Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Tony Cliff showed me that another world is possible

Issue No. 2558

Tony Cliff, a founding member of the Socialist Workers Party

Tony Cliff, a founding member of the Socialist Workers Party (Pic: John Sturrock)

I would like to respond to the tribute to the late Tony Cliff by Alex Callinicos (Socialist Worker, 24 May).

For me personally, there has been no greater socialist than Cliff.

The first book I read by Cliff was his autobiography, A World To Win, and I was truly inspired.

I read countless works by many contemporary so-called “left wing” authors and was left feeling either frustrated or confused—or both.

I finished Cliff’s book with a feeling that, finally, here was someone who saw society in the same way that I did.

I am aware that his style of writing has been heavily criticised by some people, but for me his ideological clarity was brilliant.

The way he analysed and clearly defined, for instance, Marxism, or the nature of the USSR—as state capitalist rather than socialist—really enthused me.

It gave me confidence when trying to put forward Marxist or socialist arguments and drastically improved my knowledge of politics, political history and society in general.

I was so excited by what Cliff’s books were teaching me that I began a degree in political science, which I am now halfway through.

It’s an achievement that—as a serving prisoner who dropped out of school with no qualifications at the age of 14—me and my family are very proud of.

In short, my passion for socialist politics—due in no small part to the writings of Cliff—has given me a second chance in life.

A chance to show as many people as I can that a society that is racist and exploits people while a select few become more wealthy must be overthrown and replaced.

I would have loved to have been able to thank Cliff personally for the huge impact his work has had on my life.

No other person has enabled me to see with such clarity that another world is possible.


Dale Banks, HMP Humber

Revolutionary hope is the answer to terrorism

Excellent article by Simon Basketter on the ultimate causes of terrorism (Socialist Worker, 31 May).

This is especially true in view of the events in London earlier this month and Theresa May’s authoritarian response.

It cannot be emphasised enough that destructive acts of the sort we have witnessed in recent weeks can be viewed, without justifying them, as the final acts of desperation by those who have lost all rational hope of changing the world.

As Simon pointed out, this desperation is born not only of the “terror” that the West has visited on the rest of the world, but also of the more subtle violence to which capitalist states subject their own citizens.

Abandoned by contemporary leaders and condemned to a nihilistic destiny, these young people resort to anarchic violence.

The central question, so far unanswered, is—who is going to step forward with a genuine, revolutionary praxis of affirmation and hope?

This answer is needed not just for these young people but for all those who are oppressed by capitalism.

Steve Rankin, Oxford

Even when it's hard, we can push back the Nazis

The English Defence League (EDL) came rampaging round our area following the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013.

It was hell in Woolwich for a while.

Following the recent terror attacks the EDL has tried to get the same kind of response.

Socialists and anti-racists have been campaigning to stop them.

After the murder we were quite nervous. But we went out onto the streets leafleting and selling Socialist Worker.

People came up to say they were worried about the EDL. Those laying flowers for Lee Rigby weren’t unsympathetic to us either.

The EDL failed to march here.

Woolwich is massively multicultural. We knew there were more of us than them.

It was hair-raising going onto the streets at first. But without a doubt it was worth it.

Lynne Chamberlain, South East London

Why the rich won't save the planet

@PicnicJon writes that because we all have the environment in common, it’s in the national interest to deal with climate change (Letters, 7 June).

The problem is that the logic of capitalism means that it’s not in the interest of the ruling class to implement the solutions needed to solve environmental crisis.

This is why Theresa May supports fracking, and Donald Trump has pulled out of Cop21 at the behest of fossil fuel corporations.

They put the system’s profits before the planet.

Workers’ interests differ from the bosses, which is why the struggle for a sustainable future is a struggle against capitalism.

Martin Empson, Manchester

Let's say goodbye to the Labour right

Labour right wingers are entitled to leave our party and form their own worthless party.

Jeremy Corbyn has brought back the real values for our party.

He doesn’t need to please the right in our party. He hasn’t disappointed us.

Kwame Aboagye, East London

I think people who have undermined our chances of winning should be spoken to and I suggest they start their own “centre” party.

We represent democratic socialism. That’s what Corbyn is offering. End of.

Lin Perkins, On Facebook

No to a new clampdown

Apparently we are “too tolerant” of extremism (Socialist Worker website, 4 June).

That means Theresa May is going to take away cherished freedoms of self-expression.

She will be attacking “non-violent extremists” like us.

Simon Martin Halstead, On Facebook

Where does monitoring and possible restriction of terrorists and likely terrorists end and where do the rest of us begin?

Those of us who don’t agree with the incumbent government for example.

Jon Long, On Facebook

New Terror laws are just excuses to violate privacy.

Esme Richards, On Facebook

If the jackboots fit, she’ll wear ‘em.

Louise McDonald, On Facebook

Don’t fall for racist rubbish

Iain Duncan Smith says the terror attacks show we have to “control our borders”.

But the Manchester attacker was born in Manchester. And is Duncan Smith saying it’s ok if terrorists kill people abroad?

It’s just another excuse for racism.

Hayley Flint, Leicester

Never trust a Tory politician

Tories have always been #LiarLiars. Edwina Currie approved Jimmy Savile’s role at hospitals (Socialist Worker, 1 July 2014).

Janice Barnes, On Twitter

NHS crisis in top Tory areas

The NHS crisis is close to home for Theresa May and health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Three hospital trusts in their constituencies are breaching numerous targets, according to the Guardian newspaper.

It won’t matter to them though—I’m sure they don’t even use the NHS.

Debra Monaghan, Newcastle

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 13 Jun 2017, 16:26 BST
Issue No. 2558
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.