Socialist Worker

Burnley carnival: Fight this ban

Issue No. 1761

FOLLOWING recent events here in Burnley, readers may be aware that Lancashire police-unelected members of society-have decided to call upon home secretary David Blunkett to ban the planned anti-Nazi demonstration and carnival on 1 September.

This is much to the anger of a number of us locally. This peaceful event was designed to encourage people, both Asian and white, to unite and say that fascism is not the answer to our social problems. This ban must be challenged by all those who want to fight the Nazis. Our event must also be re-planned.

Preparations must be made now to have a carnival in the near future, ideally before the local elections next year so as to minimise the Nazi BNP vote. Private We should also try to close down their race hate headquarters in Stanley Street, Burnley.

This ban has also been organised in a disgusting way. At no time were proposals for a ban discussed by the elected members of Burnley council.

The police approached members of the council in private-including the leader of the council who had previously supported the call for a carnival! And it was agreed, in private, to put the call for a ban to David Blunkett. This ban is an injustice, but we must fight on and make sure Burnley still has a carnival.

ANDREW HOLDER, Socialist Alliance councillor, Burnley

Remember the past

I WAS ten years old when Britain fought a war against the cruelty of fascism. My teacher was very good, and really brought it home to us what fascism meant. Today that cruelty is still with us. It is tolerated and in some cases encouraged.

Now, aged 72, I sometimes despair. Do we really teach our children in school to understand the Holocaust? Have we allowed ourselves to become intolerant? Good, honest, people, including some of my relatives, are blaming injustice on ordinary people who are just like they are.

But I think about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Jarrow marchers, the Greenham women, the poll tax and now the anti-capitalists. We are seeing an uprising and I think it is wonderful. There really must be another way to live together equally. If anything is going to be banned, it should be the fascists.

ALICE THORNBER, Labour councillor, Burnley


Genoa makes A big impact across Greece

GENOA HAS had a huge impact in Greece. When the boat carrying demonstators back from Italy approached the port of Igoumenitsa, local people received us with enthusiasm. Local government workers had been blockading the port demanding extra money, but they lifted the blockade so the boat could dock as a gesture of solidarity with Genoa.

A reporter from the centre-left Eleftherotia summed up the Greek presence in Genoa: 'A Movement Of The 21st Century!' The Greek contingent to Genoa had many points of view. The most numerous was Campaign Genoa 2001.

This contingent brought together dynamic youth, veterans of the resistance of the 1940s and the 1960s, of May 1968 and the polytechnic uprising, and of the student occupations of the 1980s. Reportback meetings in Athens and Salonica were massive-at the peak of the holiday season.

The Blairite government of Simitis has every reason to be worried. According to press reports, they are thinking about moving the 2003 European Union summit from Salonica to Mount Athos.

CATHERINA, KOSTAS and LEANDROS, Socialist Worker's sister paper, Greece


WE ARE a group of ten Norwegians who participated in the fantastic demonstrations against the G8.

A young man has been killed. People are arrested and teargassed without any reason. The press centre of the Genoa Social Forum has been attacked. Italy is a Western liberal democracy. When this kind of oppression can take place in Italy, what does it mean for our future basic rights?

MARI SUNDLI TVEIT and nine others, Norway

LIKE COUNTLESS other peaceful demonstrators in Genoa, I was taken away by the police and repeatedly kicked, punched and elbowed in the chest, hit in the kneecaps and groin with a baton, and burnt with a cigarette. The police dehumanise protesters. They don't consider us individuals but as having one fundamentally criminal personality.

As long as the state continues to give people power to control other people, then incidents like Genoa will continue.

JUSTIN SCHAMOTTA

AFTER WITNESSING the brutality of the Italian state in Genoa, we arrived at Victoria station-our affinity group still intact-and realised that the British police had monitored our journey.

Derek Bennett had just been shot by the police in Brixton, Andrew Kernan had been shot by the police in Liverpool, and a Wakefield man had received a totally unprovoked beating. None of the officers in any of these incidents have been suspended. Police forces worldwide appear to be prepared to use brutal force.

TERESA WALKER, East Yorkshire


World Bank in north London

A PACKED meeting of 150 parents, staff, governors and anti-privatisation campaigners in north London recently heard that the World Bank's website calls education 'the last frontier for profit'.

The meeting was called to oppose Camden council's New Labour inspired plans to put these words into action with a PFI scheme at Haverstock School. The council admits it has several million pounds in the bank. Private finance isn't needed.

The scheme will give the private company which takes over ownership of the school first priority in the education budget of the borough for the next 25 years.

The meeting was called by five of the trade unions involved, and voted unanimously to support any industrial action taken by staff at the school. This resistance, plus outcry in the local press, have split the Labour group on the council.

As a result the education committee meeting, which was lobbied by the campaign, has voted to defer a decision until September. The battle is far from over. By September they hope to force the PFI bid through a new undemocratic cabinet-style council. This might seem a small setback for the council, but it says something enormous. If we mobilise enough people we can win.

MADDY COOPER and CHARLES SAWYER, Central London


An example to be avoided

STEVE BELL (Letters, 4 August) says that Socialist Worker is over-critical of CWU general secretary Billy Hayes over events at NDO in north London. As NDO workers we think Socialist Worker was absolutely right.

NDO postal workers had a long campaign to save their office, including a public meeting, demonstration and strike ballot. We were all ready for a strike when we were told that Royal Mail had challenged the union in court. At first we heard Billy was going to stand up for us. Then came the news he was telling us to work.

Management couldn't believe their luck. NDO is now to close without a single day's action. Billy Hayes should at least have come to the picket line. He was elected because people thought he was different to the old leadership. Instead it was the same old repudiation of a strike, just a different signature.

Steve Bell says that if Billy had backed us the union would have been fined. The union is its members, not the fixtures, fittings and officers' fat salaries. A fine could have been met by wider strike action to get it dropped. Billy could have started his term of office with a great victory. Instead he has given us an example to avoid.

MARK DOLAN, ED HILL, PAUL MEDHURST and KEITH McINERNEY, North London


Praise for Brass Eye...

CHANNEL 4's Brass Eye was a brilliant satire of the news and documentary programmes which whip up hysteria over paedophilia, and revel in the lurid details of sexual abuse of children.

Jonathan Swift's classic 18th century satire, A Modest Proposal, which suggested that the Irish poor eat their children in order to prevent them becoming a burden on the British state, was condemned as morally obscene at the time. In fact, it was a brilliant attack on the disgusting attitudes of the British ruling class. Brass Eye should be defended on a similar basis.

MARK BROWN, Glasgow

BRASS EYE hilariously sent up the people who use soundbites rather than explanations for child sex abuse.

The most dangerous place for a child is in its own family. This is where the overwhelming amount of sexual abuse takes place-by adults known to the children. Attacks by strangers are extremely rare, though you would be hard pressed to learn this from either the media or the government.

GORDON JELLEY, Sheffield

WHEN INNOCENT paediatricians are persecuted purely because the name of their medical field 'sounds like' another word, it's time for us to take a long hard look at the irresponsible mob mentality reporting style of many tabloids, and the power the press has to incite and provoke hysteria.

This, I believe, was the real aim of Brass Eye, and well done to Channel 4 for such an innovative and challenging programme.

PETER WINSTAINTON, Carlisle


Inspiration

I ATTENDED the WOMAD festival in Reading two weeks ago. It was far more of a political inspiration than previous years. The festival was supported for the first time by Amnesty International, which collected 10,000 signatures in defence of refugees.

Some 700 listened intently to George Monbiot speak about globalisation and then, during the question and answer session, the majority of questions were about how to take the movement forward.

On the last night, Asian Dub Foundation played a new song in solidarity with Globalise Resistance, the Genoa Social Forum and all those who demonstrated in Genoa.

There was an eruption of cheers and clenched fists from the capacity 15,000 crowd. Who said hippies are boring?

MARVEN SCOTT, Leeds


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Article information

Letters
Sat 11 Aug 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1761
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