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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016

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Featured letter: democracy

Stop racist 'Prevent' surveillance

Teacher primary school classroom US Department of Education (Creative Commons), photo US Department of Education (Creative Commons)

Teacher primary school classroom US Department of Education (Creative Commons), photo US Department of Education (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Recently, the two major trade unions representing education workers reaffirmed their opposition to Prevent, which requires teachers to spy on and report young people at risk of "radicalisation".

At the University and College Union (UCU) annual conference in June, a motion titled "Prevent - education is not surveillance" was unanimously backed, which, among other things, resolved for the union "to work with students and others in opposing the Prevent agenda."

Similarly, a few months earlier, at the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) held in March, a motion was passed calling for Prevent to be withdrawn and replaced with new guidance for schools.

But it is not just trade unions who have been vocal in their calls for the termination of Prevent.

In 2014, the Economist observed that Arun Kundnani's excellent book 'The Muslims are coming!' had "some fair points to make about the counter-productivity" of Prevent. "His analysis of Prevent rang true".

Professor Kundnani's fair criticisms of the government's counterproductive terror policies were then updated in his 2015 report, 'A decade lost: rethinking radicalisation and extremism,' which reaffirmed that "the government should end its Prevent policy." He continued: "This will help to avoid nurturing a new generation of antagonised and disenfranchised citizens. Ultimately, Prevent-style policies make Britain less safe."

Professor Kundnani's criticisms of Prevent are not unique in this regard.

In April this year, Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, made his own position very clear. "It appears that Prevent is having the opposite of its intended effect: by dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population, Prevent could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it."

Mike Barker, Leicester

Pilger praise

I have attached an extract from an article by John Pilger. Its main virtue is that, while brief, it illustrates the different political characters of Pilger and Owen Jones.

"Described by the Guardian columnist Owen Jones as 'funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician', Obama the other day sent drones to slaughter 150 people in Somalia. He kills people usually on Tuesdays, according to the New York Times, when he is handed a list of candidates for death by drone. So cool."

Sue Powell, Gloucester

Dressing down

A 'couture' dress sold for 100,000 pounds caused one Murdoch newspaper to sigh: "One dress would cost more than a year's fees at Eton. For some people this kind of life is normal"!

Mike, Southampton

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In The Socialist 19 October 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS at breaking Point

Teachers working 60 hours need strikes, not studies

Elderly care at crisis point

Health campaigns demonstrate together in 'one fight'

NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'

Them & Us


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TUSC discusses new tasks after Corbyn victory


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Newsquest strike: Bosses realise 'contraints' of scab labour

London Underground cleaners protest pay cut

Support the 'Kinsley 3' cleaners in pay fight


International socialist news and analysis

Syria: horror deepens in Aleppo


Socialist history

Aberfan: a disaster that should never have happened

Suez 1956: the decline of British imperialism and rise of the colonial revolution


Black History Month

The radical life of Paul Robeson


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"

Come to Socialism 2016

Can you donate to the Socialism 2016 appeal?

Cheshire and Merseyside: Huge NHS cuts and privatisation planned

Devon: Campaigning against community hospitals closures

Bristol: Millions of pounds of "horrifically unpalatable" cuts


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Moving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism

Film review: Deepwater Horizon

Review: BBC2's Poetry Night

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