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From: The Socialist issue 1038, 17 April 2019: £100 billion for bosses - cuts for us. Fight for the socialist alternative

Search site for keywords: Letters - The Socialist - Socialist - Gilets jaunes - Capitalist - Police - Far right - Leeds

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The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors   (Click to enlarge)

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Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email [email protected]

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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

Miner praises Socialist

Striking miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair

Striking miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair   (Click to enlarge)

A man bought the Socialist on 14 April, paying solidarity price. This is what he said: "You've got to read the truth somewhere. I was a striking miner in Notts, and it was the Socialist Party [called Militant at the time] who got us going here."

Clare Wilkins, Bingham, Nottinghamshire

Gilets jaunes solidarité

"Aware that we have to fight against a global system, we consider that it will be necessary to leave capitalism." The gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest movement's 'assembly of assemblies' in France has released a statement calling for an end to capitalism.

The Macron government's efforts to stifle the protests, such as the so-called "Grand Debate," have been rightfully recognised as damage control, an effort to obscure the intentions of the government. Protests continue despite repeated instances of police brutality.

However, it is a weakness of the assembly's approach to declare itself independent from the trade unions. In France the trade unions are numerically weaker than in Britain, but draw significant layers of workers into struggles including strike action, which will be vital in taking the movement forward to win its social and economic demands.

Leeds Socialist Students stands in solidarity with the movement of the gilets jaunes, and welcomes the recognition that the problems of workers in France cannot be fully resolved under capitalism. There has so far been little published in English on this declaration, so we hope that we can raise awareness among English-speaking supporters...

Andrew Saxon, Leeds University Socialist Students

Corbyn in the crosshairs

The British army has been in the headlines after Parachute Regiment soldiers were filmed apparently using posters of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice. Last year, a soldier was convicted of being a member of banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action - which had been trying to expand in the army.

In the military in this and most countries, the overwhelming number of enlisted personnel are working class. In crisis periods such as this, many of them and their non-commissioned officers are beginning to ask difficult questions of this criminal capitalist system.

Inherent in the character of armed forces' ethos are some of the worst aberrations of capitalist society, including reactionary political ideas. Meanwhile, elite units like the Parachute Regiment are nourished on the idea their World War Two legacy is untouchable.

Officers and brass aren't representative of the wider enlisted majority. Their concerns aren't the same or shared. 10,000 homeless veterans, pensions under attack, and other deteriorating terms and conditions of soldiering mean nothing to the boss class in the military.

A socialist government would ensure working-class people have opportunities which would eliminate the need to serve as a mercenary for the exploitative, predatory, and insatiable capitalist killing machine.

William Jarrett, North Shields

National Action action

Just weeks after the massacre in Christchurch, far-right terrorism is again in the headlines, following the end of reporting restrictions on the trial of a group of suspected members of the proscribed neo-Nazi terror group National Action.

Jack Renshaw, former youth organiser for the racist British National Party and one-time spokesman for National Action, has been found guilty of attempting to groom teenage boys on social media. Renshaw had previously pleaded guilty to plotting to kill right-wing Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Renshaw planned to kill both Cooper and the detective investigating his sex offences with a sword, before goading police to shoot him dead. It was a desperate attempt to go down in history as a martyr for fascism rather than a convicted sex offender. His plot was thwarted when a former National Action member tipped off the Hope Not Hate charity.

This case highlights on the one hand the threat posed by the far right, even when manifested in small fringe groups. Unless the workers' movement can show a way forward, we must be prepared to face the threat of right-wing violence as the capitalists continue to stir up racism.

So the most important lesson is still the need to organise a mass, working-class resistance to the far right. We cannot rely on the forces of the capitalist state to prevent fascist movements growing and carrying out attacks.

Renshaw's plot was just days away from being enacted. Yet the police were none the wiser until the tip-off.

This lax approach stands in stark contrast to the scale of infiltration by the state into all manner of workers' and socialist groups, including Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party. The police, like all arms of the capitalist state, fundamentally exist to protect the capitalist order, and the property and profits of the 1%.

To halt the threat, the trade unions must take the lead, mobilising counter-demonstrations with pro-worker demands to oppose every attempt by the far right to hold demonstrations.

This is what humbled National Action on the two occasions it tried to march in Liverpool, including the memorable incident when a small group of its members were forced to take shelter in the lost luggage room of Lime Street train station behind a protective cordon of police while being pelted with eggs and bananas.

Linked to this must be socialist demands to undercut far-right narratives which aim to divide the working class: genuinely affordable housing for all, a £10 an hour minimum wage without exemptions, and fully funded jobs and public services, publicly owned, under democratic workers' control and management.

Jack Yarlett, Wirral

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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.

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Article dated 17 April 2019

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