Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2320

Walthamstow march was a sweet victory

The demonstration in Walthamstow against the racist English Defence League (EDL) last week was magnificent. I have lived in the area for five years. I’m parent to a 12 year old boy who goes to school around the corner from the town hall—where the EDL tried to rally.

Like most local residents, we were outraged that the fascists were trying to march through the streets where we live and socialise. We were determined to march to stop them.

It was an incredible experience to march alongside people we see every day and to collectively defend and celebrate our population in our streets.

The demo was a real slice of Walthamstow—multiracial and inclusive. We met neighbours, teachers, friends, school friends and local workers all marching to reject the EDL’s Nazi politics.

At the main junction of Bell Corner we sat down and blocked the route of the EDL march. It was inspiring to see black, Asian and white people of all ages refusing to move—banners and placards waving, chanting.

Later the police tried to get the EDL to their rally by diverting their march through side streets. Hundreds of us broke through police lines down a side street and rushed to the rally site.

We stopped the EDL getting there. I stood with Asian teenagers and a Polish family as we jeered the EDL’s leaders waiting in vain for their march to arrive.

We talked about Walthamstow’s multiracial nature and how much we all loved it. The contrast with the 200 thugs who remained trapped in a side street could not have been greater.

We are back to daily routines and school this week, but the news is spreading and people in Walthamstow have their heads held high. Victory is very sweet.

Megan Trudell, Walthamstow, east London

Dundee cops’ collusion with the racists

Dundee’s protest against the racist Scottish Defence League (SDL) last Saturday highlighted a level of collusion between the SDL and the police that should be more widely known.

In the run-up to the event the police had made repeated efforts to secure a section of City Square for the SDL. They claimed that if the SDL were not given part of the square then public order would be threatened.

When they failed, the police took the decision to allow the SDL as close to City Square as they could. This was a clear provocation. The police ignored SDL members who gave fascist salutes in our city centre.

They also put the local Muslim population under enormous pressure over the past three months not to attend the Dundee Together Against Racism & Fascism/Unite Against Fascism event. The Fire Brigades Union and local mosques are to lodge complaints.

Our slogans remain: Never Again! No Pasaran! They shall not pass! If the SDL try to march in Dundee again we know who we can rely upon to keep our streets Nazi free. It will not be the Tayside police.

Peter Allison, Dundee UAF

Labour makes a difference in Southampton

On behalf of the Southampton District Branch of Unison, I would like to thank Socialist Worker for the coverage and support you gave us during our strikes last year.

Yet the article in last week’s Socialist Worker contained important inaccuracies. The full details of a recent proposed settlement are on our branch website.

  • The April 2012 strike was called off because of lack of support from union members, not because of any pressure from the national union leadership.

  • The annual leave that is being lost was only given to reduce the effects of the pay cuts. Annual leave is returning to what it was before the pay cuts were imposed.

  • Those earning less than £17,000 (full time equivalent) are getting 11 months back pay of an increment.

No other council that has imposed pay cuts is planning to restore them. It is our strike action that helped to remove from office the Conservative council and led to a Labour council being elected.

It is a Labour council that is restoring our pay. There is a difference between a council run by Labour and one run by Conservatives.

The Conservatives and the local newspaper are trying to mount a campaign against the proposed settlement. Socialist Worker should not be seen to join their campaign.

Mike Tucker, Southampton Unison

Atos isn’t only problem with the benefit tests

As we campaign against Atos, we should remember that it’s not just the privatisation of benefit tests that’s the problem—it’s the tests themselves.

They began in 1995 with the introduction of the points-based all work test with the then-new incapacity benefit, which replaced invalidity benefit.

At first these tests were run in-house. Then in 2000 the tests were outsourced to IT firm Sema. From there a series of takeovers has led to Atos.

These tests, and the rigid bureaucratic process they are part of, are generally inadequate at capturing a claimant’s conditions.

We should not just scrap the privatisation of these tests. We need to get rid of all “mechanical medicals”, whether run by or on behalf of the DWP, as their basic aim is to cut benefits. Instead we should demand they trust the judgement of independent healthcare professionals.

Paul Murphy, east London

A card short of a full deck

David Cameron’s reshuffle must have been difficult, even for a posh card sharp. After all, in his pack there were many more jokers than aces.

Derek Hanlin, Porth

Battle was a turning point

The Battle of Omdurman marked a historic turning point in relations between Africa and the European invaders. Until the late 19th century Africans were regularly able to defeat European armies. A popular uprising had led to the British retreat from Sudan.

It was the invention of an effective machine gun, the Maxim gun, that tipped the balance. As the poet Hilaire Belloc wrote in 1898: “Whatever happens we have got/The Maxim gun and they have not.”

Andy Wynne, Leicester

Well done in east London

Great outcome against the EDL in Walthamstow! Well done to all the anti-Nazi protesters!

Mary Dixon on Facebook

Tories won’t give us a job

Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn writes that there is no intent from the government to rob the “genuinely” disabled.

Why then is the government’s new definition of “fitness to work” based on criteria that no employer will recognise when recruiting staff? And that includes the government’s own departments.

P Couch, Plymouth

Can he fix it? No he can’t

David Cameron’s government seems to have mistaken the children’s TV series Bob the Builder as a blueprint for a credible economic policy.

Sasha Simic, east London

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Article information

Tue 11 Sep 2012, 15:58 BST
Issue No. 2320
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