Don’t let up the pressure on Labour over bedroom tax
The anger and determination of local campaigns against the hated bedroom tax is continuing to put pressure on politicians.
Disabled people led the way on Tuesday of last week, among over 100 tenants and trade unionists who crammed into parliament for a lobby. It was held ahead of an MPs’ debate on the bedroom tax, called by Labour.
The National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation was also key to the turnout.
Since the bedroom tax came into effect in April this year, 660,000 households have been affected.
Because people are unable to afford to pay the bedroom tax and been forced to move, blocks of flats containing two and three bedrooms are being torn down.
Meanwhile Britain faces a real housing crisis. These flats could house so many families in desperate need of a home. It makes no sense.
It was good that Labour called the debate, but if they expected congratulations and an easy media stunt out of it then they were disappointed.
Anger was loud and clear not only against the Tories and Liberal Democrats, but also directed at Labour too.
In particular Labour was challenged over its position on welfare reform and its failure to adopt a national no evictions policy for Labour councils.
But the strength and determination of local campaigns has driven Labour to commit to abolishing the bedroom tax if they get elected in 2015.
And the majority of the public are opposed to it—but we need to fight to axe the tax now.
Only 14 MPs need to change their vote to put an end to the shame of the bedroom tax and start unravelling all the vicious benefit cuts.
Activists and trade unionists have to keep up the pressure to force them into action.
Paula Peters, Bromley Benefit Justice Campaign
Enough is enough
I want to encourage all party branches to hold a Say It Loud! book launch.
Leicester SWP had a fantastic meeting with Socialist Worker journalist Ken Olende, and a great turnout.
Cyrlene Braithwaite from the Enough is Enough! campaign against police harassment of young black people came to the meeting and said she was really impressed.
Cyrlene invited us to have a book and paper stall at the Enough is Enough! campaign.
The meeting proved there is a real hunger to fight this rotten system.
Sally Skyrme, Leicester
Atos fight continues
I wrote to Socialist Worker in July about how my friend and I had beaten Atos (Socialist Worker, 30 July).
While I was appealing the original Atos decision, I was put on Employment Support Allowance. But this only lasts a year, and the year is now up.
Now I’ve just had my benefits stopped.
I’ve been told to apply for Personal Independence Payments but the forms are so long—40 pages plus a 12 page instruction booklet. I understand why people give up.
I am certainly going to be reassessed by Atos, but my solicitor friend insists he is coming too—which suits me.
John Tupman, Darwen, Lancashire
We must continue the fight against fascism
I was moved so much by the reports of the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) trip to Auschwitz that I had to share them with others.
I’m a teacher at a large multicultural school in Camden, and I asked the head if I could lead our school assembly of 900 students by reading the UAF reports out.
The students were absolutely silent as they listened. I finished by saying that the fight against fascism continues in places like Greece and how other groups are, to this day, being persecuted because of their religion, race or culture.
Never again should this horror ever happen and it was up to us to make sure of this.
Afterwards, a number of teachers and students told me how inspired they were and also how important it is that we never forget.
It certainly made everyone think about the world we live in.
Julie Mukherjee, North London
A stimulating lesson in fighting racism
I’m a history teacher in north London and I started buying Socialist Worker during Black History Month.
I teach history to GCSE and A level students and I found the articles throughout Black History Month very stimulating for both my students and myself.
They were very useful during lessons, and the article on the Civil Rights movement (Socialist Worker, 5 October) made it clear to us how relevant the fight against racism still is today.
I found the articles also opened up for us very motivating discussions in the classroom around socialism.
I’m still buying Socialist Worker even though Black History Month is finished, it’s a really good read. You just don’t get the same articles in any other paper.
Annie Morgan, East London
Has Labour lost the plot?
Here in Leeds allotment plotholders face a 400 percent rent rise as the Labour council jacks up prices to implement the Tory cuts.
We’ve had a meeting of people from the sites to organise opposition.
Have any other readers come across similar attacks or had experience of defending allotments?
Steve Johnston, Leeds
Vote yes—but fight for rights
There is nothing automatic about workers regaining their rights if Scotland gets independece.
Alex Salmond’s demands for Grangemouth workers to give up their rights highlights this.
One key demand we put forward when supporting a Yes vote is that the Tory anti-trade union laws are dropped.
But the way to get workers’ rights is shown by the Glasgow care workers who took unofficial strike action.
The class struggle remains central.
Chris Newlove, Edinburgh
They just don’t understand
Barack Obama isn’t alone in giving out the same false idea that we’re running out of money.
We hear these kind of comments all the time from politicians.
Is it possible that politicians themselves, don’t understand the economic systems they are supposed to be in charge of?
Peter Martin, Westhoughton, Bolton
Support the firefighters
I visited firefighters’ picket lines as they struck four times against Tory attacks on their pensions.
The mood was brilliant, now the union needs to call more action so they can win!
Dee Lowes, by email
The firefighters deserve every support we can give them.
Ansir Ali, on Facebook