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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 April 2015

Establishment witch-hunt in Tower Hamlets

Paula Mitchell

In a blatantly undemocratic political act, an Election Court judge has barred Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman from office.

The establishment media have formed a baying pack spitting hatred and bile at Rahman, Britain's first Bangladeshi Mayor.

The judgement has let leash a nasty backlash against 'multiculturalism' and anti-racism, displaying astounding double-standards.

Rahman has, for example, been found guilty of 'undue religious influence'. Yet no such charges were brought when, in 1980s Liverpool, the Liberals invoked the Pope to try and stop Catholics backing Labour candidates who supported the Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party).

A big dose of revenge by Labour - who ousted Rahman from the Labour Party only to be defeated by him in the 2010 mayoral election - is mixed with outright racism against a Bangladeshi council leadership. But mainly the institutions of the ruling class want to crush any hint of rebellion. It is outrageous that the Labour Party has been complicit in this.

Lutfur Rahman has not led an anti-cuts battle. His cabinet has forced through millions of pounds in cuts just the same as Labour councils have.

But he did introduce measures the Socialist Party supports - the preservation of an Education Maintenance Allowance and council tax benefit, for example. He wasn't seen by the establishment as 'one of them'.

This judgement should not be interpreted as meaning that austerity cannot be fought by councils. But it does show that a ruling class determined to drive through savage cuts cannot be fought by partial measures on a local basis alone.

Rather than 'Tower Hamlets First', what is needed is to put the working class first and mount a struggle based on mobilising working class organisation and resistance, locally and nationally.

There has been plenty of time since Rahman's election in 2010, and even since the investigation began last year, to refuse to implement the cuts and build up a mass campaign based on the community and trade unions in the borough and appealing to rebel councillors and trade unionists nationally.

The Socialist Party and many other TUSC supporters in Tower Hamlets think that a mayoral candidate is needed that stands on this bold platform of anti-austerity in deeds as well as words. The cuts that will rain down from the new government can be fought; Tower Hamlets can still be defended.

For background and more about how councils can fight the cuts, see 'Tower Hamlets: Government attacks local democracy' at www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/836/19780

Further in depth material will follow on www.socialistparty.org.uk dealing with the many issues raised in the judgement.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 30 April 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS in crisis

After the election: prepare for the battles to come

Establishment witch-hunt in Tower Hamlets

Rent controls? Another Labour fudge

And the rich just get richer!

Them & Us

The Socialist election schedule


International socialist news and analysis

125 years of May Day: Learn lessons of past struggles

Ireland: crucial stage for water charges

Greece: gold mining meeting


Special feature

Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

Why you should join the socialists


Elections 2015

Why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition?

Why I'm standing

Key working class fighters rally to TUSC

Anti-cuts councillor set to defend seat

Pop star and activist Jawad Ahmad backs TUSC

Why many class fighters won't vote Labour


Socialist Party workplace news

Labour Party link dominates conference discussion

Dundee porters force NHS bosses to retreat

Glasgow homelessness caseworkers' strike

MoD IT workers demand decent pay

Bromley workers escalate strikes

Bradford bus drivers strike against job losses

Wales: Hundreds protest cuts to adult education

Barking bin workers walkout over pay cuts


May Day Greetings

May Day Greetings in the Socialist 2015 - pdf


 

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