Socialist Worker

Together we can challenge the bigots

Issue No. 2355


Cartoon (Pic: Tim Sanders)

The hypocrisy of the ruling class knows no bounds—especially when it comes to justifying violence.

Bombs dropped by unmanned British drones thousands of miles away, tearing up the bodies of families at a wedding, are mere foreign policy. 

But when that bombing creates a violent reaction on the streets of London, politicians want to deny the connection.

They say this is the work of extremists radicalised by Islamist clerics. Their answer? Ban such religious leaders from the airwaves. 

This has echoes of the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher’s government banned the voices of Irish Republicans from being heard on radio and TV. 

This included elected Sinn Fein MPs, such as Gerry Adams.

This ridiculous censorship misses the point. It isn’t the clerics’ tone of voice that radicalises people. It is the brutality of the ruling class. 

Even some of the British establishment have admitted that the “war on terror” has made such attacks in the West more likely. 

Socialists can see why some people want to lash out to avenge the victims of imperialism.

But individual acts of violence won’t beat our rulers.

The British ruling class has not suffered a serious setback in the wake of the Woolwich attack. 

In fact it is using the killing as an excuse to entrench greater state repression and prejudice. 

The Tories want to drive though a security clampdown so they can treat all Muslims and ethnic minorities as the enemy.


Now the anti-Muslim backlash is so extreme that even some politicians are worried. They hold their hands up in horror at the sight of sieg heiling thugs swarming around Woolwich and Whitehall. 

But they helped create the conditions for the racists and fascists to grow.

The Tories have used racism to distract us from the austerity they are imposing on working class people. 

Islamophobia has become the acceptable face of racism and has been on the rise for over ten years. 

But the millions who marched against imperialist wars, and who have struck and campaigned against austerity and racism, show how to challenge this.

Some mainstream commentators claim the English Defence League (EDL) expresses the legitimate concerns of the “white working class”. 

But Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has exposed them for what they are—a dangerous bunch of racists with fascists at their heart. 

The EDL and the British National Party push forward every bigoted ruling class prejudice. 

Consistent campaigning has set them back. 

But Socialist Worker always argued that there was no room for complacency, that the ingredients for the fascists to grow are still there.

Now the racists see Woolwich as their moment and are making the most of it. But history has shown that fascists can be stopped. 

A broad movement with the ability to mobilise mass demonstrations to confront the thugs can push them back.

Every town and city needs an active and rooted UAF group. 

But the anti-fascist message alone is not enough. We don’t want to have to organise to combat fascists generation after generation. 

Instead we have to offer class politics and a socialist alternative in place of despair and scapegoating.

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