Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/990/27183
The Socialist inbox
Do you have something to say?
Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.
Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.
For anyone finding it a bit difficult to understand why all is not well with capitalism, I highly recommend the article in Socialism today issue 216 by Judy Beishon, titled 'World economy: ten years after the crash'.
Low investment , rising inequality, US tax cuts, protectionism, can the crash be repeated, stagnation and crisis - all answered in a way that helps to make sense of why the world economy is in such a mess. The article is also available on the Committee for a Workers' International website, socialistworld.net.
Trevor Grewar, Unite Hull EMSI branch
- Subscribe to Socialism Today at socialistparty.org.uk/subscribe, and read back issues at socialismtoday.org
Iranian refugee writes
It has been few years that a Socialist Party member brings the Socialist newspaper for us every week. At first, I was not able to understand the news, just something from the headlines and photos, but the comrade explained about the concept of the articles.
The Socialist has reported about the people's daily life and their struggles over education, nurseries, zero-hour contracts, the NHS, accommodation and many more. The articles describe why these kinds of issues happen for people - and what is the solution of them.
The comrades believe they have to do something to change the situation, and they run campaigns, have petitioned, organised marches to say no to cuts, no to poverty, no to war. The valuable fact is they have hope for change, and are trying for that.
An Iranian refugee
Criticism isn't antisemitism
On 28 March, thousands of people turned up in Paris to demonstrate against antisemitism. This demonstration follows the murder of an 80-year-old woman who was apparently killed because she was Jewish.
During this demonstration, the 'Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France' (CRIF - Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) objected, not surprisingly, to the presence of the far-right Front National, represented by Marine Le Pen and some of her entourage.
But they also objected to the presence of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, with the accusation that he is part of an 'extreme' left which spreads hatred and racism.
This is in the same way that accusations of antisemitism are launched against Jeremy Corbyn and the left who criticise the activities of the Israeli state. Israeli governments have repeatedly broken international laws with occupations, systematically destroyed homes, and created impossible conditions for Palestinians, including imprisonment and brutality against children.
The establishment tries to silence criticism of the activities of the Israeli state by conflating it with hatred of Jewish people. So if you argue that Israel should stop its illegal activities, stop dismantling the lives and homes of Palestinians, and stop brutalising children, you are accused of being antisemitic.
For the CRIF there is no room for any criticism. You either side with the Nazis, who hated, tortured and sought to kill all Jewish people - whether they were babies or elderly, practising or atheist, women or men, socialist or pro-capitalist - or you give wholehearted support to all the actions of the Israeli state. There is apparently nothing in between.
This attempt to silence criticism will never reduce antisemitism. Repression only increases anger and resentment.
Debbie Adams, France
North Korean sanctions
In March, a panel of experts reported to the United Nations Security Council on the impact of sanctions on North Korea.
The report states that North Korea and the international community have found many ways to work around fuel, weapons and financial sanctions. Meanwhile, sanctions, says the report, "had an unintended negative impact on the humanitarian operations of the United Nations and other actors... leading to delays in the delivery of humanitarian assistance."
All of this confirms what the UN already knows. Contrary to common belief and contrary to the rules of standard warfare, economic sanctions are deliberately designed to target civilians in order to bring about the desired change.
In effect it's warfare on the cheap - for which, as always, the working class pays the price while the capitalists reap the rewards.
Nicki Waugh, Bracknell
Lo and behold, Tories and toffs love to profit from Russian affairs. Jacob Rees-Mogg's Somerset Capital Management Fund has £57 million invested in the blacklisted Russian Sberbank - a company which is subject to EU and US economic sanctions.
Then there is Sir Roderic Lyne - a recent board member of Petropavlovsk PLC - one of the largest producers of gold in Russia - who in earlier years served as the private secretary to John Major for foreign affairs, defence and Northern Ireland. Presently Sir Roderick serves on the advisory board of the Front Row Group, which boasts of being "a leading high-end and luxury holding company, specialising in emerging markets".
Front Row's chief executive is Russian investment specialist Richard Wallace, who is a former managing director for Renaissance Capital Investment Bank - a bank whose former chief financial officer is current Sberbank board member, Alexander Morozov.
Finally, another Front Row advisor is Viacheslav Kopiev, who is the deputy chairman of Russia's largest publicly listed holding company, Sistema - whose lucre-loving boardroom is host to none other than Peter Mandelson, another well-known Tory of Blairite stock.
Mike Barker, Leicester
Halton Hospital cuts
The news that the government has not secured the funding for the proposed redevelopment of Halton General Hospital should come as no surprise to anyone.
When the plans were announced, many people were rightly sceptical, considering this government's appalling record on NHS funding and investment in the North West. Halton Labour Party's Twitter feed bemoaned people circulating "unfounded rumours" when a protest against the plans sprang up among local people, staff and patients' groups.
The fact that these rumours were not unfounded needs to be acknowledged by Labour. They should be standing by these campaigners to save a valuable local resource and employer in a town with a growing population where unemployment is rising.
The alternative could very well be a privately run 'accountable care organisation', built with public money through another PFI scheme, saddling future taxpayers with more debt, and taking the NHS further down the road of privatisation.
We need a fully funded, well-resourced local hospital, where staff are properly paid and patients are treated on the basis of need, free at the point of access to all. Profit or loss should never be a consideration in healthcare provision, nor should someone's financial circumstances prevent them from receiving treatment.
How many lives have been saved or improved since the creation of universal healthcare? It has also helped our economy, with fewer days lost to production due to illness. No Tory policy has benefitted our country or its people anywhere as much as old Labour's NHS.
I ask everyone who loves the NHS to remember the words of the father of the NHS, Nye Bevan, on the day it was created, and to stand up for its proud history, protest against its current destruction by the Tories, and protect its legacy for future generations:
"The eyes of the world are turning to Great Britain," he said. "We now have the moral leadership of the world."
Stephen Armstrong, Halton TUSC
Universal credit delays
When you apply for universal credit, you fill it out online, then it says "complete."
So you wait for a response, as well as going to the job centre to make sure you have done it properly - only to find out two weeks later it is not "complete." There is another page.
That cost me two weeks' money. I am on the third appeal from mid-November.
The six-week wait then becomes the least of your worries. This is the devil's work!
Homelessness in this country is a curse; some places it's even worse. They sit all day in the cold and rain, alone with their hunger and pain. These people need help and kindness, not attacked by bigoted blindness.
Compulsory purchase orders around empty properties in town would soon bring homelessness down. Councils have millions in reserve, they should build the affordable homes that people deserve. To hell with property developers and their mantra of greed, let's build homes for people in need.
Bill Buchanan, Nottingham
Universal credit, removing free school meals, the running down of the NHS, the decline of social care, austerity, cuts, closures...
I found a way to stop being just angry and I started feeling passionate. And that passion, like for many others, became the alarm clock to my thoughts and my days.
I started to talk and listen and question and search, for ordinary people who want justice and fairness. I've met them and they are many and diverse and passionate and connected - inspiringly busy people.
I'm no longer just angry. I'm motivated to be inspiringly busy too.
Denise Tooley-Okonkwo, Mansfield
In The Socialist 11 April 2018:
What we think
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party comments and reviews
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Local elections 2018
International socialist news and analysis