Tuesday, January 29, 2008

British Racialism

By Sid Bidwell MP (Southall)
Labour Monthly - August 1969

In a sense, colour discrimination and other less seen forms of racialism in this country transcend normal concepts of class barrier and class exploitation. In another sense it is easy to see all the deficiencies of capitalist 'civilisation' at work making full use of racialism: hence Powellism.

In the black-brown-white conflict here, there is no new language code which does not remind us of Nazi-Mosley anti-Jew propaganda and activity. Read the fascist race literature now! Substitute Jew for coloured and it is the same half lie and blatant lie.

Those who peddle a supreme lie: alleging skin pigment and ethnic origin as a major factor determining some sub-standard behaviour have to falsify further. All racialists are habitual liars. Hear them describe occasions when there has been a fracas. Two or three coloured people become hordes.

In parliament some Tory MPs are better on this than a lot of Labour MPs. On the other hand there is no Labour MP who makes a fetish of hostile race and immigration questions.

It is no accident that Powell and his cohorts are reactionary on all other matters: economics, rents and housing, trade union shackles and so on. If Powell is more realistic on east of Suez military presence than Heath, it is certainly not because he is less 'Blimpish'. Today Heath has less working-class support than Powell. He stimulates the 'lumps' and backward elements. It is easier to stir them in a period of mass disappointment with a Labour Government.

Division is needed and easy to create.

The Rt. Hon. Enoch Powell, former front bench Tory, to all fascist-racialists in odd comers is the best bet as a leading name. Although they badly need him, there is little sign that he needs them or that he goes beyond receiving their congratulations. But he does not seem embarrassed by their attention.

The National Front (an amalgamation of the old British National Party and the League of Empire Loyalists) has shown signs of organised disruption leading to violence at meetings. Happily they show all habitual signs of splitting.

The fine work of students, trade unionists, real Christians and socialist-communists on friendship councils or community-relations helps enormously. Not least important is leadership of immigrant workers and their preparedness to encourage full participation in all working-class political activity. Already many coloured workers are winning spurs as shop-stewards. When such comrades are able to lead all types of workers we are sailing, and weak Powellism can be snuffed out at birth.

However, in the present political climate calling for maximum socialist unity, the need for vigilant determination to smash fascism is as important as in the days when I 'cut my teeth'in struggle against the Mosley blackshirts in the East End of London who were chanting 'The Yids! We've got to get rid of the Yids!' That seems only yesterday. -