FRFI 289 Aug/Sep 2022

Remembering Eric Levy

Eric Levy died on 20 July, aged 94. The RCG had known him for the entire duration of our organisation’s existence. We salute Eric’s contribution to the struggle.

Born in Manchester in1928, Eric lived in Egypt as a child and was politically active in North America before settling in London, where he became involved in Maoist and anti-imperialist political circles. He worked as a teacher in London schools and was a keen walker, cyclist, swimmer and film buff. In the early 1960s Eric shared a flat with the Caribbean revolutionary communist Claudia Jones.

Alongside RCG comrades, Eric was active in the 1986-90 Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy, and in 1995 he was one of the participants in our first brigade to Cuba organised by Rock around the Blockade. For over four decades Eric attended and participated in our meetings and demonstrations in solidarity with Cuba and Venezuela, in support of the national liberation movements of Palestine, Ireland and elsewhere, against deportations and racism, against the Poll Tax and other attacks on the working class, and in defence of the NHS.

In 2003 Eric was one of a team of international volunteers who travelled to Iraq to act as ‘human shields’ in a bid to stop the imminent US and British bombing. He also travelled to Palestine several times as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. In London, he stood with Brian Haw, whose ten-year anti-war protest outside the Houses of Parliament so upset the Labour government it passed a special law to criminalise it. In his last years, Eric gave the same tenacious support he had given to Brian to the campaign against the extradition of Julian Assange.
A longstanding comrade of Eric’s who had known him since the early 1970s visited him in hospital shortly before he died. He told FRFI that a weak but lucid Eric told him: ‘Never forget, however long it takes, capitalism will eventually be replaced by socialism.’


Melilla massacre 

On 24 June, 37 migrants were killed in Melilla, a colonised Spanish enclave in North Africa, after attempting to reach a migrant centre to claim asylum. Around 123 migrants broke through a fence separating Morocco and Melilla. The massacre was carried out by the combined efforts of Moroccan security forces and Spanish police, who violently attacked the migrants. The ‘socialist’ Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has disgracefully blamed the migrants for the massacre, saying they had launched an ‘attack on the territorial integrity’ of Spain.

These events occurred on the eve of the NATO summit. The summit declared ‘irregular migration’ from Africa and the Middle East a threat. The Moroccan state, acting in the interests of imperialism, is likely determined to show its worth to NATO and to be seen as a reliable partner on the world stage. In return for acting as security on Spain’s border, it has demanded Spain recognise its occupation of Western Sahara.

Migration will become more prevalent as climate catastrophe deepens, inter-imperialist rivalries intensify and poverty increases. People in the oppressed countries are forced to flee their homes and land only to face racist border controls from the very imperialist powers causing the destruction. Solidarity with refugees and migrants!

Ellie O’Hara
Liverpool


Data privacy in light of Roe v Wade

After Roe v Wade was overturned, messages via social media encouraged people to delete period tracking apps, in case the data is used to predict when an individual becomes pregnant and whether or not they choose an abortion. While period-tracking apps have yet to release such data, companies like SafeGraph (that obtains location data from ordinary apps) are set to sell information relating to visits to clinics that provide abortions. This includes information like where individuals come from, how long they stay there, and where they go afterwards. Such companies have already been found to transfer data to US military contractors. Purposefully opaque and complex, apps give little data control to their users.

It is important to note how data collection we sign up for at one point can suddenly become more dangerous as laws transform. Private collection and selling of data will have implications far beyond Roe v Wade. Data should not be sold for the sake of profit.

Soma Kisan
US citizen in London


Platinum Jubilee

All children in state-funded primary schools in Britain and the north of Ireland have been given a free commemorative book to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee retailing at £11.95. There is a glossary of ‘important words and ideas’ designed to conciliate critics including apartheid, the British Empire, climate change, the Magna Carta, famine and entrepreneur. It would appear that Queen Elizabeth is at the heart of all that is compassionate within the Commonwealth of 54 countries and 2.5 billion people.

No doubt the government considers the outlay value for money during the cost-of-living crisis when public morale and pride in the British nation is offered to offset a fall in the standard of living.

Stella Nesbit
London


Correcting Crimea

I felt that the article ‘Russia an imperialist state’ in FRFI 288 had an overall good analysis, but it contains something that has surely no place in a communist newspaper and should be left to bourgeois media. This is the references to ‘Russian occupation and subsequent annexation of Crimea since 2014.’ Russian troops have been in Crimea since 1783 and far from being annexed by Russia, the Crimeans held a referendum and voted overwhelmingly in 2015 (96.7% on a turnout of 83%) to rejoin Russia. These points are made in my 2017 article on the anniversary of the coup (see ‘Ukraine: three years after the US-backed coup’ at revolutionarycommunist.org).

Mike Webber
Aylesbury


Thanks for review

I wanted to thank you for sharing the review of my book Socialist States and the Environment in FRFI 288 and to Susan Davidson for the close reading and thorough work. It is an honour, and even more so that the book is being positively received. I hope the book will be useful to all comrades and help towards spreading information.

Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro
New York


Reading FRFI

Even during this hot summer, which doesn’t help to inspire one to read, I am induced to read your paper. This is for the quality of the articles, to get a sense of the speed and magnitude by which the world and events in our countries have started to move and to get a sense of direction and point of view with which to interpret this.

Stefano
San Michele prison, Italy


Crude oil

In response to ‘Who controls oil controls the world’ in FRFI 288, I would like to expand on the role of oil in the global capitalist economy. Overall, crude oil accounts for 1/3 of the world’s primary energy consumption. Nearly all cars, vans, lorries etc run on petroleum or diesel which is produced from crude oil. Planes run on aviation fuel and ships use heavy fuel oil. Without this array of modern vehicles, transportation of goods, resources and people would grind to a halt. Also, the components of oil are used as feedstock for the petrochemical industry to produce plastics, cosmetics, lubricants etc., all key commodities. Critically, oil fuels the US war machine: per serviceman, 57 litres per day were consumed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without access to crude oil, the US military would cease to function.

Bilal
Manchester


‘The Truth’

Rivers of blood, we are now living that speech
To me celebrating the commonwealth is a kick in the teeth
Talk about injustice, what about IPP
I’ve jumped through every hoop and I’m still not free
Racist, corrupt, broken institutions
Why haven’t the British got the appetite for a revolution?

Haider Qurreshi A7679AG
IPP prisoner, Buckley Hall