Socialist Worker

LETTERS - The racism in football is not only about Bulgarian Nazis

Issue No. 2677

Manchester City players backing the Show Racism the Red Card campaign

Manchester City players backing the Show Racism the Red Card campaign (Pic: @SRTRC_England/Twitter)


The racist behaviour by Bulgarian fans against black English footballers was disgusting.

But it’s hypocritical rubbish for “newspapers” such as the S*n to have a front page headline “Bulgar Off You Racists”.

The same paper supports Boris Johnson.

He is a prime minister who has repeatedly used racist language, who wants to make the hostile environment for migrants even harsher and who targets Muslins for vile abuse.

And the paper constantly runs stories that fuel racist myths.

It’s also an illusion that English football—and some England supporters—are free from racism. Sections of England fans sing racist songs that are taken from the songbook of Northern Ireland’s Unionists.

We know of appalling racist behaviour sometimes by club fans.

For example, in 2015 Chelsea fans pushed a black man off a Paris metro carriage while chanting, “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”

The authorities don’t have clean hands. Last month Huddersfield Town football club was fined £50,000 by the Football Association after their players wore a shirt with a fake sponsors’ logo on it in a pre-season friendly.

Last season, Leeds United were fined £30,000 because a member of staff watched Derby County training from a public path.

West Ham United’s Robert Snodgrass was fined £25,000 for shouting at a drug-testing official.

But when Millwall was found guilty of racist chanting at their ground? A fine of just £10,000.

England manger Gareth Southgate said after the Bulgaria game, “Sadly, because of their experiences in our own country, they are hardened to racism. I don’t know what that says about our society but that’s the reality.”

We need to fight racism wherever it appears—and those who fuel such behaviour.

Angie Martin, Chester


Be in EU to fight for socialism

Socialist Worker seems oblivious to the dangers of a no-deal Brexit.

It represents a severe threat to jobs, working class living standards, employment rights, and environmental protections.

A recent TUC union federation document describes it as a “disaster for jobs, public services and the economy”. It stresses that “it’s working people who’ll pay the heaviest price,” including workers in Northern Ireland faced with the return of a hard border.

Moreover, there is no evidence that the majority of working class Leave voters voted for no-deal.

By its one-sided focus on the evils of the European Union (EU), Socialist Worker forgets that it also contains a social chapter which contains directives on health and safety, working conditions, consultation of workers and gender equality.

There is certainly much to criticise in the EU—not least its attitude to migrants—but it is far better to remain and fight from within.

Leaving, including leaving without a deal, means that the British trade union movement is no longer central to the European Trade Union Confederation.

This was set up to advance the interests of working people throughout the EU.

Only from within the EU can the European working classes fight for a socialist Europe.

Sabby Sagall, Central London


Cops ask us to succumb politely to our extinction

The Extinction Rebellion (XR) demonstrations in London have highlighted the existential threat that the carbon economy poses.

The Metropolitan Police would rather we go to our graves in good order and have ruthlessly policed the protests.

The police have also confiscated the property of the demonstrators including the wheelchairs of disabled activists.

The authorities then tried to take away the right to protest through the use of repressive and arbitrary Section 14 orders.

However the International Rebellion ends this is not the last of XR. The fight for a future will go on.

As for the police and the despicable Boris Johnson who sanctioned them to use the “full force of the law” against XR, I comfort myself with the thought that should we fail to stop catastrophic climate change, they will burn with the rest of us.

Sasha Simic, East London


Don’t forget about the unemployed

I am surprised that there is so little discussion among socialists about unemployment.

People talk about low pay and zero hours contracts, but there’s less about people without jobs.

The latest figures showed a rise of 22,000 in the unemployed taking the total to 1.3 million.

A million people unemployed used to be regarded as scandalous.

Even more tellingly, new research last week showed that there are large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain. This is excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the unemployment rate. They report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.

The true unemployment rate should therefore rise from 4.6 percent now to 13.2 percent of the working-age population not in education.

And that rate of joblessness and the harsh lives on benefits helps to keep wages low and people in work quiet.

Elana Lewis, Glasgow


Army role was key in Ecuador

It is important to understand another aspect of the retreat from repressive price increases by the Lenin Moreno government of Ecuador (Socialist Worker, 16 October).

It was not only due to the brave resistance of the protesters, but also that the government was losing control of the military.

It is the historical fact that the people must get the army on their side in order to win a revolution. This was the case in Ecuador in recent days

Gloria Bergen, Toronto, Canada


Good riddance to right winger

I was delighted to hear that Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, has resigned from the Labour Party.

She claims it is about antisemitism.

But the truth is that she didn’t want to face the questioning and accountability of a reselection process.

John Rigby, Liverpool


XR and the Suffragettes

I wonder how those who denounced Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) protest on the tube would have reacted to the Suffragettes?

In their battle for votes for women, they smashed windows, carried out arson attacks and disrupted major sporting events.

Were they wrong?

It’s quite reasonable to have tactical discussion about XR’s tactics.

It’s not OK to line up with reactionary critics.

Hannah Ellis, West London


Chuka out this hypocrisy

Chuka Ummuna MP was on the radio on Friday lecturing Labour MPs about how they needed to show loyalty to the principles of their party and vote against the Brexit deal.

What a cheek from the man who ditched Labour to join the independents and then the Lib Dems.

And all without any reference to his constituents.

Bob Peters, East London


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