Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

20 July 2020

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Open letter: trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

Maxine Peake (right), a member of Equity, with Jeremy Corbyn, photo rwendland/CC

Maxine Peake (right), a member of Equity, with Jeremy Corbyn, photo rwendland/CC   (Click to enlarge)

The following open letter, with over a thousand signatures, was sent to a dozen press and campaign organisations, including the Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party.

The letter's 1,021 signatories include members of Equity and sister performing arts unions Bectu and the Musicians' Union, and hundreds of trade unionists from across sectors, from nurses and bus drivers to lecturers and filmmakers, all in a personal capacity.


Trades unionists, artists, and campaigners, including fellow members of Equity, the union for performing arts professionals, in a personal capacity, are outraged at the completely false smears aimed at our colleague, the actor Maxine Peake. We stand in full solidarity with her.

The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, used an interview with Maxine as the pretext to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from his front bench, purportedly for spreading an "antisemitic conspiracy theory." There was no such thing in Maxine's interview.

The line Starmer claims as antisemitic is this: "'Systemic racism is a global issue,' she adds. 'The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services'."

It is alleged that this is meant to suggest that Jewish people secretly control the US state and international affairs, or are to blame for George Floyd's killing. No reasonable person could interpret Maxine's passing comment in this way.

Isolated, and facing an onslaught from the right-wing media - now including threats to her career - Maxine issued a clarification on Twitter: "I feel it's important for me to clarify that, when talking to The Independent, I was inaccurate in my assumption of American Police training and its sources.
"I find racism & antisemitism abhorrent and I in no way wished, nor intended, to add fodder to any views of the contrary."

It may well be that US police did not learn this neck restraint technique from Israeli state forces. However, it is now well-documented by Amnesty and Jewish news reporters and campaigners that US and Israeli forces have undertaken joint training since the 1990s. Most importantly, it is a fact that state forces in the US, Israel, and around the world routinely employ tactics like this, and other brutal violence. People oppressed on the basis of race are common targets - as are trades unionists at times of social turmoil.

False claims of antisemitism have a chilling effect on political debate and free speech - while doing nothing to combat antisemitism, which we completely oppose. Maxine's comment was plainly meant as an indictment of systemic racism and state violence around the world.

We believe that artists and trades unionists, and all who oppose injustice, should stand with Maxine. We call upon Maxine's trades union, Equity, the wider union movement, and the entertainment industry, to support her. We must oppose this political witch-hunt as well as racism in all its forms.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 20 July 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Equity:

triangle

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

triangleEquity 'Panto Parade' demands more support for arts workers

triangleEquity union president elections

triangleTrade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

triangleEquity union general secretary election

Racism:

triangleUSA: cop killings and the anti-racist movement

triangleCardiff: Hundreds protest to free Siyanda

triangle1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes

triangleRacism exists! Unite to fight all inequality

Antisemitism:

triangleHow far can the Starmer counter-revolution go?

triangleLabour movement conference to defend Corbyn and discuss new party

triangleCorbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party

Article dated 20 July 2020

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle13 May Socialist Party Scotland: What is socialism and why should you fight for it

triangle13 May Waltham Forest Socialist Party: What next in the fight against Covid austerity?

triangle13 May Sheffield Socialist Party: Onward from the elections - continue the fight for socialism

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Election analysis

Ireland

International news

Workplace news

Readers' opinion

Obituary

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1133 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


TUSC 2021 election video

More videos ...

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version