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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2019

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The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors   (Click to enlarge)

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Miner praises Socialist

Striking miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair

Striking miners lobbying the TUC, photo Dave Sinclair   (Click to enlarge)

A man bought the Socialist on 14 April, paying solidarity price. This is what he said: "You've got to read the truth somewhere. I was a striking miner in Notts, and it was the Socialist Party [called Militant at the time] who got us going here."

Clare Wilkins, Bingham, Nottinghamshire

Gilets jaunes solidarité

"Aware that we have to fight against a global system, we consider that it will be necessary to leave capitalism." The gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest movement's 'assembly of assemblies' in France has released a statement calling for an end to capitalism.

The Macron government's efforts to stifle the protests, such as the so-called "Grand Debate," have been rightfully recognised as damage control, an effort to obscure the intentions of the government. Protests continue despite repeated instances of police brutality.

However, it is a weakness of the assembly's approach to declare itself independent from the trade unions. In France the trade unions are numerically weaker than in Britain, but draw significant layers of workers into struggles including strike action, which will be vital in taking the movement forward to win its social and economic demands.

Leeds Socialist Students stands in solidarity with the movement of the gilets jaunes, and welcomes the recognition that the problems of workers in France cannot be fully resolved under capitalism. There has so far been little published in English on this declaration, so we hope that we can raise awareness among English-speaking supporters...

Andrew Saxon, Leeds University Socialist Students

Corbyn in the crosshairs

The British army has been in the headlines after Parachute Regiment soldiers were filmed apparently using posters of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice. Last year, a soldier was convicted of being a member of banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action - which had been trying to expand in the army.

In the military in this and most countries, the overwhelming number of enlisted personnel are working class. In crisis periods such as this, many of them and their non-commissioned officers are beginning to ask difficult questions of this criminal capitalist system.

Inherent in the character of armed forces' ethos are some of the worst aberrations of capitalist society, including reactionary political ideas. Meanwhile, elite units like the Parachute Regiment are nourished on the idea their World War Two legacy is untouchable.

Officers and brass aren't representative of the wider enlisted majority. Their concerns aren't the same or shared. 10,000 homeless veterans, pensions under attack, and other deteriorating terms and conditions of soldiering mean nothing to the boss class in the military.

A socialist government would ensure working-class people have opportunities which would eliminate the need to serve as a mercenary for the exploitative, predatory, and insatiable capitalist killing machine.

William Jarrett, North Shields

National Action action

Just weeks after the massacre in Christchurch, far-right terrorism is again in the headlines, following the end of reporting restrictions on the trial of a group of suspected members of the proscribed neo-Nazi terror group National Action.

Jack Renshaw, former youth organiser for the racist British National Party and one-time spokesman for National Action, has been found guilty of attempting to groom teenage boys on social media. Renshaw had previously pleaded guilty to plotting to kill right-wing Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Renshaw planned to kill both Cooper and the detective investigating his sex offences with a sword, before goading police to shoot him dead. It was a desperate attempt to go down in history as a martyr for fascism rather than a convicted sex offender. His plot was thwarted when a former National Action member tipped off the Hope Not Hate charity.

This case highlights on the one hand the threat posed by the far right, even when manifested in small fringe groups. Unless the workers' movement can show a way forward, we must be prepared to face the threat of right-wing violence as the capitalists continue to stir up racism.

So the most important lesson is still the need to organise a mass, working-class resistance to the far right. We cannot rely on the forces of the capitalist state to prevent fascist movements growing and carrying out attacks.

Renshaw's plot was just days away from being enacted. Yet the police were none the wiser until the tip-off.

This lax approach stands in stark contrast to the scale of infiltration by the state into all manner of workers' and socialist groups, including Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party. The police, like all arms of the capitalist state, fundamentally exist to protect the capitalist order, and the property and profits of the 1%.

To halt the threat, the trade unions must take the lead, mobilising counter-demonstrations with pro-worker demands to oppose every attempt by the far right to hold demonstrations.

This is what humbled National Action on the two occasions it tried to march in Liverpool, including the memorable incident when a small group of its members were forced to take shelter in the lost luggage room of Lime Street train station behind a protective cordon of police while being pelted with eggs and bananas.

Linked to this must be socialist demands to undercut far-right narratives which aim to divide the working class: genuinely affordable housing for all, a £10 an hour minimum wage without exemptions, and fully funded jobs and public services, publicly owned, under democratic workers' control and management.

Jack Yarlett, Wirral

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In The Socialist 17 April 2019:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

£100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

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