Socialist Worker

Letters

Issue No. 2035

BNP's dance of deceit

It was fantastic to see the widespread media coverage that followed the Unite Against Fascism protest at the English National Ballet (ENB) against the ballerina Simone Clarke, who is a member of the Nazi British National Party (Protest puts pressure on the BNP ballerina, 12 January). This was the start of an important campaign to get her sacked.

However, it was not long before we had to listen to the bleating of the liberal media who were arguing that she should be left alone. Deborah Orr in the Independent newspaper argued that we were the fascists for trying to get her kicked out!

What people like Orr don't understand is that the BNP wants to impose fascist rule.

At the moment it is posing as a respectable organisation entering into mainstream society through the electoral process. It tries to hide the true nature of its ideology. Our task is to expose the BNP as the Nazi party it is.

Clarke is proud to be a BNP member. In 1999 BNP member David Copeland planted nailbombs in Brixton, Brick Lane and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, killing and maiming.

Clarke is a member of a party which wants to smash democracy in the same way that Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party did in the 1930s and 1940s. We should not give freedom of speech to those who wish to crush ours.

We must remember the lessons from France, where Nazi leader Jean Marie Le Pen played respectable and was not challenged by the radical left and exposed as a Nazi.

One of the key differences between the experience of France and Britain has been the way that we have labelled the Nazis for what they are. We need to continue to argue that people like Clarke have no place in a multi-racial workforce. Her employers should sack her.

We need maximum unity in the movement against the BNP, combined with an arguement of no platform for fascists whether in our workplaces, schools, colleges or trade unions.

Claire Dissington, South London


Simone Clarke is the ENB representative for Equity, the actors' union. How the hell can a fascist be a shop steward?

How many more BNP sympathisers are there in Equity? Hopefully members of Equity will desert the union in droves.

Don Canivet, Komedy Kollective Theatre, Bradford


Nobody should be allowed to use their position to help the Nazis become respectable. The last famous person who revealed themselves to be a fascist was Buster Mottram.

Mottram was the great white hope of British tennis in the 1970s. He was also a supporter of the Nazi National Front (NF) when it was a force in British politics. Like Clarke, Mottram used his profile to spread right wing views.

Protesters from the Anti Nazi League rightly targeted him for this. They stood up between points at his game at Wimbledon in 1978 and shouted, 'Buster Mottram is a Nazi.'

This kind of protest was essential in hounding the Nazis and making sure they didn't become respectable. It contributed to the NF's decline, and also to Mottram's defeat in the game.

Katherine Branney, East London


Debate on the Indian Mutiny

I am writing in response to John Game's review of William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal (The Indian Mutiny: rejection of empire, 13 January).

Game only notes in passing that The Last Mughal 'draws too sharp a contrast between post-mutiny racism and an early period' pre-1857.

Dalrymple is keen to construct an image of the early imperial project in India as one that largely benefited the colonised.

It is in the mode of a traditional neo-colonialist that Dalrymple writes.

Oblivious to the systemic flaws in Dalrymple's work, Game asserts that the 1857 Mutiny is something that anti-imperialists can learn from. Game is unwittingly articulating an Indian nationalist interpretation of the event.

But there was no single military mutiny, and no single coordinated movement in 1857. Rather there was a series of revolts that were as about issues of pay, extortionate rates of rent and land clearances, as they were about expelling the British.

Those that quashed the uprisings were Indian too. As such, the events of 1857 are ambiguous and should not be perceivied as a single anti-colonial movement.

All this does not mean to say that there are no inspiring moments from the Indian struggle for independence that we can learn from. Rather that we ought to look elsewhere.

Gajendra Singh, Edinburgh


Carbon rationing is no solution for the planet

Sushma Lal (Letters, 13 January) is right to call carbon rationing a market system which would give the rich the right to pollute at the expense of the poor. But adjusting the mechanism is not the answer to global warming.

The idea of carbon rationing is to create an incentive for individuals to reduce their 'carbon footprint' by attaching a price to carbon dioxide emissions, effectively creating a market based on carbon.

Whether this is regulated by the state or not, it's still fundamentally inequitable. It also wouldn't reduce emissions.

Carbon rationing assumes that the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions we need to deal with climate change can be achieved by individual lifestyle changes. But it's the system we need to change.

People don't drive or take short-haul flights because they're selfish, but because the chaotic, costly mess that is Britain's privatised transport system often doesn't give them any option.

If you don't own your own home or have a spare £2,000 handy, you can't reduce your carbon dioxide emissions from heating by putting in insulation.

Any carbon rationing system treats us all as consumers, but it's people power, not consumer power, that's needed to force governments to make the systemic changes necessary to deal with climate change.

Elaine Graham-Leigh, North London


Raising the issues over Holocaust Memorial Day

Henry Maitles and Barrie Levine (Letters, 6 January) criticised the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) for launching a series of events across Scotland as part of Holocaust commemoration week.

We would have preferred a response to our invitation to 'all groups and individuals committed to universal human rights to join with us to commemorate the Nazi Holocaust appropriately – to learn the lessons of what happened and apply them to the crisis of today'.

The criticisms contained in the letter are misplaced, as a visit to our website makes clear.

We are accused of holding 'alternative events', but our events are an integral part of the Holocaust memorial events.

Jim Allen's play Perdition, talks on Zionism and the Holocaust by US Jewish historian Lenni Brenner, and the 'inclusive round tables on the Nazi Holocaust' will enable serious discussions of the Holocaust.

This includes the appropriation of Holocaust commemoration to 'justify' the mass murder and expropriation of the Palestinians.

An accurate understanding of the Nazi Holocaust is essential to grasp modern Israeli savagery towards the Palestinian people.

The political link between Palestine and the Nazi mass murder of Jews in 1942-5 is not the prerogative of the SPSC.

Some may wish to restrict Holocaust discourse to matters of fighting fascism, and see raising the issue of Palestine as unacceptable.

We see there being room for many issues to be raised. We cannot agree with the exclusion of Palestine and Zionism from the discussion because that might alienate Zionists.

In the words of US historian Howard Zinn, 'The memory of the Jewish Holocaust should not be kept isolated from other atrocities in history. To remember what happened to the six million Jews...serves no important purpose unless it arouses indignation, anger, action against all atrocities, anywhere in the world.'

Mick Napier, chair, Scottish PSC


Big Brother and racism

The incidents of racism in the Big Brother house against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty have revealed two important facts.

The first, regrettably, is the extent to which racism is still considered acceptable in some circles.

What is heartening, however, is the number of complaints the programme generated. Even Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were forced to intervene.

Many of us may find Blair's comments about 'racism in any form' being unacceptable rather hollow, given his government's comments about Muslims, East European migrants, and asylum seekers.

Nevertheless, the level of outrage proves that such racist views are not the norm, and that while there is clearly a long way to go, we may be winning the argument.

Richard Sunderland, Leeds


Marxist site under attack

The Marxist Internet Archive, which provides access to thousands of classic Marxist texts in dozens of languages, has recently come under sustained cyber attack.

This forced their server to shutdown on 13 January. The Marxist Internet Archive believe that these attacks may originate with the Chinese government, which views the site as a threat.

This site is one of the best resources on the internet for revolutionaries. It should be back up in the next few days.

If you'd like to use the site, or make a donation (it's run entirely by volunteers and is free to use) then go to www.marxists.org

Ben Windsor, South London


Chance to seize the time

It was great to read Yuri Prasad's article about The Black Panthers (6 January).

Elaine Brown, as well as leading the Black Panther party, was a brilliant singer and songwriter.

One of her albums, Seize the Time, has recently become available again – it has been reissued on Water Records.

Her lyrics reflect the rage and the pride of the Panthers, and give an inspirational feel for what it must have been like to be active in those times.

It isn't always true that progressive political singers make the best music, but in this case the music is excellent.

It was arranged and conducted by Horace Tapscott, one of the unsung greats of jazz.

It's surprising that the record was ever made. Some of the songs were written during her time in prison.

The musicians were repeatedly stopped by the police as they tried to make their way to and from the studio. This album is a 'must have'.

John Baxter, Glossop


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Letters
Sat 27 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2035
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