The Tory society at the University of Bristol recently organised a meeting entitled, A Unique Military Alliance—Israel and the UK.
Bristol Socialist Worker Student Society along with the University of Bristol Friends of Palestine society, the university BME network and the university Islamic society held a protest against it.
The speakers at the Tory event included Yossi Kuperwasser who served as the head of the research division of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
The IDF has murdered many Palestinian people and committed widespread human rights violations against them.
Kuperwasser was joined by Colonel Richard Kemp, who was sent to Kabul in 2003 to take command of British Forces in Afghanistan.
He has regularly contributed to the alt-right news outlet Breitbart.
In 2017 he appeared in a podcast with fascist Tommy Robinson.
Anti-racists, pro-Palestinian activists and socialists gathered outside the venue to make it clear that Islamophobia and complicity in human rights violations are unacceptable.
A member of the group who organised the protest went into the event.
They reported back that the audience and speakers spoke mostly about the protesters not the topic.
Colonel Kemp later tweeted that, the protesters had a “warped racist agenda”. Clearly our protest rattled the audience and speakers inside.
It is important to know that this event didn’t just happen at our university.
The same speakers did a tour of a number of different universities.
We cannot allow such people to spread their propaganda on campus.
Everywhere they go, we need to mobilise.
Sophia Beach, Bristol
Lisa Nandy is completely off the mark on the EU
There are some half-plausible arguments for the European Union (EU). But a recent one from Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy is just liberal romanticism— and factually incorrect.
Nandy said, “For all its imperfections, the European ideal is one that has lifted working people up together and provided Britain with more than half a century of peace.”
Workers’ living standards across Europe have fluctuated according to cycles of growth and austerity that the EU has done little about. In terms of war, the EU hasn’t stopped us being dragged into disastrous wars against other countries.
It’s also historical nonsense to imply that a European war would have been stopped by an EU-like organisation.
Also EU neoliberalism has contributed to a rise in far right parties across much of Europe.
Then there’s the matter of thousands of refugees drowning while trying to enter Europe.
Sorry to bring historical facts to bear on Nandy’s type of misty eyed romanticism.
But if we can’t even see the realities of capitalism and war, we’ll be stuck with it.
James Oliver, Sheffield
Activists in Haringey take on rising rents
When they took office in 2010, the Tories introduced new so-called affordable rent tenancies which they intended to replace social rents over time.
These rents can be up to 80 percent of market rent, which makes them completely unaffordable.
Many local authorities resisted the higher rents.
But ten years on, of the 168 English local authorities which own housing stock, 124 have at least some affordable rent homes. These figures are about to change.
This is because 18 affordable rent tenants in Haringey in North London are organising to get social rents like the rest of the borough’s council tenants.
The council is promising to cut these high rents by one third. That proves that lobbying and protests work. But we still do not know whether the council leadership will offer the normal council rents which tenants are demanding.
Paul Burnham, North London
Bigotry in Barking
Barking and Dagenham is east London a diverse community bustling with a multicultural identity.
It was horrifying to see the recent news of antisemitic graffiti being found near a Dagenham supermarket.
It’s terrible that such far right and racist expressions exist and are being expressed in our community.
It is at times like this that we need to fight against the far right and fascist ideas that still exist.
I’m glad that Stand Up to Racism held a protest against such antisemitic and racist behaviour by bigoted people.
Marvel Kalukembi, East London
Mobility pass win
After 18 months persistent campaigning by the Nottingham Reinstate the Mobility Pass Campaign, the Labour group has voted to reinstate a 24/7 free bus pass.
The pass is for people with disabilities.
It was scrapped in August 2018 after a sham consultation.
Since then the pass has only been able to be used between 9.30am and 11am.
The decision needs to be approved by the council budget meeting—where Labour have 55 seats out of 60.
If the vote goes through, the reinstated pass will be available to use from 1 April. It shows persistent campaigning can win.
Richard Buckwell, Nottingham
Support for Palestine
I was recently reading up on Andrew Faulds—a hero of the Labour Party.
According to one of his obituaries he never achieved high ministerial office thanks to his outspoken support for the Palestinian cause.
It was amazing that Jeremy Corbyn got as far as he did.
Brian Burden, Essex
How can Bernie win?
It was a victory for the left in the US after Sanders won the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But despite this he is still behind Pete Buttigieg in the delegate count. The US political system is truly broken.
Sam Ord, On Twitter
Remember Dr Li Wen
There has been a petition in China that calls for an end to censorship and for support for residents from Wuhan who are suffering discrimination
Let’s also hope that the anger over the death of Dr Li Wen—the Chinese doctor who first posted about the coronavirus and was then silenced by the police—brings sweeping change.
Lawrence Wong, South London
Anger at deportations
We live in a racist system that separates families and violates human rights. Airlines and pilots need to be lobbied since they are complicit in this crime.
Yasmin A, On Facebook
Praise for Parasite film
The film Parasite has won a well-deserved best picture win at the Oscars. It’s the first foreign language film to do so.
I am happy as this film portrays class divisions in such a clear way.
But I can’t help feeling the rich people at the award ceremony cheering the win, are examples of the parasitic ruling class the film is about.