Socialist Worker

Letters—What can the Little Amal city walks teach us about protests?

Issue No. 2779

Thousands greet Little Amal to St Pauls Cathedral, London.

Thousands greet Little Amal to St Pauls Cathedral, London. (Pic: Socialist Worker)

How brilliant to see huge crowds coming out to see Little Amal as she walks through city centres across Britain.

The reaction to the puppet of a Syrian child refugee travelling across Europe in search of sanctuary shows just how much support there is for asylum seekers. This is despite the barrage of right wing, racist propaganda.

Where anti-racist groups have participated, we have been able to raise political slogans and collect many names of people who want to get involved in campaigning.

I think there is something seasoned campaigners like us can learn from the Little Amal spectacles. The crowds around her are often bigger than our local demonstrations.

Shouldn’t we make our protests more open to performance and art? Can we use forms of theatre to reach out to people who have never yet joined a demonstration?

Anne J

Stroud, Wiltshire

Religious leaders, local children and community groups gathered on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, London to welcome Little Amal a couple of weeks ago.

Anti-racist march calls out Britain’s and EU’s deadly border rules
Anti-racist march calls out Britain’s and EU’s deadly border rules
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The sound of hundreds of school children singing Consider Yourself from the musical Oliver to Little Amal was moving.

The lyrics about welcoming outsiders as “one of us” embodied the ethos of the grassroots refugee charities present.

Representatives of the Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and Christian communities asserted that London was a city of welcome, made stronger by its diversity.

But as Amal continued her journey from the cathedral, I couldn’t help but let cynicism creep in.

Some of London’s biggest cultural institutions rolled out the red carpet to welcome Amal into their venues but what does that actually do?

Arts organisations are stifled in political output by charity status and government funding, so I’d hardly expect them to be leading calls for open borders.

Art is a powerful tool of protest, but it needs to agitate its audience into standing up to power, not just safely watching from the sidelines.

Heidi Henders

East London

Reject cops’ empty apology

Mina Smallman, mother of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry rightly rejected an apology from the Met police for its failure to search for her daughters when they were reported missing.

After their bodies had been found, officers took and circulated photos of themselves with the sisters’ corpses.

Despite this atrocious record the police watchdog concluded discrimination was not a factor in the mishandling of the case.

Mina Smallman and local MP Dawn Butler reject this too.

We know that the police force is institutionally racist and it is also riddled with sexism.

We saw its brutal treatment of women attending Sarah Everard’s vigil. We saw fellow officers supporting her murderer at his trial.

Police have the highest reported rates of domestic violence of any occupational group.

And recently many instances have come to light of police abuse of women who were victims of crime and of women police officers who fear reprisals if they report it.

Another police officer has just been charged with rape.

Cressida Dick says she wants to “rebuild the bond of trust between police and public, particularly women”. You can’t repair a bond that doesn’t exist. The police apology is worthless.

Sarah Cox

West London

Self-determination in Taiwan is a socialist fight

You are broadly correct that Taiwan (Socialist Worker, 20 October) has long been a geopolitical football between competing imperial powers.

But it is a mistake to conclude that the island is “clearly part of China.”

That’s not least of all because geographically the island is considerably further from China than, for example, Ireland is from Britain. Such claims play directly into Beijing’s imperialist ambitions.

The island’s indigenous peoples, with their unique cultures and languages, never accepted the decades of repression from the mainland‑obsessed and Western-sponsored dictatorship.

If we believe that all people have the right to self-determination, then that right applies also to the Taiwanese.

Socialist Worker rightly supported the anti-Beijing movement in Hong Kong.

So it would be erroneous not to extend that same solidarity to the Taiwanese democratic movement for independence.

Dan Conquer


Proportional representation falls flat

Delegates to the recent Unite union policy conference voted to back efforts to introduce the proportional representation (PR) method of voting for parliamentary elections.

We should be wary of seeing PR as a shortcut for workers’ interests to gain more of a say in parliament.

In Britain the major winners, had PR been in place for recent elections, would have been the right.

The vile racist Nigel Farage would almost certainly have become an MP for Ukip along with scores of others.

We don’t have to look much further back and it would have been the fascists of the BNP who got a leg up from PR.

To focus on parliament is also a distraction from the need to build a fight in our workplaces.

As prices are rising fast millions of us need a real pay rise now. Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham was right to prioritise standing on a picket line, over going to Labour conference. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball.

Mark Dunk


Opportunist Tories

Pushing the NHS into crisis is all part of the Tory scum’s plan. Covid has already been used to help speed up the sale of the NHS.

And following the murder of one of their MPs, they’re using the event to stop all types of complaints against them.

Alan Williams

On Facebook

Refugee protest

Once again there’s been total silence in the mainstream media regarding Amnesty’s, pro-refugee protest in London.

Yet they wonder why so much of the British population distrusts the establishment.

Leslie Bridges

On Facebook

Goodbye to a war criminal

Perhaps the recently deceased Colin Powell was a more decent human than George Bush. But I remember him lying through his teeth at the UN about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

His decisions caused the death of up to a million Iraqis, not to mention his own soldiers.

He will not be missed.

Thomas Gallagher


Champagne over schools

It’s shocking that the chancellor Rishi Sunak is boasting about returning school spending to 2010 levels.

Apparently “we are all in this together.” Is that why they’ve cut Champagne duty?

Lisa Barker

On Twitter

We need more LGBT+ goals

It’s great to see Australian footballer, Josh Cavallo proudly come out as gay after a long personal journey.

There is a huge barrier for LGBT+ people to overcome in sport.

Many non-binary and trans people don’t fit into football’s binary teams—they never get an opportunity to play.

Niamh A

North London

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Article information

Mon 1 Nov 2021, 10:26 GMT
Issue No. 2779
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