The Socialist

The Socialist 22 July 2020

Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!

The Socialist issue 1096

Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!

Fight for the NHS

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's latest u-turn?

Mandatory masks in shops law: workers must not pay the price

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

Them & Us


Hugely significant Tower Hamlets council workers' strike continues

Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?


United Left general secretary hustings shows widest debate needed for left in Unite

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

Continue the fight to protect safety

Debenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies


Time to relaunch TUSC


I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

Wales arts cuts: Save every job

Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

Bristol trans rights protest

Getting the Socialist over the summer


Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity


Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

Israel: Nurses strike and win


100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain


Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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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.


In this issue


News

Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!

Fight for the NHS

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's latest u-turn?

Mandatory masks in shops law: workers must not pay the price

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

Them & Us


Unison

Hugely significant Tower Hamlets council workers' strike continues

Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


No going back

Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?


Workplace news

United Left general secretary hustings shows widest debate needed for left in Unite

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

Continue the fight to protect safety

Debenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Time to relaunch TUSC


Campaigns

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

Wales arts cuts: Save every job

Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

Bristol trans rights protest

Getting the Socialist over the summer


Music

Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity


International news

Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

Israel: Nurses strike and win


Communist Party

100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain


Readers' opinion

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

The Socialist inbox


 

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