Opposing bosses’ EU would mean siding with the racists
I was disappointed to see Socialist Worker argue for a no vote (Socialist Worker, 30 May) on staying in the European Union (EU).
If the no vote wins, racists, xenophobes, Ukip and a section of the Tory party would gain confidence. Millions of migrant workers and most of the labour movement would be demoralised.
Many people see the EU as a bulwark against the nastiness of the Tories. The left no camp sadly no longer has Tony Benn or Bob Crow. The best trade union leaders are for yes.
The EU is an undemocratic bosses’ club, but the political landscape has changed. To argue now for no is ultra-left and puts us on the wrong side.
No one will notice the “but” in a leaflet that says “No, but we are against racism”.
We should be in the yes camp. Let’s unite with workers across the EU—and with the pro-EU parties Syriza and Podemos—for a Europe that puts people before profit.
Clare Fermont, East London
It seemed obvious 40 years ago that socialists should oppose joining the European common market—obviously a bosses’ club.
But is the issue so clear cut today? The EU is still a bosses’ club and no doubt big business will line up to oppose leaving it. But it is more than that.
Are we against the distribution of money to distressed regions? Are we against legislation guaranteeing certain workers’ rights and women’s rights?
Are we in favour of the free movement of labour? The other side seeks to turn the referendum into an anti-immigrant campaign.
Should socialists be explaining to migrant workers that the EU is a bosses’ club they should vote against—if they even have a vote?
Can we be seen as on that side of the divide? It just seems totally wrong.
John Charlton, Newcastle
Sack from Mulberry
Mulberry, the designer brand for leather bags, is involved in a dispute with workers at one of its outsourced factories.
The SF Leather factory in Izmir, Turkey, recently sacked 14 workers who tried to take up trade union membership due to deteriorating working conditions and low pay.
They are paid the minimum wage of £200-250 a month for making bags sold for £750-£1000 each.
These workers, paid no social support, have been fighting for almost 70 days.
Mulberry is refusing to act and have these workers reinstated or trade union membership recognised.
Support SF Leather workers in Turkey and help us make their voices heard.
Oktay Sahbaz, North London
Who backs the jobless?
Working people can be represented by a trade union. But what about the people who are excluded from the workplace?
Those who remain in the cycle of being unwaged continue to be vilified.
I applaud any union that fights for what is right alongside its members.
But I do not see any steps being taken to protect the unwaged, disabled and marginalised.
Surely socialists must bring people together for a movement that excludes none and supports all.
Hugo van der Meer, London
Fracking will affect us all—not just the locals
Planning applications for fracking are in from all over the “desolate north” of England.
The Tories are pushing hard for fracking, and Labour’s leaders are going along with them. But there is overwhelming evidence it would contaminate our water and land.
One well planned in our area would go through an aquifer supplying drinking water from the coast to Leeds—yet a tiny rural Tory council can say yes to it.
Local campaigners are fighting hard, waging an information war, protesting and in some cases camping on threatened land. But the problem is the word “local”.
We won’t beat fracking just by pointing out the facts. And we won’t beat it by running scared that bosses will accuse us of “bussing in” protesters from outside the local area.
We need a militant, nationwide campaign involving trade unions and the People’s Assembly.
Kim Hunter, Scarborough
Fight for liberation in Northern Ireland
Almost 1,000 people joined a rally for equal marriage in Belfast two weeks ago, initiated by members of People Before Profit Youth.
It looks set to be the beginning of a revitalised campaign for LGBTQ equality in Northern Ireland.
After the result of the referendum in southern Ireland, the LGBTQ movement has gathered pace across Ireland.
Unfortunately most of the parties in the Stormont Assembly have not reflected this. A recent bill to allow same sex marriage was rejected after the unionist parties voted against it, while a handful from the other parties abstained or didn’t bother to show up.
People are angry at their misrepresentation by politicians who are still in the dark ages.
The referendum in southern Ireland shows that, as the material conditions of Ireland change, so too will people’s ideas. But we can’t rely on these backward politicians to enact change for us. We have to do it ourselves.
With more protests planned, hopefully this summer can be a new era of civil rights in Northern Ireland.
Mick Collins, Belfast
Great support for gallery rep
It was brilliant to see the rally in support of victimised union rep Candy Udwin at the National Gallery (Socialist Worker, 6 June).
There have been too many instances of union reps being picked on and victimised to scare all the others.
Richard Banker, on Facebook
Kennedy did back the war
Tributes to former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy that describe his opposition to the Iraq War as his “finest hour” are a grotesque distortion.
I stood by the stage on 15 February 2003 as Kennedy addressed two million protesters.
He told them, “There is no way in all conscience that the Liberal Democrats either could or should support a war and we will not.”
Two weeks later the Lib Dem amendment in parliament pledged “total support for the British forces engaged in the Middle East”.
Their opposition ended as soon as the war started. Opportunists to the last.
Rob Ferguson, East London
I’m still angry about Iraq
I participated in the biggest demonstration the world ever saw, against the war on Iraq on 15 February 2003.
So I was glad to see the film We Are Many (Socialist Worker, 30 May), celebrate the protest’s impact. It has you seething with anger—and applauding the people marching.
I would shed no tears if Tony Blair and George Bush were to be hanged like Saddam Hussein.
Mick Dodd, Dover
Labour sides with landlords
The New shadow chancellor Chris Leslie says Labour was wrong to call for rent controls.
He was worried about “implying that landlords are all exploitative and opportunistic”. Of course he was. He’s a landlord.
Jenny Leow, South London