Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2413

Let’s organise together and take the fightback forward

After the public sector strike demonstration in Liverpool on 10 July, we held an open mic meeting to discuss “Where do we go from here?”

It was a really popular idea, and officials from lots of the unions taking part said they would support it and tell their members.

In the end only the firefighters’ FBU union did. I wish we had made leaflets to give out. But it spread through word of mouth. So workers from the tax office, school cleaners and teachers came too.

There was no top table so everyone got to speak. There were some good general comments about solidarity, about marching together and striking together.

Firefighters and cleaners got to talk to each other about what their workplaces are like. I mentioned Unite the Resistance, and had its materials out on a table.

There was a real sense that more communication and organising should be done across the different union branches.

I counted 43 people—so it was smaller than a similar meeting in 2011. If we do get more strikes in the autumn we’ll try building it a bit more.

But everyone found it useful, and it wasn’t difficult to organise. Perhaps it’s worth trying initiatives like this in other cities too.

Mark O’Brien, Merseyside


After the 10 July strike rally, I went to a Unite the Resistance (UTR) meeting in Sheffield. 

There were over 40 people there the majority of whom were trade union activists.

When we’d finished our samosas and had a drink we heard from Care UK strikers about their dispute. We collected £120 for them.

Members of various unions attended the meeting, many had not been to previous UTR meetings. Union members agreed that there was a need for a further meeting to coordinate activity and keep the pressure up for action in the autumn.

Jay Williams, Sheffield

Taxing the rich won’t make them leave

Simon Basketter’s excellent article Corrupt Capital (Socialist Worker, 5 July) exposes the argument that if you tax the rich they will all flee the country. 

It also undermines the idea that if you don’t accept cuts in your working conditions then we will up stumps and move abroad.

Physically moving a factory or office and training new staff is very difficult. 

Moreover, the pool of common purpose in which the bosses and the establishment figures swim is very important for the survival of their operations. 

To move from one country to another would leave them floundering outside these networks of influence.

However, it is not the populating of the state by personnel with a “common purpose” that makes the state capitalist.

Replacing these people with others would not change the state’s nature. 

Simon argues, “The state relies on companies to provide a viable economy to uphold its vast bureaucracy.” But that also works the other way around. 

It is this loop relationship that determines the capitalist nature of the state.

Graham, West London

We need more than a few women ministers

There has been talk of a “Rise of Women” as, four years into parliament, the Tories have had an unexpected cabinet reshuffle. 

They have replaced five of the 28 ministers with women.

However, the reshuffle has been described as a posse of line-dancers—indeed the partners have been changed but the routine remains the same. 

Is this the Tories’ way of apologising to women for having suffered disproportionately to men under austerity measures? 

Or is this their way of preparing a maternal air within the cabinet before further truths of child abuse are unfolded? 

Either way, this “Rise of Women” is simply too little, too late to cause any real change in the electorate’s opinion of the Tory party.

Abbie Manning, University of Sussex 

Bear joke let us down

I didn’t go to Eton or anywhere remotely similar, but I was disappointed to see the Troublemaker item that joked about the death of a teenager from Eton.  (Socialist Worker, 12 July)

The scorn heaped on Socialist Worker by the Telegraph and Daily Mail is utter hypocrisy given their support for Israel’s murder of children in Gaza. But our story was still insensitive. 

Let’s get our paper heard for what we’re right to be proud of it for—as the voice of the million and a half who struck on 10 July, those resisting imperialism in Gaza and Egypt, and opposing austerity and oppression across the globe.

Helen Salmon, Birmingham

A lack of humanity 

Horatio Chapple, the Eton school boy referred to in Troublemaker (Socialist Worker, 12 July), may well have lived a privileged life and been destined to continue in that vein. But he was on a school trip, not on the barricades fighting to defend class privileges. 

We can ignore the outrage expressed by the Daily Mail and other right wing newspapers which is hypocritical in the extreme.  

Owen Jones, advocate of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, may well be only trying to score points against the Socialist Workers Party.

But the Troublemaker article lacked the humanity usually associated with Socialist Worker with its fine record.

Ken Muller and Sheila McGregor, East London

Blame bosses not the opera

Over the years I have enjoyed productions of both Opera North and Red Ladder theatre group in Leeds.

So when it comes to art funding I don’t see any benefit in playing one off against the other (Letters, 12 July).

Our venom should be aimed at the cuts which are making it impossible for community groups. 

John Appleyard, Yorkshire

Glad to see Gove gone 

As a teacher I’m relieved at Gove’s demise. His educational reforms have made life more difficult for teachers, which in turn has damaged the education of our students. That should be his epitaph.

Joe Cowley, South London

We need free trains for all

I hear that the successful Freedom Rides in South Yorkshire are being taken up in other parts of the country. 

Just imagine, what if all public transport were free at the point of use? Our carbon emissions would drop dramatically and health would improve. 

Ian Wallace, Sheffield  

Bullfighting is still brutal 

I find it revolting that the Pamplona bullfighting “festival” is still being covered by the media as an almost normal cultural activity.

It belongs in the trash can of history, along with bear baiting, hare coursing and dog fighting. 

John Fitzgerald, Kilkenny, Ireland 

Boycott fossil fuel firms 

With international leaders failing to agree on binding limits to greenhouse gas emissions, popular support for divestment from fossil fuel firms is essential.

The World Council of Churches’ decision to pull all its investments from the fossil fuel corporations was a major advance. 

Richard Payne, East London

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Tue 22 Jul 2014, 17:30 BST
Issue No. 2413
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