Letters

Tantalising Egypt

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Simon Assaf’s glowing review of The Egyptians by Jack Shenker (March SR) is spot on. Shenker is totally committed and reports from the thick of the struggle. He brilliantly captures the shifting moods of the masses in the words of participants and provides a comprehensive historical analysis of the crises at the heart of the Egyptian neoliberal authoritarian state.

Strikes stopped call-up

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There was an important omission in Chris Fuller’s fascinating piece on resistance to conscription during the First World War (“Forced to fight their war”, March SR). Chris concludes by stating that the government backed off from introducing conscription in Ireland “still stunned by the Easter Rising”. In fact it was mass resistance, crucially the general strike called by the Irish TUC, that forced Lloyd George to retreat.

United fronts today (2)

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The labour movement has revived and the time has arrived to build a front against racism, Islamophobia and all the other associated forces of repression perpetrated by this monstrous government.

It was heartwarming to read Tom Kay’s thoughtful and timely article on the need for a united front. Such a body requires having sufficient organisational coherence to enable it, as Trotsky enjoined in 1921, to work “at every given moment” for “joint, coordinated actions” between revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries.

Users and providers unite

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Socialist Review has promoted an important debate on mental health issues in the last few months, with a diversity of views addressing a complex subject. The last contribution from Susan Rosenthal (“Marxism and Psychology”, February SR), however, has little regard for complexity. It is hard to take seriously dismissive comments such as, “Freudianism…reduces the mind to the genitals.”

Political trade unionism

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Michael Bradley’s article on political trade unionism (February SR) raised important issues about how socialists in workplaces and union branches can relate to current community political campaigns. He showed how and why campaigns can be brought into the workplace to help in the process of rebuilding rank and file confidence and organisation. This might then assist in building workplace resistance both to immediate employer attacks and against the wider Tory assault.

Legal advice for doctors

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In their battle against an intransigent monotone Tory ideologue imposing unjust contracts the junior doctors can draw inspiration from the recent victory of legal aid lawyers.

In December 2012 Chris Grayling was promoted to minister of justice. Immediately he set to work putting his sole talent to use; asset stripping legal aid. The cuts meant the closure of 1,000 criminal legal aid firms to be replaced with the likes of Eddie Stobart Law. Morale among lawyers was at an absolute low and there was an overwhelming feeling of paralysis and powerlessness.

Photo correction

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The photo accompanying the article on the Stars Campaign for Interracial Friendship (January SR) showing two black men in front of grafitti saying “KBW” was wrongly captioned as being taken in Notting Hill.

In 1955 KBW stood for “Keep Brixton White”, the slogan adopted by the Union Movement in local elections. By 1958 it was being used all over the country as Keep Britain White.

But I digress, the photo was taken circa 1955 in Brixton.

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