Letters from our readers

On “Berlin bus driver welcomes rank-and-file committee of New York City school bus workers

Another example of how in the present epoch, the class struggle, even in form, takes an international character.


4 March 2013

On “Sequester cuts: A new stage in the assault on the US working class

Excellent analysis. That Obama was trumpeting passage for the Violence Against Women Act and support for gay marriage while imposing cuts to important social programs shows that the Democrats play the same identity politics as the Republicans play. Both major parties attempt to garner support through social issues, albeit at opposite ends of the spectrum, while getting those same voters to vote against their economic interests. Economic interests that both major corporatist parties are in agreement with to the detriment of the working class.

Maryland, USA
2 March 2013

On “British trade union mounts witch-hunt based on accusations of ‘rape denial’

I really enjoyed Julie Hyland’s piece on the UNISON women’s conference. It reminded me so much of the T & G conferences that I have attended over many years! A motion condemning men who rape!!

The most apposite quote from Julie’s article was, “the union bureaucracy and its apologists to conceal their hostility…” Exactly!! It was almost possible to hear a collective sigh from delegates as they were all able to vote the same way and feel solemnly unanimous about a motion that dealt with some single issue not inconveniently involving any macro-social or political question! Motions calling for an end to racial discrimination et al. spring readily to mind. I recall an article by Hillary Wainwright (of Red Pepper fame); she demanded the inclusion of more women in political life!

Insofar as women have been discriminated against, treated as second-class citizens and generally patronised, that is reprehensible and manifestly nonsensical. The exclusion of such a large proportion of the working population is plainly lunatic. To invite anybody, regardless of their political orientation, but just because they are female, is to pander to a constituency of simpletons! Many right-wing organisations have been able, through the political posturing of gender encouragement, to “place” women in positions of power, e.g., Susana Villaran in Peru; Dilma Roussef and Martha Rocha in Brazil; in South Africa, Riah Phiyega; Mpumi Sithole, mentioned by Julie Hyland last August; Elizabeth Stevens, head of Political Risk; the latest political party in South Africa called “Agang” ...”Let’s Build” (ostensibly to fight corruption within the ANC), the partner of Steve Biko (credentials are quite good you may be forgiven for thinking)! She was a director of the World Bank and, crucially, a director and shareholder of “Gold Fields” one of the major mining interests in South Africa!

All single issues that spring to mind will be dealt with comprehensively by the overthrow of capitalism and the international organisation of all working people towards a socialist system that seeks to satisfy the needs of the proletariat by the proper utilisation of the world’s resources!

This process can best be illustrated by the juxtaposition of two perfect but opposite examples.

The first is Julie Hyland’s easily understood breakdown of the “London riots”, an historical perspective and a future direction, given at the Berlin election campaign rally (23 Sept. 2011)

The second is an appearance by Ken Loach on “Question Time”, a BBC 1 TV programme broadcast in the UK during the evening of 28th February. A perfect article by Stefan Steinberg on the Berlin Film Festival describes the Loach “political persona” in his latest documentary.

The question that addressed the panel was “Is a woman safe in British politics?” The question referred obliquely to the allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” by a senior politician. The politicians on the panel called for a changed in men’s attitude to women. Ken Loach opined that the culprit was power and the issue of gender didn’t apply... Quite right; his reply called for a change of system... Quite right. The crucial question is completely unanswered. To what, when, why, how to achieve it? Nothing beyond ‘we must change’...

Thanks for the space to vent my spleen!!


Keith B
1 March 2013