Phil Turner

Rotherham’s Schindler

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A miner from Rotherham was one of Poland’s secret heroes during the Nazi occupation. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day this month, Phil Turner tells the inspiring story.

Pawel Dlugai kept his secret for around 50 years. Now his part in the amazing rescue of Jewish people in Poland is to take pride of place with a film and exhibition of his photographs and documents at Schindler Museum in Kraków — on the site of the original enamel factory which is featured in the film Schindler’s List.

It follows an emotional visit by Pawel’s daughter Gillian who went to see the place for herself. She even got to sit at the same desk her father used at work.

Windrush: Movement of the People

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Racist Tory politician Enoch Powell is well and truly nailed for his “politics of the gutter” in this triumphant celebration of Caribbean migration.

It comes as we hear words from Powell’s vile “rivers of blood” speech made in 1968 which whipped up hatred up over immigration, predicting that black people will gain the “whiphand”. Ten years before Powell was the minister who had initiated such migration to solve Britain’s post-Second World War labour shortage.

A decisive triumph for anti-racists everywhere

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The Rotherham 12 are vindicated in their fight against charges of violent disorder on an anti-Nazi demo in 2015. Campaigners Phil Turner, Abrar Javid and Matt Foot draw out the lessons.

The acquittal last month of the last two defendants in the group of Asian men known as the Rotherham 12 is probably the most important victory in the fight against racism and fascism in Britain for decades. The impact of such a decisive triumph for anti-racists has not been felt since Southall in the late 1970s or the Bradford 12 in the early 1980s. It is a victory for the whole of the working class.

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.

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