research pamphlet about IOPS.

Discussion 7 Comments

  • Preeti Kaur 10th Feb 2013

    Thank you again to the Birmingham chapter for another great update! It's wonderful to hear about all of your involvement in various social movements and I look forward to future updates about the Walsall Against the Cuts campaign, the 38 Degrees re-saving the NHS, and the " Communities Against The Cuts" campaign! It's exciting that ZSocial may be used to help network in the West Midlands campaign - a great suggestion Mark!

    I hope that others on the left are interested in attending a possible reading group. Good luck with that! The IOPS Project to go to / join for the info on the recommended reading is this one: http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/study-group-on-the-role-of-a-revolutionary-organization

    I am pleasantly surprised at the police's response to the protest held outside the Birmingham Council House given the Met's response to the last DPAC/UKCUT action in London! Hope it keeps up!


  • stephen lawton 10th Feb 2013

    Preeti-----Thanks for your comments. I was involved with the occupy Birmingham camp of 18 months ago, the police then treated the camp with respect and even protected them on one occasion from a group of drunks. I was in London the day St Paul's was occupied and on that occasion I was trapped in the square for two hours, so there the police were more confrontational.

  • Mark Evans 27th Feb 2013

    As the issue of the police has been raised I would like to say that I think that the revolutionary left has typically engaged with the police in a counter productive manner. Perhaps this is something we could discuss at future talks? Same goes for the armed forces.

    • Preeti Kaur 24th Mar 2013

      I think the police have typically engaged with peaceful protesters (and, from personal experience, people of colour) in a 'counter-productive manner'! And, in the case of the links I provided above - in what I would describe as a disgusting manner, but that was in London.

      In spite of this, I do think there should always be nuance and thoughtfulness to engagements with police, on a case-by-case basis. As a side, a friend of mine helped organise a protest for police when their salaries were not increasing and pension contributions being cut, the police didn't quite know what to do! This was in Sydney, Australia.

      I'm glad to hear that the police in Birmingham have not - in the actions Stephen describes - been as violent as the Met in London.

  • Sean Michael Wilson 6th May 2013

    Birmingham folks - the Parecomic book about Michael Albert and Parecon officially comes out tomorrow, May 7th. I'm the writer and having just read through it myself I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. We'll be making various announcements about it from tomorrow.

    • Kim Keyser 17th Jun 2013

      Sean, I read the book immediately after it was published (as an e-book). I loved it! I was afraid it would be too shallow (it is "after all" a comic book), but to my pleasant surprise, I found it was none of the sort. :) Thanks!

  • Sean Michael Wilson 17th Jun 2013

    Good stuff Kim, thanks. I sometimes forget that many people still think of comics are for kids. It's been almost 30 years now since the mid 80s efforts to relieve people of that missconception, yet, it still remains (though it has gone down quite a bit). Though it's simply stated: since comics are basically a mix of text and art there is, and never has been, any reason why comics is an artform only for children. Obviously text and art can be combined at any level of sophistication. So, its one of my main aims to create comic books on 'mature' and 'serious' themes, to help extend the range of comics of that type. But to do it in engaging, interesting ways. Thanks for your comment and please tell other folk interested in the themes to check out the Parecomic, ah, comic.