We’ve had a great experience in building Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) in the school where I teach.
People are genuinely panicked about the rise in racism that we are seeing in Britain.
But getting organised has also given people a confidence boost—and it’s created really good debates and discussions in school.
It was important to get people to the big national SUTR conference last October.
Getting a few people there made it much easier to build SUTR in the workplace. The conference became a talking point, and people started saying we should set up a group at school.
We called a planning meeting and worked out what we wanted to do.
We leafleted our local Tube station, and mosques.
We got a good response and have made links with the local Imam, and the Mend and Friends of Al Aqsa groups.
We did lunchtime leafleting to publicise the protests around Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the SUTR trade union conference last Saturday.
We built among NUT and Unison union members. And all the time we were recruiting to SUTR.
Getting the badges around was another key thing.
We sold SUTR badges to teachers, then the kids picked up on the fact that we were all wearing them and they wanted them too.
The kids got rid of 150 in two days. Everyone now wants a badge.
It’s important to say that we haven’t gone from zero to 60.
Before building SUTR union members had always gone around doing collections for various things.
Last year people were involved in solidarity work for refugees in Calais. We’ve had a strong trade union presence in the school for years—this has paid off in building SUTR.
Name and address supplied
Well done to Shafiq Mohammed
At Ayr Sheriff Court last week Sheriff Weir gave Shafiq Mohammed an absolute discharge from charges brought against him by Scottish Defence League (SDL) supporters in November 2015.
Shafiq had been arrested in Monkton, South Ayrshire, and charged with racially aggravated breach of the peace and resisting arrest.
SDL supporters had complained to police that Shafiq had called them “white bastards”.
The Sheriff chose to believe that he had done what he was accused of.
But Shafiq came before the court with no previous convictions, a clean record since the incident and exemplary personal testimonials.
The absolute discharge means Shafiq has no conviction, no criminal record and he doesn’t have to disclose this matter to a future potential employer.
On Shafiq’s behalf, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees (GCWR) would like to thank his solicitor and all those who have supported him.
The law regarding racial aggravation must be reassessed.
It wrongly assumes equivalence between white people and black and ethnic minority people.
Shafiq has been sorely distressed.
But he is more determined than ever to fight the dark shadows of racism lurking in our society.
Jock Morris, Chair, GCWR
Shirebrook solidarity over abuse of player
Full praise must go to the players of Shirebrook football club.
They showed solidarity with a player who was racially abused during a game on 17 December last year.
Shirebrook’s Bruno Holden was racially abused well within earshot of the match referee, who took no action against the abusing player.
The abused player started complaining—rightly so—about the incident to the referee, who made matters worse by sending Bruno Holden off.
This happened in the first half.
In the dressing room at half time Shirebrook’s players collectively refused to come back out for the second half in solidarity with their team mate.
The referee had to abandon the game.
Any racist abuse is a throwback to the 1970s and 1980s. It must not be tolerated.
Charlie Dowthwaite, Barrow-in-Furness
Unions must fight to win some respect
Out of thin air the TUC held another “heart unions” week this week.
“Please love us, we’re not so bad” seems to be the message.
Who are we asking to be loved by? Tories? Bosses? Tories and bosses hate trade unions because they stand in the way of workers being super-exploited.
On this basis I’m happy to belong to something which is hated by Tories and bosses and organises workers.
When unions fight and win, it’s pretty easy to get appreciation from workers and union members.
But “love” from members and workers alone won’t stop anti-trade union legislation.
Our trade union leaders just do not get it.
They want to be in a social partnership with bosses and the Tories.
The only partnership the bosses and the government really want is one where they can run riot.
Trade unions will always struggle to be “loved”.
But they can be respected if they connect and drive the struggles happening now—and start winning real gains for workers collectively.
Helen Davies, east London
Tories blame migrants too
Ukip’s scapegoating of immigrants fuels hate crime but Ukip is not alone.
The Tories have done the same to distract from the fact that austerity is a political choice.
Bill Thompson, on Facebook
I’ll turn Green if Corbyn goes
None of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics have the stomach for the job.
Whoever replaces him will be a Blairbot Version 2.3. I will join the Greens if they oust him.
Peter Angell, on Facebook
- Clive Lewis is not “soft left”—he is pro nuclear arms. That makes him fully neoliberal.
Shams Pirani, on Facebook
Don’t let them simplify Brexit
Why are we using the term Brexit to cover all the machinations being made on our behalf?
This is too big an issue to be left under a one-word title.
Some respect of our intelligence by politicians would not be amiss.
Margaret Moynihan, Aberdeenshire
In defence of La La Land
Alex criticises La La Land (Letters, 1 February) for being set within the bubble of Hollywood.
Yet when films are set among poverty, such as Slumdog Millionaire, the message is not necessarily positive.
Ian Pierce-Hayes, Wallasey
Please clarify health figures
You say the Tories’ NHS plans have the aim of “slashing £22 billion by 2020” (Socialist Worker, 1 February).
Will £22 billion less be spent between now and 2020 in relation to present figures without cuts? Or will £22 billion less be spent in 2020 than in 2016?
Dave, Frankfurt, Germany