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Letters: Continue the fight for Palestine—but outside of the Labour Party

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Issue 2732
Now is the time to keep up the fight for Palestine - outside of the Labour party
Now is the time to keep up the fight for Palestine – outside of the Labour party (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The right has continuously deemed left wing activists who criticise Israel and its oppressive actions towards Palestinians as antisemites. 

This is a dangerous tool for silencing those who show solidarity to Palestinians.

Anti-Semitism is a poison in this world and it is on the rise. And trying to expel anti-racists like Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party is taking away from the fight against real antisemitism.

Keir Starmer’s undying support for Israel is a massive blow to Palestinians across the UK and in Palestine. 

It is also a blow to the supporters of Palestinian rights within the Labour party and those outside of it. Starmer has made it clear that you can’t support Palestinians if you are in the Labour party.

By ostracising those who speak out against the crimes of Israel, he is engaging in the game of trying to appeal to the right in order to win elections. 

Despite the fact that Corbyn was reinstated to the party it was still a massive blow for the labour left and in the fight for Palestinian rights. 

Corbyn has opposed racism all his political life unlike many of his opposers on the Labour right. 

He is right to stand for Palestinian rights, against imperialist war and to oppose austerity. 

Starmer tried to push him out to show that Labour will maintain the current system in place. 

Starmer will not question the military, he will not stand up for issues such as the Black Lives Lives Matter movement—which he deemed a “moment”. 

He will not stand up for the oppressed and hungry in order to maintain unity with Johnson’s destructive government. 

The fight for real change—  including standing up for Palestinians—exists outside of Labour. 

Now is the time to speak out against Starmer and show complete solidarity with all the oppressed people he chooses to ignore. 



Police sexism runs deep

The article by Sarah Bates (Socialist Worker online, 14 November) about the sexism of the police relating to serial killer Peter Sutcliffe is shocking and accurate. 

Another element of what happened was the treatment of women who were involved in protests at that time. 

I was part of a protest in 1980 that picketed a Bradford Cinema. 

It was showing a film that used graphic publicity of a boot coming down on a woman lying face up on the ground. 

We picketed the cinema to object to the film being shown, particularly when Sutcliffe was still attacking women. 

Eleven of us were arrested and held in Bradford police station cells until the film was over at 11pm when the buses had stopped running. 

Most of us had to travel back to Manningham—where later we found that Sutcliffe lived.

When we asked for access to safe transport home we were told by the police that “Little girls that play with fire deserve to get burnt”.

Subsequently we were all found guilty of the civil offence of Blemish of the Peace. 

In the newspaper reporting our full names and addresses were published. 

That was how seriously women’s safety was taken by West Yorkshire police and the media.

Jill Chanter


Spycops were powerless against mass movements

As a founder-member of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC) I have been reading with great interest the reports of how the spycops observed and infiltrated the movement. 

We should unreservedly condemn police dishonesty, the abuse of women and the way the state tried to oppose legal and legitimate political movements.

But it’s also important to remember that the police surveillance was a tribute to the success of the movement.

And it did not in any way obstruct the activities of the VSC. The demonstrations went ahead and grew larger. We played our part in an international movement to oppose a criminal and futile war. We helped to deter prime minister Harold Wilson from sending British troops to help his American friends. We drew in thousands of young people, many of whom went on to be active in other political struggles. 

Some are still around. And we were right. 

Few people would now justify US policy in Vietnam. 

So condemn the spycops. 

But don’t be intimidated—they were totally powerless against a movement that mobilised thousands and fought for clear political principles. 

Ian Birchall 

Central London

Statue misses the point

Last week saw the unveiling of a statue to honour the Enlightenment philosopher and author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft.

It’s been 200 years since she wrote about the emancipation of women—a statue to acknowledge her contribution is long overdue. 

But the unveiling of a female nude representing “everywoman” with an objectified naked female form, has rightly been met with considerable backlash. Strongly influenced by the American and French revolutions, she linked the emancipation of women to the social and political liberation of the people as a whole.

There was scope to do justice to this amazing woman whose life coincided with a period of revolutionary upheavals. 

We don’t need another landmark statue of a female nude. She didn’t want women to be defined by their biology but by their potential. 

We should build a statue of her that represents what she stood for—total equality. 

Helen Blair and Lorna McKinnon


Corbyn shouldn’t have apologised

Corbyn is a man of integrity forced to lie to stay within the party that he worked for all his life. 

I understand why he did. I wish he hadn’t.

An Drew 

On Facebook 

Corbyn is hopelessly shackled to the Labour Party and the system it represents.

Ian Brooke 

On Facebook 

Prisons must be improved

I write in response to Kim Hunter’s letter ‘Time to tear down the jails’ (letters, 11 November). 

I have no doubt anyone visiting UK prisons would be shocked by the terrible conditions of most of them.

We’ll not be rid of prisons before being rid of capitalism. 

But while they do exist they ought to be places of decency. 

They shouldn’t be 200 year old dungeons where we “lock people up and throw away the key”.

Jim Barlow 


Greenwashing is a sick joke 

Is anyone else struck by the number of ads on TV from oil companies telling us how green they are? 

Beyond irony.

Dee Wise 

On Facebook 

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