Hull should be both a city of culture—and of resistance
Kingston-Upon-Hull’s success at being named “City of Culture 2017” brings welcome attention for an area neglected by the establishment for years.
Hull has a proud cultural history—many working class bands have formed in the city, including The Housemartins and Everything but the Girl in the 1980s, and more recently The Paddingtons.
The Freedom Festival attracts thousands of people every September and has teamed up with organisations like Love Music Hate Racism.
The city also refused entry to King Charles I during the English Civil War. Hull the only city in Britain not to hold any street parties celebrating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding.
Instead local activists held anti-wedding parties.
But Hull is also the area where most pay-day loans are taken out.
Companies such as Wonga prey on the people of Hull and see the City of Culture as an opportunity to boost their business.
This isn’t surprising as jobless figures show Hull is one of the hardest hit areas by recent recessions. And cut after cut is forced on the city by the Tories and local government.
Even the city’s premier league football team, Hull City is sponsored by Cash Converters.
We also have gentrification to worry about which may seem odd when economists recently suggested Hull should be forgotten because it is “too decayed”.
But as one lecturer at the university joked about the City of Culture award, to a room full of his colleagues, “This is great news for home owners, we’ll finally see house prices rise!”
Cameron and his cronies pretend that the award will alleviate the city’s poverty. But there’s no government investment attached to it and attacks on jobs and homes continue.
The events in 2017 will bring welcome entertainment to the city but Hull needs to rediscover its radical working class strength.
Josh Hollands, Hull
Don’t let bigots organise in our union
We passed a motion through our student union that will mean anti-abortion groups cannot campaign at union events last week.
This was an important step for our student union.
Since the Tories came to power we’ve seen a ramping up of sexism generally and of campaigning activities by anti-choice groups.
The Tory anti-woman rhetoric has given them the confidence to do
this. These attacks on a woman’s right to choose go hand in hand with the ideological attack on women’s place in society.
These organisations pressurise and intimidate vulnerable women, and would send women back to the days of back-alley abortions and coathangers.
This motion was about being clear that these groups are not welcome to campaign in our union.
Nilufer Erdem and Fran Manning, Kingston University
Solidarity with left wing lawyers in Turkey
nine members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD) in Turkey were arrested and 13 other lawyers were also charged in January this year.
The first hearing of the trial against CHD members will be held from 24 to 26 December.
Our colleagues are detained because they are lawyers for the opposition and disadvantaged people.
We are determined to defend them.
Please join us for the first hearing to support our colleagues.
The day before the hearing opens a briefing will be given in English for our colleagues from different countries.
For more information go to bit.ly/1cgPBX5 and sign our petition at chn.ge/17XwCBF
Serife Ceren Uysal, Progressive Lawyers Association, Turkey
Defend us bargees too
Bargee travellers are being attacked by the navigation authorities who blame us for all the wrongs of the waterways.
Oxford city council has blamed anti-social behaviour and “illegal” mooring on Bargee Travellers. It is trying to take over ownership of river and canalside land so that they can kick Bargee Travellers out of the area.
If you see any anti-Bargee Traveller statements, challenge them as you would do with any other anti-working class statements.
And send any bad press against bargee travellers to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can try to counter it.
Marcus Trower, National Bargee Travellers Association committee member
Thanks for solidarity
Socialist Worker’s headline, Roma are welcome here, (23 November) is heartening.
The assault upon Romani people across Europe is driving hatred and racism to extraordinary heights.
We’ve faced allegations about child stealing, accusations of anti-social behaviour, being criminals and illegal residents in Britain.
As fuel is added to the fire of prejudice and racism against Roma, Gypsies and Travellers there are fewer and fewer voices raised in our support.
Thanks for being one of those voices.
Adrian Richard Marsh, on Facebook
Young people need a haven
Ar Caladh in Glasgow, Scotland’s only young people’s rehab service is set to close in January.
Ar Caladh, meaning safe haven, has been a life saving service for many young people where they receive support, detox, learn and plan their next moves.
It will be a great shame if we lose it.
Name withheld, Glasgow
Challenging Ukip by post
Ukip supporters in Swindon continually write letters of hate towards migrants to the local paper.
Several readers like myself wrote in to challenge their views. They wrote back to call me prejudiced. Hypocrisy or what!
Martin Webb, Swindon
Reaching a new audience
There has been a lot of discussion about using the internet for debating between socialists.
How about changing the emphasis to getting socialist politics across to a newer, wider audience.
The internet won’t be the main way we win people over, but it can play a part.
Phil Webster, Lancashire
Another tax fiddle for rich
Gun dogs are exempt from VAT on dog food. This is just another perk for the rich landowner.
It may not raise much income if VAT exemption was dropped, but rich people’s dogs should be treated the same as those in food poverty!
Kennedy was changing
John F Kennedy was bad (Socialist Worker, 23 November), but he changed his mind on Vietnam and wanted to pull out.
He got hit for trying to end the Fed, which is an unaudited, unaccountable banking cartel owned by private interests.
Laurisa Fine, on Facebook