Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2487

Learn solidarity from secret struggle of London Recruits

It was great to read the article about the London Recruits, the British activists who fought apartheid in South Africa (Socialist Worker, 9 January).

The need to fight against racism continues, which makes the stories of the Recruits important today, both in the book.

I went to South Africa “undercover” in 1973 with a comrade, as part of the same secret network. I was a member of the International Socialists—later to become the Socialist Workers Party—and had just started teaching in further education.

John, a Labour Party member, and I were both activists in local housing campaigns in London. We were recruited to smuggle into South Africa a text in Xhosa. We then had to duplicate maybe 2,000 copies and to drop these off in addressed envelopes into post boxes across Johannesburg.

Simple enough maybe. But we had to obtain an old Gestetner printing machine, typewriter etc.

Leaving no finger prints, we had to assemble all this silently in the hotel room. Later we had to dump all the gear in the nearest river outside the city—and all without attracting attention.

Secrecy was a priority due to the South African spies in Britain who could use any information to target activists in South Africa.

The secrecy worked so well even Ken Keable, editor of the book, didn’t know about our “excursion” until after the book came out.

I shared an office with Mary Chamberlain, a friend and colleague for ten years, without either of us knowing we had both been recruits.

The story of the London Recruits is a wonderful example of international solidarity. Socialist Worker readers should know about it and later in the year arrange viewings of the forthcoming film.

However it is important to remember that it was the struggle of black workers in South Africa that ultimately defeated apartheid.

Joy Leman, Chenon, France

Stand with refugees

The Danish government’s decision to search refugees and seize assets including jewellery is disgusting.

The justice minister’s assurance that it will only be used to search “hypothetical asylum seekers with a case full of diamonds” seems suspect.

I have no doubt that the government can afford to give these people shelter and safety without making them foot the bill.

It adds to racist

anti-immigrant rhetoric that the Danish government is already perpetuating.

It is a violation of human rights, and another example of capitalism dictating what constitutes “comfortable living”. It should be met with protests on the streets.

Gabby Thorpe, west London


French magazine Charlie Hebdo marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on its offices with a racist cartoon.

Aylan Kurdi was the three-year-old Kurdish boy who drowned in September trying to escape the Syrian war. The photographs of his body shocked the world and prompted greater sympathy toward refugees.

The cartoon imagines what Aylan might have grown up to be had he survived. They see him as a teenager molesting women.

It’s defenders will argue Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine. But to ridicule the weakest in society and to peddle racist stereotypes isn’t satire—it’s oppression.

Charlie Hebdo is racist filth justified under the banner of “free speech”.

Sasha Simic, east London

Public sector workers should not be pawns in the Prevent spying game.

How is a teacher supposed to maintain trust within the classroom if pupils think they are a grass? The same could be said for mentors, support workers, social workers, probation officers and solicitors.

It is a government ploy to spread mistrust and to divide and rule by racially abusing minority groups.

Prevent is only interested in identifying radicalisation so the government can use it to justify warmongering.

You can be radical about absolutely anything. It’s racist to think terrorism is confined to Muslims. Yet the government and the BBC propaganda machine suggest this every day.

Any public sector worker willing to cross that divide will be treading on thin ice.

This racist government has shown its true colours.

No one should let themselves be drawn in.

Subyatee Bertram on Facebook

We backed strike—why didn’t Labour?

It was revealed last week that the shadow cabinet had agreed not to back the junior doctors’ strike.

Good on shadow chancellor John McDonnell for showing support anyway at the picket line.

But what happened to his promise that Labour would now “automatically” support all strikes?

This is the problem when you compromise with the right wing.

Stuart Curlett, Brighton


lThe junior doctors’ strike was extremely popular. It shows the potential across the whole working class.

After visiting the strike I took some “I support the Junior Doctors stickers” to the call centre where I work. By the end of lunch everyone had one.

It rubbishes the arguments by some union leaders that they can’t call action because it won’t be well supported.

Tim Knight-Hughes, Norwich

Letwin a bigot —who knew?

Why would we need historic documents to know Margaret Thatcher and her cronies were racist bigots? (Socialist Worker, 9 January)

Ask anyone who lived in Britain or Ireland in the 1980s.

Seamus Monday on Facebook


Sadly not free movement

The Tories have hiked up the already high fees for applying for immigration visas—some more than others.

The fee for big firms sponsoring workers is untouched. Yet for an ordinary family who want to bring their child to Britain there is a massive 25 percent increase.

Some of the fees now are prohibitive. It shows what part of immigration the Tories want to attack.

Adam Cochrane, Harlow, Essex


Let’s get rid of capitalism

Maybe socialism is such a struggle because when we try to create it, we retain so much of the capitalist infrastructure.

We need to focus on completely changing that infrastructure.

Alan Creswell-Laing, Manchester


A paper for our struggles

The daily capitalist press does not represent the truth but distorts and deforms it.

Socialist Worker is to be commended for reporting real news that affects our real lives. It then offers an analysis and guide to action.

I urge all readers to send donations to keep it at the heart of our struggles.

Elijah Traven, Hull


Fight the Tory landlords’ bill

I was shocked to see MPs vote against an amendment to the Housing Bill saying homes must be “fit for human habitation”.

But it made sense— 73 of those MPs were landlords. The Tories want us to live in slums. They must be stopped.

Mhairi Craig, Fife

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