Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2438

Integration not segregation makes LGBT-friendly schools

The way to make schools LGBT friendly is integration, not segregation.

Children learn about difference from their experiences and by who surrounds them. Students in multicultural areas have a greater understanding as they are surrounded by people of different faiths, disabilities, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Young people understand oppression—we educate them about human rights and discrimination. They find it utterly ludicrous that black and white people were segregated and women were not able to vote. 

Education is key to eradicating all forms of discrimination. 

The proposed Manchester LGBT school has the good intention of creating a safe space for LGBT people. 

However, a school for LGBT students is not the solution. Segregating students who are perceived to be different only serves to make them the victim. The solution is to make all schools LGBT-friendly. 

Giving all teachers, staff and parents the confidence, training and resources to change ingrained attitudes can make positive institutional change. 

The root of the problem is lack of education around LGBT law, people and history in our schools. 

Bullying is the end product of ignorance and invisibility. 

Educate and Celebrate makes LGBT-friendly schools by delivering training to staff, updating policies, creating resources for an LGBT-inclusive curriculum, increasing visibility in the environment and engaging the community in events. 

All our schools can be safe-spaces for everyone through adopting an LGBT-inclusive curriculum. 

We know the answer is integration, when a teacher reports from their school “a real sense of solidarity, a mutual goal and being part of something bigger” after receiving training.


Pensioners’ Manifesto for the general election 

Britain’s pensioners are not to blame for the crisis. Young and old share concerns over affordable housing, low incomes and retirement ages.

But growing older is a real challenge. Our state pension is among the least adequate in the developed world. Last winter over 30,000 pensioners died from the cold.

At the General Election we will call on candidates to support our Pensioners’ Manifesto (see for an unedited version): 

  • A basic state pension for all, set above the poverty level of £175 a week 
  • Pensions to be linked to the best out of the RPI or CPI inflation rates, earnings, or 2.5 percent
  • Universal pensioner benefits to be maintained without means-testing
  • A National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use
  • A legally binding Dignity Code to improve the quality and standards of care

Kofi OwusuUnison retired members’ officer

Colonialism behind the conflict in Nigeria

Baba Aye’s article on the Baya massacre in Nigeria (Socialist Worker, 24 January) was interesting but doesn’t give a historical perspective.

Imperialist invaders ignored existing kingdoms’ boundaries in drawing up new nation states.

The current conflict can be traced directly back to British colonialism.

Colonial rule led directly to the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s. At independence, there was a deliberate inclusion of corruption at the heart of the state and military.  

This included the north, where key areas of the state were given over to Hausa people who are generally Muslim. Sharia law exists in northern states and it is here that Boko Haram has its power base, supported by elements in the ruling class. 

There are large areas of industrialisation in the north too, in the oil and cotton industries. There have been efforts at change within Nigeria. 

Regime change isn’t the answer though, because notions of religion and tribe dominate. They exist in the trade union movement. The tragedy is that people remain divided while bigotry and oppression run amok. 

Lesley LancelottManchester

Belief not irrational

Ken Olende’s article on religion (Socialist Worker, 17 January) was a welcome antidote to much bile in the media. 

I was, however, put off by his suggestion that capitalism’s irrationality makes people turn to “irrational” ideas. He is free to hold this view. But to describe religion as irrational is patronising. 

I have found the recent work of Marxists like Terry Eagleton and Slavoj Zizek on religion refreshing and fertile ground for further thought. 

With advances in physics, “materialism” means something different now than it did in the 19th century when Karl Marx wrote.

Name withheldBrighton

Government doesn’t care

I was a support worker in mental health. Different agencies employed me on zero hours contracts, and I had to rely on public transport to travel all over South Yorkshire. 

It was making me very ill. My doctor said I should pack in work because I was suffering with depression.

I claimed employment support allowance, but they wouldn’t pay because my partner is working. He is employed by an agency on low wages. 

Does the government want us to live on bread and water? It’s time they were voted out.

Julie IngramBarnsley

Ukip’s shifting health policy 

Nigel Farage of Ukip likes to make a virtue of not having defined policies.

This gives him wriggle room when his candidates make more bizarre statements.

But it’s weird to see Ukip’s own health spokeswoman disown Farage himself when he says he wants the NHS replaced by an insurance system.

Alison Liddleby email

Many Greens are on the left 

Lots of Greens other than Caroline Lucas are left wingers (Socialist Worker, 24 January). Do we support them where they are standing?

I can see that the Greens are a reformist party without any real connection to working class.

But my inclination is vote Green because of their current policies and their better members. And it is a better protest vote than the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). 

Tim Parkinon Facebook

Greens better than Labour

Better the Green Party than the Labour Party. Actually, I’d back almost anyone over those sellout shysters.

Mark Stringeron Facebook

Greens have more influence

The Greens are doing better than the SWP in terms of getting support for left wing policies. How about trying to work together?

Lecky Billon Twitter

US example for socialists

Socialist Seattle councillor Kshama Sawant’s 11 minute response to president Obama’s State of the Union Address is progressive and constructive.

It points clearly to the alternatives that socialists can provide when they are allied with local grassroots activity. 

Kevin McCaighyYork



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Article information

Tue 27 Jan 2015, 16:09 GMT
Issue No. 2438
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