Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2262

Visteon strikes again

Visteon, the Ford daughter company formed in 2000, used KPMG to close three plants in the UK with only a few minutes notice in 2009. It only paid redundancy money after workers occupied the factories in Basildon, Enfield and Belfast for six weeks.

Visteon is moving once more—this time against workers in their Spanish plant in Cadiz.

Visteon has announced the closure of the factory—and that it will be moving work to China in 2012.

The move will make 450 workers in Cadiz redundant.

The plant was run by Ford. Management and ownership of the plant were passed to Visteon in preparation of the closure.

Ford uses Visteon as a chopping block, to avoid bad publicity.

In Europe, closure and redundancy is seen as normal business. There are further threats to Ford /Visteon plants in Germany and France.

Colleagues in Cadiz are fighting hard.

A visit this week by Visteon “hit man” Steve Gawne was met with passionate demonstrations requiring police protection for him.

The workers are rightly laying blame at Ford’s door for corrupt practices.

As the Unite union takes Ford to court in Britain, the Cadiz workers will involve their government and European representatives.

The ex-Visteon workers and pensioners in Britain will provide full support in solidarity with Cadiz, including joining their picket line.

Gwyn Bailey, Visteon Pension Action Group

Murdoch’s press hated Genoa

How fitting that in the week of the tenth anniversary of the Genoa protests (Socialist Worker, 23 July) the cracks in Rupert Murdoch’s empire have got so wide they threaten to engulf it.

At the time of the protests and in the days following, Murdoch’s media were at the forefront of turning the truth on its head.

Ruling class politicians and their apologists queued up to use Murdoch’s TV stations and papers to spout their version of events and heap abuse on those who had dared to question their world order.

Those of us who had attended the protests were at best cleaning our clothes of the stench of teargas.

Or at worst Carlo Giuliani was being laid to rest and others were being treated for wounds suffered at the hands of the forces of the state.

Perhaps, to paraphrase Leon Trotsky’s statement about Joseph Stalin, “The revenge of history is greater than that of the head of News International.”

We can but hope. 

Jon Tennison, London

Disabled demand dignity

The recent Supreme Court judgment regarding disabled woman Elaine MacDonald, forcing her to rely on incontinence pads when she is not incontinent, cannot go unchallenged.

As disabled people we say this decision is disgraceful.

The only judge with experience of social care disagreed with the judgment.

We agree with Lady Hale.

We are not talking about disabled people having luxuries—the support in question is support to people to meet basic human needs.

We believe there are a multitude of risks to disabled people’s well-being through such a policy, including risk of secondary infection, mental health deterioration and further risk from forced immobility.

We all fear disabled and older people’s dignity and opportunities to live as equal citizens can only be further sacrificed by such council cuts and the apparent lack of commitment to disabled people’s equality.

After contributing years of waged and unwaged work, looking after other people and ourselves, we are all entitled to free, high-quality services. 

Disabled people are not second class citizens.

We all support Elaine and all disabled and older people to have the same choices and quality of life as non-disabled people.

Action Disability,
Kensington & Chelsea,
Disabled People Against Cuts,
Islington Disabled People Against Cuts,
Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts,
Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts,
Disabled People Against Cuts North East,
Social Work Action Network,
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities),
Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Care Charging,
Black Triangle Campaign in Defence of Disabled Claimants
To sign the letter email a href='mailto:[email protected]'>[email protected]

Badger cull isn’t good science—just cheap

The government’s plan for a badger cull to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) among cattle shows that the Tories won’t allow science to stand in the way of a half baked, cost cutting scheme.

A 2007 Defra report led by former government chief scientific advisor David King found that, far from reducing incidences of bovine TB, these limited culls could actually make the situation much worse.

The culls would eliminate healthy badgers that could then be replaced by the surviving infected ones. This process of “perturbation” would see the disease spread to new farms and new herds.

Even worse, the Tories are advocating the cull be carried out via shooting—because getting farmers to shoot badgers as they see fit is cheaper than a systematic programme of trapping and testing.

This will inevitably mean many healthy badgers will be shot, worsening the problems of perturbation.

The solution to the very minor problem of bovine TB is to improve animal husbandry methods and to invest in vaccination schemes for badger populations.

But the profit-generating priorities of capitalist agriculture and the Tories’ slash-and-burn economic policies stand in the way of such sensible solutions.

Jonny Jones, East London

White migrant workers and racism

Yuri Prasad (Socialist Worker, 9 July) makes some interesting comments on the history of racism, including the origins of the word “slave” in “Slav”.

According to Prasad, eastern Europeans were the chief source of slavery in western Europe between the tenth and 16th centuries.

It is indicative of the perverse nature of capitalism that it racialises various groups depending on the drive for profit at various historical periods.

Eastern European migrant workers are now subject to racist abuse in ways that are similar to that experienced by Asian, black and other minority ethnic groups from the end of Second World War onwards. This would have been unimaginable 30 or 40 years ago.

But racism directed at people with “white” skin is not confined to present-day Polish and other eastern European workers.

Indeed, what I call “non-colour-coded racism” has a long history in Britain.

This has included, both historically and in the present, antisemitism, anti‑Gypsy Roma and Traveller racism and Islamophobia.

Mike Cole, Brighton

Solidarity floats!

The coastguards in Swansea are disgracefully threatened with closure and all the people who work there will lose their jobs.

We have been campaigning against all job losses in the city and started a petition to save the coastguards. People were queuing up to sign it in the city centre.

Buoyed by the solidarity shown, I went down to the coastguard’s centre on Tuesday of last week to show the workers the support they had.

I’ve never been welcomed into a workplace so warmly.

As we chatted about the petition I realised that Britain’s head coastguard was on a visit and was listening in—he looked pretty surprised to see how much support the workers had!

They sent a PCS union representative to the trades council later in the week and we’ve had a message of support from coastguards in Liverpool who are also facing cuts.

We’re now discussing a march as part of the campaign.

Fred Fitton, Swansea

Hypocrisy of the elite

Who decided that the pornographer Richard Desmond, owner of the racist Daily Express and Daily Star, was a “fit and proper person” to take over the crappy Channel 5 TV station?

The Daily Star ran a poll which revealed

96 percent of their readers support the racist English Defence League forming a political party.

This presupposes that 96 percent of Star buyers can read.

Mitch Mitchell, Cambridgeshire

Watergate and today

Simon Basketter’s excellent piece on Watergate and the News of the World scandal (Socialist Worker, 23 July) serves to remind us of the rot at the heart of the system.

Murdoch once said, “You tell the bloody politicians whatever they want to hear and if they decide what you said was not what they wanted to hear, you don’t worry about it”.

Christopher Hird, one of the few journalists who investigated Murdoch, once said, “Murdoch’s companies see it as a challenge to avoid paying taxes.

“They are a different class of people who want to rule the world and they don’t want to pay us for the privilege.”

Now Murdoch’s ability to move capital internationally is coming back to haunt him, we can say “Gotcha”, with relish!

Paul Sillett, London

Not political, revolutionary

I write in response to Siân Ruddick’s article on Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (Socialist Worker, 23 July).

I think revolutionary art means that within the history and practice of the visual arts artists should strive to find new ways of expression.

They should challenge the form as well as the content of artistic practice.

Thus it is logically possible for revolutionary artists not to be politically revolutionary or even socialist. Kahlo more than Rivera shone a light on previously unexplored visions and themes, but in a very small range of work.

Both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are over-rated as artists by socialists, often simply because of their acquaintance with Leon Trotsky or their subject matter.

Nick Grant, West London

Where is Egypt going?

I hope the revolution in Egypt won’t reach a stalemate. The new cabinet and other changes might help the situation. But drastic change is needed.

I quite liked the author’s argument (Socialist Worker, 19 July), but it will be interesting to see how it pans out with the benefit of hindsight.

Michelle, Essex

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Article information

Tue 26 Jul 2011, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2262
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