Letters

Health unions’ history

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The report on the RCN (November SR) breaks new ground. But we have to understand its history better.

Most health unions, including the RCN, have both professional and trade union functions. Historically, the professional side came first: particularly the demand for a statutory register of practitioners (now regulated through, for example, the Health and Care Professions Council). For most, the professional side predominates.

Confidence is key

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Pro-remain SWP members have no problem in identifying the official and mainstream leave campaigns as being led by utterly reactionary, racist, neoliberals who stand for and would like to see some sort of Thatcherite Nirvana.

But when it comes to the official and mainstream remain campaigns they often adopt the approach of “Yeah, but...”. “Yeah, they are led by warmongers, neoliberals and the EU is a bosses club responsible for the drowning of refugees and the hammering of Greece. But what about the environmental and workers’ protections and the freedom of movement?”

Get your queens right

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John Newsinger is right to make links between Donald Trump and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books (October SR), but he has mixed up his queens. Both quotes he gives are from the befuddled White Queen. The Queen of Hearts representing petulant, blind fury comes out with the very Trump-like, “Off with their heads.”

Ken Olende
London

The left case for remain

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Ian Taylor in September’s SR and Shaun Doherty in the October issue remind us that Brexit has unleashed a major crisis for the British ruling class and the Tories, caused by the anti-establishment vote to leave the EU.

But it has also created a major problem for the left and the forces of European anti-racism.

The EU is an unelected bureaucracy largely committed to neoliberal policies such as privatisation. In 2015 it hammered Greece with the imposition of austerity. It colluded with European governments that allowed hundreds of migrants to drown in the Mediterranean.

Social reproduction theory

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Social Reproduction Theory, edited by Tithi Bhattacharya, has much more to offer than Sue Caldwell suggests in her review (July/August SR).

The essays provide a serious and rigorous attempt to extend a fundamental Marxist concept, the role of labour in creating value, to areas of life which have been neglected by many Marxist theoreticians, centrally the role of unpaid domestic labour in the reproduction of labour power.

The US's contested borders

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An important addition needs to be made to Phil Marfleet’s excellent article on US anti-migrant campaigns (July/August SR).

Like all borders the US-Mexico border is entirely artificial. Mexico had won independence in a revolutionary war against Spain in 1821. At that time Mexico included Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California and part of Colorado.

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