Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2318

Marikana massacre reminds me of apartheid

The massacre of the 34 miners at Marikana in South Africa has exposed the evil nature of the police. The darkness of the soul of the police force has been laid bare.

It has been many years since the discovery of the “precious” minerals that have become the backbone of our economy. South Africa is now a powerhouse that was built on the lives of many miners.

On a daily basis, these workers are forced to risk their lives to make the capitalists rich. How could we not have seen this coming?

Capitalism is a leech that has embedded itself deep within our social fibre. Each day it sucks on the blood of our people.

When I look at the current situation of the striking miners, it reminds me of the heydey of apartheid. The people fought against soldiers in armoured cars, while our weapons were stones. In 1946 about nine African miners were killed by police.

I would like to say that every politician in the country is accountable for their deaths. My fellow South Africans must open their eyes and realise it is no longer about colour. It’s funny, as I wonder how the people who cried at the film “Blood Diamond” feel about this?

And I believe the Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega does not have legitimacy to lead the police. She is implicated in this mess. General Phiyega must resign immediately. Otherwise many more protesters will be killed by police.

When Lenin defined the 21 conditions for being a Communist Party, he argued that it was a duty to stand with those striking and fighting against oppression and exploitation. That’s why everyone should support the Marikana miners’ strike.

Thabang Mokoena-Maseki, Mdantsane, South Africa

Let’s take on Atos

I have to go to my Atos review in a fortnight’s time and I am absolutely guaranteed to be thrown off my benefits.

I have many physical ailments including a double hernia which my doctor does not want to operate on because I’m 61. I note that Iain Duncan Smith lied. He stated that nobody over the age of 60 would be assessed.

Let’s have a proper protest. Protest at every Atos branch. Apparently their staff turnover is 23.5 percent. They must be sickened by what they have to do.

John Tupman, Lancashire

Tragedy of drowning

There have been several articles in the press about athletes seeking asylum after the London 2012 Olympic Games. The reality is most people don’t even make it that far.

Somalian runner Samia Yusuf Omar participated in the Beijing Olympics. She died in April when the boat she took from Libya to Italy sank.

Stories like this are tragically common. Some 170 people have drowned this year trying to get into “Fortress Europe”. But this is rarely picked up by the British press despite their obsession with asylum. The racist press and governments don’t see these people’s deaths as significant.

Kym M, Birmingham

Social work boss gets cash while we get cuts

Some 50 years ago this month I started as a child care officer with a local authority. Its chief officer earned no more than three times the salary of ordinary social workers.

David Crawford, head of Glasgow’s social work department, is leaving his post with a lump sum of £130,000 and a huge pension. Top posts now mean personal enrichment at a time when many frontline staff are on low incomes.

Given that Crawford is clearly concerned about poverty and inequality, I hope he will attend the annual meeting of the Social Work Action Network.

This organisation will debate how social work and other social services can counter the huge cuts being imposed on them.

Bob Holman, Glasgow

No miracle recovery in Iceland

Iceland is being held up by the IMF as a model of economic recovery from the crisis. It’s said to have “made creditors to the banks pay while protecting the welfare state”.

It’s true that unemployment has fallen to under 5 percent, but after the crash in 2008, 1 percent of the population left. The equivalent would be 600,000 leaving Britain.

Rents have rocketed while pensions have been slashed. Workplaces are closing and families with children are getting clothes from the Red Cross.

Nobody should have any illusions that austerity in Iceland is gentle and doesn’t hurt. There has been no miracle recovery in Iceland. Ordinary people are paying for it.

Sarah Ensor, east London

Laughing at Tory numbers

I was interested to read in Socialist Worker that the current Tory party membership figure is 130,000.

If this is true then they are smaller than the Young Conservative membership they boasted of in the 1960s!

John Appleyard, West Yorkshire

Shop Gary Barlow!

I read your article on your most-wanted tax dodgers. Why don’t you submit this evidence to HM Customs? We know they have a hotline for benefit fraud, so they must have one for tax evasion. It would be interesting to read their response.

J Doyle, Coventry

We must get rid of this coalition

The Coalition has some explaining to do. George Osborne has no plan, Michael Gove couldn’t correct 25 spelling mistakes in his education bill and Iain Duncan Smith is attacking disabled people.

Theresa May lied about a cat stopping someone from being deported. And there’s more. We’ve elected the wolf to babysit Little Red Riding Hood.

Dave Putson, south east London

Job Centre Plus not fit for purpose

I agree with your review of the Dispatches episode about the dole, but Job Centre Plus needs to be criticised.

It tries to do too much, and there aren’t enough specialist staff. And having worked with JCP a lot, I can tell you the poor work ethic is still alive and well.

Steve CK, Manchester

Rolls Royce disgrace

So the East Kilbride Rolls Royce factory is closing down. I remember that factory from when I was a child. This is outrageous!

Craig Davis, via Facebook

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Article information

Tue 28 Aug 2012, 16:56 BST
Issue No. 2318
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