Stand up to racism and fascism this Saturday

The TUC is giving its full backing to the March 22 demo against racism and fascism.

Mohammed Taj is president of the TUC

The TUC is giving its full backing to the March 22 demo against racism and fascism.

The political climate in Britain and elsewhere is increasingly toxic. As the economic crisis is ongoing for the overwhelming majority of the population we have seen the growth of all sorts of reactionary prejudices, the scapegoating of immigrants for the crisis, a rise in the far-right and fascists and a growing tide of hostility to Muslims.

There is a long tradition in Britain of politicians harking back to a make-believe era when there were no ethnic minorities and no immigrants. The truth is that there have been successive waves of immigrants to this country who have all enriched it both economically and culturally.

This goes back to the Jews fleeing persecution, the Huguenots seeking freedom and the Irish fleeing starvation. All have made a huge contribution to British society.

This is true right up to the present day, with migrants from the Caribbean being followed by others from the subcontinent and Eastern European immigrants. They come for work, for more opportunity and to support themselves and their families. It is a complete myth they come here for benefits. In reality, if the level of benefits was the attraction, there are many other countries in Europe with far higher levels of social security than Britain.

This is not the only myth about immigration. The government has been suppressing its own report on the impact of migration because it does not support the falsehoods that have become stock-in-trade for so many politicians. Immigrants provide a net benefit to the whole of society – in terms of both prosperity and the impact on government finances. Immigrants create jobs, they don’t take them.

There is growing inequality in Britain. But it is not caused by immigration.

We in the TUC campaign vigorously for better public services, including housing and the NHS. We argue that Britain needs a pay rise. It is the failure to invest in affordable homes, the cuts to public services and the NHS that are lowering the standard of living. It is employers (including the government) who are holding down wages.

These problems have nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with economic and social policies which are failing the bulk of the population.

But rather than confront these problems honestly, we have a sustained campaign to blame immigrants for all these problems. Inevitably this has a spillover effect into a rising hostility to most ethnic minorities in Britain, even to Britons who have been here for generations.

That is why we in the TUC are proud to be supporting the Stand Up Against Racism and Fascism demo this Saturday (March 22). We reject scapegoating and the racists who want to divide us. We will stand up to racism and fascism. Come and join us.

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6 Responses to “Stand up to racism and fascism this Saturday”

  1. Dave Roberts

    It is difficult to know were to start to take apart this load of clap trap but let’s make a start. It would seem that there is some kind of conspiracy to demonise ethnic minorities, immigrants and asylum seekers for reasons that aren’t actually spelled out. In other words any attempt to draw links between the housing crisis an a rising population isn’t to do with immigration but with the fact that the government hasn’t built enough houses.

    The fact that building houses is fantastically expensive given the market price of non green belt land isn’t taken into account. There is simply a demand that these houses should be built and it is the lack of them and not ever increasing levels of immigration that is the problem.

    The claim that other countries in the EU have higher levels of social security and benefits that we do is of course true. Holland, Belgium,Germany and the Scandinavian countries all have higher benefits and have exactly the same problems with immigration that the UK does.

    We are of course not exactly swamped by the nationals of those countries but by those from former soviet block nations as well as Asia and sub Saharan Africa. The countries are not of course specified by the writer of this article because he knows full well that he would be laughed out of court if he compared Sweden and its social security system to former soviet republics with stan on the end.

    I had to re-read the bit about immigrants creating jobs not taking them. Yes he really did say it. Once again a Somali refugee with no English and no skills is treated exactly the same as a Chinese entrepreneur who has brought millions into the country to start a high tech business which will employ people. This is downright dishonesty which you should not allow Mr Bloodworth..

    There isn’t rising hostility to immigrants and ethnic minorities in fact in spite of numerous atrocities by admittedly a tiny minority of Muslims there hasn’t been any kind of a backlash and due to the efforts of groups like Hope Not Hate the BNP is very much a spent force. We have one of the most insignificant far right sectors in Europe. Attempts to equate UKIP with fascist groups are a nonsense as anyone with half a brain will admit.

    I live in Spain and am sometimes compared by people like the writer of this article to the people ending up at Dover in the back of a lorry. This once again is PC rubbish. Like the majority of Brits in this country I came with capital, started a business and employ Spanish people, rather like the Asian or Chinese bringing capital and skills to the UK.

    The organisers of this event are bunch of has beens and nonentities being used by the SWP to revive their membership and flagging fortunes after the scandal of the rapist Comrade Delta who was of course a full time organiser of UAF.

    Lastly. I was in the UK a few weeks ago and had to go to the Wickes DIY warehouse on the Seven Sister Road in north London. There were fifty or so eastern Europeans standing outside looking for work from builders who go there for casual labour. They will work for thirty quid a day. In 1992 when I was building in London I was paying fifty quid a day, work it out for yourselves.

  2. Dave Roberts

    Check out the SWP views on immigration. Scroll down to the article out today’s demo and click on the article about immigration controls. I rest my case.

  3. Sunder Katwala

    It is a good idea to stand up against racism and fascism, and to contest those trying to scapegoat immigrants with xenophobic arguments. But I would also strongly prefer the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement not to make exaggerated or false claims that there is a rising fascism and racism in Britain, when they evidence shows the opposite.Perhaps Left Foot Forward could do something to promote the good news about their failure too. I can see why the floundering BNP and the EDL might want to exaggerate their appeal, but I see no good reason for their opponents and enemies to accidentally collude in exaggerating their prospects.

    There is certainly no “rise in the far-right and fascists” in Britain. Quite the opposite.
    * There may be a debate about whether neo-fascist movements are growing, shrinking or standing still across Europe. Probably, the picture is varied. The picture in the UK could not be clearer. They are disappearing to a level of irrelevance not seen since for a decade. We can be hopeful and confident the 2014 European Elections will leave the BNP with no elected representatives at any level, from the European Council to every local council. The prediction that myself and Michael Collins made in 2011 that “It is unlikely that both the BNP and EDL will survive for long” looks far stronger than those who warned we were on the verge of a BNP and EDL breakthrough to the mainstream

    * The EDL have still to hold any event bigger than a fourth division football crowd – their peak activity was their 3000-strong Luton march in 2010. With their own leader deciding they were too extreme for him, there is little reason to expect to hear much from them in future.

    * There is little room for doubt that racial prejudice in Britain has declined sharply over recent decades. The big shift is in generational attitudes. Around 1 in 10 of the population hold highly prejudical attitudes – such as a belief in biological racism – and perhaps up to 1 in 4 hold attitudes which might be described as xenophobic or highly unsettled (though this group tend to reject outright biological racism). Xenophobic views are stronger among the over-55s than those under 50 and, especially, under 30. There has definitely been a sharp fall by generation.

    The British Social Attitudes survey found 44 per cent of people in the 1990s said they would be uncomfortable were their children to marry across ethnic lines. Polling for British Future finds that has fallen as low as 9 per cent in 2013. This everyday tolerance has resulted from greater contact in a more diverse Britain.

    Robert Ford’s Is Racial Prejudice Declining in Britain provides clear evidence of the shift by generations.

    * It is sensible to be cautious about overclaiming how much has changed, or how rapidly, but the overall direction of travel is clear. 40 per cent of ethnic minority Britons perceive racism as having reduced over twenty years; 26 per cent that it is broadly similar; while a minority of 15 per cent that things got worse. White Britons are mildly more optimistic (52 per cent say that it has fallen) but a slightly larger minority (19 per cent) of white Britons say things are getting worse. The polling in British Future’s report The

    * There is still plenty to worry about. A rise in prejudice against British Muslims is a much more plausible claim; anti-Muslim intolerance is more widespread and more acceptable than other forms of prejudice. Again, there are big differences by generation over this, as the academic Matthew Goodwin has shown

    * Moreover, the failure of the political projects of racist groups, because of their declining appeal, could lead to those in the most racist niche becoming more interested in extra-political actions, including violence. Again, this is something important, and something to worry about. But it is not a reflection of a rise of racial prejudice, but more likely to reflect the frustrations of racists at their declining social appeal.

    But a balanced approach to challenging intolerance would be to take on the racist and xenophobic minority, while stressing the strength of support for an inclusive idea of our country, which has been rising rather than falling over the last decade. Nigel Farage may have recently said that many people find Britain ‘unrecognisable’ but perhaps others should more often point out just how many people disagree with that.

    As Bobby Duffy of Ipsos-Mori wrote in the recent Demos ‘Mapping Integration’ pamphlet
    “Large, robust surveys show levels of belonging to neighbourhoods, local areas and Britain have all increased in recent years. For example, our sense of belonging to our neighbourhoods increased from 70 per cent to 78 per cent between 2003 and 2011 and belonging to Britain increased from 85 per cent to 89 per cent over the same period”

    * UKIP are doing well: their opponents will want to work out how best to tackle that form of populism and anti-migration advocacy too, but it would be wrong (and strategically mistaken too) to claim this is evidence of rising fascism, or that this populist Eurosceptic party is inherently racist, though seeking to challenge its impact on the overall climate of opinion around immigration and tolerance is certainly a legitimate goal.

  4. Dave Roberts

    I never thought I would agree with Sunder Katwalabut he has hit the nail on the head with his post. What is interesting is how someone like himself who has risen through the PC machine is finally facing reality.

  5. Dave Roberts

    A look at the list of speakers for the event is a sure sign that this view of immigration and ethnic minorities is passe. If the only MP they can get is Abbott they are very isolated. There are no reports of the “mass” meeting or photos. Does anyone know what happened yesterday? I am surprised that Livingstone wasn’t involved, he is usually good for a signature and a speech.

  6. Dave Roberts

    Sunder, check out the Michael Meacher site Left Futures. The NUS black students officer has written a similar article to this one but worse. I have left a reply but the moderator of the site Jon Lansman has a habit of censoring stuff he doesn’t like even if, or especially, if they take apart articles. Interesting that the Kiely article first appeared in The Morning Star. I’ll also email you at your site.

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