Interview

Interview with Danny Dorling

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All that is Solid, published by Allen Lane, £20.00

What was your motivation for writing a book about housing?

One reason was to get more people interested in what's going on in society, particularly those who are on average income or those who are doing quite well. In general they are not bothered about many things, but they are bothered about housing.

Unemployment affects only a small proportion of the population, but the difficulty of paying the rent, of paying the mortgage, affects about 90 percent of people - including people who've actually managed to buy a house outright.

Time to celebrate LGBT history

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Schools OUT was founded 40 years ago to campaign on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in education. Sue Caldwell spoke to Tony Fenwick, a co-founder, about the fight against homophobia and transphobia.


Can you tell us about the circumstances in which Schools OUT was launched in 1974 and the challenges you faced?

Schools OUT started as the Gay Teachers' Group after John Warburton was sacked from his school and banned from working for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) for telling the truth.

Some students in his class had seen him coming out of a gay bar and they asked him if he was gay. He said that he was. That was it. It was enough to finish his teaching career in London.

South Africa in revolt

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South Africa is in the grip of a high level of protests and strikes. Socialist Review spoke to Pete Alexander, a South African based socialist and academic, about the nature of the protests.


You and your colleagues have been researching the wave of township protests taking place across South Africa. What conclusions have you reached about the scale and character of those protests?

There have been a very large number of community protests in South Africa, over the last nine years in particular, and they have grown in number and militancy. For the most part they are localised protests, limited to one township or even just one informal settlement. Sometimes they spread out into a number of neighbourhoods within one municipality.

The resistable rise of Golden Dawn

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Socialist Review spoke to Petros Constantinou, an Athens councillor for the left wing Antarsya coalition and the national coordinator of the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa) in Greece.


Where is Greece at the moment in terms of the rise of Golden Dawn and the anti-fascist movement?

After the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas on 18 September there was an explosion of anger against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and against the government that was giving it cover.

A tradition of resistance

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Socialist Review spoke to Hassan Mahamdallie, one of the contributors to the new book Say it Loud, about the fight against racism in Britain, the role played by socialists and the lessons for today.


How has racism changed in Britain over the past 30 to 40 years and what's been driving those changes?

Let's go back a little further - let's talk about the past 50 years. If you think about the first generation of West Indian and Asian and other groups that came to Britain to fill the labour shortages and rebuild Britain after the Second World War, they experienced naked racism.

From Peterloo to Parkside

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Maxine Peake recently performed Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy to sell-out audiences. She talks to Socialist Review's Pat Carmody about the poem and her new radio play about a 1993 colliery occupation by miners' wives.


What attracted you to The Masque of Anarchy?

I got approached. I bumped into Alex Poots, who runs the Manchester International Festival, and he just said, "I want someone to read The Masque of Anarchy and then we want to do a discussion about protest and the future of protest in this country. Are you interested?"

Strikes, soccer and sanctions: an interview with Mahmoud Sarsak

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Mahmoud Sarsak is a professional footballer who was arrested in 2009 and imprisoned in Israel for three years without charge. In April 2012 he joined the coordinated hunger strikes by Palestinian political prisoners. Riya Al'Sanah and Estelle Cooch interviewed him for Socialist Review.


Can you explain a bit about who you are and what you have been part of?

My name is Mahmoud Kemal Sarsak. I'm 26 years old and I was previously a player in the national Palestinian football team and I am now a released Palestinian prisoner. I was arrested on 22 July 2009 while travelling to join my new club at the time - Balata Youth in the West Bank. The Israeli secret services said they did not have enough evidence to send me to trial so I was held unlawfully for three years without charge.

Jerry Hicks - a rank and file challenge: now organise!

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Jerry Hicks stood as a rank and file candidate in the recent elections for the general secretary of Unite, the biggest union in Britain. He received 79,819 votes, 36 percent of the vote. Socialist Review spoke to Jerry about why he stood and the lessons of the campaign


Firstly, congratulations on the fantastic vote you received. Many people would see Len McCluskey as one of the most left wing trade union leaders in Britain at the moment, so why did you decide to stand against him?

The election was heading to be unopposed, not because everyone was in agreement with McCluskey, but because it had been manoeuvered to orchestrate this. The reason that it was pulled forward three years from the scheduled date was to spring it on people.

Strikes, independence and indignados

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Rafel Sanchis and Estelle Cooch spoke to David Fernández, an MP for the Catalan parliament, about the origins and politics of the anti-capitalist coalition, CUP, and its relationship to the wider movement

An important feature of the crisis in Europe has been the rise of radical left political formations in Greece, France and elsewhere. In last November's elections to the Catalan parliament, an anti-capitalist and pro-independence coalition, the CUP (Candidatura d'Unitat Popular, or Popular Unity Candidates), got three MPs elected.

The 2012 elections were the first time that the CUP has decided to run for Catalan parliamentary elections. Why was this?

Saying no to Zimbabwe's constitution

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Socialist Review spoke to Tafadzwa Choto of the International Socialist Organisation in Zimbabwe about the significance of the recent referendum on a new constitution

Can you explain the background to the constitutional referendum? How far back does it go?

The constitutional question dates back to 15 years ago as Zimbabweans have been demanding a new democratic constitution to replace the 1979 Lancaster House constitution that was negotiated and ushered in at Zimbabwe's independence. Social, economic and political demonstrations by workers, students, peasants, women, war veterans and even by the middle classes, forced the Zanu PF government to accept the need for a new constitution.

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