Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2410

Fascist violence is no excusefor attacking Polish migrants

I felt ashamed when I heard about a violent attack by a gang of fascists in Markfield Park, north London, on Saturday of last week. 

The reason is that they are from Poland. I’m a Polish worker living in north London. I feel sorry for all those hurt in the attack. It’s terrible that people can behave in such a disgraceful manner. 

I’m concerned that this unprovoked attack will serve as an excuse for a renewed assault on Polish and eastern European immigrants living in Britain. 

Those fascist thugs are of course  very noisy and visible. But I think it is important to say that they represent only the tiniest minority of Polish people. 

Remember the triumphant surge of far right and fascist parties in the recent European elections? 

The fascist movement in Poland gained less than 1 percent of all votes cast. And the fact that one of those attacked by the fascists in Markfield Park is Polish shows that Saturday’s confrontation was not about ethnic divisions. 

It was not about Poles attacking British people. That event marked a confrontation between fascists and anti-fascists, regardless of their national origin. 

I am an anti-fascist living in London. I took to the streets with Unite Against Fascism last year to oppose the English Defence League’s march down Whitehall. 

I stood up to Hungarian fascists, Jobbik, when they attempted to rally in London. In the same way I will vigorously oppose Polish fascists wherever they appear in London—especially in my own local community.

I will do that because I have adopted as my own words written by a Polish poet Julian Tuwim whilst exlied in London in 1944.

“I am a Pole—because my hatred of Polish fascists is greater than of fascists of other nationalities.”

Jacek Szymanski, North London 

We’re marching against homophobes

London Gay Pride took place last Saturday amid the hangover of the European elections, which saw unprecedented media coverage for the racist Ukip. 

The party’s leading members not only attack migrants, but have also attempted to blame recent flooding on gay marriage. They also condone the use of homophobic language and oppose gay people’s right to adopt children.

LGBT people have won hard-fought gains in the last 30 years. But we cannot be complacent and think that these new rights cannot be taken away by a rightward shift in politics. 

Gay Pride began as a protest against homophobia and bigotry, starting with the Stonewall riots on 28 June 1969. 

Today, we need to organise to make sure Pride remains a not-for-profit event. We must also make sure that it remains a protest and part of the fight for a society without racism, homophobia and austerity.

Ellie May, North London

Don’t defend Muslims by attacking Catholics 

The growth of Islamophobia, aided by the media and the political elite, is something all anti-racists and socialists should be trying to combat. 

However, while engaging in the fight to defend Muslims we should not pander to other prejudices. 

It is often said by people defending Muslims that the attention on Islam is unwarranted because the Catholic Church is worse. 

Of course, the Catholic Church is an authoritarian institution, and has often used its power to defend corruption and abuse. 

However, we should not forget that Catholics themselves once faced the same level of persecution and bigotry that Muslims now face. 

We should defend all religious groups from bigoted and ignorant attacks. 

Callum McCormick, Glasgow

Gerry was a fighter

Whenever Gerry Conlon visited the offices of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors he managed to lift everyone’s spirits and determination to keep fighting injustice.  

Gerry devoted his life to helping others facing similar injustice. 

He stood up for those cases that were unfashionable or unheard of such as Sam Hallam, Moazzam Begg, Shaker Aamer and Eddie Gilfoyle.

Last year he came from Belfast to London to speak at the first rally against legal aid cuts outside parliament. 

We must continue the fight for these campaigns and promote the Justice Alliance film for legal aid. See  

Matt Foot, North London 

An inspiring campaigner

I was one of the joyful hundreds that greeted Gerry Conlon on the day of his release. 

I was working opposite the Old Bailey and sneaked out of work early. 

The state was so embarrased, it even tried to deny the Guildford Four that reception and tried to usher them out the back door of the court.

But Conlon was having none of it. He marched out the front door, proclaiming his innocence and that of the Maguire Seven and the Birmingham Six.

He was an inspiring campaigner against injustice.

Pat Carmody, Oxford 

Protest news not parasites

I’ve not had a pay rise for five years and have a second job so couldn’t be on the march against austerity (Socialist Worker online).

I’m proud of the people who did. I wish the BBC would give you some media coverage. Instead we got the royal baby and his first steps last week!

Bridgey Rachael, on Facebook

Tory apology  is not enough

David Cameron’s apology after Andy Coulson’s guilty verdict is not nearly enough to reassure anyone about the quality of his judgement. 

How could he employ someone who had just resigned over allegations of phone hacking?

Husain Akhtar, Harrow

We know why Coulson hired

It beggars belief that Cameron wants us to believe that Andy Coulson wasn’t hired precisely because of his ruthless skills. 

The Tories wanted their own nasty version of the Blairite Alastair Campbell. Coulson was not hired because he’s nice. He was hired as a skilled rogue. 

Larry Iles, Eastbourne

Ed Miliband is shameful

Ed Miliband hang your head in shame. You’re supposed to be a Labour man (Socialist Worker online, Fury as Miliband bans young people from benefits). You are not going to get any votes with your stupid rules—and where are the jobs? 

Young people are penalised because you can’t get your facts right. 

Hazel Kerr, on Facebook

Our values are not theirs

“British values” are workers’ values and they are the same all over the world. The 10 July strike will show there is an alternative to austerity and it starts with working class solidarity.

Matty Flynn, email


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Article information

Tue 1 Jul 2014, 18:12 BST
Issue No. 2410
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