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Ken Loach


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From: The Socialist issue 526, 26 March 2008: Iraq: five year nightmare

Search site for keywords: Liverpool - CNWP - Class - Merseyside - Ken Loach

Workers' flame burning brightly in Liverpool

AT LEAST 120 people attended the successful first film-debate organised by Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP) on 19 March. In addition to many existing supporters, 15 new people signed up to the CNWP.

Clara Paillard, event organiser, Merseyside CNWP

The documentary The Flickering Flame, by cutting-edge filmmaker Ken Loach, began our series of film events as part of the alternative programme 'City of Culture 08', working-class counterpart of the mainstream 'Capital of Culture' celebrations.

The documentary, made in 1996, showed how 500 dockers were sacked by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in 1995 after refusing to cross a picket line and how they struggled for two years without being reinstated.

A unique panel of speakers had been brought together to discuss issues raised by The Flickering Flame: Ken Loach sat next to a former sacked docker and Doreen McNally, one of the dockers' wives who supported the strike through a group called "Women of the Waterfront".

They were joined by Tony Mulhearn, one of the Liverpool '47 group' of councillors excluded from office by Margaret Thatcher's government. Ken Loach, who belongs to Respect Renewal, called for a united Left to represent Britain's working-class people.

In Liverpool that night, there was proof that the working class is still strong and can reinvigorate the struggle and the debate on the Left. That is what Merseyside CNWP is trying to achieve by organising another three film-debate events that will acknowledge the importance of the working class in Liverpool's culture.

While some want to sell us expensive tickets for celebrity events in secluded luxury hotels, we want to offer free and interesting events which will reflect how we believe in our city, in our culture. Culture is not the privilege of the rich and we won't let ours be wiped out by capitalism.

Watch out for our future events: www.myspace.com/cityofculture08. To know more about the CNWP: www.cnwp.org.uk

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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.
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  • 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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