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Letters: Our court win gives fascists in Austria the middle finger

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Issue 2594
The offending banner
The offending banner (Pic: Linkswende Jetzt))

Austrian revolutionary socialist group Left Turn Now scored an important victory against the fascist Freedom Party last week.

Freedom Party (FPO) leader Heinz-Christian Strache will have to put up with Left Turn Now’s banner that says “Fuck Strache” and shows him the middle finger.

Strache tried to sue Left Turn Now for “insulting” him. The Higher Regional Court in Vienna dismissed an appeal against a decision in December 2017 that ruled in favour of Left Turn Now’s slogans.

Strache had appealed against the Vienna regional court ruling that “such a rejection of a leading politician” can also be expressed “in a shocking and provocative manner”. And that Left Turn Now’s slogans were “an elementary part of freedom of expression”.

David Albrich, a leading member of Left Turn Now, said, “Together with all the journalists who have been attacked by the FPO we’re defending the fundamental freedom of opinion and the press.

“It’s alarming how the FPO are taking action against independent media coverage and inciting their followers against public broadcasters and journalists who are critical of them.”

The FPO sues its political opponents more than any other party—and has previously targeted Left Turn Now.

David said, “Strache’s lawyer Michael Rami specialises in slandering political opponents and critics.

“The fact that he should now be drafted into the Constitutional Court on behalf of the FPO is a scandal for democracy.”

The FPO has been part of the ruling coalition alongside the Tory People’s Party since January and has taken a number of key ministries.

But the Black/Blue coalition government has also faced mass opposition, with tens of thousands-strong demonstrations against it.

This judgement can help build the fight against them.

Left Turn Now, Austria

Answer to council cash crisis

The recent disaster of Northamptonshire County Council’s financial crisis can seem a little hopeless.

Council tax cannot be raised to a high enough level without a referendum. How can people accept such rises when their wages haven’t risen?

But remember that thousands campaigned to save our libraries and this fervour shows no sign of slowing down. People are organising demos, speaking at council meetings, packing out the public gallery—and being thrown out for heckling.

In a way this catastrophe was needed to kick people into action.

We are sailing into uncharted waters. It’s time that we remind those on the bridge that they wouldn’t even have a ship to steer without us.

Eddie Jones, Northampton

Food banks are no cure

I want to take up the issue of food banks, and the growth of working class dependence on them as a crutch to rely on.

It is the duty of working class people to protect each other and the idea of food banks comes from good intentions.

But food banks are not a solution—they’re a band aid on a broken leg.

If the motive of food banks is not questioned outright, then we will miss out on an opportunity to strike a blow at those who run society.

Finlay Baxter, North Lanarkshire

Foreign aid is part of Britain’s war machine

Your article on foreign aid’s imperial history (Socialist Worker, 21 February) was useful.

The history of foreign aid is steeped in imperialism
The history of foreign aid is steeped in imperialism
  Read More

But what’s remarkable about the expenditure is not how “miniscule” it is in relation to the military budget, but how large.

The aid budget rose steeply during the Blair years, and that continued under subsequent governments.

This coincided with New Labour’s turn towards a supposedly “ethical foreign policy” and “humanitarian interventions”.

The catastrophes in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the importance of aid as a weapon in the British state’s armoury.

With a war-weary population, they need more palatable justifications for imperial adventures.

Foreign aid helps lay the foundations for that.

Elias Grodin, South London

Shot in the head, then arrested

Nadia Sayed wrote recently about Ahed Tamimi—the teenager jailed by Israel for standing up to a soldier (Letters, 21 February).

Now the Israeli army have arrested her even younger cousin—a boy they shot in the head just weeks ago. Mohammed Tamimi, 15 years old, is missing a huge part of his skull after an Israeli soldier shot him with a rubber bullet. A hospital report said a bullet was removed from his skull.

Last week the army arrested Mohammed in the middle of the night, so he could say under questioning that he fell off his bike.

There’s no limit to the depths Israel will plunge to cover up its crimes.

Jen Nicholson, Isle of Wight

Horror of homelessness

I read your piece on the thousands of rough sleepers in Britain (28 February).

Vancouver, Canada, has 25,500 empty homes and lots of “working people” living in cars and vans. It’s obsecene.

Brian Houston, On Facebook

Shape up, Schama

The BBC says its new documentary series Civilisations aims to “find answers to fundamental questions about human creativity”.

Presenter Simon Schama started off with the destruction of ancient sites by Isis. He didn’t mention the huge damage done to the ancient city of Babylon following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The rest looked at early art and architecture, but ignored the social forces that produced them.

The BBC might help civilisation better by cutting Schama’s travel expenses.

Chris Fuller ,York

Take lessons from lecturers

Striking university workers have my support.

But we need a general strike to get this thieving, murderous gang of Tories out once and for all.

Pam Thompson, on Facebook

Does EU let us nationalise?

You claim that the single market prevents renationalisation (28 February).

So how do you explain that other countries have nationalised industries?

It is possible to stay in the European Union and have renationalisation.

Jeremy Coalbin, on Facebook

It’s possible to nationalise individual companies in the European Union but not entire industries.

So any companies that were nationalised would have to behave in the same way as a private company in order to compete.

That really defeats the object of nationalisation.

Elijah Chapman, on Facebook


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