Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2441

Toffs and Tories want to clean us out of Tottenham

I am a cleaner on a council estate that has been sold off.

Most of the flats cost a million pounds or over. There is one tiny council block out of ten buildings, with many more being built. 

Management seem to hate it and don’t look after it. They joke about it and the tenants. 

Most cleaners resent cleaning the council block. It’s dirtier because the council only pays for two hours cleaning a day. In practice, its often cleaned half an hour a day.  

Management say the tenants ruined the block, and that they are disgusting and dirty. Our team leader thinks they were given a “free house” and are lazy benefits cheats. I try and explain that they still have to pay rent.

Some cleaners refused to clean it, so now we all have to do it in rotation. It looks better now, so now they say “the residents are improving”.

The whole attitude from top to bottom is of resenting poor people on the estate. 

The council tenants don’t have access to the basement in case they steal the Ferraris and Rolls Royces left by rich owners.

One of the directors boasted at the Christmas staff party about how the area used to be terrible and dangerous, whereas now it is lovely. 

The shops are so expensive. For example, there is a cake shop where a small lemon cake that would cost £1.50 in a supermarket is £9.99. Even the local Tesco Express only sells posh food at expensive prices. 

Most staff live over an hour away because it’s so expensive to rent.  

The affordable houses are unaffordable for me. You have to earn at least £24,000 a year to buy a £60,000 home. None on the estate are even as cheap as that.

The rich honestly think they are put upon for having to provide tiny amounts of much more cheaply built council and social housing. 

This is what it will be like when council homes are sold off in Tottenham.

Name and address provided

Remember Dresden

The 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill could not go unmarked. 

Last month a service of thanksgiving was held for him in Westminster Abbey.

The anniversary of the bombing of Dresden seventy years ago, on 13 February 1945, will not get that treatment.

British and US planes created a fire storm in the residential sector of the city. Over 100,000 civilians were killed, very many burnt to death. 

The strategy was not to destroy Germany’s military, but to terrorise its civilian population.

John LloydWest London

Can science stop abuse?

Neuroscientists are researching how antidepressants can be used to ‘cure’ love—the chemical reactions in the brain triggered by new romantic relationships.

They think this could help women break out of abusive relationships. But this only deals with the symptoms, leaving the root cause untouched. 

Cases of domestic violence rise during recessions, as the material pressures of looking after yourself and those you live with are exacerbated. These often cause people to stay in unhappy relationships.

Any attempt to deal with domestic violence must begin with those material pressures, rather than ignoring or sidelining them.

Fran ManningSouth West London

Solidarity with our future robot comrades

I disagree with Sally Campbell's review of Ex_Machina (Socialist Worker, 31 January). 

Class is very much part of the film. The main character’s boss tries to present himself as his “buddy”—despite the fact that this is clearly not the case. The way this plays out in relation to the artificial intelligence’s (AI) enslavement is a powerful theme. 

But Sally is right when she says the film’s ending has nothing new to say about AI. It ends with a reactionary view of liberation and solidarity.

Most AI films end with robots and humans going to war, or going back to being exploited. The message is that revolution is dangerous.

If capitalism did create this sort of AI, we would have to call for robots and workers to unite.

Tim Knight-HughesNorwich

Was this the Irish Selma?

The attack on civil rights marchers in Selma (Socialist Worker, 7 February) reminded me of what happened on Burntollet Bridge in Ireland 1969.

A small crowd of protesters marching from Belfast to Derry were set upon by a couple of hundred pro-British thugs.

The marchers were demanding an end to a system that kept Catholics off the electoral roll and allocated public housing disproportionately to Protestants.

The attackers included members of the hated B-Specials, a police auxiliary force of 

anti-Catholic street thugs. They were armed with wooden planks with nails sticking out, iron bars and broken bottles.

Mike KillianManchester

Care cuts hurt older people

The latest Care UK report shows that money spent on social care for the elderly has fallen by £1.1 billion in the past five years despite a rise in demand.

Nearly a third of older people who need help carrying out essential activities do not receive assistance at all.

Cuts in social care impact on the most vulnerable. 

What sort of society allows older people to struggle alone every day without the care and support they most desperately need?

John AppleyardWest Yorkshire

Students for Palestine

Kingston University student union’s recent annual general meeting passed two motions in solidarity with Palestine.

They call on the university to end its contracts with Veolia and HP, which have links with Israel.

We have also actively implemented a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign within the student union.

Kulsoom MallKingston University

March to stop Pegida racists

The racist Pegida is marching in Newcastle on 28 February.

It seems the EDL may be using Pegida as a cover to draw in wider layers of support

We need to mobilise against this racist scum in large numbers to show them they’re not welcome in our cities.

Alice ClarkNewcastle

Tragedy of migrant deaths

I’m deeply saddened by the death of 300 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea last week.

It’s getting tougher every day for people who escape torture and violence in developing countries. 

They are not welcomed or shown any support. 

I’ve been fighting my asylum case for four years and I’m still not safe.

Manjeet KaurManchester

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Article information

Tue 17 Feb 2015, 15:56 GMT
Issue No. 2441
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