By Alistair Farrow
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Inspiring calls to struggle open Marxism 2016 festival in London

This article is over 5 years, 10 months old
Issue 2510
Hundreds of people attended the opening rally
Hundreds of people attended the opening rally (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Marxism 2016 festival got underway in central London today, Thursday, bringing together socialists from across Britain and the rest of the world.

Hundreds of people came to the opening rally to hear speakers from a series of ongoing struggles talk about the need to fight austerity, racism and war.

Moazzam Begg, former Guantanamo Bay detainee and director of Cage, spoke about the imminent release of the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War, defending Jeremy Corbyn’s record. “The people who who are celebrated in this country are the war criminals,” he said. “The people who voted for the war don’t want a person like Jeremy Corbyn in power.”

Brid Smith, newly elected People Before Profit TD in the Irish Dail, explained how the European Union (EU) is demaning water charges are upheld in the face a magnificent movement to scrap them.

“The EU is nothing but a bunch of bosses’ bullies who are pushing an agenda of war, pain and suffering across the world,” said Smith.

Train driver Axel Persson, secretary of the CGT union’s rail workers branch in Trappes near Paris talked about taking part in the inspiring strike movement to defend workers’ rights in France.

“Millions of us have now risen from our slumbers and become organised,” he said. After 18 days on strike in his workplace, “One person told me, ‘I have never been more alive than in the 18 days we have spent together’.”

Sheila Coleman

Sheila Coleman (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group and Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign spoke about their struggles to expose state injustice.

Sheila said, “The police got away with their behaviour because it was sanctioned by the state.”

Hannah Lawson from the National Museum Wales strike, Vakas Sabir from the Defend the Rotherham 12 campaign and striking workers from the United Voices of the World Union also spoke.

Amy Leather, joint National Secretary of the SWP, closed the rally with a call to intervene in the turmoil that followed last week’s referendum. “The world is not going to go back to how it was before last Thursday,” she said. “We want a world without exploitation and oppression.”

The festival continues over the weekend and ends on Monday, with hundreds of meetings and debates about revolutionary politics, history and theory set to take place.

Go to for more information.

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