Cash will keep our voice loud
FOR YEARS Socialist Worker has been the best and most informative paper around. It needs our financial support.
I have been a reader of the paper for 30 years. In that time I have seen Thatcher steamroller people and not give a damn about the devastation caused by her actions.
Today, three years after we celebrated the fall of the Tories, people are again sick and tired of the government.
Over these 30 years, with all the advances in technology, I look around and still see people struggling to pay rents, buy food and clothes for their children, etc. At the same time there are some people able to buy cars at �200,000 each.
It is a heaven for a tiny minority, hell for the vast majority. My father has always voted Labour. He fought in the last war against the Nazis, worked hard all his life and brought up seven children.
Now he is living only on his state pension, too old at 75 to be of any use to the capitalist machine.
Socialists care about people like him. We want human beings to be able to grow to their full potential.
Socialist Worker helps you feel confident when you read about successful strikes and demonstrations. It reveals the hidden agendas of governments and multinational corporations.
It gives you whole lists of arguments you would never read in the national press. The paper is our voice. Let's keep it loud.
- FRANK SAWYER, North London
Save those helped students after Tiananmen
THE SU family from Dukinfield in Greater Manchester have won another reprieve in their fight against deportation. The Home Office has granted a further temporary extension while it considers the case in light of the Human Rights Act.
Su Lian Hu was involved in helping students escape China following the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
The family claimed asylum in the UK but were refused. John Mayes, headteacher at Astley High School, has taken an "over my dead body" approach if the police or immigration officers try to remove Miao Hong or Jing Hong from the school.
He is supported by Dai Williams, headteacher at Lyndhurst Primary School, which Zhao Hong attends.
The campaign to stop the deportation of the Su family has attracted favourable articles in the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times Educational Supplement, on Sky News and Radio 4, as well as in the local press.
The home secretary is fully aware of the level of support and should use his power of discretion to allow the family to stay with their friends.
- TONY OPENSHAW, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
MANY COMRADES in east London will be shocked and saddened by the death of local historian Howard Bloch.
Howard was the local history librarian in Stratford Library, Newham, until his redundancy five years ago. Despite a 2,000-strong petition, a one-day strike and a demonstration to save his job, the council made the cut.
Howard wrote a number of books about the East End and the docks. He also wrote about the history of the Jews in the area, and did pioneering work on the history of the black and Asian workers in East London.
Howard was a committed anti-racist and always drew the lessons from the past as a means to learn about the present.
For a large number of people who he helped in their research and studies, Howard was an inspiration and a teacher in making many of us learn history which firmly put the working class as the agency of their own change.
Howard was a gay Jewish man who relentlessly stood up for the real history of not just east London, but for all working class history. It is a savage indictment of the economics of Blair and Brown that their policies result in the social and financial worries which can overwhelm a person of Howard's calibre.
- DANNY BUDZAK
Not a paper union
IN ANOTHER sign of how the times are changing, editorial staff at RBI, one of the country's biggest magazine publishers, have voted 312 to 15 for the NUJ union to negotiate their pay and basic conditions.
The magnificent victory follows a series of similar ones at local newspapers across the country.
All of these votes are a kick in the teeth for the politicians and commentators who for years told us that trade unions were a thing of the past. They are further proof that significant numbers of people are sick of being pushed around by managements whose only concern is the bottom line.
However, winning the ballot is only the beginning. We have a battle ahead to make the union something more than just a paper gain.
- JOURNALIST, East London
There's life after Labour in Newark
FOR NEARLY two years the Newark branch of the Labour Party has been suspended. Recently about 20 members of the labour movement who live around Newark met for the first time to discuss the way forward, with the idea to form a new discussion/action group in Newark.
Present at this meeting were Labour Party members and ex-members, a couple of independent councillors and a member of the SWP.
A wide range of discussion took place and people were very interested in the ideas of the Socialist Alliance. A couple of people are going over to the Alliance public launch rally in Nottingham.
At the moment this new group is calling itself the Newark Reform Group and can be found on the web at www.members.tripod.com/newark_left/
- FLOYD MAJOR, Nottinghamshire
Stick to class
IT WAS with great disappointment that I read Kevin Ovenden's reactionary article "Pushed To The Very Bottom" (Socialist Worker, 11 November). For one moment I thought that I was reading a column in the Guardian or even the Sun.
He talks of "racial stereotyping", stating that teachers place "black" pupils in lower sets purely on a racial basis. Has he ever stopped and thought that this is the racist stereotyping he accuses the 350,000 teachers in the British Isles of doing?
Pupils in certain subjects are set. This is done purely on the basis of attainment, not "race". Try teaching maths, science, English or French to a mix of pupils whose reading ages range from six years to 16 years.
At our school (an inner city, multicultural, under-funded technical school) such subjects are set. Yet my colleagues and I teach humanities in mixed ability groups, and we take pride in doing this.
On the topic of "schools failing black children"-what racist claptrap! Just like the Daily Mail, Socialist Worker holds teachers to account for all of society's ills!
Educational achievement has as much to do with class expectations, media influence and family background.
Working class white boys are also underachieving. How does your argument address their plight?
Concentrate on class politics.
Malkiat's victory lesson for Dudley
WHAT JOY to read that Malkiat Bilku has won back her job at Hillingdon Hospital. For five years she fought to win her job and other fellow workers' jobs back. All those who helped the campaign can never forget Malkiat's determination.
The first set of private employers of these hospital domestics went bust, and then the Granada group took the contract. This is a massive multinational and it is very satisfying to see Malkiat beat them.
If the trade union leaders had really put their effort behind this group of Asian women workers the win would have come quicker. This is a lesson for the Dudley strikers.
- ROGER COX, West London
- FALKLAND Islands: 2,000 people (and a lot of penguins) get a British taskforce sent to "defend them" and restore their right to live in the land of their birth.
Diego Garcia [an island in the Indian Ocean]: 4,000 people suffer decades of exile and, even after a British court upholds their rights, the British government refuses to let them return home.
Am I missing something here?
- ANN CHRISTINA, South London
- I WAS interested to read about the attempts by the News International Staff Association to gain recognition as an "independent union".
This would mean they could get government money in addition to the help they receive from the bosses.
We should beware of the danger of such bodies which pose as unions. They have included the GCHQ Staff Association (whose accommodation was provided by the employer), the Retirement Homes Staff Association and others.
- D SHEPHERD, North London
- I OBJECT to the individualistic concept of privatisation because it
undermines national interests and all our futures are eroded by it. In the past governments presided over important assets such as the rail, coal and steel.
These were run down so that it appeared popular to hand them over to private interests.
The same process has begun in the National Health Service. If the state provision works well then there is no room for a private company. So in order to make profits private firms have an interest in failure.
- READER, Margate