The Left must unite at Radical Independence conference
Activists from all over Scotland are set to converge on Glasgow this Saturday for the Radical Independence Campaign (Ric) conference.
The conference could not be more timely.
Milliband, Cameron and Clegg had hoped that the referendum would settle the question of independence once and for all.
But a recent polls has shown that independence now has the backing of 52 percent of people in Scotland.
The “winners” of the vote, the Labour Party, is in disarray.
The Labour establishment show they have learned nothing by backing arch-Blairite Jim Murphy to lead them in Scotland.
Meanwhile, the membership of the Scottish National Party (SNP) has more than trebled in size.
But the SNP’s rhetoric is often more militant than its practice. This means that many of these new members will be disappointed.
In the past few weeks, SNP-led Dundee Council has pushed through an £8 million package of cuts.
That’s why one key discussion at Saturday’s conference will be how we build a left electoral challenge to both Labour and the SNP.
It’s crucial that the starting point for that discussion is not the squabbles and divisions of the Scottish left a decade ago, but the grassroots movement that almost broke the British state.
However, we can’t wait for the elections to begin the fightback.
Last week Glasgow Association of Mental Health was told by Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council that it could face cuts of 40 percent to its budget. It is one of the biggest mental health service providers in Scotland.
A decision by Ric to support the campaign to resist these cuts could provide a focus for the movement.
We need to generate a challenge to austerity, giving hope to workers and service users throughout Britain.
Iain Ferguson, Glasgow
Geldof is no saviour
Bob Geldof is re-recording Do They Know It’s Christmas to tackle Ebola.
In Liberia there are only two doctors and 27 nurses for every 100,000 people.
But charity doesn’t challenge the system that allows Ebola to spread.
The situation in Liberia is the result of neoliberalism.
Geldof ignores this. In 2007 he was given an honorary degree by Newcastle University for his role in Make Poverty History. The award was handed to him by Tory politician Chris Patten.
The only way to stop Ebola is to fight for a world where healthcare is available to everyone.
Cam Tsang, West London
We’re still marching
it’s a shame that the National Union of Students has pulled out of the free education national demo planned for Wednesday of this week.
This means that my student’s union at the University of Wolverhampton isn’t organising transport.
But a lot of students here come from working class backgrounds.
And a lot of us are still angry at the government over the rise in tuition fees.
That’s why I’m still going down to London to march with others.
We need a national demo for students who want to fight back.
Shaz Islam, Wolverhampton
Catalan movement can bring change
Catalans from all over the world recently took part in a referendum on independence, including more than 3,000 in London. Some 81 percent voted for independence.
But the referendum was not legally binding on the Spanish government.
The independence movement swelled after 2010. Courts had annulled some articles from the new Catalan Statute that the people had voted for.
The attitude of the Spanish government has resulted in increasing demand for more powers for Catalonia. The right wing Catalan government is trying to capitalise on the massive independence protests.
But they are losing support as more people look to other pro independence parties.
Corruption in Spain, alongside the economic crisis and the Occupy movement has pushed people to question the state and the social and economic system.
The media wants to portray the Catalan government as the driving force behind this.
But millions of people are raising questions about what kind of society we want to live in. This is a process that revolutionaries can intervene in.
Rafel Sanchis, East London
Lobby in support of the Freedom Riders on trial
The South Yorkshire Freedom Riders have been fighting for nine months against cuts to travel passes for disabled and older people.
Large numbers have been involved in the campaign and there has been massive support in the community.
We have already forced the powers that be to reinstate free travel for disabled people and bring in a half-price train fare for older people.
Earlier this year, George Arthur and I were arrested on a protest at Sheffield train station.
We face trial at Sheffield Magistrates Court on Monday 8th December, on charges of obstruction and fare evasion.
There will be a lobby outside the court, starting at 8.45am.
Everyone who believes in the right of older people and disabled people to be part of our communities should try to get there.
Tony Nuttall, Barnsley
Greedy MPs fuel Ukip’s rise
like the majority of the public, I am sickened by the destruction of documents related to MPs’ expenses.
I’m not up on my politics, but the continual betrayal from politicians is very dangerous.
It could mean there will be a lot of “spite voters” looking to vote for the likes of Ukip.
Rob, by email
Setting the facts straight
In Socialist Worker (1 November) the following typo appears, “5.5 billion people in Britain claim both in and out of work benefits.”
This equates to more than half the world’s population.
For readers’ interest, the world’s population is 7.125 billion.
Jamie Rankin, France
Cheering the 1989 revolts
Benji Cienfuegos is wrong to lament the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite states as a defeat for socialism (Letters, 8 November).
By 1989 these were tyrannies built on the corpse of the Russian Revolution.
The Socialist Workers Party has always identified socialism with the self-emancipation of the working class.
In kicking Stalinism into the dustbin of history the workers of the Eastern Bloc did a service to workers everywhere.
Sasha Simic, East London
Sanctioned and starving
The YMCA revealed recently that it referred 5,000 young people to food banks last year.
It said that the rise in benefit sanctions was the main reason for what it called a “significant increase” in the number of people falling into food poverty.
This is just another example of how Tory cuts and austerity are pushing people to the brink of starvation.
And the Tories haven’t even rolled out all of their cuts yet.
Mary Peters, East London