Letters

Sight and Sounds

Issue section: 
Author: 

After having just seen, and very much enjoyed, 'Gangs of New York', there are a number of things I'd like to add to Mike Davis's article ('Bloody Streets of New York', January SR).

This is a Hollywood movie on a grand scale, like a lurid Northern counterblast to 'Gone with the Wind'. This accounts for some of its faults--for all the violence, the gangs' world often seems attractively bohemian. The battle with which the film opens has a choreographed quality and a thumping soundtrack which almost turns it into a rock video.

The Missing Links

Issue section: 
Issue: 

As the firefighters' dispute develops, socialists inside the trade union movement need to answer--and win--the crucial political questions which have underpinned the strike.

Central to the future of our movement is the relationship between the trade union leadership and the Labour Party and our ability, at a rank and file level, to condition it.

As our union leaders fight to ensure the political fund is exclusive to Labour, we need to battle to democratise it. To do so effectively means rebuilding a political rank and file movement as the only method workers have of controlling their union leaders-right wing or left wing.

Julie Waterson
London

The Missing Links

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

There is room for some innovative thinking on the link between pay discontent and the march towards war ('Fight Fire with Fire', November SR).

Buried away in Gordon Brown's Finance Bill is a freeze in personal allowances for working-age adults. This is the threshold at which workers start to pay income tax. It is obviously of greatest importance to the low paid, but it affects everybody.

Direct Action

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Having read Lindsey German's article 'Moving On Up' (November SR) I feel I must defend direct action and those who choose to engage in it.

Granted, collective action is vital if we are to build a truly mass movement, and the Stop the War Coalition is a shining example of what can be achieved by this means. However, direct action can be equally effective in raising the consciousness of those to whom we need to appeal. Also, on a practical level, direct action by small groups can be quicker to enact and far easier to arrange.

Seoul Music

Issue section: 
Issue: 

At last South Korea has joined those countries in which great anti-US demos happened last year. By 'anti-US', of course, socialists mean opposition to the US state and its foreign policy, not ordinary US citizens.

On 7 December, 50,000 took to the streets of South Korea, protesting against the 'not guilty' verdict given to the US soldiers who had run over two Korean junior high school girls with an armoured car, and demanding a revision of the law (SOFA) concerning the US army stationed in South Korea.

Freedom Denied

Issue section: 

The Malaysian constitution guarantees the right of every citizen to establish a society or party, and freedom to associate.

However, on 27 January 1999 and again on 15 September 1999, applications by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) to become a registered society were turned down by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In August 1999 Azmi Khalid, then a senior minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs, stated that the decision to decline PSM's registration was taken because PSM were regarded as a 'threat to national security'.

Disco 2002

Issue section: 
Author: 

The problem I had with Lee Billingham's article on music (October SR) and Muhammad Salleh's letter (November SR) is that both of them said, 'Buy this band, they're political.'

When so much chart music is so shallow, you can understand where they're coming from. But music isn't meant to be journalism with sounds added on afterwards. Interesting art follows different rules.

Bankrolling Beethoven

Issue section: 
Author: 

Like many reviewers, Lee Billingham uses a music column (October SR) to write about the lyrics of songs rather than about the music itself.

However, music communicates feelings and experiences at a very profound level. At its best, it can capture the emotional state of a movement, its confidence and its political direction. It is for these reasons that ruling classes suppress musical traditions for their musical content, rather than the explicit political content of the lyrics. It is also one of the reasons why music is coded, and the political purposes of the musicians do not necessarily coincide with the political sentiments expressed in the lyrics.

An Important Postal Point

Issue section: 
Author: 

As a member of the CWU I can say what a massive difference it has been to have had Billy Hayes as our general secretary.

It's a big step forward for getting things through at union meetings. I'm extremely pleased that he's been so prominent in support of anti-war activity and the European Social Forum. The piece in last month's 'Socialist Review' was an excellent summing up of where we are and where we want to be.

After Florence: From Resistance to Revolution

Issue section: 
Author: 

It is likely that Florence will go down in history as one of the great gatherings of the European left.

A real sense of collective excitement gripped the tens of thousands of activists who attended. That the left across Europe has been able to regroup on such a scale is testimony to all those who have built the movements against war and globalisation.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Letters