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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 #80 - 17 May 2022

Solidarity and Foreign Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean

 
Alborada, the independent, political journal on Latin American affairs, hosted this day school at the University of Sheffield on 11th May. A number of Sheffield Left comrades were present and were given presentations of material, much of which would have been new to many on the UK left.
We learned about the French neo-imperialist intervention in Haiti to overthrow its only (and twice) democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, for having the temerity to ask France to pay back the 90 million francs (currently equivalent to $21.7 billion) that French gunships extorted from a newly liberated Haiti in 1825 as compensation for French (ex) slave owners and which has been the main cause of Haiti’s poverty ever since!
Then we heard about the influential, but little known, role of the ‘Information Research Department’, originally a cold-war propaganda unit set up by British Intelligence in 1948, in destabilising progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean and supporting right-wing regimes, in return for favours from the USA in areas of British influence and to promote British commercial interests in the region.
Later, we were shown how Colombia has become the most dangerous place on earth to be a trade union, human rights or environmental activist; the complicity of the British state with the right-wing government of Columbia in its phony war on drugs, which is merely a pretext for supressing popular, left-wing movements, and the effectiveness of British trade union solidarity campaigns in saving the lives of Columbian activists.
The last session dealt with the subversion of British mainstream journalists by the Information Research Department (particular reference was made to the Guardian) ensuring that they disseminate disinformation and black propaganda about Latin American and Caribbean countries, specifically Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico.
Earlier in the day-school, our very own Maria Vasquez-Aguilar spoke from the heart of the experiences and activities of Chilean refugees arriving in Britain from 1974 onwards and of the birth and development of the Chile Solidarity Campaign in the British Labour Movement.
The event finished with a showing of ‘Santiago Rising’, a moving documentary that describes the rise of the Chilean, anti-capitalist ‘Social Movement’ as it developed in Chile’s capital city in the face of the most horrific police brutality, from its outbreak in October 2019 until it forced the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera to call a referendum on whether to replace the constitution which had remained unaltered since the Pinochet regime imposed it to enshrine the neo-liberal economy introduced after the 1973 military coup.  This referendum unleashed a chain of popular and progressive political events that led to the election of leftist president, Gabriel Boric on 11th March this year.  There are lessons we should be learning in Britain from the phenomenally brave and determined, Chilean ‘Social Movement’!

Sheffield LCF at a loss

Sheffield LCF held its monthly meeting meeting on 10th May, with the majority of the meeting revolving around the recent local elections where Sheffield Labour had a net loss of one seat.  And this loss despite the unpopularity of Johnson and the claim from the right of the Party that without Corbyn and the rest of the left all would work out just fine.

Discussions around the changing demographics of the Labour vote took place and the rise or fall of opposition parties votes, but no political thought was given to any of the reasons. Delegates reported how difficult it is to get members active and complained of having little help, particularly from younger people. A few delegates pointed out the suspension and exclusions of so many left wing members had resulted in others feeling disillusioned, unwelcome and uninclined to help with campaigning. The chat box got rather nasty for a while at this point with one councillor actually asking the chair to stop one of the left delegates from speaking! It all rather proved the point we had all been making. The chair did intervene and moved the meeting on to the next topic, without any real conclusions being drawn by the meeting as a whole.

A discussion also took place about the need for earlier selections and year round campaigning.  The problem is that the Labour Group really have no idea as to what to campaign around, apart from their own re-election.

It was confirmed no deal has yet been done with the Greens for control of the council and there was still a possibility of Greens and Lib Dems joining forces. 

All in all, it was the same business as usual attitude from a tired old Labour Group.

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 (www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldlabourleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 79 bulletins.

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


Wednesday 18th May:  Sheffield Left Open Meeting. 'After the local elections - how do we fight back in Sheffield?'
With inflation nearing 10% and continuing council cuts, we need to discuss how best to organise to fight back in Sheffield.
There will be plenty of time for contributions and questions.

Speakers:
Martin Mayer - Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise
Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen - Sheffield ACORN
Matthew Topham - South Yorkshire Better Buses
Les Wray - Sheffield People's Assembly
Lee Rock - Sheffield Left

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86224538356?pwd=VzB4M2tmeWhkZkVQdW5BcDAwdE5xUT09

Meeting ID: 862 2453 8356
Passcode: 280908

Tuesday 24th May:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  Held at Trades and Labour Club.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Sunday 29th May:  Cuba Solidarity Campaign meeting.  1pm to 3pm. Room 5 Sheffield Showroom, Paternoster Row Sheffield S1.  Speaker from Cuba: Elizabeth Ribalta Rubiera from ICAP (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples).


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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