Socialist Worker

Letters—Labour Party’s retreat over Kashmir is a worrying sign

Issue No. 2681


There were large protests against Narendra Modi in July (Pic: Guy Smallman)

I was enraged to hear that the Labour Party had declared the question of Kashmir to be a “bilateral issue” between India and Pakistan in which Labour will not interfere.

It has done this despite it being the site of one of the longest and most brutal occupations in the world. It has done it despite Indian prime minister Narendra Modi stripping Kashmir of its semi-independent status.

And it has done it despite Labour conference policy being for the right to Kashmir’s self-determination.

The reason is pressure from Modi’s BJP Hindu nationalists and their supporters in this country. They are circulating false information saying that the Labour Party is anti-Hindu.

Modi’s supporters’ ideology of Hindu nationalism is dangerous. It seeks a highly centralised and authoritarian state.

The BJP is remaining true to the explicit agenda of Sangh Parivar, a family of organisations linked to the far right paramilitary Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The Hindu nationalism that fuels the BJP portrays Hindus—who make up 80 percent of the population—as involved in a long-term battle against numerous enemies.

These include Muslims, Christians, communists, and secularists.

Kashmir plays a critical part in this mythology. Kashmir is seen as the next battleground against Muslims.

In seeking to rule on the basis of race, religion, faith and fear, Modi has a lot in common with Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro.

This is why it is so shocking that the Labour Party is pandering to a right wing nationalism which does not represent all Hindus.

In Sheffield we are organising a conference to oppose the occupation and we need to put pressure on Labour to stop pandering to Modi—the divider in chief.

Maxine Bowler


Solidarity call from US worker

Along with thousands of other home care workers in New York State, I work 24-hour days.

We care for the elderly and the sickest people who need around-the-clock care which is paid for through the government-funded Medicaid programme.

For doing this critical work in our society, many of us have become injured ourselves, some are permanently disabled. We have lost years with our own families.

I worked 24-hour shifts as a home attendant for

14 years. Working 24-hour shifts cost me a lot.

It hurt my relationships with my children and my husband.

In Honduras, I never saw 24-hour workdays. I worked in a garment factory ten hours a day. We had an hour break to eat. Nobody bothered you.

Honduras is very poor, yet we don’t have 24-hour workdays. I came here for a better life. Why in the US which is so rich, why are there 24-hour workdays?

We have a government-sponsored sweatshop system here that forces mostly women of colour to work

24 hours straight for days in a row, while only paying for 12 or 13 of those hours.

Home attendants and other workers are calling on the governor of the state to end this shameful practice.

We’re asking workers everywhere to tell governor Cuomo to stop the 24-hour workday.

Join our campaign at

Justa Barrios

Home care worker, New York

Sheku Bayoh’s family betrayed by the system

I agree with the sister of Sheku Bayoh when she said last week that Police Scotland is institutionally racist.

Kadi Johnson was speaking after it was announced that a public inquiry will be held into her brother’s death.

The day before Lord Advocate James Wolffe had confirmed that no police officers would be prosecuted in relation to the death.

Sheku died after being restrained by police officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, in 2015.

Before he met the first two police officers who handcuffed him he had no injuries. Soon after his body was covered from head to toe in injuries, including a broken rib and haemorrhages in his eyes—a possible sign of asphyxiation.

In the past five years there have been eight deaths in the custody of Police Scotland.

I hope the new inquiry gives some justice.

Elizabeth Cairns


Laws designed to stop a class response

The judge’s decision in the Royal Mail case that stopped the post strikes was very revealing.

Bosses argued that he union had created “a de facto workplace ballot”.

This underlines one of the main motivations for the Tory anti-union laws that were introduced in the 1980s.

Prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her allies knew mass meetings created a sense of class solidarity and debate.

They wanted to break up the collective and democratic decision-making by workers together. Instead they wanted individuals, prey to all the pressures of the media and the bosses, to vote at home in secret.

Over the last few months, through its workplace and social media campaigns, the CWU rightly tried to deepen collective resistance.

This is why the result of the ballot was so good. It will have shaken the bosses and the government.

I hope that the postal workers find a way to hit back, whatever the law says.

Regrettably the laws used last week will not be eliminated by the workplace reforms that the Labour Party has unveiled so far. Nor will individualised ballots.

Julie Doran


Keep fighting McDonald’s

Solidarity with McDonald’s strikers from all of us in Unite union in Aotearoa.

We have successfully unionised McDonald’s, abolishing zero hour contracts and youth rates, and raising the minimum wage from £4.60 to £8.85 an hour.

Joe Carolan

On Facebook

Responses to post strike ban

Our readers reacted after a court said a strike at Royal Mail was unlawful:

Freedom of speech and the right to voice this to protect oneself or others is a basic of humanity. This right should never be opposed. Where has democracy gone?

Anita Lopez

On Facebook

  • Now is the perfect time to defy the law and strike. Kick the undemocratic Tory scumbags.

Colin Surrell

On Facebook

  • Work to rule.

Chez Branger

On Facebook

  • Mass sickness that’s all there is for it then.

Thomas Ness

On Facebook

Nurses’ strike needs support

The nurses of Northern Ireland are bitterly angry at Tory cuts to the NHS and have voted to strike.

They are due to walk out on 18 December. It is vital that a solidarity campaign spreads the reasons for this unprecedented action.

Mark Drybrough


Thanks for my window poster

The Socialist Worker window poster attacking the Tories and supporting Jeremy Corbyn is a big hit in my household.

In my street there are posters for Labour, Greens and even the Lib Dems.

But when I put up the Socialist Worker one it got much more attention that the other ones.

Angela Haines

South London

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