Friday, November 16, 2018

How to end racism

There is an upcoming march and rally tomorrow on Saturday to protest rising racism. The Socialist Party will be in attendance and will have a literature stall at the event. 

The Socialist Party condemn racist ideas. They are stumbling-blocks to working-class understanding of socialism. This above all is why we find such attitudes pernicious and repugnant. Racists are invariably ignorant and irrational. They seek only the crudest and superficial explanation of social problems. They need a whipping-boy, a scapegoat. The Jew to blame for money grabbing and financial swindling. The immigrant to blame for housing squalor or unemployment. If they can find in a newcomer to these shores a convenient outlet upon whom to vent their frustrations and resentments, they need look no further. For the working-class, national identity has always meant decaying congested slums, insecurity, poverty and, very often, dole-queues. National identity is a cunning political device by means of which the working class, who own no country, are kidded to identify with their exploiters the capitalists, who own virtually everything. One has only to look at those festering cess-pits where racist ideologies have had support, to see the depth of inhuman depravity masquerading as race supremacy. 

What is it about the EDL, Britain First and a host of other right-wing racist organisations which makes most of us so sick to the stomach?  It is because they stand for the politics of hate and division. They hate immigrants. They admire the Nazis’ attempt to wipe out the Jews and the Gypsies. They despise homosexuality. They are unthinking, prejudiced bigots. They are only ever going to appear attractive to the embittered and the frustrated. The neo-nazis are merely the maggots which congregate upon the rubbish heap. It is all too easy to condemn this assorted rag-bag of fascistic know-nothing nationalists. But they are a symptom, not a cause. The resurgence of the racist right is a product of the utter failure of all of the reformist parties - Tory and Labour to make capitalism tolerable for workers to live in. Hopes have been frustrated to the point that the poison of cynicism has been imbibed. When capitalism not only fails to deliver the goods (as it inevitably does), but fails even to deliver the expectation that its promises will be met, nobody should be surprised that fascism is in the air.

The ruling class looks on racial tension in the same way as lawyers look on law-breaking. They want crime reduced, but not to disappear entirely. The capitalists’ opinion of ill-feeling between the various colour groups in our cities, white and brown and black, is precisely the same: a little is good, too much is bad. Too much would cause trouble. But in some respects, a little of it can do nothing but good to the ruling class. If white workers blame their poor housing and working conditions on people with darker skins, while Asian and West Indian workers blame their troubles on prejudice and discrimination among people with lighter complexions, then workers of all colours will be kept from thinking about the real cause of their poverty — their class position in capitalist society. Hence the pious exhortations by politicians, church-leaders, and media spokesmen generally, telling the workers to love their neighbours and backing it up with threats to have the police and courts deal severely with anyone who does not love his neighbour enough, while at the same time both major parties deliberately keep the racialist pot boiling. It is a typical contradiction of capitalism produce racism, and yet the profit motive find racism an encumbrance. The capitalist class (black and white) is interested in maximising profits. Whether the wealth they accumulate derives from the exploitation of black or white wage-slaves is a matter of indifference to them. The growth of racialism, and the strong support obtained by the racism in some areas is itself a testimony to the excellence of the propaganda machine which serves capitalism. So far it has succeeded in preventing most of the workers from discovering the real reasons for their discontent. So long as racialism is kept to mere dislike among different groups, providing each race with a scapegoat to blame and averting any approach to the real problem, the ruling class can enjoy the benefits of working-class disunity without running the risks of open conflict among the workforce. 

Workers have no country. We have a world to win. Only by rejecting the myths of national and racial identity can the world be won by and for all of its inhabitants. As knowledge of the real cause of our problems (capitalism) and the real basis of our strength (class unity) develop, the wretched appeal of the fascists will evaporate and the air will once and for all be cleared of the stench which has given rise to it. Groups like the EDL, Britain First and National Action are the organised expression of an ignorance and prejudice which stems from the material basis of capitalist society. As such they can only be defeated when the working class understands capitalism and decides to reject it in favour of socialism. Members of the Socialist Party are angry about the sorts of lives we are forced to lead, about bad housing. unemployment, old people dying of cold in winter, and all the other drab, depressing features of poverty — but we don't pick on other workers — Muslims or Eastern European migrants or whites, or blacks, because that only hurts ourselves. It suits the capitalist class very nicely as long as the anger is directed away from them, and away from the real cause of the problems. What really worries them is when members of the working class get together, when they organise an efficient democratic political movement with the single aim of throwing them out, and when that movement starts to gain mass support. The Socialist Party calls on all men and women of the working class, whether they are black, white, brown or yellow, whether they are employed or unemployed, old or young, to join us in a growing political movement to end this violent, poverty-stricken way of organising society. It is ours for the taking as soon as we make up our minds to act together. It is not just that white people oppress black; the cardinal point is that capitalists oppress workers. Capitalism divides because the means of production are owned by a few. Socialism will embrace all mankind because the earth will be owned in common. 

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