Letters

Wrong to Back Chirac

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I disagree with those who argue it was right for socialists to call for a vote for Chirac in the second round of the French presidential elections (July/August SR).

John Shemeld's analogy of the football match is misleading, because a football match is a self contained event, whereas the election took place in the wider context of political polarisation going on in France. That polarisation existed before the election, and continues after it. The most important aspect of this polarisation is the anti-capitalist movement.

Cut the Crop

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Dogs were let loose on anti GM crop protestors in Scotland recently. At least one activist required medical treatment for bites to the chest.

This followed extensive damage that was done to the huge 40-acre crop nearing maturity at Munlochy, near Inverness. An eyewitness described the events: 'A lot of us were attacking the crop. It was a full moon and we were probably spotted when the clouds broke. In the early hours the police arrived, and searchlights were set up and mad dogs let loose. Everyone scarpered!' The police are refusing to say whether they were police dogs, or private security with whom they were colluding. Police cars blocked all roads nearby and questioned everyone.

In with a Bang

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I was surprised to read that Paul Jakubovic (Letters, June SR) considers the 'Big Bang' theory of the origin of the universe to be idealist and regressive.

There is overwhelming evidence for this theory, which was predicated on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

Observations by Edwin Hubble in 1929 showed that the galaxies are receding away from each other, and the discovery of the relics of background radiation in 1965 suggested that the expansion of the universe began at a finite time (about 13 billion years ago) in the past from a state of infinite density and temperature.

Drowning in Numbers

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In a review of Antony Beevor's 'Berlin: The Downfall' (June SR), mention is made of 'the greatest maritime disaster of all time', the sinking of the Goya by a Russian submarime with the consequent drowning of 7,000 refugees.

However, a disaster of even greater magnitude took place on 3 May 1945, when the RAF bombed and machine-gunned the German luxury liner, Cap Arcona, in the Baltic in the bay of Lubeck, south of the Danish island of Lolland. On this occasion 7,700 died, and what makes the incident even more grotesque was the fact that the victims were concentration camp prisoners.

Why Weapons Fuel War

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Here is a draft letter we have done in Britain for the regional and local press. I hope everyone will write at least one letter to their local press, wherever they may live.

Dear Editor,

The increasing tension between India and Pakistan is of concern for all of us. Firstly it is a humanitarian question--already in the border region innocent civilians are daily being wounded and killed. If the conflict develops into full scale war, thousands of people would be killed with the deadly weapons which both sides have been acquiring. In our area of Greater Manchester this is made the more fearful as many local people have relatives in the region.

An Echo from the Past

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Chris Harman argues (June SR) that it was wrong to call for a vote for Chirac against Le Pen in the second round of the French election.

I agree that the way to stop the Nazis is by mass action, not just by voting. I agree that the slogan of the left should be 'Onto the streets' not 'Vote Chirac'. I agree that our politics should be those of the united front, not the popular front. I agree that in certain circumstances the Tory-type right would let the Nazis into power. And I agree that the left should never agree to withdraw from standing in elections under pressure to 'unite behind an anti-Nazi candidate'.

Rather the Gangster Than the Fascist?

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I don't agree with Chris Harman (June SR) that the French left should not have voted for Chirac to keep Le Pen out of power.

People on the streets don't get counted towards a vote. History does not repeat itself, although there may be echoes from a similar period in the past. We most certainly don't want our hands to be tied by what other generations decided. Implicit in Chris's argument is that if Hindenburg, when president of Germany, could make Hitler prime minister, then Chirac in his turn could make Le Pen prime minister.

Rather the Gangster Than the Fascist?

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I agree with Chris Harman (June SR) on the danger of a re-emergence of popular front politics, but I do not agree that this meant abstaining in the second round of the French presidential election.

The LCR in France were right to call for a vote against Nazi Le Pen and therefore, unfortunately, for Tory Chirac during and only during the crucial two weeks of street demonstrations between the first and second rounds. Football fans understand two things that are relevant here. Firstly, if they are there in the stadium, and if they choose to support one side, they can have a small but real effect on the result.

Creating a New Canvas

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At last month's Globalise Resistance conference in London, and at the European Social Forum mobilising committee meetings in London, proposals have been put (and defeated) about setting up an English Social Forum.

The argument is unlikely to totally disappear, so the experience of the social forum movement in Italy needs to be assessed critically.

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