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The crowd defended our rights
Waltham Forest Council has privatised Walthamstow market on a Sunday to a business called Sunday Social. Turns out Sunday Social isn’t so social.
The boss of this group bowled over to where we were doing our election campaign activity. He told us that we never had a licence and had to go. He said that he’d take us to court if we didn’t go right there and then.
A crowd formed, people who see us all the time began to defend our right to be there. We started to get rid of more leaflets and sell more copies of the Socialist. The boss man then started on them.
When one friendly passer-by started quoting the law as to our right to be there, this aggressive bloke accused him of knowing nothing and being a ‘binman’. The passing friendly bloke said: “So what if I am a binman, binmen keep the market clean, and are more knowledgeable and respectful of this space than you.”
A bigger crowd formed. The boss man went to get the market police. A worker in the local park, who I know from walking round there with my dad, stopped, and started saying to us: “Don’t go, don’t be bullied”.
The whole thing was bizarre, but it showed the consciousness about public space. What felt great was the amount of people who recognise us as part of the local community, and our right to be there.
Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest, east London
Thousands protest at Arsenal to say ‘owners out’
The mood was angry and defiant. The message was clear: “We want Kroenke [Arsenal’s owner] out.”
More than 2,500 Arsenal fans, predominantly young, gathered before our home Premier League game against Everton on 23 April to protest the club’s despicable role in the short-lived Super League. With the acrid smell of red smoke bombs filling the air, hundreds of homemade signs and placards were on display.
Socialist Party members gave out more than 200 leaflets that said: “Super League defeated. No trust in billionaire owners. Kick them out. Reclaim the game.” They were enthusiastically received, with some fans asking for two or three at a time.
Fans of the ‘big six’ and others are simply not going to let those responsible get away with it without consequences. Widespread revulsion and anger across Europe can lead to a radical, far-reaching movement to ensure fundamental change in club ownership.
John Viner, Arsenal fan
Another Socialist Party member and Arsenal fan at the protest said:
“High on the list of fan grievances was Arsenal’s recent decision to make 55 staff members redundant, including beloved mascot Gunnersaurus. These redundancies came immediately after receiving £3.6 million for winning the 2020 FA Cup, and qualifying for the Europa League, which also comes with more TV money and cash prizes.
“Although the Super League plans have fallen apart, many Arsenal fans and others feel that cancellation and apologies aren’t enough. The only way to make sure that the Super League stays dead, is to take our clubs back from the billionaires.”
LGBT+ hustings: missed opportunity
The Stonewall Cymru/Wales hustings was unfortunately a missed opportunity for LGBT+ people to really hold candidates to account. It was very stage-managed with no questions taken.
Unfortunately, Stonewall Cymru refused the appeal by Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Wales to include a candidate in the panel. This is despite TUSC standing in every region in Wales, and Stonewall Cymru’s LGBT manifesto containing demands that TUSC Wales fights for. We would have liked the opportunity to explain how we would achieve it.
Will the other parties lead a fight in the Welsh Parliament to demand extra funding from Westminster, like TUSC Wales is calling for? Or will they pay for LGBT+ services by making budget cuts elsewhere – aren’t they just ‘robbing Peter to pay RuPaul’?
The Tory candidate claimed that trans rights conflicted with other people’s rights. This was not challenged by the other candidates. TUSC regrets that we were not given the opportunity to do so, and put forward our programme of a united fight for services for all.
You can read more about TUSC Wales’ support for LGBT+ rights and our campaign at tuscwales.org.uk.
Ben Golightly, Cardiff
Tory and Labour cronies
It is a good thing that the Conservative government is facing an attack on cronyism. Whatever the Tories do, they will continue to be tainted.
If they vote for an inquiry, their dirty linen gets washed in public. If they vote against, they will correctly be accused of a cover-up.
Unite the Union supports ‘insourcing’. Outsourcing services has been a uniform disaster, except for the cronies who have been lining their pockets at the expense of public services. Making money while others suffer is very much the ‘greed and capitalism’ which Boris Johnson worships.
If socialists are to be seen as serious opponents of cronyism, then the actions of any and every politician, including Labour, must be subject to scrutiny. Tony Blair was accused of ‘a culture of cronyism’ when it was revealed that four government ministries refused to obey rules ostensibly drawn up to avoid the jobs being awarded to political allies.
Tony Blair is a millionaire many times over. He provides advice for some of the most appalling regimes in the world, most notably Kazakhstan. Blair gave the regime damage-limitation advice following the December 2011 Zhanaozen massacre.
Derek McMillan, Durrington, West Sussex
A political alternative for black and Asian people
Socialist Party, as part of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), recognises the disproportionate way black and Asian people are affected by the pandemic, and within the capitalist system itself.
In recent anti-racist protests, we have seen black and Asian youth fighting the inequality within the system. In workplaces, we are seeing workers coming out to fight for better pay and conditions.
We are now seeing more black and Asian people looking for a real alternative, including in the ballot box, that will improve their lives and livelihoods.
Voting for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the upcoming election is an opportunity to vote against cuts, to send a message that we want an alternative to the current miserable conditions facing ordinary people.
Traditionally, black and Asian people have seen Labour as the party for them. But the Labour Party, under Keir Starmer, is not a party that represents our interests. It is turning more and more towards big business and the capitalists.
One in five Labour MPs are now black or minority ethnic. But that’s not enough. It is the policies that they stand on that matter.
TUSC stands for a decent future for all: an end to low pay and insecure jobs and for more funding for youth services, NHS and schools.
TUSC is based on the working class and it is therefore not surprising that there are a number of black and Asian workers and young people standing as candidates.
It is an example of how a real fighting socialist programme can encourage black and Asian people to be involved in the fightback.
Cammilla Mngaza, Black Country
Derby Labour regrets cuts and promises more
The leader of Labour group on Derby Council was on the radio. He explained that when Labour controlled the council, they ‘had’ to make cuts in jobs and services to balance the books. He said they balanced the books, and had a lot of reserves when they handed over power to the Tories.
With hindsight, he said Labour should have used the reserves to save services and jobs back then. He then went onto explain Labour’s manifesto, and not a word was mentioned about using today’s reserves to save jobs and services!
Charlie Taylor, Derby
Billionaires get richer, millions question system
The world billionaires increased their wealth to sickening levels from $8.04 trillion in March 2020 to $12.39 trillion in March 2021 – a 54% increase. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, or suffer poverty wages, while disease and hunger stalk the world all over.
The International Monetary Fund has warned about ‘social cohesion’ – a serious questioning of the capitalistic system and the capitalist class’s rule. Millions of youth and workers are looking for a change to the anarchy of capitalism. Only rational socialist planning, on a world scale, can provide the security and resources for all, with peace and harmony across the planet.