Standing up for democracy in Poland

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Southwark Green Party member Ania Marzec-Manser has been supporting pro-democracy protests in Poland this month. She writes:
 
At the Global Greens and European Greens congress in Liverpool this year, I made contacts with the Polish Green party. I was asked to meet and help with setting up structures in the Gdansk branch of the party.
Two weeks ago I attended an international summer school where besides representatives of Polish Green party, there were representatives from Czech, German, Ukrainian and Dutch parties as well as foundations and Brussels institutions supporting green NGOs. I also met the sole Green councillor in Poland. Next year there will be local elections and for the first time the Greens want to have candidates in at least half of constituencies. It's a massive task.
As soon as I returned from the summer school, the pro-democracy protests to defend the constitution and the independence of the courts started and spilled all over Poland. I have been taking part in these protests. (News coverage here and here.) 
The peaceful mass demonstrations held that all the new judicial laws proposed by the ruling far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS) were unconstitutional. Under pressure from the demonstrations, the president, who is a puppet of the PiS party, vetoed two out of three proposed laws but is signing the third which says all regional judges will be selected by the minister of justice. The minister of justice wants to sack all the judges in Poland and put his own people in their place. Local courts judge the validity of elections so the ruling party might thereby be able to twist the results. I don't need to tell you the disastrous consequences of this!
Last night our Green group was joined by the leader of European Green Party in Brussels and German MEP Reinhard Butikofer (below).
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Not One Day More

On Saturday 1 July, Green Party members from Southwark joined thousands of people from across the UK at a march on Parliament organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to demand an end to Theresa May’s minority government.

Many of the protesters carried placards calling for justice for victims of Grenfell Tower, and a minute’s silence was held to remember them. Speakers at Westminster included the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Fire Brigades Union leader Matt Wrack and the Green Party’s Siân Berry, who chairs the London Assembly’s housing committee.

Siân spoke powerfully about the need for councils to listen to their tenants, noting that the “appalling attitude” displayed in the Grenfell disaster was a problem for Labour as well as the Tories. Name-checking the Aylesbury in Southwark, among other estates where council homes are being demolished, she told the crowd: “I want to hear some solid words from Jeremy Corbyn about the conduct of Labour councils.” You can listen to her full speech here.

 

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Sunday 4 June 2017

 

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. … Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. - John Donne, 1624

This is a day of shock and deep sadness. Our hearts go out to all those affected by last night's tragic events. Thank you to Southwark's emergency services, who responded with such speed and bravery, and to the countless Southwark residents who offered shelter and support.

Today we are remembering the seven people killed yesterday at London Bridge, the injured and affected. We also remember Abdirahman Mohamed, a boy of 17 who was fatally stabbed on Southampton Way on Friday night.

We will be meeting at 2pm in Camberwell to have a space to talk. Please feel free to join us there.

At 5pm, we will come together to share a moment of silence for the victims in the Peace Garden outside the Imperial War Museum. This is open to all who wish to attend.

If you are concerned about friends, relatives, or anyone else that may have been affected then please contact the Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 1233 or 020 7158 0197. Any images or videos of events can be sent to the Metropolitan Police.

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Make your vote count on 8 June!

Every Green vote counts. With more support, we will influence the direction of British politics.

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In two Southwark constituencies, Camberwell & Peckham and Dulwich & West Norwood, the previous Labour MPs had huge majorities. They are not marginal seats.


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Shocking levels of air pollution in Southwark

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Eleanor puts up a difusion tube monitor in Peckham

We are demanding cleaner buses after our tests found pollution levels in Southwark more than double legal limit. We have  launched a petition demanding London Mayor Sadiq Khan take action this year to clean up every bus driving through Camberwell Green.

Pollution monitors placed around Southwark by local members recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide at more than twice the legal EU limit outside McDonalds on Denmark Hill. Just two of the 20 locations monitored for the full month of February fell within the legal limit.

 


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Candidates for General Election June 2017

 

We're delighted to announce our candidates for the 2017 General Election.

For Camberwell and Peckham, we have selected Eleanor Margolies. Eleanor is an outstanding campaigner, currently working on highlighting toxic air pollution levels throughout the constituency, and is also Co-Chair of Southwark Green Party.

In Dulwich and West Norwood, Rashid Nix will be looking to build on his excellent result in the London Assembly Elections, where he got the highest vote share of any Green constituency candidate.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark will be contested by John Tyson, a Chartered Accountant and housing campaigner, highly active in his local community.

 

Press release 2 May 2017

The Green Party has today announced its general election candidates for the three Southwark constituencies.

Dr. Eleanor Margolies will stand for the Greens in Camberwell and Peckham, Rashid Nix will contest Dulwich & West Norwood, and John Tyson will be the Green candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

Eleanor, a writer and researcher, is a well-known local campaigner, and was chair of her estate’s Regeneration Project Team for five years, fundraising for a community garden and advocating for residents. Her blog is here.

In 2015 the Green Party came third in Camberwell and Peckham, with 10.1% of the vote – more than twice that of the Liberal Democrats. In the 2015 South Camberwell by-election, Eleanor received 20% of the votes cast.

Eleanor said: “The general election gives Greens in Southwark a platform to make the links between local and national issues.

“Locally, I have been campaigning for action from Southwark Council on air pollution. At the national level, we need an MP who will oppose airport expansion – for the health of Londoners, and to put a brake on global climate instability.

“Locally, I campaigned to remain in the EU and to reform it. Nationally, we need an MP who represents Southwark residents and refuses to push the self-destruct button labelled ‘Brexit’.”

Rashid, a filmmaker from Brixton, stood for Dulwich and West Norwood in 2015, coming fourth with 9.4% of the vote. More recently, he came third ahead of the Liberal Democrats as the Green Party’s candidate for the London Assembly constituency of Lambeth and Southwark.

Rashid said: “I’m delighted once again to have the opportunity to represent the Green Party as parliamentary candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood.

“The Greens are often counted out but last year we came within a whisker of beating Labour in Gipsy Hill, proving that the people are no longer going to accept this false choice between two flawed establishment parties. The Green revolution is coming.”

John is a Chartered Accountant and is active in the Elephant Amenity Network and Friends of Harper Road.

John said: “I am a positive believer in the idea of a better world, and most importantly a fairer world. I believe in social responsibility and in community.

“I think it is audacious for politicians to sit on well-above-average salaries, with expense accounts, and tell people earning at the bottom end how they should be living their lives.

“I wish to make politics more open and transparent, and ensure that politicians do the job that they were elected to do. Our current political system is not broken, but it needs people to come in and challenge it to be better.”

All three candidates were chosen at a joint meeting of Southwark and Lambeth Green Parties on 27 April, prompted by the Prime Minister’s announcement of her decision to hold a snap general election on 8 June.

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Spring conference and Global Greens congress

Did you know there is a Green Party of Mongolia? You do now! Greens from around the world, including a group of us from Southwark, were among delegates at the first joint congress of Global Greens and European Greens, held at the ACC, Liverpool. This really inspiring weekend – the biggest gathering of Greens ever – gave us the opportunity to learn more about the work going on across an amazingly rich mix of countries to promote environmental and social justice.


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Greens march to defend council housing

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On Saturday 25 March Southwark Greens, together with Tenant and Resident Associations from Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Peckham and Walworth and many other local groups, took part in a march through the borough organized by Defend Council Housing to fight for an end to social cleansing.


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Sadiq Khan: get real about making regeneration more accountable to communities

Nick Hooper and Siân Berry in front of Aylesbury estate When Sadiq Khan launched his Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration in December, the mayor proclaimed he was putting Londoners first. Sadly the Guide fails to live up to this promise. In its response to the consultation, Southwark Green Party sides with London Assembly member Siân Berry (pictured right, with members of Southwark Green Party), who described the Guide as 'useless'.

Southwark Greens want to keep Sadiq Khan to his promises. We've seen the damage that can be done when residents are ignored. In Southwark, council homes have been demolished, an urban forest of 300 trees felled and a community dispersed on the Heygate Estate at the Elephant and Castle. The Heygate had 1,194 council flats at the time of its demolition, but the new Elephant Park of will have just 74 'socially rented' flats with the majority of the 2,500 flats for sale. Those offered at 'affordable' rent are at 80% of commercial rent in the area, around a third higher than social rent. Promises that former residents could return to live in the new development sound empty when it's revealed that the cheapest one-bed 'shared ownership' flat requires a minimum household income of £57,500.

A similar process is being repeated with the Aylesbury Estate, off the Walworth Road. Residents who had bought council properties through 'Right to Buy' have been made very low offers for their homes - sums that would not allow them to find a new home in the area. The Planning Inspector said this would breach their human rights but Southwark Council is now attempting to have this decision overruled.

Greens recognise and support the incredible work of local residents in community groups in Southwark and Lambeth. Find out more about the 35% Campaign and Elephant Amenity Network, Save Cressingham Gardens and the campaign to save the Central Hill Estate. Read on below the line to see the comments that Southwark Green Party have today sent to the mayor on why his Guide is not good enough. 


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Defend Green Dale


Southwark Green Party has responded to the appeals made by 'Greendale Property Company' to the Planning Inspectorate over their two planning applications for Green Dale. The first relates to the fact that Southwark council have still not made a decision about their application to build a stadium on Green Dale and 155 flats on the current stadium. The second appeal is against the council’s decision to reject their application to remove the restrictive covenants on the stadium land. We're very glad that Southwark Council rejected the attempt to remove the protection that Green Dale enjoys as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). 

We support the work of local community organisations, the Friends of Green Dale and the Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood. Their volunteers do amazing practical work to protect and enrich these special places, vitally important for the local ecosystem: they clear rubbish, plant trees and maintain meadows.

This article gives a flavour of why Green Dale is such an important community resource - and desperately needed in this dense part of inner London. This page explains more about the background to the planning applications. You can read an account of an earlier attempt to question the developer's plans here and our full response to the Planning Inspectorate after the fold.


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