Can We Talk About Racism?
I enjoyed Despina Mavrou's "Dancing to the Wrong Tune" in last month's issue (Culture, Socialist Review, April 2012).
As a trained dancer myself I looked at DV8's new production with an open mind. Since the early 19th century, theatre has increasingly striven to challenge audience perceptions by evoking more from performance than aesthetics - as was the case with more classical styles of dance.
The history of dance is littered with controversial works that aim to horrify as much as entertain. Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring is just one example.
Lloyd Newson's work has spearheaded this new genre of dance that has always looked to explore deeper questions in society.
But while Can We Talk About This has certainly got people talking, it is a shame that rising Islamophobia in recent years seems to have now pushed Newson towards such bigotry as well.
It is struggles by ordinary people in the past hundred years that have forced theatre to become more accessible. But it is ironic that the topic Newson wants to "talk about" is the one thing that the media never seems to stop talking about - Islamophobia.
Pieces such as Newson's, combined with government cuts to the arts, threaten to turn the clock back. Theatre needs to push boundaries, but Newson's work does nothing more than help the government in closing theatre off to the vast majority of people.
Keep it up!
I recently bought your magazine and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and contents. It was also good to see articles that are pertinent to black people - the Institutional Racism and Stephen Lawrence articles for example (Features, Socialist Review, February 2012).
It is sadly the norm that magazines and newspapers ignore black people and their issues, except when there is something negative that they can write instead. I recently cancelled my subscription to The Week and may well instead subscribe to your magazine.
Keep it up!
Nazi scum on the run
I'm writing in response to the article Britain's Nazi's in a State of Flux (Features, Socialist Review, April 2012) , and the author's point about the police offering protection to fascists when they march.
The first UAF demo I went was in Leeds in 2009 against the EDL. Even though both groups had only been allowed to have static marches in different parts of the city centre, there was a much heavier police presence at the UAF counter demo than where the EDL were meeting, leaving them free to run riot around the city shouting racist abuse.
This proved to me that the state cannot be trusted to protect communities against fascists and racists, showing just how important it is to have counter demonstrations that can actively stop groups like the EDL from marching.
Last month's anti-fascist demonstration in Brighton against the "March for England" was an incredible example of this, with around 1000 demonstrators preventing the racists from marching their planned route. Some even made a barricade. This was a massive show of strength and we need more mobilisations like this if we want to deliver serious blows to the far-right.
Not green with envy for lying Lib Dems
Last month Socialist Review talked about the government being in turmoil in the article Thieves Fall Out (Frontlines, Socialist Review, April 2012). One particularly striking example of this is the complete collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote based on their complete capitulation to the Tories.
Before they came to minor power, the craven Liberal Democrats attached a bloated, sanctimonious significance to their supposedly radical programme on the environment. The importance to their activists of the party's stance on this issue was highlighted by a YouGov poll for Greenpeace in October 2010 that found 77 percent of party members thought that the government should safeguard or increase clean energy budgets.
So have they delivered on this promise? Within the first few months of administration George Osborne cut £300 million to bus subsidies - not the increased spending the Lib Dems had demanded. On investment in wind turbines, the money available was cut in half.
One target that has been adopted is for 15 percent of all energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. But the consensus of climate scientists is that this figure needs to be 40 percent.
The most radical sounding proposal in the Lib Dem manifesto was to reject a new generation of nuclear power stations. Energy secretary, Chris Huhne, had said that nuclear power was a failed technology, but his opposition to nuclear was abandoned after only a few hours of initial talks to set up the coalition.
The Lib Dem betrayal of their environmental promises should be another nail in the party's coffin.