Friday, November 16, 2018

Come and meet us

The Socialist Party will have a stall from 12pm outside the BBC building in Portland Place, London W1A 1AA this Saturday 17 November. 

Please come along and support us.

In pubs, bus queues, workshops, offices, and homes a variety of racist theories are being aired. It is time, then, for yet another statement of the facts on race, which all workers should bear in mind. Capitalism is a divisive society, distorting the human need for community into senseless race-hateThe root cause of race-prejudice is the capitalist system, a society of competition and struggle: the struggle between worker and worker. For the working-class, who constitute the overwhelming majority of its population, it is a society of poverty and insecurity: to most, it offers not the slightest chance of escape from a lifetime of constant, heartbreaking effort to earn a living. For the working-class, it is a society which breeds war and strife, in which their masters, on whose behalf they fight, use every device to stimulate antagonism and hatred between them. For the working-class, capitalism is a society of mental, social, and economic frustration; as such it breeds race-prejudice as a swamp breeds pestilence.

Different languages, skin tones, sexes, and customs pale next to the economic differences in a single country or ethnic grouping. The working class will never be served by nationalism or its bed-mate, racism.  The Socialist Party's response to racist arguments is not just to point out their nastiness and the fact that they serve to divide people and to justify discrimination and worse. Rather, we argue also that the whole concept of “race” is a nonsense. Racist views and policies are utterly repulsive, condemning some people to poverty and oppression simply on the ground of their supposed racial origin. Racial theories and prejudices, because they are false and because they operate against working class unity, are a barrier to the understanding of socialism. They are, therefore, against the interests of the workers and should be rejected by them.

From the cradle to the grave, our fellow-workers are subjected to a mass of propaganda which deadens their minds, works on their prejudices, and endeavours by every means possible to turn their thoughts away from the real cause of their troubles. They are the tools of political leaders and demagogues who make them promises which they do not keep. Disappointed, they exchange one set of political leaders for another, whose promises are no more fulfilled than the promises of those before them. They become disillusioned, bitter, and cynical: fair game for authoritarian "strong men” who pledge to lead them to a "promised land", but instead lead them into greater disasters and misfortunes.

What we do want to re-state is the fundamental Socialist Party position on all forms of racial prejudice. This position is that racialism today is bound up with the capitalist system. That like a virus it dies away or flourishes according to the state of health of that system. That if capitalism is passing through one of its more “prosperous” periods the virus will tend to lie dormant. But that if capitalism erupts into crisis then the virus is capable of coming to virulent life.

The only means whereby the working-class can be sure of immunity from racial intolerance is through an understanding of the forces at work in capitalism. This means socialist understanding. It means the realisation that the conflicts, the crises, the frustrations, the miseries, the threats of war, and all the other evils of capitalism, are fertile ground for the workers to find a convenient scapegoat in the Jews, Indians, West Indians, or any other minority that happens to be at hand. It means the realisation that such race prejudice can be part and parcel of patriotism and nationalism. It means, finally, the realisation that race prejudice is useful in taking their minds off the real cause of their troubles—the capitalist system itself.

It cannot be said too often. The working-class fall for the myth of “race” at their peril.

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