The Socialist 8 August 2018 |
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The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon (Click to enlarge)
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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.
Thatcher's Militant blacklist
I wasn't surprised that newly released cabinet papers confirm supporters of Militant (predecessor of the Socialist) in the civil service were under secret surveillance and that Thatcher wanted them sacked.
In the late 1980s I applied for a job in the Health and Safety Executive as an employment medical adviser.
I went to an office in Whitehall for the interview and supplied references. A few days later I got a letter saying the department was pleased to offer me the job, "subject to confirmation of your date of birth, professional qualifications and other matters."
I sent copies of my birth certificate and qualifications - and waited before giving notice to my employer.
After six weeks I got another letter informing me that due to "a change of operational requirements" the post was not now going to be filled.
As there was nothing wrong with my birth certificate or qualifications, I could only assume "other matters" were the problem. By then I'd been active as a socialist with Militant for about 15 years.
Jon Dale, secretary, Unite EM/NG32 Nottinghamshire Health union branch (personal capacity)
World cup nationalism?
Trotsky, in one of his writings, comments that only the working class - of any nation - has the real 'interests of the nation' at heart.
What did he mean by that? It is the case that in any crisis of the capitalist system the capitalist class will abandon 'the nation' if the bosses think their profits are at stake.
A Corbyn-led government, even if it only goes halfway in implementing a pro-worker programme, will witness a flight of capital.
Meanwhile, on the contrary, it is the working class which wants to see a socialist programme implemented - not just to improve their own lives, but also to 'better the country'.
Witness the outpourings of support for the NHS 70th birthday celebrations. Even the capitalists are forced to pay lip service to its merits - through gritted teeth, while they plan to dismantle it.
For the working class, the NHS is socialism in action. They take pride in saying 'it's the best in the world'.
Are they being nationalist? Of course not, but rather expressing the feeling of ownership and wanting to keep the NHS.
In the 1970s, I remember well that the Union Jack was the flag carried by the National Front, and rightly it was seen by those on the left as espousing the poisonous racism of the fascists.
Today I don't think that is necessarily the case. Flying the Cross of Saint George is, for most, nothing more in my view than saying "I support the England football team."
Most workers want a lift from their everyday humdrum lives, and that is what it is all about - nothing more.
Bill Mullins, Lewisham and Southwark Socialist Party
Capitalism wants slums
Empty homes in Liverpool, photo Derek Harper/CC (Click to enlarge)
Slum housing - that's the best solution that capitalism's brightest thinkers can come up with to the housing crisis in Britain.
In 2015 the Adam Smith Institute gave an award to a young right-wing author for a blog post saying "Some people might not feel like they need a bedroom space as large as the state expects (70 square feet, with a minimum ceiling height of 7.5 feet), while others might not mind sharing a bathroom with another family (!) if it means lower rents." (Our comments in brackets.)
Rather than accept being crammed into whatever spare space the big landlords can find, we need decent housing for all, with rent controls, an end to letting fees, and most importantly a big programme of building council houses.
Yorkshire Young Socialists