As long as we don’t have justice our riots are justified
As we watch the mass protests spread across the US, in Ferguson and beyond much of the commentary focuses on property damage, not the issues fuelling the protests.
Some people are arguing that it’s right to protest, but wrong to riot.
They said the same about Tottenham in north London after the police killed Mark Duggan in 2011—Mark’s killing also sparked riots much further afield.
But I don’t agree with these arguments.
In the face of relentless injustice, riots are not only understandable. They’re entirely justified.
Those who condemn the so-called criminality should remind themselves who the real looters are
They are the bankers who robbed us and continue to get away with theft on a vast scale.
And still not one single police officer has been sent down, in Britain or the US, for the murder of a black person.
If there hadn’t been riots who would know the story of Michael Brown or Mark Duggan aside from their families and friends?
Riots guarantee that the world sees our communities and our class raging against injustice.
We should not just be resigning ourselves towards it as an unchangeable fact of life.
Riots can be necessary but they are not enough.
There can be no peace without justice, but no justice without our side getting organised to demand and win it.
I have marched in Tottenham for Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, Roger Sylvester and Mark Duggan, all killed by the police and state. That’s four deaths too many.
We need to organise for real change so that no one needs to march again.
Jenny Sutton, Parliamentary candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the Tottenham constituency, north London
Fighting for real solidarity for Palestine
Kingston University students passed a “Freedom for Palestine” motion in an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) earlier this month.
But executive officers at Kingston University Student Union (KUSU) ignored the decision.
Members of Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS) collected the 500 signatures needed to call the meeting.
KUSU then held the meeting in a venue five miles away from the main campus. We believe this was an attempt to ensure it was poorly attended.
Despite this our motion, which demanded that the university boycott companies that benefit from the illegal occupation, was passed with a 96 percent majority.
But the executive later amended the motion to replace this with a commitment to raise money for charities.
Palestinians need solidarity, not charity.
The EGM vote shows students overwhelmingly support a boycott. The actions of KUSU executive fly in the face of this.
Kingston SWSS will continue to fight alongside others on campus for real solidarity with the Palestinians.
Hamza Sharif, Kingston University
Cameron and pals are taking us all for a ride
David Cameron called the failing economy, “red warning lights… flashing on the dashboard”. Its engine, capitalism, has been breaking down for years.
The car is driven by a gang of joyriders. They are drunk with power, and have never bothered to learn how to drive.
While Cameron poses at the wheel and Osborne snaps off the handbrake, a banker in the foot well forces the bonus accelerator to the floor, egged on by back seat fat cats.
The car hurtles towards the cliffs in a cloud of toxic exhaust fumes, while the dashboard lights warn of engine explosion.
The struggling family which owns the car and paid for all the petrol, are trapped in the boot.
The family should seize back the car, and replace the expensive, dirty and unreliable engine with an efficient one matching their needs.
John Moore, Nottingham
Root out employment agencies
In Fenland, Cambridgeshire, employment agencies have grown like weeds in a garden.
Most factories there now have a majority of their workforce supplied by agencies. They are used by big business to lower factory workers’ wages, usually to no more than the minimum wage.
Some workers supplied by agencies are only guaranteed one day’s work a week. Others are on zero hours contracts.
Agency workers are difficult to organise into trade unions. However, unions are recruiting them.
Workers should be directly employed by the factories that they work in.
It is time to put all employment agencies out of business.
John Smithee, Cambridgeshire
A note on shift work
The otherwise excellent article on shift work (Socialist Worker, 22 November) was missing two important aspects.
Working Time Regulations provide some limits to night shift hours for most occupations. There are also particular rules on drivers’ hours.
There was also no mention of trade unions, which are workers’ main protection where the employer recognises them.
Whatever laws there are, we need strong unions.
Such issues can give a focus around which to organise.
Dave Lyddon, Keele
Just a thought ...
Leave Tower Hamlets alone
The government’s attack on east London schools (Socialist Worker, 29 November) is part of a larger attack on Tower Hamlets.
It must be related to the irrational attempts to take over a successful local council by a government that doesn’t like their political leanings.
Karen Kennedy, Facebook
Ofsted should support kids
What gives schools watchdog Ofsted the right to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives?
Ofsted should support and guide schools.
Instead, figures are massaged, teachers bullied, and children get a raw deal all because there are “standards” to be reached.
Child-centred learning should be top of the agenda, with Ofsted helping to achieve the goals.
Iftikhar Ahmad, Facebook
Black Friday rips us all off
Black Friday shows how much money these multinational corporations must make.
Even when they give 50 percent off they still make a profit.
Yet they pay the workers just enough so that we have to keep coming back to work the next day.
Mike Dixon, Newcastle
No such thing as race
But it fell into the trap of colluding with the notion that the world’s population can be classified into ‘races’.
This is a myth that stereotypes groups of people as though they all share certain characteristics.
Hence he refers to “racial differences”.
When we attempt to define “race”, we expose the assumptions underlying the term.
Jim Nottage, Greece