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Sheffield Left - For Socialism - 'For the many, not the few'

A bulletin for Socialists – both inside and outside the Labour Party – supporting transformative, socialist policies and progressive campaigns.

SL E-Bulletin #84 - 30 June 2022

The British Left Must Fight for Julian Assange’s Freedom
 
The journalist and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange is now in his fourth year of imprisonment at Belmarsh High Security prison in London while the US government attempts to extradite him to face trial on espionage charges which could see him sentenced to 175 years in prison. On the 17 June Home Secretary Priti Patel gave the green light for Julian to be extradited to the US.
 
Julian’s real “crime” is that he exposed war crimes committed by the US government. Crimes which were often aided and abetted by our own British government. 
For his award-wining public interest journalism, the US, with the UK as its willing accomplice, want to make Julian pay with his life. 
 
In this recent interview Julian’s wife Stella Assange lays out the horrifying persecution being inflicted on Assange.
 
Julian’s exposure of US war crimes included the murder of journalists, and for that the US want to make an example of him so that other journalists are too afraid to do the same. The implication for freedom of expression, press freedom and the already sad state of UK democracy are chilling.  
 
As Stella Assange points out in the interview:
 
“The US and UK are happy to talk about political prisoners abroad, but they've created a political prisoner of their own. At every stage, the law has been abused in order to victimise Julian.” 
 
In a recent candid and wide-ranging interview, former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said this of the British media and Julian’s case:
 
“We have a media that’s supine, that self-censors, that accepts D-Notices, doesn’t challenge them, and the vast majority of the mainstream media haven’t lifted so much as a little finger in support or defence of Julian Assange.”
 
The Guardian, which did so much to smear Corbyn, has also been at the forefront of misreporting Julian’s case even though it was a publishing partner on the material that Assange is now being persecuted for. Like many other newspapers they have now come round and are opposing Julian’s extradition to the US. 
 
In 2020 Sheffield film maker Pablo Navarrete released No Extradition, a 35-minute documentary which follows John Shipton, Julian’s father, in his efforts to prevent his son from being extradited to the US. 
 
For the post-screening Q&A at the University of Sheffield Pablo will be joined by Dr Deepa Driver who has been tireless in the struggle for Julian’s freedom. 
 
With Julian Assange’s life on the line, those on the Left should demand that our MPs and political and media class make their voice heard. Julian is a victim of an epic injustice and all those who believe in democracy and the rule of law have an important role in fighting for his freedom. 
 
https://dontextraditeassange.com/take-action/
 
NO EXTRADITION (DOCUMENTARY SCREENING & Q&A)
VENUE: University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Lecture Theatre 1, Sheffield S3 7RH
DATE: Friday 8 July 2022
TIME: 6-8PM
 
Tickets are £8/£5 concession. All readers of Sheffield Left that would like to attend can buy tickets for £5. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TICKETS

The shame of a soft-left MP!
 
The biggest political struggle at this moment in the UK are the strikes taking place to defend pay levels, jobs, and term & conditions against a ruthless attack from bosses.

We have seen recently a number of local strikes, mostly successful, led by Unite under their new leadership of Sharon Graham.  One ongoing dispute is the that of the bin workers up against the Labour Council in Coventry

The big strike now is that on the railways, with the RMT taking the lead and hopefully ASLEF and TSSA joining with their own demands soon.

Prior to the the recent three days of strike by the RMT the Labour leadership instructed the MPs in the Shadow Cabinet to not attend picket lines.  Shame on Starmer.  But we expected no more from this man of the establishment.  And shame on those MPs who abided by that decision, or ducked it by other means.  They talk left, but crumble at a harsh word not even waiting for the first whiff of gunpowder.

From publicly speaking against Corbyn and supporting Owen Smith, to not even replying to the local RMT branch seeking support in their strike and inviting her to attend their picket line.  How low can some careerist MPs go?
 
We will have to wait to find out, because Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, and the Shadow Minister for Transport, seems prepared to do whatever the establishment and Starmer tell her to in order to progress her career.

To not even have the decency to reply to the Sheffield all-grades branch of the RMT is a disgrace.  To not attend the RMT picket line in Sheffield is more than a disgrace from a supposedly supportive MP.

Sheffield Left


Sheffield Left (SL) is a network of socialists to help co-ordinate the determined left both inside and outside the Labour Party across Sheffield.

We have a page on Facebook (
https://www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 80 bulletins.

Want to get involved with SL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.
Labour movement events and meetings in July


Up to and including 9th July:  PalFest.  https://palfestsheffield.co.uk/programme/

Saturday 2nd July:  BDS Boycott Rally outside Town Hall, 12pm until 1pm.  Organised by Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

Tuesday 5th July:  NHS 74th Birthday Rally.  4.30pm - 6pm outside Sheffield Town Hall.

Friday 8th July:  'No Extradition' (documentary screening with Q&A).  See details in main article.

Saturday 9th July:  Sharrow Festival:  Visit the Sheffield Cuba Solidarity stall and the ACORN stall.

Wednesday 20th July:  
Divestment Petition.  Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield Trades Council, and SLFP Chair Julie Pearn, will be presenting a petition to Sheffield Council, calling on it amongst other things, to instruct:  “South Yorkshire Pensions Authority to commit to divestment in companies shown to be complicit in human rights abuses, including those in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people”. 

Thursday 21st July:  Sheffield Left host a workshop run by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL).  'Understanding and challenging antisemitism'.  Please contact Sheffield Left if you would like to attend this.

Tuesday 26th July:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  Held at Trades and Labour Club, Duke Street.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Labour Party Constituency Meetings:
Brightside & Hillsborough CLP monthly meetings held 1st Thursday of the month.
South East CLP monthly meetings held 3rd Friday of the month.
Central CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Hallam CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month
Heeley CLP monthly meetings held last Thursday of the month.
 
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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