Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2303

Michael Lavalette (Pic: Smallman )

Michael Lavalette (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thanks for all your support, now let’s build the radical left

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and comrades from across the country who helped our recent election campaign in Preston.

Without the people who came and gave us their time or sent us money we would have struggled to take on the might of the Labour electoral machine.

We built our success on a vision of resolute opposition to cuts and austerity. We work for proper political representation for working people.

Wherever possible we are forging a united community and trade union resistance to the neoliberal onslaught.

We want to establish an immovable rock of popular resistance to the ConDem government and provide a glimpse of an alternative, better world built upon unity and solidarity within our communities.

We now have a responsibility to deliver! We have to show that socialist councillors can make a difference.

We have to be part of a process of establishing a bigger radical left in Preston and across the country.

Before I lost my seat last year we were running a campaign against poor housing conditions in the area. Unfortunately the council then dropped the issue. Of course we will now take it up again.

We are organising stalls and surgeries across the ward to listen to people’s issues.

Formal meetings are planned with the trades council and local voluntary sector organisations to see how we can best utilise a councillor’s position to help raise issues.

Also we have lined up a series of meetings as the Preston Independent Socialists Network, on subjects including threats to local jobs, fracking and the crisis in Syria.

The challenges are big—but we are facing them with confidence and determination.

Michael Lavalette, Independent socialist councillor, Preston

For gay marriage

We should welcome president Obama’s support for gay marriage. The campaign for gay marriage can help politicise LGBT people for a socialist cause.

However we should also point out that not all LGBT people want to marry.

Marriage is strongly bound up with the bourgeois conception of the family, which is a key source of LGBT oppression.

We will need more than equal rights laws if we are to stop the violence and suffering of LGBT people around the world.

We will need sexual liberation of society and to fight for socialist revolution.

Aidan Barlow, Warwick University

Don’t slam all the police

Your analysis of the police is too black and white. The police are an institution of the ruling class, but individual officers vary tremendously. Not all of them are reactionary.

Some want to protect our communities from the violent crime that is most likely to affect the poor and vulnerable.

Crime is largely a product of capitalism and once we move towards a socialist society, we will have no need for police.

But, in the meantime, we need to take a more nuanced view or risk putting off many working class people from the socialist cause.

Anna Lansley, Chichester

Only Labour could stop Tories in Southampton

Labour will run Southampton council for the first time in almost a decade following the local elections.

Unison and Unite union members campaigned for a Labour victory.

One of the chants on our many demonstrations during last year’s strikes was, “Cut our pay and lose your seat in May.”

This has happened.

Working with the new Labour council will not be easy, but it will be different from Royston Smith’s Conservatives.

TUSC’s decision to stand in Southampton was a tragedy. Its low vote demonstrates that trade unionists realised the only alternative to the Conservatives was Labour.

We will now campaign for the council to restore our pay, stop further privatisation and stop attacks on union organisation.

The result on 3 May was a great victory for trade unions in Southampton.

Mike Tucker, Branch secretary, Southampton Unison

How to ‘help’ the unemployed get a job

It’s hard enough being unemployed without the government’s attempts to “help” me.

A couple of weeks ago, an advisor asked me, “Were your parents in regular employment?” This is a not-so subtle way of asking if laziness runs in my family.

Last Saturday, along with 50 other unfortunates, I was summoned to the local dole office because a “suitable Olympic vacancy” had been found.

This turned out to be 1,000 offers of eight weeks work experience as a Docklands Light Railway Travel Ambassador employed by Serco.

For this you get your benefits plus £15 per day in vouchers (which I hear you can only spend on the products of one Olympic sponsor).

We were only informed that this was voluntary after I asked.

The facilitators also said that after the training “you would be able to walk into a job with TfL (Transport for London)”.

This will be news to the RMT union, which has been fighting hundreds of job losses at TfL.

We need to revive the fantastic anti-workfare protests that forced a retreat from Tesco and the Con Dems earlier this year.

Unemployed activist, East London

Women aren’t commodities

The rape of a teenage girl was reported in the Rochdale Observer on 9 May. The perpetrator was a local white man.

The ethnic origin doesn’t matter. The crime is exploiting vulnerable young women—or men—as sex objects. And the tabloids and the fascist BNP (remember their candidate saying “women really enjoy rape”) are both guilty of this.

John Murphy, Blackburn

Right block Obama’s plans

Gary Younge (Socialist Worker, 12 May) should have said that Republicans in Congress have done everything they can to stop legislation Obama supports. He has tried to get things done, but has been stymied by short sighted, selfish right wingers.

Larry Green, on Facebook

Markets or democracy?

I’m sick of hearing how “the markets” don’t like the result of elections across Europe. This austerity capitalism is officially incompatible with democracy.

Darren Taggart, on Facebook

New SW is eye catching

A big thumbs up for the new look Socialist Worker. I like its size and look. It certainly is eye catching. And it still challenges the offensive lies put out by the Sun.

Geoff Breeze, Southampton

Impressed by classic layout

The new Socialist Worker layout is a most welcome surprise—classic, international, good design.

Alan Rutherford, Free Range Book Design

Angry voice on the radio

Heard your man Charlie Kimber on the radio on our PCS picket line this morning. Brilliant! Angry, clear, factual, convincing.

David Ellison, by email

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Article information

Tue 15 May 2012, 16:57 BST
Issue No. 2303
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