Phil Turner

Beating back fascists in Rotherham

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A fantastic show of strength and unity in Rotherham against the fascist Britain First last month showed how things are changing in the fight against racism as the refugee crisis intensifies.

More than 400 people joined the Rotherham Unite Against Fascism (UAF) protest under the slogan, “Enough is Enough — Muslim Lives Matter” following the shocking murder of Muslim man Mushin Ahmed as he walked to morning prayers in August.

Tide is turning on racists in Rotherham

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Support is growing for a “People’s Inquiry” into the Rotherham sex abuse scandal.

Barrister Michael Mansfield QC has already agreed to help such an investigation after the launch of a trade union campaign calling for “Justice for the 1,400 – don’t let the racists divide us”. The justice campaign has been welcomed after the horrific extent of the abuse — estimated by the Jay report to be 1,400 victims over 16 years and so far only five convictions — shocked and angered people.

Classic read: A Scots Quair

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Lewis Grassic Gibbon, First published 1932

In a small village near Stonehaven in north east Scotland is a museum dedicated to the writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

The centre, near the farm in Arbuthnott where he grew up, is surrounded by the Mearns, the area Grassic Gibbon immortalised through his portrayal of its distinctive speech and culture.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon was the pen name used by James Leslie Mitchell, a revolutionary Marxist until his death.

The Power of Print: Leonard Beaumont Rediscovered

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By day Leonard Beaumont was a newspaper printer - by night an artist who caught the mood of the times. Beaumont, who worked in the art department of the Sheffield Telegraph in the early part of the last century, spent his evenings making art. The self-taught prolific artist's skilful etchings and vibrant modernist linocuts have rarely been seen.

But now an exhibition in his home city belatedly shows off the best of his graphic and dynamic prints and etchings.

It is his prints, influenced by Futurism and the Vorticists, which are by far the most exciting.

A fine example is the 1932 lino print called Grinders, a striking monochrome image of two men sharpening knives which is clearly symbolic of Sheffield's steel industry.

The work has a real sense of rhythm typical of movements that revelled in the speed of modern life and the triumph of mechanisation.

Recession report from Rotherham

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"We're not getting the same help we would be getting if we were wearing bowler hats instead of hard hats. It's one thing for the banks and another for us."

The words of one steel union official summed up the anger as steel giant Corus announced that 700 jobs - more than half the workforce - were to go at its huge Aldwarke plant in Rotherham.

Workers arrived for their Monday morning shifts fearing the worst after a leaked TV news story the previous day ushered in the blackest day for the town in years. The steel meltdown revealed the brutal reality of the economic crisis in northern industrial towns like Rotherham.

Making drama to quicken the heart

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Trevor Griffiths, co-writer of the film Reds, talks to Phil Turner about why he is committed to making a film on 18th century radical Tom Paine.

During his life Thomas Paine was hounded from Britain, imprisoned in France and treated as a pariah in the US, his adopted country. Why should we celebrate Paine's life and work?

He was one of a fairly long line of British socialists or pre-socialists, radicals whom history has sought to erase in one way or the other.

Power of the Pickets

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Picketing started the 1984 miners' strike and, as the Walrus's analysis shows (April SR), could have won it.

Flying pickets from Cortonwood near Rotherham walked out when its closure was announced and brought the rest of the Yorkshire coalfield to a standstill. Pits in Scotland and Wales also had to be picketed out by Yorkshire miners as the strike spread nationally.

'People Think That Going on Strike is Fun'

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Chris Bambery's article about the revolt against Blair could not be more timely (February SR). Every day Blair's crisis gets deeper. His 'wreckers' speech unleashed enormous anger across the working class.

Another pointer is pay. Not since the 1970s have we seen the kind of strike activity breaking out among journalists as we have today. Four local newspaper chapels have now voted for strike ballots. This comes just two weeks after the pay victory at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus Group after only one half-day strike, and one of these chapels is not even recognised. The fight is being led by young, and in many cases trainee, journalists--just as it was in the 1970s when NUJ members were forced onto the picket lines.

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