Socialist Worker

Truth is out on the police

Issue No. 1876

ONE OF the officers suspended following the documentary on racism in the police worked at Chadderton Station in Oldham.

It was this police force who were responsible for the riots in Oldham in 2001, not local Asian people who Tony Blair condemned and who Blunkett called for exemplary sentences on.

I thought the police were supposed to protect you, but now I know this is not the case.

During the riots the Asian community here experienced first hand the brutality of the police force. The police failed to stop organised racists from attacking the Asian community. A gang of white youths attacked Asian homes and shops in my area. An elderly family, a pregnant woman and children were terrorised when the gang kicked in the front door, smashed windows and shouted racial abuse at them.

The family called the police for help. The police did not come for two days. A taxi driver across the road suffered a similar attack and again the police did not respond for two days. The Asian community were left to defend themselves and did. The police response to this was very different. There was a massive police mobilisation into Asian communities and the police were then aggressive towards the community, arresting a number of Asian men.

A lot of Asian people were shocked at the actions of the police but for others it confirmed what we already knew.

The racism doesn't stop with the police but is in the courts as well. Not only were more Asians arrested but they were also given harsher sentences than those whites charged with similar offences.

The community is angry with the police for their racism. If they had behaved properly they could have prevented the riots. They were responsible for the riots, not the Asian youth. Nobody seemed to listen to us, but now the truth is out. The police are corrupt and racist. Now maybe people will listen.

Blair and Blunkett lied about the war, but they also lied about riots and have encouraged the racists. We must stand together to oppose them.
A resident of Glodwick, Oldham

MANY PEOPLE are still shocked at the racist views of the police in the BBC programme The Secret Policeman. Anyone who says that racism is a thing of the past in the police force should think of those people in Bradford who are still being sentenced for the 2001 riot.

Last week one person was sent down for seven years. Almost every week for two years someone has been imprisoned.

The British state is deliberately using racism to stop people from getting involved in other protests.

The people who should be in the dock are the police and politicians who use racism to divide the movement.
Ateeq Siddique, Bradford

School disgrace of Diane Abbott

ALL SOCIALISTS are equal but some socialists are more equal than others.

Diane Abbott, member of the leftist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, has sent her son to a £10,000 a year private school in central London, safely away from the poor of Hackney who she is supposed to represent.

The hypocrisy stinks. If the local schools in Hackney are not good enough for her child, why should they be good enough for anyone's child? Shouldn't she, of all people, be sticking by her local state school and, if necessary, fighting to make it better?

Shouldn't she be defending and promoting comprehensive education?

Shouldn't she be siding with the majority of us parents in Hackney whose children do go to the local state school?

Diane Abbott has sided with and given succour to all those hand-wringing parents who send their children to anywhere but the local comprehensive, thereby helping to undermine the very basis of comprehensive education.

Does she feel shame? Just a few years ago a left wing Labour MP attacked Harriet Harman, then solicitor general, for choosing a privileged education highway (although not a private school) for her kids, saying that Harriet 'made the Labour Party look as if we do one thing and say another'. The MP's name? Diane Abbott.
Clare Fermont, Hackney

Saudi protest

A SECOND round of public demonstrations hit Saudi Arabia last week, only days after 150 people were arrested by the authorities as they attempted to join protests in the capital, Riyadh.

Although the numbers taking part in the protests were tiny, the political impact will be huge.

The corrupt and repressive Saudi monarchy is struggling to control rising discontent. Unemployment has skyrocketed.

Saudis have few ways to make their voices heard.

That now a small minority are prepared to come into the streets shows that even in Saudi Arabia winds of change are beginning to blow.
Anne Ashford, London

Liberals' stance against strikes

THE RADICALISM of the Liberal Democrats certainly stops when it comes to workers' struggles.

The party's trade spokesman, Malcolm Bruce, last week showed his true colours by attacking the postal workers' strikes.

He demanded that the New Labour government take firm action to 'tame the wildcat strikes' and that the government should be ready to 'impose' a process to end the dispute. Bruce's stance against strikes is not an aberration but is totally consistent with the party's rotten record on strikes and trade unions.

The Liberals voted for the Tory anti-union laws pushed through by Thatcher during the 1980s and 1990s.

And every time there has been a major trade union battle the Liberals have been on the wrong side.

They sided with the bosses and the government against the miners in the great 1984-5 strike.

They also sided with union-buster Rupert Murdoch when he smashed the print unions in 1986-7. Any trade unionists tempted to see the Liberals as the answer to New Labour's betrayals should be warned and remember this record.
David Welsh, London

Pensioners in strike threat

ON MONDAY of last week 20 or 30 Crawley pensioners, including several I'd never seen before, lobbied our Labour MP, handing her our resolution confirming that we intend a council tax strike unless the government takes action.

As usual she said she agrees with us, but it's easy to check that she votes with her government and against us on every issue. In the local press she is reported as saying that local income tax would fall heavily on the low paid, though I don't remember her saying that to us! The campaign is ready to spread.
Muriel Hirsch, Crawley

Evil empire is a reality

A LONG time ago, in a galaxy far far away, the evil empire was waging a terrible war against the poor people of the desolate sand planet Iraqanui.

Their brutal ruler, put in power by the empire to terrorise his people into submission, so that the empire could ruthlessly exploit the vast mineral resources of the planet, had gone rogue. He no longer did as he was told.

Meanwhile, all over the universe, people were rebelling against the poverty, child exploitation and ruthless destruction of their planets, meted out by rulers friendly to the empire to satisfy its insatiable greed.

As their evil imperialism spreads throughout the universe, the ordinary people of the empire's home system, NATO, are beginning to suspect the reality behind the lies. However, the dark force is very powerful. It instils a belief in ordinary people that resistance against the empire is unpatriotic.

How long will it be before the empire is defeated? The saga continues.
Roger Davis, Lincoln

Burning was an outrage

I AM sure everyone watching the recent programme about racism in the police force was shocked.

For decades members of the Irish and travelling communities have been on the receiving end of institutionalised racism, yet we hear little about their experiences in the main media outlets.

The recent burning of a gypsy caravan and effigies in East Sussex is no less than cross-burning carried out by the Ku Klux Klan in American states during black people's fight for civil rights. In Firle, Sussex, the burning of effigies was carried out shortly after the eviction of travellers from a local settlement.

We cannot allow travellers and Gypsies to stand alone in the face of this barbaric racism.
Terry Stewart, by e-mail

Shocking truth on TV

THE SLAVE trade was abolished in the early 19th century in Britain. But a brilliant BBC TV programme last Tuesday called Coolies: How Britain reinvented slavery showed how Britain forced indentured servants from India into effective slavery decades after formal abolition.

It showed how leading figures in the British establishment condoned this practice which cost hundreds of thousands of lives. We need more of this kind of real history on TV.
Lisa Ball, London

They really wind me up

THE OPPOSITION to wind farms in hilly rural areas angers me.

Some well-heeled people seem more concerned with the view from their holiday cottages or second homes being marred by a wind turbine than with the future of the planet.

For one thing the turbines are quite elegant and not an eyesore. The government, on this one issue, is right.
Sharon Marlin, Manchester

Support this nuclear strike?

TRADE UNION members at the Sellafield nuclear plant might strike.

I support trade unions and workers fighting for their rights. I am totally against nuclear power and think the safest thing would be to shut all nuclear facilities.

So what should we make of the strike at Sellafield? Any answers (preferably simple)?
A reader

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Article information

Sat 8 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1876
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