Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2465

Which Labour candidate really offers working class  women more?

Yvette Cooper, a candidate for Labour leader, has spoken out against what she describes as a “startlingly retro” leadership campaign. 

Cooper has rightly pointed out the sexism that she and Liz Kendall, the other female candidate, are experiencing. 

The right wing press have made much of Cooper being a “working mum” compared to Kendall who has no children. 

Some days it is difficult to tell which one they think will be better at the job, given the constant flip-flopping of moralism that surrounds motherhood.

Cooper is hardly ever mentioned without reference to her husband Ed Balls, the former shadow chancellor. When she was interviewed on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour soon after she announced her candidacy, it seemed that half the time they wanted to discuss what he was up to. 

We should defend Cooper and Kendall against the sexism they experience, but Cooper is wrong to argue that people should vote for her because she is a woman.

Her inability to stand up against the vicious Tory welfare bill is just one example of how she doesn’t represent ordinary women.

The Bill affects women disproportionately. 

Research by the Resolution Foundation showed that a single parent on a low income—the majority of whom are women—will be £1,000 a year worse off than before. 

Cooper says we need to break glass ceilings but it’s not just about that. Cuts affect women’s lives in a myriad of ways—from the slashing of the carer’s allowance to the privatisation of sexual health and maternity services.

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has captured the imagination of women and men alike because it represents resistance to cuts and privatisation. 

If Cooper wants women to take her seriously as a candidate, she’ll have to show she wants to fight the austerity that affects working class women so sharply.

Siobhan Brown, East London

Become a Labour supporter and vote for Corbyn

I recently cancelled my Labour Party membership and joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). 

I could no longer belong to a party that voted for the welfare cuts—or abstained which is the same thing.

Despite this I have joined Labour as a supporter so I can vote for Jeremy Corbyn for leader.

I have no illusions that Labour would follow socialist policies put forward by a Corbyn government.

But every socialist should become a “supporter”. How can we call ourselves socialists if we don’t support a Corbyn under attack by the likes of Tony Blair?

Maybe after the contest Corbyn and other socialists will be like me and cancel their memberships and join the SWP.

Chris Heggie, Edinburgh

Lacrosse protest scores a point for Palestine

An Israeli team took part in the world U19 lacrosse championships at Peffermill Playing fields in Edinburgh during late July.

Disgracefully they were allowed to play on pitches leased out by Edinburgh university.

But over the four days they faced militant protests using blockade tactics. 

Protesters included local Muslims, Palestinians living in Edinburgh and Scottish National Party supporters.

Boycotts of the apartheid state’s sport sends a strong signal that Israel’s actions are neither acceptable nor legitimate.

Ayesha Saleem, Edinburgh

The ‘treason’ of Greece’s former minister

With the Greek left wing government’s acceptance of an austerity deal worse than the one rejected in the recent referendum, the pro-austerity right is sharpening its claws. 

One target is the former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. 

There’s much he can be criticised for, but he is currently being investigated by the public prosecutor for treason. 

This charge should be seen for what it is—an attempt to criminalise resistance to the deal.

Varoufakis’s “crime” is that he attempted to set up a parallel banking system in a bid to outwit the European Central Bank’s stranglehold on Greek finances. This shows there was an alternative to the deal. The government could have used the levers of state power at its disposal to resist.

And, though Varoufakis himself would disagree, this also shows that any serious resistance to the deal must involve steps to break with the euro. 

Only that, on the basis of mass working class resistance, holds the prospect of an end to the Greek people’s suffering.

Gareth Jenkins, East London

Osborne's cuts are a continuation of Thatcher’s project

Chancellor George Osborne’s budget was filled with devastatingly cruel cuts. On the left we can understandably get caught up in the effect his inhumane attacks will have on social care victims. 

But the danger is that in focusing on the details we forget something crucial. This isn’t about efficiency—it’s about ideology.

Osborne’s attacks are a continuation of Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph’s plan to take on the whole welfare state from the 1980s.

The Thatcherites followed the US Chicago School in assaulting all state “socialism”.

So notice the budget’s attempt to outlaw all budget deficits. That could make it legally impossible to return in services like education or even the police to surplus by progressive taxation. 

Larry Iles, Eastborne

Take direct action against new anti-union laws

Can the Tories end our right to strike (Socialist Worker, 25 July)?  

If we are prevented from using our right to strike—say by the impotence of the labour movement—we can bypass those who are not fighting for us and fight for ourselves. 

Take direct action!

Patricia Hulme, Manchester

A success at Tolpuddle

We had a little success against the Action for Israel stall in the main tent at the Tolpuddle Festival in Dorset last month.

Not only was the stall allowed but positioned opposite the Palestinian rights stall.

An impromptu campaign lobbied the organisers who suggested to the Zionists that it would be a good idea if they disappeared.

Sunday came and went—no Zionists!

Graham, West London

Party of the working class

Charlie Kimber’s arguments over Jeremy Corbyn are ridiculous (Socialist Worker, 1 August). Like it or not, Labour is the party of the working class. 

He argues that parliament is a waste of time, presumably he is waiting for the revolution. 

You’d think that with a genuine chance of getting a socialist leader, he would want to get behind Corbyn.

Dean Madden, on Facebook

Hypocrisy of world powers

Turkey gained support from US and Nato hypocrisy to attack the Kurdish movement instead of Islamic terrorists.

Sardar Saleh, on Facebook

How broad is Labour Party?

The Labour Party says it is a broad church, until the left looks like winning. Then it looks to the Tories.

Stephen Coyle, on Facebook

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Article information

Tue 4 Aug 2015, 17:59 BST
Issue No. 2465
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