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LETTERS—Standing with Palestinians in Manchester and Bristol

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Issue 2623
Support for Palestine in 2014  (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Socialist Worker Student Societies (SWSS) were at freshers fairs at the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University last week.

People were really interested in what we had to say—especially about Palestine.

Lots saw that we had a Freedom for Palestine poster and wanted to come over and talk to us about it.

I think the interest is definitely to do with the recent furore over attempts to brand support for Palestine in the Labour Party as antisemitic.

The use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism—which says its antisemitic to call Israel a racist state—is meant to silence criticism of Israel.

Some people came to argue with us. One person wanted to argue about Israel. And a few people asked about antisemitism in the Labour Party.

We argued that it’s not antisemitic to call Israel a racist state. But we also pointed out that the Conservative Party is friendly with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, who is an open antisemite.

They didn’t know about that—it shows how biased the media coverage on Labour has been.

The row over the last few months has made the issue more visible. Most of the people we spoke to supported Palestine.

They wanted to talk to a group that clearly stands with Palestinians. We gave away all of our Freedom for Palestine stickers at University of Manchester.

SWSS was involved in campaigns and protests for Palestine and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign last year. It’s going to be a big part of our activity this year.

Molly Docherty


  • Bristol last week saw a very large and vibrant meeting on the issue of “Antisemitism, Corbyn and Justice for Palestine”.

Over 160 people crammed into the event. Those in attendance were overwhelmingly members of the Labour Party. They were enraged by the smears against Corbyn and the left.

Speakers at the top and contributions from the floor expressed anger at the way that people on the left of the party had betrayed the Palestinian cause.

There were contributions from union members that also highlighted the way their leaderships had put pressure on Corbyn without any mandate to do so. In effect union leaders Len McCluskey, Dave Prentis and Tim Roache had undermined Corbyn and strengthened the right.

There was debate over how much to contest the details of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition. Some said we shouldn’t get bogged down in detail and just raise solidarity for Palestine.

Others argued that the definition was a key argument and to not take this on would allow those backing Israel against the Palestinians a major victory.

I think this is important as building movements without fighting for politics weakens the whole left.

Overall it was a meeting that gave the left confidence to carry on the fight.

Huw Williams


Why vote Labour?

I was born into a working class family in a town in Nottinghamshire.

I am barely old enough to remember a time before Tory austerity. The Labour Party seems uninspired to help the north of England.

My Labour MP is John Mann—principled, well-meaning and a man of the people.

But he seems to be outnumbered by the privately educated champagne socialists and ladder climbers.

I believe that Labour’s unsuitability is proven by their current obsession with identity politics.

They do a lot of good work supporting minorities but still don’t try to help the working class.

This is despite the fact that many of those discriminated against are working class.

Socio-economic class is, by far, the greatest indicator of how well you will do in the future.

Labour—and sometimes the Tories—promise to reconnect and

re-industrialise the north but nothing happens. They simply don’t care.

Why don’t we demand more from Labour? Why do we keep voting for a party that has been failing us for nearly half of a century?

Ross Phillips


Remembering Julie Fowler

On 18 September 2008 our world collapsed and we lost our precious daughter, sister, and friend, Julie Fowler.

Julie or Jools as she was known by those who loved her was such a selfless person and had a heart of gold. She dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate than herself even when she was struggling with her own life in one way or another.

She never gave up in what she believed and she campaigned tirelessly for what she thought was right and for other people’s rights.

She would help anyone and she dedicated her life to trying to make this world a better place.

She was a long time supporter and organiser with Socialist Worker, and she stood for local elections in Newcastle upon Tyne as part of the Socialist Alliance.

We love you Jools and miss you, as do all your family and friends.

Norman Fowler

I won’t back the elitist EU

I am a socialist. I oppose racism, violence and sexism. I was a proud shop steward and branch chair for the TGWA union.

I voted Leave in the European Union (EU) referendum as did over

60 percent of Labour voters—a group of voters the Labour Party would like to be silent.

We’re also a group of voters Labour MPs such as Chuka Umunna, Mary Creagh and Yvette Cooper choose to ignore.

These superior elitists think they know better than us and have the audacity to complain that we didn’t understand exactly what we were voting on.

I believe the EU can’t be reformed. It is broken. Everything good about the EU could be achieved voluntarily.

Robert Algar


Posturing on People’s Vote

I read your article criticising calls for a People’s Vote (Socialist Worker, 19 September). I expected better from you.

Your conclusion seems to be that a socialist Brexit is not achievable without revolution, but that’s not going to happen.

So what was the point of your article—posturing?

Alan Wilson

On Facebook

Migrant myths exposed

Last week’s migration report shows migrants are not pressuring public services, and give more than they take out.

Austerity and tax breaks for the rich reinforce the myth.

Pauline Smith

On Twitter

Wake up to Ukip threat

Your report that Ukip leader Gerard Batten supports fascist marches (Socialist Worker, 19 September) is scary.

Those who say Ukip is harmless, open your eyes—this is not OK!

Hannah Biss

On Twitter

Labour needs open selection

All Labour candidates for MP—including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell—should be selected by party members each time.

It doesn’t matter if they’re left or right—this is a democracy.

I speak as a proud Corbyn supporter.

Bob Inapples

On Twitter

A miner fact about coal

The coal industry was nationalised in 1948. According to big business, the National Coal Board (NCB) did not produce a single profit between then and the mid 1970s—showing nationalisation doesn’t work.

But the NCB did make a substantial profit every year. It all went to the bank accounts to compensate the former mine owners.

David McDonald

East Kilbride

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