Racist right and a new left polarise US election race
The campaigns for the Democrat and Republican nominations for the US presidential election in 2016 reveal a growing polarisation in US politics.
On the Republican side the sexist, racist, right wing billionaire Donald Trump is topping the polls.
After seven years with a black president, the US right want revenge.
Trump’s comments about Mexican migrants and women have been shocking.
However, Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination gives us a bit of hope.
It shows us that US politics is not all right wing.
Sanders is now close to overtaking the frontrunner Hillary Clinton in some polls. Tens of thousands of people have attended his rallies.
Sanders talks about establishing universal healthcare, a free university system, cuts to military spending and so on.
Most significantly, Sanders uses phrases about inequality and the one percent that gained a substantial following during the Occupy movement.
Sanders is very unlikely to win the nomination.
But the fact that there is support and a buzz around a candidate who calls himself a “democratic socialist” is a positive development.
The mainstream US political scene has been dominated by right wing neoliberals for years.
Of course Sanders’ relatively moderate programme will not be able to deal with the vast inequality, racism and poverty that are fundamental to US capitalism.
Worse, Sanders has made concessions to the idea that migrants take jobs and drive down wages. His positions on racism and the wars the US carries out have also been criticised.
But it’s clear that the political radicalisation associated with Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, has also manifested itself in the US.
That’s hugely encouraging—and an antidote to Trump’s poison.
Lewis Nielsen, South London
Vote for Burnham, not Labour
The impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign is great news. But it will be hard to turn round the tanker of anti-working class polices, including within the Labour Party.
Haringey Labour council, north London, is demolishing 4,000 council homes for developers to build places that local people can’t afford.
Now Haringey Labour says investment must come from selloffs, private building or rent increases.
Haringey recently doubled rents for some new council tenancies.
That’s why we need a socialist electoral alternative to Labour.
Paul Burnham, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Noel Park Ward, Haringey, North London
Mental health cuts hit service users and staff
Just over a month ago, I lost my care coordinator. I was given 15 minutes notice towards the end of my appointment that this was happening.
My community psychiatric nurse was told when he came into work the day before he saw me that his services were no longer needed by a letter left on his desk.
The mental health trust got rid of 350 staff that way on that day.
Not only that—his work visa was revoked and he had to leave Britain.
Life with a disability is tough, caring for someone with a disability is horrendous and working with someone with a disability is incredibly stressful.
As for me the fight to get a care co-ordinator goes on and all the stress that goes with it.
Paula Peters, South London
We need parliament
Panos Garganas is wrong to say the left should not rely on parliament (Socialist Worker, 5 September).
If you ever want anything done to the slightest degree, you need to have the power to do it.
And you need parliamentary power in particular, unless there is a parallel political system we did not know about.
I am not saying that the current parliamentary system is great or that it should always be like that.
Movements can push things to a different direction. But they cannot legislate a new direction.
Only governments can do this.
Alex Galanos, on Facebook
No money for nukes
Trident nuclear weapons are a disgraceful waste of money.
People are fleeing conflict in the Middle East fuelled by Western bombing and the war in Iraq.
But the Tories want to spend money on Trident to stay in Nato.
They want to keep old imperial alliances.
If they want to help people, they know what to do.
They say there’s no money for benefits—but there’s billions of pounds for Trident nuclear missiles.
Jeremy Corbyn has a fantastic record on opposing Trident and Nato—he needs to stick to it.
Saira Weiner, Manchester
Can’t wait for new book
I enjoyed the interview with Judith Orr last week (Socialist Worker, 5 September).
I’m looking forward to reading her book Marxism and Women’s Liberation.
Becky Townsend, South London
Don’t call the Tories scum
Please avoid using the phrase “Tory scum” at the demo against the Tory party in Manchester on 4 October.
Our children will be there. Teach them how to have a respectful adult disagreement.
Improve your own reputation. Don’t lose your dignity while the Tories are losing theirs.
Wendy Olsen, Manchester
Who drives wages down?
UKIP and other racists say that refugees will drive down wages.
Actually, research shows that immigration makes little difference to wage levels.
What surveys do show is that wages and conditions are much better in trade union organised workplaces.
You don’t hear our racist bosses say anything about that.
Duncan Brown, Glasgow
Taking charge of services
Ken Olende raised some interesting points about nationalisation of public services (Socialist Worker, 5 September).
Workers, and the people who use the services, must be in charge.
A genuinely radical proposal would of course be to extend such workplace democracy to private businesses too.
Graeme Kemp, Shropshire
We saw off the bigots
I Just to want congratulate pro-choice activists in Lewisham, south London.
They have seen off anti-choice campaigners from harassing women outside our local clinic
Nathan Pettefar, South London