After Scottish referendum - we need to unite against austerity
The independence referendum in Scotland produced a grassroots movement for change—it was, and still is, about campaigning for social justice.
Many Yes voters were grieving after the result and looking for direction, and the Hope Over Fear rally in Glasgow provided that. More and more No voters feel betrayed and angry, particularly at the Labour Party.
The “vow” of more powers looks increasingly hollow, Scotland’s budget is to be cut and the banks who argued independence would threaten jobs are now axing thousands of them.
I’ve always voted Scottish National Party (SNP)—I believe in self determination—but I’m a socialist. In Scotland there is a debate about the elections and what we do. The SNP is not a left party but I think has some left policies.
We need an alliance of the pro independence parties to come together around a common platform for the general election. To get a left movement able to stand in time will be difficult but it is worth fighting for.
But no matter what, we have to continue to build where we are and get organised in our communities. People need to realise their own power and oppose the divide and rule from the top.
This lot think they have the right to rule over us. They try and divide us by attacking immigrants—refusing to rescue the refugees drowning at sea is a damned disgrace. We should help people.
And they attack “benefit cheats” but what about their tax dodging? If the government collected the tax there would be no need for any cuts.
We need to join together, north and south of the border we are facing the same things.
Wherever we are we should fight their austerity. It’s time for the left to put their differences aside—it’s too fragmented and it needs to unite.
If we can build a people’s movement in Scotland and unite so many different people then the parties can do it too.
Sharon Anderson, Lanarkshire
Social, not biological, reasons for drug use
Lib Dem minister Norman Baker claims drugs should be treated as a health issue, while David Cameron said he did not believe in decriminalisation.
Socialists should support decriminalisation, as laws tend to be used only against poor working class drug users and low level dealers. The rich are able to use cocaine, for example, with very little chance of being prosecuted.
Drug addiction is not caused by biological factors but social ones, namely alienation.
Psychoactive substances have been used as long as humans have been around.
But capitalism distorts this relationship with nature, creating a need to escape reality more often while turning the means of our escape into a commodity to be sold back to us.
Joe Redmond, Cardiff
The market exacerbates Africa's Ebola crisis
In his article on Ebola (Socialist Worker, 18 October) Ken Olende mentions that Africa remains a net creditor to the rest of the world.
More should be made of this important point.
Africa is often seen as a net debtor but in fact its foreign assets are larger than its debts.
Its foreign debt equals £175 billion compared to the exodus of £700 billion in wealth transferred abroad.
So Africa is actually a net creditor to the West.
But its assets are in private bank accounts while the liabilities are to be paid by the African poor.
At the same time the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have enforced neoliberal market reforms as a condition of receiving aid.
An example would be the privatisation of health care that ensures that much of state spending ends up in private hands rather than improving the standard of public health services.
This explains the inability of countries such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to respond effectively to the Ebola epidemic.
Bridget Parsons, Birmingham
Stop racist clampdown
The plan by Kingston University to monitor non-European Union students' attendance in class (Socialist Worker, 1 November) is an attempt to turn lecturers into an arm of the state.
Our lecturers are there to help us intellectually develop, not to act as border police.
Students from outside the EU aren’t some nuisance that has to be surveilled—they’re our classmates and our friends.
At Kingston, our students’ union has agreed to build solidarity with the lecturers’ union UCU’s call for a boycott of the new monitoring system.
This is the type of campaigning that can beat back the racist clampdown on campus.
Hamza Sharif, Kingston University
Don't sow confusion on union laws
Socialist Worker (25 October) claimed that unofficial strikes are illegal but that where there has been mass industrial action “no workers were jailed or lost their jobs”.
But unofficial strikes are not illegal so there is no possibility of strikers being jailed.
Unfair dismissal law differentiates between official strikers and unofficial strikers, but that is a separate matter.
Socialist Worker should not sow further confusion by making out the law to be even worse than it actually is.
Dave Lyddon, Staffordshire
Lax care rules beggar belief
Another piece of excellent reporting (Socialist Worker, 1 November) about lax new care home rules.
It beggars belief and is a recipe for disaster.
How can anyone on that parliamentary committee pass such regulations?
Wouldn’t they want the highest standards and stringent regulations if one of their own was in care? I know I would.
There is no place for “lax” rules. This will only open the door for more failings in care.
Theresa Rollinson, Doncaster
One war ends, another starts
So British forces are finally leaving Afghanistan. As if they would have stayed one day without the US.
The “mission” is over. Thousands and thousands of Afghans are dead, injured and the wreckage of a society they say they went to mend.
At least they’ve got another war now. Where would we be without another war?
Geoff Beer, Kent
I’ve given up on Labour
I am 62 years old and was a T&G union rep for five years.
I had given up, really. I’ve always been a socialist but am fed up with the wishy washy union stance and the now “middle of the road” Labour Party stance in British politics.
So now I give my time and experience to the Socialist Workers Party.
Paul Harris, on Facebook
Miners still inspire a fight
Some 250 people watched the Miners’ Strike film, Still The Enemy Within, in Barnsley recently. It got a great response.
A Care UK steward spoke before the film and a collection was held.
There was also a lively Q&A with Joyce Shepherd of Thorne Women Against Pit Closures, and producers Owen Gower and Mike Simons.
Dave Gibson, Barnsley