Socialists helped me beat my powerful college bosses
I work as a teaching assistant at the College Of North East London. I was unfairly dismissed on 22 November last year and reinstated 4 March 2013.
I was sacked on the Thursday. Immediately Jenny Sutton (local UCU rep and Socialist Workers Party member) told me we would be protesting the following Tuesday.
Truth be told, the words washed over me. I was in a spin.
I knew they were on a mission to dismiss me, but the reality of it was still sinking in.
Tuesday came quick. Jenny called me and said, “Dee get here quick as you can, your supporters need to see you!” I decided Jenny was exaggerating to get me motivated and in fact it would just be me and her.
I got 200 yards from the college and just stared down the road because I just couldn’t believe the amount of people. I could hear them clearly chanting, “Dee in, bullies out!”
It was pouring with rain, miserable and yet all these people shouted my name, demanding my reinstatement.
People that were coming towards me, shouting at me, “Dee we’re behind you. Fight them Dee, they’re out of order.”
A lump formed in my throat, I literally couldn’t speak to reply. I shook hands and addressed the crowd. Buses went past blowing their horns as did the dustbin truck.
After that there was no doubt in my mind that I would fight these abusers of power and teach them a good lesson on people power.
We hit the television, papers and radio.
During a live radio chat calls came flooding in, people were outraged and shared similar experiences late into the night.
I can’t over express the importance of working class people standing up and saying NO in these times of austerity. Until we do, the “haves” will continue to victimise the “have nots”.
Dee Topping, North London
The pope and dictatorship
The new pope wasn’t in the Hitler Youth like his predecessor, but information on his role in the last Argentinian dictatorship is easy to access.
This was a dictatorship which tortured, massacred and disappeared its citizens. And counted on the blessing of the Catholic church—which provided “moral support” and information.
Luckily the latest figures show that Argentinean society is identifying less and less with the rotten dogma of the Catholic church. The recent law allowing civil partnerships is a good example of this.
Juan Manuel Junca, East London
Referendums could be held on a number of key issues that affect people’s lives. But the recent referendum on the Falkland’s was petty and provocative.
The referendum was solely to make a cheap political point and the result was then waved in the face of Argentina.
In Britain the ruling class are attempting to use the issue to divert attention away from real domestic problems.
One wonders if the Falkland Islanders would be quite so keen to remain part of the UK if they were subjected to the bedroom tax, disability means testing and NHS cuts.
Nick Vinehill, Norfolk
Ukip organising anti-immigrant protest
The piece about the UK Independence Party (Ukip) in Troublemaker (Socialist Worker, 9 March) was very timely.
On 18 May, they have organised what is now to be a static protest against migrants, specifically Romanian and Bulgarian people.
It has been arranged by a woman who set up a Facebook group titled “Wisbech Immigration Matters”.
She is also the publicity officer for Ukip in the district and is standing as their candidate in this May’s county council elections.
I have heard strong rumours that the event will be supported by the Infidels and something called the East Anglian Patriotic Front.
They say they are not racist!
There is a “We Are Wisbech” group being organised by people in the area to counter their vile anti-immigrant poison.
Mitch Mitchell, Cambridgeshire
Estates in Sheffield are fighting back
We had a fantastic week on the Firth Park estate in Sheffield. We had a brilliant anti-bedroom tax meeting with around 40 people attending.
We heard very emotional and moving individual stories.
Alongside this tenants were adamant they would not tolerate any evictions from the estate and would collectively and physically defend anyone threatened with eviction.
The community has set up an email address and has drafted a petition which reads, “We will not tolerate any evictions on this estate, we call on the Tories to scrap the bedroom tax and for the council to refuse to evict people who don’t pay.”
Leafleting and a stall are being organised and a number of the tenants attended the Unite the Resistance regional conference on Saturday in Sheffield.
Northern Sheffield is seeing growing resistance to the cuts and to the bedroom tax in particular.
The next estate along from Firth Park is Burngreave and an anti-cuts group has called a meeting there too.
Gareth Lane, North Sheffield
Taste vs critique in art
I have to disagree with Greg Jones’s favourable review of Robert Rae’s 1926 miners’ strike film The Happy Lands. Of course, one’s opinion of a work of art is, to a significant degree, a question of subjective taste.
However, I have always agreed with Trotsky when he wrote that Marxists should appraise artworks primarily on the basis of the laws of art, rather than their explicit political sympathies.
Mark Brown, Glasgow
Women in struggle
As a feminist, I’ve always felt really proud when I see women at the front of struggles.
The Grunwick strike was an early example of this for me. But the pride deepened when I saw, how the women workers were supported by miners, union branches and socialists—both men and women.
We are indeed all in this together—fighting, organising, winning against every attack.
Emma Hall, North London
Being priced out of booze
There are few rows I hope Theresa May will win, but if the newspapers are to be believed she is to fight against a minimum price on alcohol.
I’m sure she’s using this to further undermine David Cameron. But in my opinion life is grim enough for working people, without being priced out of a well deserved drink!
Maria Ward, Leicester
Food scandal far from over
While the mainstream media seems to have moved on from the horsemeat scandal it is still far from resolved.
Just last week it emerged that pork was found in halal school dinners, and many of the recalled products are still on sale.
It’s a disgrace and shows contempt for ordinary people.
Jenny Martin, Bristol