Letters

Test Matches and Misses

Issue section: 
Author: 

Could I make a couple of adjustments to Mike Gonzalez's article on 'Britishness' (January SR)?

Firstly, Norman Tebbit's infamous 'cricket test' of 1990 was not designed to test immigrants' knowledge of cricket. He called specifically for white British people to note who black British people were cheering for when England played the West Indies. If they supported the West Indies (and he knew, of course, that most of them did) then the implication was that they therefore constituted some sporting version of 'the enemy within'.

Not Put Off by Detours

Issue section: 
Author: 

EH Carr was a liberal critic of capitalism who nevertheless had a good appreciation of the Marxist view of history. Nowhere was this clearer than in his recently republished classic, 'What is History?'

I agree with Paul McGarr (January SR) when he says that Carr's belief in an uncomplicated progression in history can jar somewhat. However, I think we need to understand that while defeats and detours in the class struggle mean there is no straightforward progress in history, the big picture is still one of progress. There have been setbacks for socialists in recent times as well as a number of possibilities of advance. It is worth recalling that Carr maintained his belief in progress in history in the face of the Nazi Holocaust. We need to do the same.

Hunting for a Religious War

Issue section: 

After completing an essay on the question, 'Can there be objectivity in history?' and after reading Paul McGarr's review of EH Carr's 'What is History?' (January SR), I was rather angry and grinding my teeth at Tristram Hunt's English Civil War series on television.

Tristram Hunt was wandering around Britain trying to make history 'trendy' but managed to butcher the subject. Sometimes the history that is taught to history students (like myself) is performed by a group of charlatans. This is not to say that history cannot be 'trendy', but many students have to endure endless rehashing and regurgitation of facts. I would like to see more objectivity in academia, but it is dominated by liberal empiricism and/or quasi-postmodernists--although I do know that there are some Marxist academics swimming against the tide.

Firing on the Home Front

Issue section: 

Beijing is increasing its crackdown on Muslim separatists in the name of the global 'war against terrorism'.

Socialists should denounce the Chinese government and support independence efforts calling for a division of China. We live under the illusion that the Chinese state, ruled by the Beijing government, is an inseparable and homogenous entity. Even Chinese democracy activists and dissidents take the borders of China as an indivisible given. This is ruling class ideology serve*d up on the Chinese Communist Party's silver platter.

Firing on the Home Front

Issue section: 
Author: 

Peter Morgan's article 'Tales From The Tabloids' (January SR) illustrates how during war the government, the military and the media collude in a reconstruction of truth.

There is a further dimension to all this, however. As some commentators have noted, the US's military 'successes' in Afghanistan are encouraging the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Bank to push through similarly robust and abrasive measures in the economic sphere. These measures drive down living standards for the poorest and most vulnerable, directly creating the desperate conditions out of which so called 'terrorism' grows.

'People Think That Going on Strike is Fun'

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The central plank of Tony Blair's justification for his attack on public services is that privatisation is more efficient. Yet as the experience of Railtrack has shown, and as was reported by Judith Orr last month (February SR), this is not true.

Today there is a sense on the railways that the Blair bubble has burst. This is seen not just in the fact that left winger Bob Crow has been elected as leader of the RMT, but also in the new mood of bitterness. Years of frustration among drivers on South West Trains led to them taking strike action. Now in the TSSA union we are finding there are similar signs of militancy--booking office staff on Arriva Northern are now being balloted in conjunction with RMT members. This is a major shift for a union that has a less than militant history.

Racism: The soft underbelly of America

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Shortly after the 'Guardian' published my essay on why blacks should fight against the war, someone e-mailed me.

'Dear Swine,' he politely began, 'you will be exterminated.' The message was anonymously signed, 'An American.' The fact that the man's full name and address appeared in the e-mail header tells us two things about this war--namely that it is founded on both ignorance and racism. To stop the war we will need to counter both. I would like to suggest how.

Streetwise

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The student anti-war movement continues to build here [in Berkeley, California, USA].

On 10 and 11 November the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition (BSTWC) hosted the California Schools Against the War(C-SAW) conference, which was one of three major regional anti-war conferences that weekend. The Northeast and Midwest regional conferences each drew about 200 to 300 student activists. Berkeley's conference drew about 1,000 activists for a weekend of discussions workshops and planning.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Letters