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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Class War, Not Race War

Not a fictional piece, but a random political musing instead.

Last night I joined in with the TV show The Last Leg’s effort to get #DontBeARacistDick trending worldwide on twitter. I didn’t expect it to be a confrontational act, but nevertheless an Egg avi decided to @ me with the response “say NO to racist migrants then”.

I won’t engage in debates with people who make such blanket statements – particularly if those people are hiding behind an egg avi -  so I told him I wouldn’t debate with him, and ceased to reply.  He proceeded to barrage me with tweets calling me a middle class fascist, racist against white people. Amongst  the abuse though, he also said that he had worked with Polish migrants he described as racist and that people didn’t have to be English to be racist.

Had he opened with those thoughts instead of a blanket statement, I would have debated with him. Because of course I recognise that  racism is a problem across nationalities. Anyone can be racist against any group. My joining in with the hash tag #DontBeARacistDick was not specifically aimed at any one nationality or ethnicity.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because it gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts on how the establishment use racism as a weapon in the class war.
The ruling class need us to believe we are in a race war so that we don’t notice we are in a class war. They stir up hatred – turn us into us and them – So that we don’t notice that black, white, Asian,  eastern European,  whatever our origin, we are ALL oppressed by the 1%. 

Institutional racism will never be fully eradicated because it suits the establishment entirely – it both entrenches prejudice and furthers it across the working class spectrum. We can’t deny that it exists, there are too many examples to list, of  a disparity of school attainment, of prison population statistics, a fundamental lack of representation in everything from the main stream media and TV to the Houses of Parliament.  People of colour see that, and - rightly - get angry at the perpetrators, the invariably white ruling class.

The white working class, being fed a constant stream of anti-migrant stories in the right wing tabloids, see that anger and – again rightly – become defensive, like my shouty egg avi visitor last night. They are angry at being viewed in the same light as establishment elites who do use their class and connections to oppress people and further their own interests. After all, they do not have the power and the influence to change anything. The white working class have suffered as much from decades of ideological cuts to education and social housing and adult literacy programs as anyone else, and they’ve been fed the lie that the reason for their deprivation is migration. So they kick out at the people they feel have robbed them of their future – migrant workers on a similar pay scale as themselves, and those they perceived to be supporting a system that they feel takes from them - people like me sharing a #DontBeARacistDick hashtag -  and they lash out.

Of course then the people they lash out at then also feel angry and defensive. I actually found the exchange faintly amusing – a fairly cursory are check on my background reveals I grew up in a council house in Luton and come from a long line of East London dock workers and green grocers. I’m far from middle class and definitely understand the concerns for working class people who live in very diverse communities. But had I not seen his comments as indicative of a very broken capitalist system and instead taken them personally and lashed out back, we could have ended up in a tit for tat exchange all night.

So then everyone is justifiably, righteously angry. But they are angry at each other. The ruling class sits back and smirks and continues to asset strip the country to line their own pockets. They set the plebs to hating each other because then nobody notices that our argument isn’t with other working class people. Egg avi man wasn’t angry with me – he was angry that he had no future. He was looking for someone to blame. It is easy to blame me or a Polish migrant, but if we calm down and step back from the emotional side, its easy to see who our real quarrel is with. Our argument is with them – the real parasites on our society – the ruling class.

There isn’t a real race war. Just like there isnt a real battle of the sexes, or a real north south divide. It is all manufactured, and for one purpose only – distraction.

We are in a class war, but the establishment are desperate for us not to notice. Because they – the 1%, the ruling class - are the real minority, and we - the working classes - we hold all the power. Working class solidarity despite artificial boundaries of colour, religion, culture or geography, is a revolutionary act. Unity is a revolutionary act. Divided we are weak and easily manipulated. United, we are legion.

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