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Letters—Brutal evictions show need to build against anti-GRT racism

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We must build the campaign to push back against Tory's tide of racism
Issue 2794
Kill the bill protest in central London

Gypsy, Roma & Traveller protesters have been joining the Kill the Bill demonstrations, standing up for their rights. (Alisdare Hickson)

It was sickening to hear of the eviction of Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) families and the demolition of their homes last week by a local council. 

Medway council in Kent mobilised bailiffs to destroy the homes on the land that the families own.

This was in front of distraught children who lived there. 

The reports on the Kent Live news site go on to say that the council even failed to offer alternative accommodation, leaving the families with nowhere to go.

James Golby, who lived in the community says in the article, “We’ve tried to do the right thing by settling down and buying a little land, because it’s illegal for us to travel at the side of the road like our ancestors did, and they are still not happy with that. We’re now homeless, we’ve got nowhere at all to go. We’re not allowed to live, I think they’d rather us just be gone.”

This is just a small piece of the ongoing war being waged against GRT people and their way of living. 

Home Secretary, Priti Patel and the rest of the Conservative Party are pushing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which includes measures that allow authorities to snatch people’s caravans. 

This is made even worse as local councils fail to provide transit sites or allow permanent pitches. 

According to the GRT organisation, Friends, Families and Travellers, there are just 

59 permanent and 42 transit pitches available nationwide and over 1,696 households are on waiting lists. 

Those who openly promote racism against GRT people don’t even feel the need to use coded or dog whistle references, as the recent vile comments from Jimmy Carr show.

This is another one of the many reasons to build the biggest possible turnout for the international anti-racism day demonstrations on the 19 and 20 March. 

We must build the campaign to push back against the tide of racism that Boris Johnson’s government is promoting.

Martin Lynch


University students and workers unite

Workers at 68 universities across Britain walked out on strike once more last month. 

The main reasons for this are shrinking pensions, falling pay, and worsening conditions. UCU members were right to fight back.

For hundreds of thousands of students, we had ten days of no lectures, classes or tutoring. When we pay over £9,000 a year, it is a hit. 

But all students should support and offer solidarity to our lecturers and professors on the picket lines. For students it is important to understand that staff are on the picket lines because they have no other option, not because they want to. 

It is the attacks from the university management that have forced us all into this situation. Lecturers are working much harder with much less. 

It means the quality of education they can provide will decrease. 

Teaching has often been described as a “labour of love”. 

We see how teaching staff educate due to their passion and love for their chosen subject. 

Their teaching conditions are our learning conditions. More unity against management is needed.

Matthew Ord


Animal cruelty is part of post-Brexit Britain 

Just as I thought the Conservative’s vile policies couldn’t get any worse, they plan to scrap the import and sale ban of foie gras.

Foie gras involves shoving a pipe down a goose or duck’s neck and force-feeding it a mixture of corn and fat.

This apparently creates a better taste by depositing a large amount of fat in the animal’s liver. 

Foie gras is the worst end of mass scale factory farming. If the price is right, cruelty to animals is allowed.

It’s all part of the system that allows the wealthy to fox hunt, shoot grouse and do other barbaric “sports”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is the one behind this—it’s a part of his vision of post-Brexit Britain. He doesn’t want to ban things that will upset his wealthy funders.

Emily Lloyd 


Protest at Jimmy Carr’s ‘joke’

Jimmy Carr has been met with a wave of anti-racist protests after making a racist “joke” about the deaths of tens of thousands of Roma and Sinti people during the Holocaust.

The supposed “joke” rests squarely on the vile and racist idea that targeting the GRT community is acceptable. 

Carr has since doubled down on his racism—publicly refusing to apologise despite widespread criticism. 

Stand Up To Racism groups have protested and leafleted those attending Carr’s shows. 

In Cambridge the protest was up to a hundred strong at its height and included members of the local GRT community, trade unionists and students. 

There was also support from Jewish Voice for Labour and local Labour councillors. 

Placards carried the slogan, “The Holocaust is not a joking matter.”

The venue was lit up with colour in solidarity with the GRT community.

The danger posed by Carr’s statement was evident in a layer of hardened racists amongst his audience who were clearly emboldened. 

There were also many attendees pleased to see a vocal anti-racist response.

Pressure from the protests has forced Carr’s team to promise various venues that the deeply offensive material will not be repeated.

Mark Dunk


Unity for the local elections

Why can’t we form a new party based on the 2019 Labour Party manifesto

There are enough people—over 200,000 have abandoned Labour. And the unions would support it.

The problem is we have three, or more alternatives. We need the SWP, Workers Party of Great Britain and TUSC to get together and start contesting local elections under one banner.

John Shale


Tony Blair’s Putin shame

In 2000, just two weeks before the Russian presidential election, Tony Blair met Vladimir Putin.

This was when Russia was engaged in executions and rape in Chechnya—an area fighting for independence in east Europe. 

Human Rights Watch said the visit was “absolutely the wrong signal”. Blair excused Russian actions in Chechnya and said, “It is still right that Britain has a strong relationship with Russia.”

A grateful Putin went on to “win” the election.

Chris Fuller


Tory donors is a key issue

The elite board influencing the Tories (Socialist Worker, 23 February) is a mish‑mash of corporate and corrupt businesses and wealthy individuals. 

They control our policies, trade deals and public spending. This has always been our problem. 

Rupert Murdoch and his media chums ensure we remain ignorant and Boris Johnson is in place to serve this all up to us in a joyful, British manner.

Marcia Kizwini

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Poor work conditions

Governments let Getir’s work conditions happen (Socialist Worker, 23 February). 

It all contributes to sapping workers’ rights. 

Greg W

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