Palestinians need solidarity against Israel’s crimes
I recently came back from Palestine, volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and the Marmara Housing Project.
Ken Olende’s article (Socialist Worker 24 August) on the Israeli and Palestinian peace talks and US interests rightly says these talks are not about peace—or Palestine. The Palestinian authority (PA) only control small areas, and they have been complicit with Israeli policies. This leaves them with virtually no political weight.
Israel on the other hand, has the most sophisticated weapons and secret intelligence bodies. It has an Orwellian surveillance of Palestine and one third of all US international aid donations.
The two-state solution has been dead for a long time. The struggle for Palestinian freedom is a struggle against imperialism regionally and worldwide.
This is why the Palestinian cause is so important.
Internationals are not saviours, neither will we free Palestine. But our presence can de-escalate state brutality and many Palestinian organisations need volunteers and international activists.
I got involved in a Palestinian-led housing project to rebuild houses that have been demolished by the army near Hebron. One of the friends we made bears the scar of being shot after working too close to Israel’s dividing wall.
I wonder whether Mohammed and Jamal aged four and six who saw their home materialising will manage to grow up exempt from this brutal repression.
The coordinators of the project are certain the army will come to demolish the house but we are prepared.
This family won’t be kicked out like the last time. People are ready to act. We can stop ethnic cleansing through steadfast resistance.
Alberto Torres, London
We are the power!
Where is the power? (Letters 24 August) Where are better work conditions and wages?
These are questions I used to hear from my colleagues.
I got a job in a fresh meat company when I was 19 years old. Those first few months were the hardest of my life. There was harassment, bullying, and favouritism used against employees.
We didn’t know our rights and suffered from stress or even depression until Unite union organisers helped us get organised.
We met off site after work in a cafe or at the Unite office on Sundays. We organised a collective grievance and got representatives elected on site—I was one of them.
We negotiated extra time on top of union duties to attend all inductions of new workers to introduce Unite. Now we have reached 80 percent union membership. We spend most of the union duties time with members and support them in disciplinaries.
We talk to agency workers as they may soon be employed permanently as well.
For three years now we have been able to negotiate canteen prices, company transport prices, better paid overtime and health and safety.
Most importantly our wages have increased three times.
It is not easy but we proved we can win. If we can stand and fight, everyone can!
Name Withheld, Essex
Scotland’s cops copy Met’s stop and search
Figures show a huge increase in police use of stop and search in Scotland.
This has got worse since April when local forces merged into the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
In Strathclyde region last year a third more stop and searches were used than by London’s Met police!
A leaked email told officers that “no returns on stop and search was unacceptable”. Chief constable Stephen House, formerly of the Met, said it was a misunderstanding.
The SPA claims it has meant less violent crime but it alienates young people without touching the root causes of crime—poverty and unemployment.
Concerns about racial profiling were also raised at a recent Unite Against Fascism meeting.
There is a feeling that the notorious tactics of the Met are being imported into Scotland and this needs to be resisted.
Margaret Woods, Glasgow
Our unofficial walkout beat the bosses
Comrades, thank you for your coverage and support of the recent unofficial industrial action at Royal Mail Peterborough (Socialist Worker 6, 13 & 20 July).
The action by the delivery office followed a false allegation against the CWU representative.
The Mail Centre, Distribution and Collection participated in the action because it was a direct attack on the trade union. The company has set unrealistic demands on its staff.
Refusing to be bullied, CWU members in Peterborough Delivery Office were becoming too big a hurdle for the company.
To break the members resolve they made fictitious claims against the union rep to remove him. They did not expect these actions to galvanise the membership.
As you have also reported, there are similar budgetary issues in Bridgwater and Weston-Super-Mare.
On the 14 August members in Skegness Delivery Office also took unofficial industrial action as a direct result of unrealistic performance targets linked to cost.
A post worker, Peterborough
A new attack on the left?
The Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill restricts the spending of “every organisation which seeks to influence public opinion, in the 12 months before the General Election”.
If this is accurate surely this will have massive effect on left organisations. Has the SWP been affected by this new Bill?
C Witter, Lancaster
All migrants welcome here
The fans’ group at FC United football club in Manchester is making banners for the demonstration at the Tory party conference next month.
We’ll say “Immigrants are welcome—Tories out”.
We want to make it such an event that the Tories will go away for good.
Chris Ayton, Manchester
When should we boycott?
Socialist Worker claims “The Russian LGBT Forum is against a boycott” of the 2014 Winter Olympics (13 August).
A forum spokesperson said, “Sportsmen can go to the ceremony with a rainbow flag in support of Russian LGBT. It would be very valuable”.
This is not against a boycott, rather a symptom that calling for a boycott could be very dangerous for LGBT activists in Russia.
Nick Gill, Bristol
What kind of technology?
Good to see an excellent article on climate change (Socialist Worker, 17August).
But the conclusion that “we already possess the technologies to stop and even reverse such warming” sounds like an endorsement of geo-engineering cures that will almost certainly be worse than the disease.
Only socialism can rationally allocate resources that will address climate change.
Mike McGrath, Leeds