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Letters—Royal flag waving can fuel feeling of anti-imperialism

Remembering the horrors of the British empire is one way to properly celebrate the queen
Issue 2809
A side profile of queen elizabeth against a union jack backdrop tinted blue

Royalist pomp can lead to people questioning imperialism

There’s been so much flag waving to celebrate the queen’s jubilee. We’ve had to endure the endless pictures of the royal men dress up as generals and admirals covered in medal for wars they have never fought in. But perhaps we could hope that this nauseating sight is politicising a new generation of anti-imperialists.

The jubilee has brought back memories of my attempts to be a loyal flag waver. It was just after the war in the 1940’s and my class teacher told us that the following day would be Empire Day. If we were to bring a sixpence tomorrow, we could buy a union jack flag and we would then have a parade in the playground.

Britain still had an empire then. In every classroom was a world map where areas coloured in a tasteful pink indicated that was “ours” just so we could not forget where the empire was.

I dashed home and confronted my father for the money and explained what it was for. He refused to give me the money and explained very forcefully what the union jack stood for in terms of violence, blood, and outright plunder.

I was the only child in the class not to have a flag, but I later realised that I had gained a much better inheritance of being an anti-imperialist. Later I witnessed my father deal with my uncle who complained about the Mau Mau killing an old white woman in Kenya.

My uncle was concerned about the Mau Mau making their own guns to kill the settlers who had robbed them of their lands. My father’s reply was to insist that we should collect money so we could buy the freedom fighters proper weapons so “they could do the job properly”. My poor uncle was speechless but it reinforced my anti-imperialism.

Roger Cox

West London

TikTok sexism

It’s rare that a boss will expose themselves as the heartless horrors that they actually are. But Joshua Ma, one of the bosses at social media firm TikTok, is an exception. He’s one of the senior executives at ByteDance, which owns TikTok. It was reported last week that Ma told a staff dinner earlier this year that as a “capitalist” he “didn’t believe” firms should offer maternity leave.

It’s estimated women make up 65 percent of TikTok’s British users. These women are the ones who have filled Ma’s coffers.

With the viral video company valued at least £39 billion, it’s a bit rich to complain that women are taking maternity leave.   

Emma Jones

West Yorkshire

Football hypocrisy

I notice that the Uefa Executive Committee has banned Russia from taking part in the Nations League competition.

It cancelled Russia’s next match and ranked it bottom of the league. The committee explicitly linked the decision to the war in Ukraine. Ironically, the match was supposed to be played between Russia—and Israel.

So why is Uefa ok to turn a blind eye to the war crimes committed against Palestinians? Hypocrisy of the most disgusting kind.

Gemma Scott

East London

Remember Victor Jara, not Thatcher

John Wake is right to point out the attempt to get rid of Chilean socialist Salvador Allende’s name from a street in Harlow (Letters, Socialist Worker 1 June). There’s also the issue of the outrageous statue of Margaret Thatcher in Grantham.

It’s led to a discussion about her attacks on the working class in Britain.

What’s not been mentioned is the fact that she was a strong supporter of General Pinochet. Along with the US government she played a supporting role in the slaughtering thousands of Chilean socialists.

What was Allende’s crime? Nationalising the copper industry! We should insist that her statue be dumped and replaced by a statue of Victor Jara. Jara was a very popular Chilean folk singer and socialist.

He was captured by Pinochet’s forces, imprisoned and tortured and then killed along with thousands of others. What was Jara’s crime? He wrote and sang many songs that exposed the horrors and exploitation of the rulers in Latin America.

Terry Skyrme

By email

Beware when calling for more gun controls

The latest horrific school shooting in the US has intensified calls for greater gun control. While understandable, such calls should be opposed by Marxists.

The police in the US shoot and kill approximately a thousand people a year and have done so for the last six years. This vastly outnumbers those killed in school shootings.

Deaths caused by police shootings are a daily, ingrained fact of life and do not usually merit mass outrage. Whereas school shootings involve many deaths in one day in a setting that should not have to witness such horror.

Gun control limits would not stop such killings. Any attempt to limit the constitutional right to bear arms would only shift the balance towards an already highly armed and militarised US state.

John Curtis

By email

Give people smoke choice

Is the best way to stop smoking raising the legal age you can buy tobacco, one year at a time? That’s what the government seems to be seriously considering.

Smoking has major health consequences—but so does alcohol, unhealthy food and lots of other things.

Would it also be right to ban those? It will just create an underground market where tobacco products are unregulated—and potentially even more harmful.

It’s the same reason I support liberalisation of drug policy. Tell people of the health dangers—but ultimately give them the choice.

Jack Davis


Tory policies humiliate us

I’m so frustrated Boris Johnson has announced measures that he says will allow Universal Credit claimants to save up for a house deposit.

At the moment buying my housing association flat isn’t at the top of my priorities. I’m trying to make it to the end of the month without asking my family for money, or relying on a credit card.

It’s like they come up with these policies just to mock us. It would be funny if it wasn’t so humiliating. 

Val Bruce


The MeToo backlash

Socialist Worker is absolutely right in general about the backlash against the MeToo movement.

But a supporter of MeToo made a good point in a TV interview. She said that if Heard was lying, then it is she who has damaged MeToo and made it more difficult for victims to come forward.

Phil Webster


I was relieved to see Socialist Worker’s analysis of the backlash facing MeToo, in relation to the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial.

It really feels like the clock is turning back on women’s lives—what is going to be next?

Chloe Marshall

Via email

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