Socialist Worker

They think people like us are just numbers

Issue No. 1870

DUE TO my husband being despicably treated at the hands of the TNT/Sony company he worked for, I am enclosing a copy of a letter I have sent to various appropriate people. I do not know if there is anything you can do, but I thought your readers should be aware of what tricks can be pulled on loyal employees.

'I am writing to express my disgust and outrage at the way my husband has been treated. 'When he was initially employed through an agency, you were told the extent of his qualifications and experience. 'He worked long hours, sometimes until midnight, enthusiastically performing his tasks so well he was constantly praised.

'He was verbally told that he was going to be made permanent sooner rather than later. 'It is despicable enough to be told that he was not wanted, but not to even be given a proper explanation?

'A second-hand message was received from the agency, as no one had the decency to tell him to his face. 'To wait until he went on holiday was unforgivable. 'We had the first nice holiday we have had for a very long time, in the past always going under a cloud because of the worries waiting on our return.

'We realise that people like us are just a number and are totally unimportant to the 'well set up and comfortably smug' and we are also painfully aware that, as things stand, we do not have any rights.

'To be sure life is going to improve at last and you can see your way clear to being financially stable again, only to have the rug pulled out from under you is devastating, but we would not expect you to understand. 'We are determined that we will not just be used. We do have feelings and, believe it or not, a modicum of intelligence.

'Even though we can do nothing about it, we are not going to stupidly accept this gross injustice without expressing strong views.'
Josephine Ansaldo-Nixon, Telford

A hollow victory

THE LIB Dem victory in Brent, won on a 36 percent turnout, reflected the electorate's view of Blair and New Labour more than anything else. They do not trust Blair-they rejected Rob Evans and Ken Livingstone's last minute appeal. Nor were they impressed by Tory Uma.

Now the electorate can put under the microscope the failed policies of the Lib Dems, who claimed they were anti-war but did not call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. As an Islington councillor, new MP Sarah Teather helped close, cut and privatise community services, being just as Tory as New Labour is.

We are more concerned in asking why 66 percent of the electorate did not vote. Many were confused over boundary changes. Even more were fed up with being let down at local and national level by Blair and Co. We in the Socialist Alliance will continue to work with all anti-war and anti-privatisation groups in fighting for peace and public services.
Alf Filer, press officer Brent East Socialist Alliance

Backing for Cairo

MY UNION branch, London Fire Authority Unison, has voted to send two delegates to the second Conference Against US Aggression in Cairo in December. We also agreed to send a letter of protest to Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, over the recent arrest of five anti-war activists.

Egypt is the second biggest recipient of US aid in the world, yet has a long record of vicious repression. Workers in Britain can show solidarity by sending delegations to Cairo.
Tony Phillips branch secretary, London Fire Authority Unison (personal capacity)

Cairo Conference Against US Aggression, 13-14 December. Go to

Don't treat us like we are sex objects

I WAS really alarmed when a male friend told me that on a night out someone had suggested going to a strip club. When he protested they said he was a loser and every proper man had to go to a strip club.

They said he was abnormal for never having visited a prostitute, as it was something you did with friends and didn't count as cheating on your girlfriend. What was most appalling was that these were all young men in their early twenties who had been to university and were in other respects relatively normal.

However, they seemed to have complete disrespect for women and saw nothing wrong with their actions. As an 18 year old, I think it's terrible that in a society where we're all supposedly equal, we have allowed people to slip back into the habit of being misogynistic.

Sexism appears to be on its way back into fashion. This is why we should try and stop it.
Sinead Kirwan, East London

Busting the BNP

A COUPLE of weeks ago I found out that the Nazi BNP were due to hold a public meeting in the beautiful multi-ethnic city of Bradford. Bradford's Tory council let them book a public room to spread their racist poison.

The outrage at the council's action was felt right across the labour movement. A campaign to stop the meeting was launched. I lodged a complaint on the council's website and was contacted by an Asian council worker who urged me to get everybody to phone up and protest. The meeting was cancelled as it was deemed to be illegally inciting racial hatred.
Angela Shann, Sheffield

Black police face Met racism

THE ATTEMPTED fit-up of top black police officer Ali Dazaei shows that, despite the rhetoric, institutional racism is alive and well in the Metropolitan Police. We were told after the Lawrence inquiry that the Met was to be 'anti-racist' and attract a flood of black officers. The Met said the Dazaei inquiry was a one-off they had to investigate. Yet Dazaei is just one of a number of officers in the Black Police Association (BPA) who have been effectively 'neutralised'.

Remember Sergeant Gurpal Virdi-accused of sending racist mail to himself? Cleared. What about BPA leader Leroy Logan-accused of fiddling expenses and subject to a million-pound investigation? Cleared. And another BPA leader, Tariq Gaffur, 'suspected' of corruption and put under surveillance? No evidence found. There is a campaign to smash the BPA and money is no object-the investigation on Dazaei has cost £7 million (so far).

If this is what the Met do to their own, what they are prepared to get up to against ordinary members of the black community?
Hassan Mahamdallie, London

Stop dead-end road bypass

AN 80-strong demonstration marched through Wigan town centre two Saturdays ago to protest at the New Labour council's plans to build a new road bypass. The council laid its plans days after the government announced its £7 billion roadbuilding scheme.

The march followed a recent meeting of 600 residents and an angry lobby of the council by 150 people. Campaigners say the road will not reduce congestion, but will cause pollution and damage people's health.
Dave Lowe, Wigan Socialist Alliance

Thailand will not be for sale

OVER 5,000 people joined the biggest demonstration Thailand has seen in recent years to mark the opening of the Cancun WTO conference. Farmers from across the country joined trade unionists, NGOs, and contingents from the rail, dockers, bus and other unions outside the US and European Union embassies.

Banners declared 'Thailand is not for sale', 'Workers against global capitalism' and 'World terrorist organisation'. Preparations are now under way to give a warm reception to George Bush when he visits the Thai capital next month.
Carmela Ozzi from Thailand

Put the case for asylum seekers

ON A Socialist Worker sale a single mum signed our petition. She was very angry with Blair, saying she was sick of him picking on single mothers. I added, 'And the refugees,' and we started a discussion. At first, she agreed with a friend who lived near an asylum seekers' detention centre and didn't want them here.

But after we talked about the rich getting us to blame asylum seekers instead of them, she bought Socialist Worker. If we hadn't talked, the only arguments she would have heard would have been hostile to refugees.
Paul Thatcher, Portsmouth

Disarming the war profiteers

WHILE THE arms fair was taking place in London's Docklands, anti-war campaigners and trade unionists in Camden held a lunchtime protest outside the headquarters of arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin. Local Unison and GMB/Apex banners were present, along with Stop the War Coalition banners.

Protesters had a petition signed by hundreds of people, but the company refused to accept it.
Liz Wheatley, Camden Stop the War Coalition

Socialist Worker speaks for me

I HAVE had no choice but to subscribe to Socialist Worker. It is the voice of the people and says we are heading for Vietnam mark two. We are paying a war tax. The money should be spent on education, hospitals, decent pay and pensions.
David MacDonald, Manchester Stop the War Coalition

In defence of British culture

THERE'S BEEN a recent trend amongst socialists to either smear British (especially English) identity as racist, or dismiss it as nonexistent and label us mongrels. We can have both St Patrick and St George, both chicken tikka masala and fish and chips, both Notting Hill Carnival and trooping the colour, both Ramadan and Christmas.

Or are you saying that in a multicultural Britain there's no place for British culture?
Andy Reade, Bristol

New generation opens its eyes

MY FATHER once told me, that the Spanish Civil war had been a great eye-opener for his generation. I believe Iraq has been for this one. We need to utilise all that energy and make sure that people-especially the young-see a wider context than opposition to the war.

For example, we should link the amount spent on the war to cuts in health, education, social security, etc.
Margaret Banks, by e-mail

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Sat 27 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1870
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