Letters

Change without struggle

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Michael Lavalette’s article on universal basic income (October SR) is welcome and I share his basic assumptions. I would like to add some points.

A debate about UBI has been raging in Germany for a while. The Left Party (Die Linke) is split on the question with the trade union wing inside The Left being against UBI for similar reasons to those Michael mentions.

Who supports Trump?

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In his otherwise excellent article, “Black Lives Matter” (October SR), Brian Richardson repeats a fallacy promoted by the American mass media — that the “more than 19 million white Americans” who “fall below the poverty line” form the “cohort of justifiably angry Americans that the billionaire Donald Trump has pitched his bellicose appeal.” The facts do not concur.

Shlyapnikov and the Left Opposition

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I have to disagree with John Rose (October SR) when he writes that in her biography of Alexander Shlyapnikov Barbara C Allen doesn’t ask why he didn’t join forces with the Left Opposition.

Allen actually gives two reasons that have to do with Trotsky’s acceptance of the ban on factions during the 1921 Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party and the subsequent dissolution of the Workers Opposition, of which Shlyapnikov was the most prominent member.

Mental illness and other oppressions

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Laura Miles’s article “How we fight for transgender liberation” (September SR) showed that while great strides have been made in terms of LGBT+ — rights transphobia is still very much a problem. The same could be said of racism and other forms of oppression.

There is, however, one issue that is regularly overlooked: that of discrimination against those who suffer from mental health problems.

I was Entertained

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Much as I enjoyed Bob Light’s invective in his review of The Entertainer (September SR), I have to disagree with him.

Osborne was part of the post-war generation that had had hopes in the 1945 Labour government but had become disillusioned. The Entertainer used realism but introduced a new element. Osborne’s music hall motif is a metaphor for Britain but also for popular culture, once vigorous and unifying but now grubby and taken over by those only interested in making money.

Spin and anti-Semitism

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The Chakrabarti report failed to expose the extent to which the Israel lobby manufactured Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis.

I recommend an article by Asa Winstanley (electronicintifada.net/content/how-israel-lobby-manufactured-uk-labour-party’s-anti-semitism-crisis). He found that some of the most prominent stories about anti-Semitism in the party are falsified.

Livingstone & anti-Semitism

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Following on from my article on anti-Semitism in September’s SR, a few words on Ken Livingstone. The Independent of 6 September quotes him as saying, “It’s now four months since I’ve been suspended and I’m still waiting for the committee to sit down and decide whether what I said was true or not, and I think…the reason they keep putting me off is because I’ve got so much evidence that what I was saying is true.”

Value in a personal view of class

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In his review of Lynsey Hanley’s Respectable (June SR), Carlo Morelli makes the perfectly correct observation that the book is not informed by a Marxist analysis of class relations.

In his impatience with this fact, however, Carlo kind of misses the most important thing about the book: this is one person’s reflections upon her own life.

Hanley shares with her audience the numerous put-downs in her early life and the sense of suffocation she felt at the limited opportunities on offer to her.

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