Trying to blame the left for racism


5:36 pm - June 10th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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There are two strategic reasons why the BNP was elected. First, the Labour party vote split and collapsed. Secondly, the left was split by infighting and small, inconsequential parties that had not much separating them. These things can be debated, and it’s right to ask why the Labour party has failed the working classes.

What does annoy me though are attempts by rightwing commentators, who really should know better, to pin the blame on ethnic minorities themselves and “the left”. It’s a nice rhetorical trick that makes them feel better – it’s not like the Conservative Party ever appropriated the language of the racists and had any of their members use the slogan “If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Labour“. I mean that is just the work of fantasy isn’t it?

On centre-right, Graeme Archer, who usually is quite a sensible writer, is blaming the left for the rise of the BNP. Apparently there are two main culprits:
1) The rise of the “race industry”
2) The funding of anti-racism festivals such as Rise, which now has been axed by Boris (there wasn’t enough money to fund his PR people probably).

But there’s a lot missing from this simple and naive narrative.

First, the “race industry” is a bunch of civil society organisations started by activists who were pissed off being constantly demonised and decided they had to organise themselves politically. Anyone who blames the “race industry” for the rise of racism, than actual prejudice is hilariously deluded.

It smacks of people like Nick Griffin saying he isn’t racist but merely a reaction against organisations such as National Black Police Assocation (which doesn’t have a bar on colour for applicants BTW) rather than understanding that perhaps the creation of the those organisations was a reaction against the widespread and open racism that my parents generation had to bear.

But of course, in the minds of many Tories such racism didn’t exist. It’s just all in the minds of these dastardly ethnic minorities and their “race industry” which have to survive by playing the victim card.


Picture from the First Post

And what about the festivals?

You have to remember that turning the tide against racism wasn’t an easy task. The trick was to make it culturally unacceptable. Media organisations such as the Daily Mail and Sun have only recently, reluctantly it seems, accepted that racism is terrible.

Thirty years ago the massive Rock Against Racism festival was the beginning of the cultural tide against racism. It made anti-racism cool and the link between many popular bands and the National Front was slowly cut until they were pushed to the margins of popular culture.

Hence, music festivals such as Rise and others have always been seen as an important battle against racism, to reinforce the cultural norms that push racism to the margins of popular culture. This is an ongoing battle not one that ever ends. I say that as a matter of fact not because I feel victimised – popular culture is always changing and shifting, and the increasing political legitimisation of the BNP’s narratives (asylum seekers are a huge drain on our economy, white men are being victimised everywhere etc) makes anti-racists nervous.

But I know what’s going on here.

As the BNP become legitimised, the Conservatives are deliberately trying to scrub their racist history and create a new one where racism is the fault of the left and New Labour. If they hadn’t let the immigrants in then Britain would have been a utopia. Let’s just completely ignore the massive National Front marches that used to take place during the days of Thatcher. They were clearly the fantasy of the “race industry”.

There are two deep contradiction in this narrative that the Tories don’t want to talk about. They are the fans of neo-liberal economics and free markets, yet fail to accept that with free market capitalism comes free movement of labour and massive unstability amongst the working classes. That, to them, is creative destruction. And yet they want their cake and eat it too – attack New Labour from the economic right, while simultaneously attacking it from a culturally conservative “stop all immigration” perspective.

Secondly, they don’t want to acknowledge that sometimes racism grows because the establishment legitimises their narratives rather than challenges them. We know that people like Phil Woolas, Margaret Hodge et al don’t have anything intelligent or visionary to say about race relations. They were happy to let out the occasional racist dog-whistle in order to pretend they cared. The Tories on the other hand actually regurgitated this nonsense.

People in the UK believe there are far more immigrants and asylum seekers than there actually are. People in this country believe there are far more Muslims than there actually are. They believe that asylum seekers automatically get lots of housing and free money from the government – the complete opposite of reality. How did this come about? It came about because neither the Tories nor New Labour challenged the racism in the press. And now, to absolve themselves of blame, they’re trying to blame the left again. What a joke.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Equality ,Race relations

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Reader comments


From my rightish perspective, Sunny, I have nothing but admiration for anti-racist activism in civil society. It is when the issue is used to expand government that I think it becomes problematic, and I think that is what a lot of people mean by the race relations industry. I would argue that the left are better off opposing that too, since an anti-racist message sounds rather more authentic when it is delivered by people of equals at a music festival, than people in positions of authority backed by state power.

I would argue that the left are better off opposing that too, since an anti-racist message sounds rather more authentic when it is delivered by people of equals at a music festival, than people in positions of authority backed by state power.

Why not both? why not have popular cultural icons say they’re anti-racist, and establishment figures say the same? Of course they may be speaking to different audiences, but they’re not mutually exclusive.

3. Shatterface

Just replied to this on PP but to summarize, I disagree that the Left collapsed because of the various splinter groups: add all their votes and they still put in a piss-poor performance.

If the splinter groups are small and inconsequential, well, they are small and inconsequential aren’t they? They can hardly be responsible for the poor showing of large and consequential parties.

Also, logically, if the Right are hypocritical for being for the free flow of capital but against immigration the Left are equally hypocritical if they are for immigration but against the free flow of capital.

But you are spot on about the anti-racist message. A frankly trivial victory for the BNP in the Euro elections (2 members on a reduced turn-out?) might give street credibility to a Rock Against Racism revival: now that the BNP are part of the Establishment it’s easier to persuade rebelious youth to rock against them.

Let’s just completely ignore the massive National Front marches that used to take place during the days of Thatcher.

We don’t need to ignore them-because they never happened (except in the fevered imaginations of anti-racist activists). Whenever the racist movement dared to show their face in the 70’s and 80’s, they were vastly outnumbered by the opposition, who were usually frustrated by having noone to confront!!!!

If you don’t believe Government policies are responsible for the rise of the BNP you are deluded. Consider the young man in Bristol who has just lost his apprenticeship in the local engineering works and has been left to kick his heels on his Council estate. No money and no apparent prospects. He then sees the state fund the takeover of his local Community Centre to give advice to Somali asylum seekers on how to claim benefits.

In order to express his frustration, who is he likely to vote for?

Yes pagar – that’s a great attempt at patronising the working classes. As soon as they lose their jobs they all turn racist don’t they? A local community centre is unlikely to set up a place to help Somalis get benefits given that the state tries to avoid offering benefits as much as possible. In my area, where there’s plenty of Somalis, there hasn’t been anything like this.

I expect, going by the same logic, that is a Muslim boy loses his job in an area, and then sees some white working class kids get help – his only alternative is to join an Islamist group and take his frustration out at the world. Great analysis there.

6. Shatterface

There’s some truth in pagar’s first paragraph: NF membership fell in the 80’s when Thatcherism drew racism into itself.

We also had the cause of South Africa to rally around: fighting racism felt global (as it should be).

“These things can be debated, and it’s right to ask why the Labour party has failed the working classes.”

Why not come away from your computer and ask some working class people Sunny? It doesnt matter if there are ten thousand fewer immigrants and asylum seekers than people think. When people see with their own eyes that their once familiar neighbourhoods are being transformed in the space of a few years though unbridled immigration they will vote BNP. This truth is so laughably obvious it is hardly worth mentioning to anyone with any sense. Go to your local library and sift through all the party manifestos from the last 50 years. Nowhere did any party say that they would allow for constantly hight levels of immigration. And yet by some magical democratic process that is the policy that both parties inflicted on the country.

8. Chris Baldwin

Tories have never understood how society works. They ought to read some Marx…

9. Alex Higgins

Pagar, you invite us to consider:

Consider the young man in Bristol who has just lost his apprenticeship in the local engineering works and has been left to kick his heels on his Council estate. No money and no apparent prospects.

So far fine. Such a person has a lot to be angry about. Then, the follow up:

He then sees the state fund the takeover of his local Community Centre to give advice to Somali asylum seekers on how to claim benefits.

But I see what you did there. The centre for Somalis is a non-sequitor. To say that it should even enter the mind of our hard up unemployed white man in Bristol that the Somali centre is a source of grief to him personally makes no sense.

That’s not to say that plenty of people don’t think like that – but is not an obvious or reasonable response. It is a heavily ideological view – and that ideological worldview is the issue. The far right, the press, much of the Conservative Party and even the government have a responsibility for propagating that ideology.

But it is not a logical step from unemployed white guy to Somali refugee assistance in local area to support for politics that identifies the latter as the cause of his situation.

For the person in your example to make that jump, they would have to accept the following:

1) That his former employer is not responsible or even particularly to blame for his current unemployment (that’s a big, big jump)
2) That wider econominc trends/policies not involving the presence of refugees are not responsible for his situation (another big mental leap)
3) That Somali refugees using a community centre hurts him personally
4) That the government favours Somali refugees over white citizens (which is preposterous, and a very ugly lie)
5) That his situation would improve if Somali refugees had no facilities in his area
6) That he and Somali refugees have no common economic interests
7) That his interests are represented by those claiming to represent people with his skin colour and not by a politics claiming to represent people of his class, or people of all colours

All of these positions are heavily ideological. They are not merely the product of insitnctive tribalism which everyone has in some form or another, some more than others – they are part of a learned understanding of the world.

You don’t have to think like that. And, at a guess, I think if you look at how unemployed white apprentices in Bristol voted, you’ll find only a minority did.

The left is responsible, to the extent that it has made racism beyond the pale. When the Tory Party was openly and even later tacitly racist, racists could happily be members. But as it has been forced to face down the racists in its own ranks, to ban the hang-Mandela crowd and latterly the Monday Club, so racists haven’t felt so comfortable amongst its ranks.

As racism has become less and less acceptable in wider civic society, as the majority of people have become less and less racist, of course those recidivists who hold fast to racism will become increasingly identifiable; as racism is chased out of mainstream organisations, racists will gravitate to extremist organisations. Though this shows we need to redouble our efforts, it is also something the left can be proud of.

The BNP’s ideas are obviously neither useful nor interesting and so there is little point in engaging with them. However, we have a democratic obligation to engage with the message voters were trying to send by voting for them. And dismissing votes for the BNP simply as being a product of racism is not an adequate explanation – we must try to understand why people are attracted to racist ideas.

There are still, in many parts of Britain, areas of steadfastly entrenched social disadvantage where families have been disfunctional, out of work and denied fair opportunities for generations. This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs. People should be able to expect an education which empowers them to live the life they want, they should not have to live in fear of crime, they should be helped out of drug dependency, they should have access to excellent healthcare facilities and public transport which will reliably gets them to where the jobs are. When people don’t have access to all these things, they are likely to be enormously resentful of their situation and particularly of the help given to others. It is because of this that the BNP’s message of hatred seems, in some places, to resonate so potently. That the BNP vote is focused around areas of entrenched deprivation in the north rather than the affluent suburbs of the south east surely emphasises this.

The left should be working to promote an agenda of real (as well as formal) equal opportunities for all.

http://petespolitics.wordpress.com

12. the a&e charge nurse

I think Pagar has a point [4].
I don’t think we can blame the left for racism, but maybe we can blame them (at least in part) for the current trillion pound national debt?

Humungous debt allied to a serious economic downturn has bred the sort of conditions where certain sectors of society might begin to feel frightened or at least insecure.
In difficult circumstances the tendency toward identification with ones own group is hardly surprising – I would imagine this sort of thing is universal (in anticipation of the most realistic prospect of support).

If we take nursing we generally find a reasonable level of cohesion amongst staff of many nationalities largely because they are driven by a shared professional ethos, but remove this unifying factor (professional ethos) not to mention the security of a regular wage, and the nature of these relationships may not be replicated quite so effectively in the outside world?

Even so our society has been progressing in the right direction in recent years (when it comes to respecting the views of the different tribes) but is still far from perfect – lets hope the two BNP seats in the Euro’s is no more than an embarrassing hiccup?

13. Richard (the original)

The recent Sky poll (I think it was Sky) showed 60% wanted a block on all further immigration and 27% supported voluntary repatriation. This goes some way to explaining why the BNP are able to draw on increasingly large wells of support.

As the footsoldiers for the intelligentsia of the faux left-right divide continue to proclaim their differences, all that either side can talk about when discussing the BNP is racism.

I wonder why…?
http://towardsmutualbenefit.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-they-all-hate-bnp.html

15. Richard (the original)

Ah, it was a channel 4 poll. Details here: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2172

16. david brough

How the fuck is that the case when we’ve had Thatcherite governments since 1979, and it was their policies, for example the failure to restrain City banker scum or implement a proper economic system based on decent working-class jobs, that brought us to this pass? Because the whole consumer society was one giant lie, as we now understand that we can’t magically enrich ourselves by voodoo libertarian economics because we haven’t got real work, which is the basis for real prosperity.

The only solidarity worth having is class solidarity, anything else is a fucking mirage concocted by the right to hide the fact that their economic system is unravelling and they won’t reverse it because it would affect their own personal advantages and those of their own ilk.

The BNP, like the fucking scabs they are, want our problems to worsen so they can exploit them, just like their scab forefathers did by backing Thatcher in the 1980s. We need to offer the working class a force that opposes Blatcherism in order to win them over, as they won’t give a fuck about those who want to endlessly repeat the same right-wing lies.

I grew up in a mining village. We had a hard life, but we took it without complaining so long as we got fair dealings, which is what the working class wants. That is what we no longer have. You can’t solve problems such as unemployment and welfare dependency unless you allow people to organise in free trade unions and have decent jobs rather than in the “service” economy doing fucking shite like working in warehouses, which contributes almost nothing to the economy.

“Why not both? why not have popular cultural icons say they’re anti-racist, and establishment figures say the same? Of course they may be speaking to different audiences, but they’re not mutually exclusive.”

1. Pragmatically, I think the statist message might undermine the other. That is arguably what happens when genuine messages of equality and respect are boiled down to speech codes that are coercively enforced.

2. In principle, I am against public officials telling people how they should think.

Very strong post. Bang on.

There are far far far fewer immigrants etc. in the country than people think. If we had 1/4 of the world’s asylum seekers that would be more than our fair share. * However we don’t, we have far less than we could support, far less than we can afford, far less than we can accomodate (our population density is definitely manageable).

If asylum seekers were treated better than citizens there would be a reasonable position for claiming unfair victimisation. But they are treated disgracefully.

We had open borders up until 1905, totally open, totally free movement. Now we have harsh border controls for those outside Europe and we treat refugees like criminals.

The grounds for racism are laid by the right because they talk absolute nonsense about immigration. They inflate figures, they inflate that bad social impact (and there is, I won’t deny it), and play down the good social impact (which is there in abundance). Mostly they lie about money, lie about numbers and lie about eating swans.

*Not that there isn’t a ver ygood case for us to take them on anyway.

Basically what I am trying to say is that the “debate” on immigration is almost impossible. Too many people don’t know the figures and those that do appear to be the “loony liberal left.” (alternatively known as the “well informed”).

21. journeyman

Patrick@14
The link/article “Why They All Hate the B.N.P ” and the disgusting ” SYMBIOTIC ” mutual agenda shared between the Mercenary Corporate Right, that being for the uninitiated ( The European E.U. branch of the Bush/Cheney Neo.Cons )–and the entire European “Left”both main stream or otherwise–was formulated better than I could ever have done myself.
It is however suprising that such accurate description of the “mechanisms “has taken so long. But then again,when society is threatened by such a “parasitic “virus–it always seems to take time before the correct terms “language”are evolved to clarify and combat it.

” the far left,who intend to ride the coat tails of global capitalism as a means to reaching their own , vastly different agenda.”

The one thing I disagree with is the expression “far left”. Its where the Galloway types and main-stream left agree which is valid.

It would also be interesting to examine the other half of this symbiotic relationship works–namely–how the global capitalists are riding on the coat-talis of the “poly-tech left baby boomer academic intelligencia “and every generation since.
As it is becoming clear,you can,t get a Rizla paper between them.
And yet the ” Left “seems totally oblivious to corporate (cultural identity fragmentation/cheap labour and oil )manipulation.

I take my hat off to L.C for their tolerance of other views and only reaching for the agonizing “red Disembowlement button”when appropriate.I have only been deleted once,and that was at three o.clock in the morning,after one to many Highland Warrior whiskies and posting the wrong drunken rant to the wrong article.
As for the vicious duffing over one gets-“if you can,t take heat”.

Reading the frigging article at Patrick ( 14 )

Agreed, read that “Why They All Hate the BNP” article, please. Sunny: perhaps consider posting it? Very good stuff.

If a tad underestimating the extent to which the Trots motivation is rememberence of what happened the the lefties in the countries where fascists took power, perhaps…

23. Shatterface

Sorry guys, but that ‘Why They All Hate The BNP’ article is utter bum-drizzle.

There’s certainly a belief on the Left that socialism is the inevitable outcome of post-capitalist society, and that socialism is an international movement if it is anything at all, but to suggest that opposition to fascism is just a pretext for undermining the BNP’s anti-corporatism is arse-water of the highest order.

24. journeyman

Shatterface (23)
It never ceases to amaze me that the “modern left “or neo-Left ,see no comparison between President Eisenhowers ” growing power of the military-industrial complex “.e.g Bush-Neo-Con machevellian right-wing.corporate scheming–or the machevellian corporate scheming of the E.U Council and its goverments.
The Left,who -correct me if I am wrong appear to percieve the E.U.as primarily a beneficial Left/ Socialist institution,perhaps owing to its borderless, anti-national,multicultural, centralist ,super-statist image.e.g ( Danny “the red Cohen Bendit )
And those who oppose it appear to be denouced as right-wing,xenophobic,reactionary and (God forbid ) -nationalist.
The borderless,nationless, culture fragmented, multicultural” end game” of the E.U council.mercenary corporate vandals may be diffferent from the “Left” ,but the road which will take the Left to their Franfurt-School /Alinsky , Wasp-Free / Global Utopia
and the Bilderberg type,lobbyists and their E.U. parliament friends, seems the same road.
I suspect there will be much wailing and nashing of teeth on the way ,but what the hell.
Everthing in a good cause ,what?
And excuse the cliche”the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

25. Shatterface

We denounce the BNP as ‘right-wing, xenophobic, reactionary and (God forgive us) nationalist’ because they are right-wing, xenophobic, reactionary and (God forgive us) nationalist, not because some all powerful conspiracy of corporatists – shitting their pants at the thought of two MEPs from a party fundamentally defined by ‘anti-corporatism’ getting a platform – have nitpicked their way through the pages of an anti-corporatist manifesto in the hope of finding something ambiguously phrased which could, if looked at from a particular angle, be seen as a little bit racist.

Nobody is denying that our main parties are corporatist (and where do those libertarians who have argued against immigration controls fit in to this – are they part of the Dan Brown-without-the-pretty-pictures conspiracy too?) but for Christ sake leave the loony conspiracies for the pub.

“The Left,who -correct me if I am wrong appear to percieve the E.U.as primarily a beneficial Left/ Socialist institution,perhaps owing to its borderless, anti-national,multicultural, centralist ,super-statist image.e.g ( Danny “the red Cohen Bendit )”

You know what Tony Benn thinks of the EU, don’t you?

27. journeyman

James@ (26)
” You know what Tony Benn thinks of the E.U.don,t you?”

No,but I must presume that you mean he doesn,t like it.
In which case I must presume all is not lost.

“But for Christ sake leave the loony conspiracies for the pub.”
But that was exactly my point,you hit it right on the nail.

Cospiracy theories about mercenary old boy networking,diplomats and politicians seduced by power ,money and privilege evolving a ” moral justification of convienience ” mind-set –to be confined and targetted at Bush-Neo-Con-Wasps only.

Or to put it another way ” would the E.U. council ever lie to you “?
Just how philanthropically motivated are they.?
All I,m doing is transferring the Bush conspiracy theories of the Left and extending them to include the E.U.Council.
What I am attempting to put across here,is the not easy,and definately a bit of mental acrobatics.
But (IF) changes that have taken place to European society over the last 50 years,
can be shown to have been detrimental to the health of those societies, e,g concerning,drugs,crime,health service, immigration,Islamification, social cohesion,welfare,national idenity–and any future prognosis continuing the same trend ,looks grim indeed—could we agree that no matter which loftty principals may be involved–conspiracy or just plain misplaced well meaning idealism,that if the patient is getting sick (e.g, local country village with its Norman church, is suffering a deluge of cime, drugs, immigrant /white yob volence,a strain on its infrastructure,and social upheavel,
then because such effects must be judged harmfull–any ideology,institution,political wing ect which contributes to such destabalization is the enemy of society.
That being ,once again–regardless of wether the motive behind the policies fostered upon society were conspiratorial,or well meaning.
And to extend this theory–successive goverments since the 60.s have succeded,either by accident or design to promote British society on the downward socially regressive path which it is now upon,and up to date have created more havoc,than any apparent extremist right wing group has managed to achieve.
And theres the “rub “.In that the ” Left “and its principals and ideology maybe, destructive to social stabilty,because its principals are rejection of that which it considers the worst elements of human nature,which are a far flung distance from the idealistic perfections,over on the distant horizon.
By demonizing natural xenophobia, communal tribalism and its need for the securitry in shared values, that instinct,not being allowed to be expressed, would perhaps turn into bunker mentality,fear and then extremism.
The B.N.P are perhaps just one more,in a long line off extemists,the others being,the Labour,Liberal,Conservative,The E,U. and last but not least–the “Left “

“No,but I must presume that you mean he doesn,t like it.
In which case I must presume all is not lost.”

Almost the entirety of the Labour Left was anti-EU, at one stage. Saw it as a free-marketeer plot. Given the enthusiasm for privatising Royal Mail the EU has, perhaps they were not wrong…

James, thanks, and cheers for highlighting that post above. I think the first half is quite good, but it sort of veers into craziness when some obscure orgs are seen as the sole representatives of the far-left. Wouldn’t the SWP be better examples? And they’re very anti-capitalist… so its difficult to see how that would stand up to scrutiny. Also, the whole identity policies bit feels simplistic.
Generally quite an interesting analysis though Patrick.

Sunny – As ever, your sleep schedule is admirable. 😉

With a few notable exceptions (the UKIP of the far left, the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), for instance: who argue that immigration is a ruling class plot to drive down wages & argue against foreign students draining all our cash and knowledge in their newspaper) most of the far-left is in favour of open borders, pro-migrant, etc…Everyone from the SWP to AWL. Its a distinctive characteristic of the Trot far-left, especially.

On the other hand you could argue that their nationalisation fetish is…Well…A tad nationalistic. Or at least presupposes a nation-state. Their view is that its easier to merge state property into one big socialist super-state than it is for aforesaid socialist super-state to have to scrabble around scooping up private fiefdoms to absorb. Probably correct, I suppose.

Good point James, however the recently patched-together coalition of Bob Crow, the CPB and the SPGB was decidely anti-open borders and very nationalist in its language. I just hope that sort of nonsense doesn’t gain any more ground in the left.

Thank you to those who commented on my post.

It may have been a little “simplistic”, Sunny, but as I look a couple of posts further up at LC I see Unity straight back on message, seeking to explore who has been pushing the anti-immigration line in the media…

Whilst the left and the right commentariat continue to focus solely on the BNP’s overt racism, rather than discuss other aspects of their policies, I will continue to believe that the view that I expressed is fundamentally correct, and that there is an intentional desire (amongst the entire political/media elite) to prevent the BNP’s other policy positions gaining any publicity. Time will readily demonstrate whether my thesis is correct or not.

Sunny @7

A local community centre is unlikely to set up a place to help Somalis get benefits given that the state tries to avoid offering benefits as much as possible. In my area, where there’s plenty of Somalis, there hasn’t been anything like this.

Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol West, will readily admit to spending much of her time helping Somali asylum seekers. She is an active supporter of the Black Carers Association which is state funded and who’s mission is to help black people claim their state funded entitlements.

Alex @9

To say that it should even enter the mind of our hard up unemployed white man in Bristol that the Somali centre is a source of grief to him personally makes no sense.

Of course you are correct and all the points you make about why the ex-apprentice should not feel as he does make perfect sense. But racism is not founded on rational analysis but on emotional responses- mainly fear but also feelings of envy and rejection.

So don’t bother with a rationale to explain why the young man has no reason to vote BNP. Try to empathise with him and then tell me who he will actually vote for.

Rayyan – What’s really interesting is that the CPB(M-L) didn’t seem to be involved in NO2EU. It seemed like their sort of a field, but the CPB were apparently there without them. What the fuck the Socialists were doing involved, I have no clue, probably enticed in by Bob Crow. They love to style themselves as working constantly with unionists, so I suppose if they had to work with a unionist to construct a nationalist, pro-closed borders wet fart of a political project that was acceptable. Maybe they’d have thought twice if they were under the delusion that it was going to go anywhere…

James, good points.
most of the far-left is in favour of open borders, pro-migrant, etc…

Sure, but I think most of that’s down to having some solidarity with refugees from across the world, rather than wanting to fuck up the working classes here.

Patrick, James: the response to many on the left to allowing open borders would be that it doesn’t by itself lead to falling standards. You can have open borders, but a high minimum wage and enough employee protection to ensure that working classes here can’t be crapped on. That way you offer opportunities to other to make something of themselves here, while ensuring the working classes don’t lose out.

“Tories have never understood how society works. They ought to read some Marx…”

I’ve read Marx, lots of. In fact I was reading one of my final year essays the other day on the 18th Brumiere and the German Ideology. The problem with Marx’s arguments of how society works with historical materialism as its base and then his materialist extension of Hegel dialectic is that its untestable pseudoscience.

Like much sociological and cultural argument, where it fails is in its assertion of presenting itself as objective knowledge, and effectively negating that it starts from ideological subjectivity. This as something deftly highlighted by Karl Mannheim in his infamous paradox about the inherent and unavoidable subjectivity of societal analysis.

This said, and on topic with the post, I wouldn’t say the “Left” per se is to blame for racism. I would say though that the rise in popularity and support for those with racist views has come about in the past couple decades as an inevitable consequence of the politics of identity which started off with the likes of Foucault and other in the Frankfurt School.

It stands to reason that if political discourse moves along a path that seeks to pigeon hole debate into certain special interest groupings based on identity, that other such groups will appear that also define themselves along identity lines. We may not like the views of such groups, but they are wholly in keeping with the politics of identity.

So I’d argue that rather than the Left being to blame for racism today, it is more the unintended consequence of the political thought that is dominant as a result of thinkers who just so happened to be on the Left.

Sunny: Exactly.

@34 – I don’t know how the Somali centre is funded, but the unemployed bloke might think – there’s money going on that which could be helping me. Or he might think why should *black* carers have specific state funded help?

So the challenge is – what do you say to him?

Or – by even thinking those things do you deem him a racist and thus not worth bothering with?

Sunny – you’re on to something there.

Higher minimum wage and greater employment protection = higher structural unemployment = UK less attractive destination for migrants.

Now I understand your cunning plan…

I don’t know how the Somali centre is funded

By taxation.

but the unemployed bloke might think – there’s money going on that which could be helping me. Or he might think why should *black* carers have specific state funded help?

So the challenge is – what do you say to him?

He’s fucked. But in a good cause.

Or – by even thinking those things do you deem him a racist and thus not worth bothering with?

That’s the conundrum.

The point is-

Is it the fault of his employer that they could not afford to retain him?

No.

Is it his fault he is out of work?

No.

Is it the fault of the Somali immigrant coming to the UK to try to better himself?

No.

Is it the fault of those who profess to know what is best for all the above and have put in place a social and political system that caused this?

Yes.

And they will reap the whirlwind.

42. British Stuntman

“the recently patched-together coalition of Bob Crow, the CPB and the SPGB”

Sorry to split hairs, but it’s the SP, rather than the SPGB in No2EU – the SPGB, who are as sectarian as the CPB(ML), stood separately in London.

True, the SPGB are convinced that you can only get anywhere through arguing that socialism is great, & that through doing that enough they’ll eventually bring about a spontaneous revolution.

Such has been there view for well over eighty years, now…

james,

what you know about the SPGB couldn’t fill a twitter post, but please carry on twittering away.

Maybe, although he’s actually not far from the mark with that comment, is he? Now reel yer Hostility Clause in… 😉

<3 the hostility cause.

AT/Volty,

Nope he’s wrong but his description could be an apt description for the touchy-feely Greens . . . erm, until they get a sniff of office. 😉

Sorry Darren, I should have said 90 years. How many members has almost a century of slog won you, btw?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    @graemearcher my response to your article on ConHome here: ‘Trying to blame the left for racism’ – http://tr.im/o362

  2. Graeme Archer

    Am flattered! RT @pickledpolitics: my response to your article on ConHome here: ‘Trying to blame the left for racism’ – http://tr.im/o362

  3. sunny hundal

    @graemearcher my response to your article on ConHome here: ‘Trying to blame the left for racism’ – http://tr.im/o362

  4. Graeme Archer

    Am flattered! RT @pickledpolitics: my response to your article on ConHome here: ‘Trying to blame the left for racism’ – http://tr.im/o362

  5. Ernie Vogel

    Liberal Conspiracy » Trying to blame the left for racism http://bit.ly/w8weC

  6. Leon Green

    Sunny on the right trying to blame the left for racism: http://bit.ly/13bkba

  7. Justin McKeating

    Trying to blame the left for racism http://tinyurl.com/kw3b7p Go read.

  8. Tim Ireland

    RT @chickyog Trying to blame the left for racism http://tinyurl.com/kw3b7p Go read.

  9. Ernie Vogel

    Liberal Conspiracy » Trying to blame the left for racism http://bit.ly/w8weC

  10. Leon Green

    Sunny on the right trying to blame the left for racism: http://bit.ly/13bkba

  11. Justin McKeating

    Trying to blame the left for racism http://tinyurl.com/kw3b7p Go read.

  12. Links and stuff from between June 8th and June 11th - Chicken Yoghurt

    […] Liberal Conspiracy » Trying to blame the left for racism – Go read. […]

  13. Selected Reading 11/06/2009 « Left Outside

    […] And Sunny Hundal gets angry at people blaming the Left for racism. […]





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