Friday, November 08, 2019

No hiding place from capitalism

Around the undeveloped and developing countries of world large numbers of surplus labour are seeking employment and higher living standards. For them, Britain must seem something like a land of milk and honey. Never mind that some have spilt blood in the past in national liberation struggles against British colonial rule—economic necessities override such ironies.

The arrival of foreign workers can change the any town. Accents and foreign tongues are as common in some parts now as Irish or Scots brogues used to be. This has brought its problems such as an increase colour bias stemming from the mammoth of all social headaches—housing. This problem is an old favourite on election manifestos that immigrants have increased the problem simply because they have increased the number of workers who are seeking the unobtainable. The coloured immigrants find that the housing problem seems to revolve around them because they are so easily noticeable in a white community. Although Eastern Europeans are also a target for prejudice.

It is an old familiar story, which we have heard many times before. The immigrants are poor and therefore tend to congregate together in cheap, decaying inner-city areas. Here they are forced to struggle for social acceptance in the teeth of opposition from workers who are already established in that particular piece of slum. There seems to be no end to the people seeking some place to call home. Friction grows as “white” tenants are edged out to make room for more profitable lodgers willing to put up with higher rents and the over-crowding. So the process goes on: ad infinitum.”

In fact, bad housing is simply one aspect of working class poverty. This is the explanation for the slums, the acres of out of date, badly neglected and overcrowded houses which are kept that way so that the income from rent exceeds any expenditure on them. What does it matter, whether such hell holes are occupied by native workers or those from elsewhere? A sane society would not have the things at all.

“Keep Britain White,” or “Send Them Back” will not help matters. There are plenty of organisations to make our flesh creep with their xenophobic racism. But to support them means that we only saddle ourselves with the political neurosis of a new nazism.

No, the working class must do better than that. We must aim for a world in which men and women are truly free and can move about the world as they like without meeting economic hardship or racial prejudice and violence. Until that happens, the reformist tinkering with race hate laws will continue to blunt themselves against an insoluble problem. Whilst capitalism lasts, the hardships of the working class will follow them all over the world. That is the lesson they must learn. There is no hiding place from capitalist divide and rule.

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