Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/402/4571

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2005

Workers maintain class unity

A Yorkshire trade union rep's viewpoint

WHEN I read newspaper stories of the arrests in West Yorkshire, I realised that the Dewsbury bomber was the son in law of Farida, a Unison member I visited only three weeks ago.

Mike Forster, UNISON education rep, Kirklees

I knew that she'd be devastated. Farida, a community worker attached to Birkdale High School in Dewsbury, is a well-known and dedicated worker who helped hundreds of young people and their families. She is an extremely popular member of staff and the wider community. I visited her last month because she has been off work with angina for a while.

I rang the school and spoke to the steward. Word had already got out. I explained the need for discipline, things would get tough in the workplace. I also rang the head teacher and offered the union's help in dealing with any difficulties.

Unison has a very strong membership after our campaigning helped to keep the school open and we have a lot of respect there.

Later, Farida rang me. She was distraught. She knew nothing of her son in law's plans. Her health was not good; she had been forced to flee her house and her car was impounded. She was terrified of the BNP who live up the road from her. She wanted to clear her name - could the union help?

Backlash danger

We offered legal and welfare assistance, but the family and community had already got that organised. She asked me to attend a community meeting that evening to discuss the bombings.

I passed through two police cordons on the way. There are bomb scares every day. The meeting was made up of religious, community, police and political leaders. There were appeals for calm and sympathy.

The local MP said we could not talk of 'causal links' with Iraq, these were bad people who the Muslim community must actively seek out and report to the police.

If young people come out with inappropriate remarks, their mothers should clip them around the ear! Implicit in this was blaming the Muslim community for the bombings.

At Birkdale School the press are offering money to staff and pupils for stories about Farida. I was proud of the union steward who sent them away. He was concerned about Muslim pupils becoming uptight at the way Farida was dragged into this. There is a real danger of a backlash developing.

Then news broke that the fourth bomber is from Huddersfield. He attended the school - Rawthorpe - where I have worked for nine years! He left two years ago. Jermaine was an A star student who converted to the Muslim faith when he was 14.

School endured 'special measures'

The press switched their attention to Rawthorpe, offering students money for stories and photos. In this poor, run-down estate there have been plenty of takers.

The staff has had to endure 18 months in 'special measures' for schools with problems imposed by government inspection unit Ofsted. Unison is fighting to save the jobs of seven support staff who were unfairly dismissed.

They need this problem like a hole in the head.

This is a mixed-race school with a majority of white students. There is a much bigger fear of a backlash from either parents or pupils against the minority Muslim population.

More union meetings are planned to counter any threat of racism. Whilst there is tension in the air, events have not yet sunk in. Most people are in shock or confused.

Our public activity against war and terrorism has been successful. People are not stupid. They see the link between Blair's war and the terror attacks.

This mood will soon turn to anger. It is vital that this anger is channelled in the right direction. Racist and fascist forces are only too ready to exploit confusion.

The trade union leaders in particular have a big role to play in ensuring class unity prevails. At grass roots level, socialists can play a critical part in ensuring racism does not take hold.


"You feel people staring at you"

KEDARA (NOT her real name), a young Somali woman living in London, attended the Trafalgar Square rally on 14 July and the London Socialist Party meeting. She told the socialist about feelings in her community.

"Since the bombings, many Somalis have felt too frightened to go out alone. It's hard to carry out your normal routine. You feel people are staring at you as if you might be a terrorist.

"One friend of mine has had youth knocking on her door at night ever since that terrible day. She's heard her neighbour's son saying: 'Al-Qa'ida are living here'. She won't let her children play outside any more. What will she do now the school holidays are coming? She can't keep them inside 24 hours a day!

"Bin Laden is a rich man and a brainwasher. Al-Qa'ida are merciless, slaughtering children. Islam is a religion which teaches unity, not hatred and killing. If they want to fight, they should fight the leaders not the people. But bin Laden was financed by the Americans to start with. They don't represent the interests of ordinary Muslim people.

"They take advantage of young people who have no hope for life but are promised paradise after death. Youth know the discrimination we face, not getting a job as soon as employers simply hear your accent, or see you have a Muslim name. They see politicians like Blair breaking their promises, some hope perhaps that maybe the terrorists will keep theirs.

"These people preach revenge for Muslim brothers and sisters in Kashmir and Chechnya, Iraq and Fallujah. Of course that makes people listen. Blair and Bush should get the troops out and leave Iraqi people to sort out their own problems.

"I was pleased to see so many people in Trafalgar Square calling for unity and the Socialist Party campaigning against terror and against war. We must offer hope for all working people and fight for better conditions together."


Blair's 2003 warning

THE CONDEMNATION and analysis of the bombing by the socialist was spot on. Having overseen mass murder in Iraq, it is nauseating to see Blair and Bush cry crocodile tears over the victims of the monstrous atrocities in London.

Tony Mulhearn

The victims' relatives want answers and the public want protection. Who is responsible for the creation of the perpetrators of this mass murder?

Blair and his cronies were warned as to the consequences of invading Iraq.

"Next time a large bomb goes off in a western city, how far did this policy (Iraq) contribute to it?"

That was not the quote of a 'leftie' or a 'liberal wimp,' that was leading Tory Kenneth Clarke speaking in the Commons on 27 February 2003, shortly after two million people demonstrated against the war.

Blair chose to ignore that message and the consequences are being suffered in the most appalling way by innocent people on their way to work.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 21 July 2005:

Troops out of Iraq

No to terror! No to war!

Hospital workers condemn terrorism and war

Workers maintain class unity

Iraq: War and occupation bring growing misery

al-Qa'ida: US imperialism's deadly legacy

Stop the War Coalition's missed opportunity

Karl Marx: the greatest philosopher of all time

Hands off our housing

Judge lets rail bosses walk free

Ted Heath, Tory premier who took on the workers and lost

Defending civil service jobs

Delegates fight to defend democracy at TGWU conference:

National finance meeting success


 

Home   |   The Socialist 21 July 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Terrorism:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Why Marxism opposes terrorism

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Marxism opposes terrorism

triangleLondon attack: unite against terrorism, war and racism

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleManchester socialists campaigning against war, racism, terrorism and austerity

Unison:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleSurrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

Kirklees:

triangleCouncil proposes worst cuts in living memory

triangleGetting under Labour's skin in Southwark

triangleNarrow vote against action in Kirklees Unison

Education:

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Muslim:

triangleFinsbury Park attack: No to terror, racism, war and austerity!

School:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Iraq:

triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2