Socialist Worker

Fight capitalism to smash racist system

Issue No. 2710

To defeat racism we must take on the capitalist system that used it to divide us

To defeat racism we must take on the capitalist system that used it to divide us (Pic: Steve Eason/flickr)


Right wingers are trying to create a backlash against the fantastic Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

First they said that people protesting were spreading coronavirus.

Now they say the BLM movement is racist.

An article in the Telegraph newspaper at the weekend argued that BLM protests are “a catalyst for antisemitism”. The explanation for this was that some anti-racists are critical of Israel because of its oppression of Palestinians.

The Israeli state is based on oppression and violence. 

Opposing it is not antisemitic—many Jewish people also oppose Israel.

Right wingers attack when they feel the system they want to uphold is somehow under threat. The best way to respond is to keep building the movement.

It has already won significant gains—for instance, promises that statues of slavers will go. And there’s potential to go much further.

Lots of people on the protests rightly see that racism is ingrained into the society we live in. It isn’t simply a problem of the ideas in individual people’s heads.

Systemic racism means black people are more likely to be poor than white people. 

They are more likely to be out of work and more likely to live in overcrowded housing. 

Black people are more likely to have poorer health—not because of some genetic difference but because of racism.

We have to challenge racist ideas wherever they appear, including among working class people. 

But important as this is, it won’t change this structural racism.

Revolution

So we have to go further. We have to demand real changes in society—such as an end to stop and search. It is possible to win reforms. 

But as long as we live under capitalism, there will always be a limit to them—and our rulers will always try to push them back.

Racism isn’t natural. It is something encouraged by those at the top to divide ordinary people. 

As part of this, our rulers try to convince working class white people that they have a stake in the system.

In reality, all working class people have an interest in overthrowing it.

Right wingers paint the idea of revolution as fanciful. 

But in fact they happen time after time because the system fails billions of people.

The state, with its army and vicious police, can seem all-powerful. But the global working class is bigger than ever before and vastly outnumbers our rulers and their backers.

It is possible to have a world without racism—but not while capitalism stays in place. 

Instead we need to fight for a socialist world where ordinary people, black and white, are in charge.


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