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Before the 2012 London Olympic Games, US comedian Rich Hall remarked on the condition of the River Lea Navigation (canal) which runs alongside the main stadium (now home to West Ham FC). He said: "You can't kayak there, but you can develop your camera film in it"!
Yes, factory chemical waste and discarded shopping trolleys didn't make it a great place for anglers.
But after millions of pounds of public money was spent cleaning up the site we now hear from Manchester University researchers that our canals and rivers are filled with microplastic waste - the worst plastic-polluted waterways in the world.
Isn't capitalism wonderful!
Simon Carter, east London
Solidarity with Chris
Chris Fernandez was TUSC agent in the 2016 Derby City Council elections. He was given an unjustified and vindictive sentence of 15 months' imprisonment after being found guilty of 'electoral fraud'.
I would just like to thank everyone for their messages of support. I received 50 posters, A4 size, with the message 'Solidarity with Chris - Socialist Party' (see photo below).
What brought a lump to my throat was the messages on the back of those posters which were held up by members of your party at your conference!
I received a letter from my Polish father-in-law, a retired professor of law, which my wife translated and sent to me in English: "As a lawyer, I am ashamed of this type of case in the Crown judicial system. It rather reminds me of the jurisdiction in Stalinist Russia.
"Good job that I don't have to teach students anymore and lecture them about the cradle of modern democracy, which according to textbooks is supposed to be England. Because the example of your sentence proves that this is complete fiction.
"I think that your experience will not change your ideological views and that you will remain the same tough mountain man from Asturias. Take care of yourself, from a tough mountain man from the Tatra mountains."
Asturias in Spain is where my father came from, a place called Mieres near Oviedo. My dad fought against Franco and escaped to France.
Am now in full-time education which gets me out of my cell. I get paid £10 a week. Am putting that aside towards your building fund. I know it's not much, but I hope it will help.
Yours in solidarity,
Chris Fernandez, Nottingham Prison, number: A5447ED, wing: E4-07
Wild accusations, alternative facts, special prosecutors - the Salem witch trials of 1692 had it all. Sound familiar?
Witch-hunts from Salem to McCarthy have been deployed by powerful people who ruthlessly exploit fear and prejudice to demonise their adversaries.
The current antisemitism hysteria, generated by a toxic mix of Tories, Blairites, and right-wing self-styled representatives of the 'Jewish community' - cheered on and encouraged by a feral media - meets all the classical traits of the witch-hunt.
The latest shock, horror headline is 'Sir David Garrard ditches Labour over antisemitism.'
Garrard exemplifies the forces being mobilised to undermine Corbyn. A follower of Tony Blair, he was listed by the Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune in excess of £100 million.
Following the discovery of a loan to Labour in the course of the 'cash for honours' political scandal, Garrard withdrew his nomination for a peerage.
When Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, he immediately called for the loan to be repaid.
The truism that 'no ruling group ever leaves the scene without a struggle, and that means a struggle with no holds barred' is confirmed.
Individuals who may criticise Israel should not be sacrificed in the hope that this will assuage the appetite of the beast - it will never be satisfied until Corbynism is buried.
Labour's response should be to call out the lies for what they are, intensify the campaign against austerity and promote the socialist alternative to the brutal anti-working class policies of the Tories.
McCarthy and the Salem witch-hunters were eventually exposed as charlatans. The current onslaught will suffer the same fate.
Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool
TUC and bosses' EU
On 24-25 March I was among a number of trade unionists in Harrogate for the Trade Union Congress regional annual general meeting.
Among the various panels was one discussing the question of Brexit which did little to develop the way forward for working class people, but consisted of a national TUC officer and Labour MEP pointing out the obvious deficiencies of the Tory buffoons negotiating with the EU.
However, the TUC officer's comments were very revealing. To them, the only options on offer in the Brexit debate were a choice between "continental capitalism and British capitalism".
When it was pointed out that maybe what we should have is something other than capitalism, such as a socialist society, she responded that it wasn't realistic, that we live in a capitalist society and all we can do is "tame it, smooth it out around the edges"!
In reality, such right-wing reformists have no vision of a different way of organising society, and therefore their desperation drives them into collaboration with the pro-EU multinational bosses.
The same TUC officer also defended the Single Market on the basis that "in practice it delivers jobs".
It leaves them clinging to as much as possible of the bosses club that is the EU, despite its method of 'protecting jobs' being driving down wages and living conditions as much as possible to protect profits.
It's up to real socialists to point out that instead of tying ourselves to the interests of the bosses and their profits, we should be taking that wealth off them through bringing into democratic public ownership the key sectors of the economy.
Given that the EU's neoliberal rules bar such a path, we need to cast it into the dustbin of history and appeal to workers across Europe to do the same and join us in a voluntary socialist federation of the continent.
Iain Dalton, Leeds
Cuts and pay rises
Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry MP was in Huddersfield recently putting in a good word for Kirklees Labour councillors who have just proposed a swingeing cuts budget.
She told the Huddersfield Examiner: "Understandably communities are angry at the local councillors who they see and they're angry at them. But it's really not their responsibility, it's central government."
It must be tough for Labour councillors doing the Tories' dirty work. But they are not so traumatised that they forgot to vote themselves a 2% pay rise out of the 6% increase in council tax they've imposed.
Kirklees people deserve better than this. That's why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is fielding two candidates in the May council elections to challenge Labour's austerity regime and fight to protect services, not councillors' allowances.
Paul Dennett, Huddersfield
Boris v Russia
War with Russia? Napoleon couldn't do it. Hitler couldn't do it but don't worry we've got Boris Johnson. I don't know if he frightens the Russians but by God he frightens me.
The buffoonery of the foreign secretary is a signal of a much deeper malaise in the Tory party and by that token in British capitalism.
The divisions over Europe have so far prevented May sacking Johnson and time and again she has had to cope with the consequences of having a loose cannon on deck.
His most recent fulminations about Russia and the BBC's disgraceful attack on Jeremy Corbyn - after he drew attention to the amount of dirty money the Tories in general and Johnson in particular have acquired from Russian 'businessmen' in the McMafia mould - have made Johnson an even bigger embarrassment to the government, if possible.
Labour could capitalise on this if there were fewer quislings in the parliamentary party. It should encourage socialists to push for the removal of this ramshackle government.
Derek McMillan, Worthing, West Sussex
In The Socialist 4 April 2018:
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