Simon Shaw

Refugees need our support this winter

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The refugee crisis has not gone away and the need for solidarity and aid is as great as ever. The destruction of the the “Jungle” last autumn, however, has meant that the issue has drifted down the news agenda. Now as winter approaches thousands of refugees face the prospect of sleeping in the woods around Calais and Dunkirk, under the motorways of Paris and in the parks of Brussels.

We visited these sites with Care4Calais in August and September. This is what we found:

Against Elections

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The heart of the problem, according to David Van Reybrouck, is very simple: “Our democracy is being wrecked by being limited to elections, even though elections were not invented as a democratic instrument.”

His analysis starts by examining the paradox that everyone wants democracy but no one believes in it any more. Across Europe rates of voting have declined from around 85 percent in the 1960s to 77 percent in the 2000s, while politicians are among the most derided professions, with an approval rating of 3.9 out of ten, according to Eurobarometer.

The day East Enders built barricades

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This October it is eighty years since working class people came together to stop Oswald Mosley's fascists marching along Cable Street in east London. Simon Shaw looks at the heroic actions of that day, their wider context and the traditions of organisation that made victory possible.

The barricades erected in Cable Street in London’s East End 80 years ago have become an iconic symbol of working class resistance on British streets. This victory over fascism, fought on Sunday 4 October 1936, saw crowds of between 30,000 and 200,000 (estimates vary wildly) stop the police from forming a wedge to allow the British Union of Fascists (BUF) to march into the area.

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