Monthly Archives: October 2009

Question Time: The Establishment Mugs Nick Griffin – But Only So They Can Steal His Political Clothes!

What entertainment! What a fascinating and gruesome TV spectacle! Griffin the fool on the box! What a ratings boost for ‘Mentorn’ (the private company that runs question time, that’s been begging the BBC for years to have the Griffo freakshow). Yes it was great to see Nick Griffin look ridiculous on TV. He really is an unctuous buffoon. But it was still a bad idea to give him a platform on Question Time. The only mitigating factor was being able to see a huge, angry demonstration by anti-fascists outside the BBC TV centre to show how we all feel.  (The woman seen being dragged along the floor still wagging her finger at a copper is my especial hero).

griffinscum

The Unctuous One

Firstly, while it was fun to see Griffin exposed and beset by angry questions from all sides, this will just add to the feeling of victimhood and marginalisation by the millions of alienated white and working class people who may be tempted to look to him. Especially as now Griffin has been made into a household name. Notoriety is still celebrity and  ‘outsider’ status can be political gold-dust in these cynical and troubled times. For some people it will just be seen as Griffin (and sections of the marginalised white poor) being ganged up upon by the ‘clever-clogs liberal metropolitan elite’.

Secondly, the subsequent discussion on immigration was appalling. After ‘ganging up’ on Griffin, the whole panel and audience then went on to agree that there was ‘too much immigration’! Thus immigrants became the main problem, the scapegoats for the social crisis, while capitalism gets let off the hook (of course!). This was therefore an establishment consensus, designed to shield that very establishment! In this establishment consensus that is simultaneously ‘anti-fascist’ and anti immigrant, there can be no mention of greedy bankers or capitalism’s chaos. No mention of the virtual abolition of council housing and the welfare state. No mention of tax cuts and tax loopholes lining the pockets of the super-rich. i.e no class politics – of course! If we can’t blame the greedy rich and the madness of capitalism, then instead immigrants must get it in the neck – as the sole cause of homelessness, unemployment and poor services – and it seems they are even to blame for the rise of their persecutor, the BNP, all the panel could agree. From victimising Griffin, they all seamlessly morphed into victimising Griffins victims! And this even harder to stomach when coming from a  political establishment soaked in the blood of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as of our young soldiers, offered as a blood sacrifice to global corporate power. Furthermore, it is this terrible and senseless sacrifice that is now fuelling a tribal and virulent Islamophobia.

This BBC freak-show and media feeding frenzy represents how the establishment is using the BNP. They use them to drag politics to the right, and promote racism and Islamophobia – but then try to make sure that the BNP are not the main beneficiary of this rightward shift. An operation to make sure that that it is the mainstream establishment parties that benefit from racism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant feeling, that is stirred up, and then controlled. The BNP are demonised as Nazis (and yes, they are) so vote for the ‘respectable racists’ instead. And all the time the media plays its despicable role, churning out anti-immigrant / Islamophobic propaganda, week after week.

On Question Time we saw Griffin mugged by the establishment, so they can steal his political clothes! (Of course, then they must wash these clothes in bleach, making them a more acceptable and fashionable lighter shade of xenophobia before they will wish to wear them).

Rather than getting hysterical that the BNP are gonna suddenly take over, establish a fascist regime and put us all in the gas chambers, the real worry is that the BNP help push politics to the right. The danger is that by becoming established as a minor ‘anti-establishment’ party they will pollute grassroots dissent within the new epoch of war, unemployment and austerity with racist and Islamophobic poison. This will let capitalism off the hook and cripple working class resistance with a vile game of divide and rule.  And of course, this can have tragic consequences at the level of the street and workplace, helping to unleash a wave of discrimination and violence against ethnic, religious, racial and sexual minority groups.

Putting the unctuous Nazi Nick on QT, no matter how ridiculous he looked to the majority, will still have empowered every nasty little racist to come out of the closet. It still gives the BNP more space to organise, more spurious legitimacy to seek a place on political platforms, to try and book rooms previously out of bounds to them in our town halls, colleges and community centres. It may become more of a challenge for anti-fascists to deny the BNP the platform it seeks to poison public debate. But at the same time, the repulsion the BNP provokes in the majority of people, and the huge demonstration witnessed by millions on TV gathered outside the BBC shows the potential for resistance. The more fascism grows, the more resistance to fascism will also grow. We must now find the right strategies to enable the anti-fascist side to win this crucial battle.

What we need is a new working class politics – uniting people of all religions and races against the massive assault on our living standards that is coming. Our pensions schemes will be degraded, so we cant afford to retire when the time comes. The retirement age will be raised, so manual workers (who generally die younger) will be worked until they drop dead. Wages will be cut. Unemployment will rise. And our welfare state will face its final destruction. Meanwhile, this will be accompanied by a still greater shift of wealth and resources from the working class to the super rich. Neither the BNP’s racism, Islamophobia and (now thinly veiled) fascism, nor the bluff and bluster of ‘establishment anti-fascism’ can offer us a way out. Only the rebuilding of a popular, working class and democratic socialism can do that. And the best place to start is getting together to ensure a victory to the current postal workers strike.

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Striking Postal Worker Speaks Out – Why You Should Support the Fightback!

A postal worker and trades unionist explains why the public should back the posties in their battle! This statement is circulating around the trades union movement and internet. Please pass it on……

  • Defending public services

Royal Mail bosses are determined to run down the postal service, making it slower, more expensive and less reliable. They hope that if it gets bad enough the public will support another effort to privatise the company. Many post workers have been in the job all their adult lives. We are committed to delivering a service based on need. The bosses and the government are in this for the short-term, and are only interested in profits.

  • Fighting to keep full time jobs

Royal Mail is slashing thousands of full-time jobs. More than 50,000 posts have been cut since 2002 and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately, they want to replace almost all full-time jobs with workers on part-time or temporary contracts. But part-time work means part-time pay, part-time pensions, part-time sick pay – and part-time rights.

  • A battle for decent pay

Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier is Britain’s highest paid public servant. Since arriving at the company in 2003 he’s pocketed £6 million in pay and bonuses. Post workers, on the other hand, are among the poorest in Britain. We earn around £100 less a week than the average skilled worker and many of us can only survive on overtime. Now Royal Mail is telling us we have to accept a pay freeze – and that at least part of our overtime should be compulsory and free.

  • Stopping the union-busters

Our CWU union is the biggest barrier to those who want to cut jobs, services and pay in the post – and that’s why the company and the government are trying to drive us out of the industry. To get their way they are bullying and intimidating our members, and using managers and non-unionised casual staff in an effort to break our regional strikes. Bosses everywhere are watching what happens in this dispute. If Royal Mail can drive the union out of the postal service, others will try to do the same.

  • If the postal workers win, every worker wins

Our battle is one of the first in what will be a wider war. All political parties are preparing massive cuts in public spending and if the Tories win the next election, they will be absolutely ruthless. The post workers’ strike is about drawing a line in the sand and telling any future government that we will not accept the smashing of our services. If we are beaten, bosses everywhere will say: if we can take on the CWU and win, we can break you too. We must not allow them to do that.

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EDL – the 21st Century Pogromists?

We have been having an ‘interesting discussion’ in the comments box of this blog between some EDL supporters and some left wing anti-fascists.

The EDL supporters posting here are keen to 1) deny that they are racists, and 2) some also claim that they are not against all Muslims, only the Islamic extremists. So we should leave them alone!

Response to 1): While not classic racism purely based upon skin colour, any attacks on  Muslims is still rotten and poisonous.  It is sick and dangerous to scapegoat religious and ethnic minorities. Remember that the Jewish people, while being ‘white’ were scapegoated and persecuted by the Nazis for their religion and ethnicity. Not all ‘ethnic cleansing’ is classic ‘racism’ – but it is still an evil to be opposed. Defend the rights of Muslims and other minorities to freedom of worship and belief!

Response to 2): There are more effective ways of stopping the extremist minority amongst Britain’s Muslims than by going in mob-handed and marching around with aggressive gangs of football hooligans. No wonder people react against the EDL! The vast majority of Muslims in Britain are  against the Islamic extremists as well. Why not start by reaching out and uniting with this moderate Muslim majority, to help marginalise the extremists? So the EDL’s tactics have failed, if its aim was genuinely to combat extremism.

But the danger is that the EDL will not just target Islamic extremists, but victimise all Muslims – despite the protestations of some of its spokespeople. The first EDL march in Luton ended up attacking random Asian businesses. And after the Manchester EDL march passing Asians were abused – we dont know if they were Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or whatever. Furthermore some EDL marchers carried placards against all Mosques, and chanted slogans against all Muslims in general. To cap it all, long term veterans of the National Front and the BNP were tolerated in all these EDL marches, along with skinheads doing stiff arm Nazi salutes.

Therefore the EDL supporters posting here, if they are sincere in what they say, are being extremely  naive about the dangerous forces they are helping to unleash. I have no doubt that unless it is stopped the EDL (or somthing like it) will turn into a ‘pogrom’ against all Muslims in Britain.

Perhaps some people will be unfamiliar with the term ‘pogrom’?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom

The wikipedia entry tells us: “A pogrom is a form of riot directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious, or other, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes, businesses, and religious centers. The term was originally used to denote extensive violence against Jews – either spontaneous or premeditated – but in English it is also applied to similar incidents against other minority groups.”

And if Muslims defend their homes from such a pogrom, then they will be portrayed by the media as the violent ones. Such a situation could easily spark off an ethno- religious civil war in Britain, which the tiny Muslim minority will of course loose. This will lead to terrible suffering – and also make sure that the working class is bitterly divided and unable to defend itself against the coming cutbacks in jobs and services. Thats exactly why fascists and other sinister far right elements are leaping on board the EDL bandwagon.

Thus it is possible to conclude that the EDL risk stirring up a terrible anti-Muslim pogrom. If the UAF were not there to stop the EDL we would see a repeat of the violence in Luton, but on a larger scale.  Thank goodness for the UAF and others!

I have other questions. If the EDL are just a protest against Islamic terrorism, then why did their movement not take off after the atrocities on Sept 11th 2001 in New York or 7th July 2005 in London? Why now? I believe it is because the recession and the crisis of capitalism has now changed the situation for the worse. In an economic crisis societies are often shaken by irrational frenzies of hatred and bigotry. People are loosing their jobs, homes and public services, and forced deeper down into poverty – while the rich get richer! While big business and greedy bankers are to blame, it is hard to fight back against these powerful institutions. Thus a relatively powerless scapegoat is found instead. That was the terrible fate that befell the Jewish people in Europe after the 1929 wall street crash and the ensuing economic depression. Hitler rose to power and the German people made the Jews into their scapegoats. Thats what some people want to do to the Muslims of Europe in our time. Thats why the anti-fascist slogan is ‘Never Again!’

The tipping point in Britain was a tiny protest by a less than a dozen extremists from a fringe Islamicist group protesting against a march by returning soldiers from Iraq in Luton. Although it was a tiny protest, the newspapers put it on their front pages again and again, goading the ordinary people with it like a red rag with a bull – until a red mist began to blind the eyes of some young white english patriots. Like puppets on a string they responded to this sensationalist media event and thus was born the EDL.

All the greater injustices are ignored… the lies told by Blair to get us into the war in Iraq, the terrible waste of British soldiers lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deaths of perhaps a million Iraqi people caused by the war. And the other everyday injustices – millions thrown on the dole while the bankers line their pockets, old people and the sick made to suffer cutbacks and deeper poverty while the super rich pay hardly any tax, kids denied a decent education, the list goes on. But no one is protesting against these. The newspaper proprietors do not highlight these battles, or support  working class people striking back.

Instead postal workers striking to defend jobs and public services will be demonised and scapegoated by the press in the same way as asylum seekers and Muslims have been. This is because the newspapers are owned by capitalists who hate the British working people. The Telegraph is owned by billionare tax exiles who live on their own private Island! They wont pay taxes to Britain, but they want to control our political life, creating and destroying political careers. The same is true of Rupert Murdoch who owns the Sun, the Times, the News of the World, SKY TV and much more. Murdoch, born in Australia, lives in America wants to control what the British people think and who we vote for. Of course they want us to march against Muslims and their Mosques – because it diverts our attention from themselves, because they, along with their super-rich capitalist chums are the real enemy of the people!

England and English culture is being destroyed. Companies like Mcdonalds fast food restaurants feed our kids total shit making them obese, surrounding us with a global capitalist culture that is destroying our English Heritage.  Our townscapes are ruined by ‘developers’ that turn every English place into a ‘clone town’ with the same global shopping brands. Our pubs are taken over by giant global chains and made characterless. Our post offices and public services are closed down. Our countryside is ruined by industrial agriculture, our land poisoned, while  Monsanto want to pollute us with their GM crops.  Our foreign policy is controlled by the USA. Does the EDL or any other ‘patriotic’ right wing group raise even a murmur? NO! They are only interested in stopping one of Britains most hardworking ethnic minority groups from having the freedom to worship. Thats why the EDL are rubbish, and thats why I will be marching against them.

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Force and Hegemony in Anti-Fascism

The ‘EDL’ could not gain any power on the streets without ideological cover. This has been granted by the popular witch-hunt or panic against Muslims. It is a mood generated by a sustained propaganda onslaught by the corporate media to promote our rulers failing ‘war on terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just like in Orwell’s novel 1984, our rulers always manufacture bogeymen to keep the population paranoid and divided against each other. And today a frightened population facing recession and cuts are taken in – and the mood is exploited by hardcore fascists. The new found ‘legitimacy’ of the BNP and the street intimidation by the EDL are just two sides of the same coin, twin pincers of the same reaction.

We need to build new alliances between different groups to politically and culturally isolate the fascists of the BNP and the Muslim-baiting pogromists of the EDL. This requires both ideological and physical struggle.

The large drunken mob of EDL taking over a section of central Manchester on Saturday shows what we are up against. Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s ‘question time’ will inevitably give confidence and a sense of legitimacy to every racist street thug to go ‘p*ki-bashing’. No matter how much the BBC help Griffin to appear moderate in the genteel QT debating chamber (he will denounce the EDL as thugs), the BBC elites appeasement of the BNP by allowing them on the panel will inevitably empower EDL Muslim-baiting mobs on the streets.

The EDL street mob holds up to society the mirror of the ugly reality of xenohobia and Islamophobia. This is a matter of a clash of social forces, not just some refined intellectual debate. Societies, especially those facing economic crisis, often turn ugly, going into an irrational frenzy, with mass popular movements viciously scapegoating some minority group or other. That’s the history of pogroms and ‘ethnic-cleansing’ in Europe and elsewhere.

The Islamophobic or Anti-Semitic pogrom-frenzy is an elemental force that seizes on whatever jutifications and rationalisations it needs, deploying or discarding them opportunistically. This cant be stopped as arrogant liberal elites believe, by scoring fine points with fascism’s besuited figureheads in the debating chamber, even if we win the arguments. We can only win by mobilising an equally powerful counter-veiling social force – one that can occupy the streets and also point to resolving the crisis through a class struggle against the capitalist parasites.

We may soon face the attempt by its crazed leaders to march the drunken EDL hoologan mob into a mixed area, somewhere where Muslims live in significant numbers. When it happens, to stop the pogrom we will have to physically block the way – with greater numbers united from diverse communities and social groups. Thats what our side successfully did in the battles of Cable Street in 1936 and Lewisham in 1977. That requires a politics of physical force, with large numbers of people organised and militant enough to stand their ground.

But this physical force, while necessary – is not sufficient. We need to rebuild the counter-hegemonic alliances between different groups that have been successful in the past- alliances between the different lefts, organised working class movements, oppressed ethnic, racial and religious minorities, students, other minorities like Lesbians and Gays, young people and counter-cultures…

At the moment, Muslims appear isolated and singled out. The right have won a propaganda war so that people fear ‘Islamification’. Racist fears of immigrants and immigrant descended communities are given a new edge by a religious dynamic.

Today’s pogromist swears to the media they are only against ‘Islamic extremists’ – but then carry banners against all mosques and shout slogans against all Muslims. At the same time their ideologists claim that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, and that in their view the whole faith of Islam is inherently terrorist!

Today’s pogromist swear that they ‘are not racist’ because ‘Islam is a religion not a race’. But as history shows, the persecution of a religious minority is just as much an evil, destructive and poisonous force for both minority and majority communities as is racism. Our argument is clear – today, Muslims in Britain form a vulnerable ethic minority, who must be defended if a civilized society is to be maintained in Britain.

But because Muslims are not only a racial or ethnic minority, but a religious one – then pogromist vigilantes like the EDL can hide beneath the cloak of our secular critique of religion! We on the left have fought centuries old battles for freedom against kings, tyrants and priests, against religious obscurantism, sexism and patriarchy. Now the fascists attempt to hijack our past victories, hijack the language of secularism and feminism – and turn them against the downtrodden immigrant workers and ethnic minorities of the Muslim faith!

Alan Lake, the wealthy business man who claims to bankroll the EDL reveals his strategy. The Guardian commented that he appears to want to “build alliances with all groups who might fall foul of the strict Islamic code, including lesbian and gay organisations, other religions and ethnic groups and supporters of free speech”. At the same time Lake said that: “Football fans are a potential source of support. They are a hoi polloi that gets off their backsides and travels to a city and they are available before and after matches.”

So will this force of violent football hooligans, who are marching around Manchester bellowing ‘God Save Our Queen’ going to stand up for secular critique, for women’s rights and Lesbian and Gay rights? Are they going to win the support of mainstream Muslims and isolate the extreme Islamist minority? Are they f*ck!

Once they have made their bridgehead, hiding beneath their ill-fitting cloak of convenience of liberal secularism, then they will attempt to role back liberal secularism, attacking other minorities. They will also attempt to use Christianity as an ethno-nationalist identity, obviously ignoring the actual teachings attributed to Christ – of peace (sermon on the mount) or tolerance and diversity (the good Samaritan).

We must therefore work within all communities to prevent the EDL and/or BNP building the ‘Islamophobic alliance’ that isolates and singles out Muslims. This means work with secularists and humanists, women’s groups, Lesbians and Gay communities, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs – as well as trades unionists and the broader working class. This is essential and difficult but not impossible. Leading figure for the Muslim Council appear to want to help, recently proclaiming that tolerance for sexual minorities like Lesbians and Gays is an Islamic goal.

And despite the Islamophobic propaganda of the BNP and EDL, reality will often break through. The professional liars and demonisers of Islam who inspire the EDL say that that the Muslims faith teaches conquest. Yet it is the West, for all its secular humanism and post enlightenment rationalism that has recently invaded and occupied two Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not therefore what is found in some old book that reveals the truth – but what people actually do. Today’s problems (and solutions) have their roots in political and economic crisis – wars, occupations and recessions – not in scripture – be it the teachings of Christ, Mohammed or Voltaire.

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Defending England Against the English Defence League

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who will guard the guards themselves?

Juvenal, 1st Century AD.

Who will defend us from our ‘defenders’? Some would have us believe that the most immediate threat to our liberty comes from militant Islamicists. Yet we see our own embryonic police state try to shackle us with ID cards and repressive laws, all in the name of our ‘defence’. We witness our rulers weave whole webs of lies to justify sending our sons to perish in the flames of futile wars in far off lands. And all the while the rich grow richer at our expense. Wealthy tax exile newspaper proprietors point their front page fingers of outrage at impoverished migrant workers or asylum seekers, while their friends in the city laugh their way to the banks they own. And now with our backs turned, distracted by racism and xenophobia, we face the prospect of loosing the last institutions of our welfare state, as well as our job, homes and rights to retire on a livable pension.

They always invent some ‘outsider’ to take the blame so we were blinded to the real parasites who ride upon our backs. Now we awake to find that our country, the land and the people, being destroyed by greedy bankers and bosses, aided by their corrupt politicians. For centuries they have robbed and exploited the hardworking people of these lands, but our history is of a thousand years of proud rebellion. Yet this history is stolen from us and buried. Instead the arrogant yarns of vain and murderous kings and queens and their empires of blood usurp our true story. Fed only this, some are ashamed, while others raucously bray ‘rule britania’ and wave their plastic flag, their st georges cross made in china, clutching the faintest shred of a manufactured heritage and nostalgia.

Learn the great tales of the English peoples fight for freedom! From Watt Tyler of the 1381 peasants revolt, the list continues ever on, from Robin Hood, to Ned Ludd, Captain Swing, to the Chartists, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Suffragettes. It continues to this very day, with 2009’s striking workers who empty the bins and post the letters for their bitter low pay. Down the centuries we have clawed and hewn what freedoms we have for ourselves. Were it not for these battles, we would still work 18 hour days for subsistence pay, women would not have the vote and children would still be up chimneys, while the old and sick would be refused care. Instead of the NHS we would have the workhouse.

It was never histories fascist bootboys who lead these struggles, the EDL’s ancestors were always the thugs and hirelings of the rulers. Like Orwells 1984, where the rulers always needed a perpetual enemy and a perpetual war to keep their populations in line, so with the end of the Cold War against Soviet Union, our rulers needed new enemy, a new war to keep us paranoid and docile. So now, ‘Islam’ is demonised. Enter former US foreign policy tool and Cold War CIA asset Osama like Bin Laden and the spectacle of terror.

And opportunist fascistic politicians like Nick Griffin and the BNP switch from demonising Jews, gays and blacks to join the new bandwagon, making Muslims the prime scapegoats of street violence and poisonous electoral propaganda. Now gangs of football hoologans and National Front veterans try to become a street fighting force with the EDL, pretending to defend us from the Islamicist threat. But people can see that the real threat comes from those who would claim to protect us.

Right wing Islamist groups and right wing British Fascist groups both threaten our freedoms.  But Muslims are an increasingly persecuted and vulnerable minority in Britain and the West. One group of authoritarian extremists pretend to speak in the name of a minority population, the other group of authoritarian extremists pretend to speak in the name of us, the majority population. Islamist extremists are a tiny minority, rejected by the moderate majority of Muslims. Only a deluded fantasist would imagine they can come to power here, and threaten our liberties. Before the second world war, crazy right wingers spoke of Europe’s minority Jewish population as threatening to take over Europe. But the Jews were not a threat, but a victim. It is clear that the BNP and other xenophobic nationalist movements like the EDL pose much more of a threat to our liberty in Britain than any Islamist could! We need to defend ourselves against our  ‘defenders’!

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