Britain under the “Con-Dems”


Mike Kay caught up with Daniel Randall, an activist with the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty based in London for his thoughts on the political situation since the formation of the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition government dubbed the “Con-Dems”

Dan R

MK: What was your initial reaction to the election result?
DR: I was surprised by a number of things. For one thing, I thought that there was a serious danger of the British National Party taking control of Barking & Dagenham council. Instead they got annihilated in that area.
How did that happen?
There was a group called Barking, Dagenham and Havering Together that I’ve been involved with. It is quite broad and open, mostly run by local trade unionists. The local Labour Party had about 50 people out canvassing. They ran a popular campaign to save the local Accident & Emergency Department, which was totally disingenuous as [Local Labour MP] Margret Hodge had voted for the cuts!
Now that the Tories are in power nationally and Labour locally, it’s essential that the campaign keeps going.
Also quite surprising was the high turnout, bucking the trend of recent elections.
Does that indicate that people are becoming more politically engaged?
On a superficail level, maybe. At the moment it is ridiculously easy to sell socialist newspapers, for instance. The capitalist crisis has forced people to start asking questions about the system.

Unlike in NZ, a coalition governement is a bit of a novelty for Britain. How do you think it will play out?
The governement has already indicated it will push to privatise Royal Mail. In education it wants the “Swedish Model”. That means every school run as an accademy – by a charitable trust, religious body or business organisation. It’s about putting education outside of public control and could undermine collective agreements for staff.
Vince Cable and Nick Clegg from the Lib Dems have talked about banning public sector strikes.

The British Airways workers have been in legal wrangles with their employer for months…
Litigoius action is now the employers’ default response to a strike ballot. I have visited the picket lines several times, and unfortunately there seems no possiblity of unofficial action in defiance of the judges. The workers tend to be quite conservative, industrially.
The election result seems to indicate more of an anti-Labour sentiment than a pro-Tory one…
But there has been a shift in working class consciousness towards the Labour Party. About 15,000 have joined since the election. The few remaining left wing Labour MPs won substantially increased majorities.
The Workers Party see Social Democracy as essentially dead…
People have been predicting the death of Labourism since the 1970s. We see the party as still being a bourgeois workers party because of the union link, so we advocated a vote for Labour with all the usual caveats, where no credible socialist candidate was standing.
But not all unions are affiliated…
Some left groups have made a fetish of arguing for disaffiliation. The RMT and FBU unions are not more militant as a result of no longer being affiliated. For us, using the Trade Union link effectively is the most important thing. Ideally we would like to see something like the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, but we have to relate to the Labour Movement as it currently exists. We’re supporting John McDonnell for Labour leader.
But last time around, he failed to get enough MPs to support his bid for the leadership. Doesn’t that idicate the left in the Laour party is dead?
It’s more about running a campaign within the unions. The whole of the far Left did badly in the elections. People will not vote for alliances cobbled together at the last moment. The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition was a semi-clandestine lash-up. The Socialist Party and a section of the RMT leadership were in back room negotiations and then the Socialist Workers Party jumped on the band waggon. As a result of the whole experience the SP and the SWP are now beginning to re-orientate towards the Labour Party.
We’re not talking about a situation like the 1980s when the Miners’ Strike found a political echo in the Labour Party. We are advocating a limited intervention, a reconnaissance.
Comrades from the AWL did quite a bit to promote Mike Treen’s speaking tour in 2008. Has the example of Unite NZ had an effect on the British unions?
I am in the GMB [a general workers’ union], and have tried to push Unite’s model, for instance in our campaign to organise bar staff. Unfortunately, the leadership’s organising model is based on the SEIU’s. Everything is driven by recruitment target figures and getting union recogition, even if that means signing no-strike “sweatheart” deals to get there.

Daniel, to many people you are better known as hip hop performer The Ruby Kid. How’s all that coming along?
Really well. I will be putting out another recording on free download, and am looking at some overseas live bookings. But sometimes it’s hard to balance the political activism and the musical side of things!
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Comments

  1. Philip Ferguson says:

    One thing that maybe didn’t get across to Daniel is that when we say social democracy is dead, we’re *not* saying this or that particular Labour Party (or in continental Europe, SP) is dead. Sadly, they are not.

    What we’re saying is that *social democracy* is dead; these are not social-democratic parties any more. I think it would be difficult for Kautsky, probably even for Bernstein, to recognise the British Labour Party as social democratic.

    The British Trotskyist argument that the British LP is still a bourgeois workers party has widened the goal posts of what that expression means to where it is now meaningless. The British Labour Party has a bunch of affiliated unions. So what? Lenin’s use of the term “bourgeois workers party” didn’t have one single criteria, let alone was that criteria the simple affiliation of unions. Lenin’s criteria was based on a real organic relationship between the LPs and the working class.

    I think British comrades would be quite hard-pressed to show that such an organic relationship still exists, with only some quantitative change from the early 1920s.

    Lenin used the term based on the idea that the LPs had a thoroughly bourgeois programme but this organic relationship with the class. He pointed out that this was the key contradiction in relation to these Labour parties.

    Now, contradictions reach points of rupture; they don;’t just hang out indefinitely.

    I would say that in New Zealand the point of rupture was actually the first Labour government. The contradiction between a working class base and a bourgeois programme can’t be resolved by a capitalist government. Once Labourites start administering cpaitalism, thar contradiction is resolved – in particular it’s resolved by the party becoming consistently capitalist and the new contradiction that opens up is between the party and the working class.

    I’d say that this is the case in Britain as well. There has never been *any doubt* with every Labour government in Britain since Ramsay McDonald, that they would attack the working class.

    Although I don’t agree with it, I can accept that there is a serious argument that the Attlee government didn’t do this. But every Labour government post-Attlee certainly did, no room for dispute there at all. So even if the timescale I’m suggesting is wrong, it would still be the case that that contradiction was resolved nearly 50 years ago, with the Wilson government which was elected in 1964 and pretty much immediately began attacking workers – I know a fair bit bit about the Wilson government because I lecture on it. And, of course, with the Wilson government you have the large-scale involvement of the middle class in positions of power in Labour. A bunch of the leading figures in that government came from working class backgrounds but went to public schools and then to universities like Oxford and Cambridge. By the time they were in government they were certainly not working class.

    The key task facing the Wilson government was the modernisation of British industry and society and that meant assive attacks on workers’ jobs and rights along with liberal social changes around abortion, homosexuality, divorce law and so on. Wilson and his middle class technocrats in cabinet were absolutely committed to overcoming the problems of profitability and lack of global competitiveness faced by British industry. They were oriented to the ruling class not the working class. That’s what determined the character of the British LP, not the fact that supine trade union leaders kept their unions affiliated to this digusting bourgeois party.

    The next Labour government, the Callaghan government, was even more ruthless. And, of course, the apogee was reached with the Blair-Brown regime and their programme of privatisation at home and imperialist war abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The Wilson, Callaghan and Blair-Brown regimes ruthlessly pursued British imperialist interests abroad, most particularly in Ireland, where British Labour governments were, if anything, even more ruthless than the Tories. For instance, it was the Labour government that took away political status from the republican prisoners and ran the show during the dirty protests – the protests which led inevitably to the hunger strikes.

    All in all, I’d say that ole contradiction that Lenin highlighted 80-plus years ago has well and truly been resolved and replaced by a new, higher contradiction – that between the LP and the working class.

    The fact that so much of the British left cannot bring itself to detach itself from the Labour Party is an indication of the sheer power of opportunismm in the oldest and most decadent, clapped-out imperialist power. In relation to the British left’s inability to break the umbilical cord with Labour, I’d say, Dudes, it’s time to grow up and leave home!

    Phil

  2. Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking and Dagenham, is a good example of ‘New Labour’. She has, as I understand it, a personal fortune of 50 million pounds. The richest woman in the UK parliament.
    I suspect that the BNP candidates for the local council seats are more representative of thw ordinary working people of England than the Labour lot. Further the police are investigating quite a number of address for registering phantom voters in the constitutency. Plus one Labour Councillor has now been forced to resign over ‘irregularities’ in his election.
    I suggest any who want to get a bit of information on the UK election looks at the BNP site.

  3. Alastair Reith says:

    I would suggest anyone who supports the BNP throw themselves under a bus.

  4. Don Franks says:

    I have had a look at the BNP site. As a member of the Workers Party I’m an internationalist, who’s solidarity is with working people wherever they are. The BNP site is brimfull of primitive racist hatred to ‘immigrants’ and I need read no further than that section to know I am seeing the face of the class enemy.

  5. On the contary, I support workers. Unfortunately the Barking & Dagenham Labour Party do not. As an example of this, consider that in the 1970s Ford Dagenham produced 320,000 vehicles a year with 40,000 workers. They now, on the same site, make Diesel engines with 4,000 workers. The richest woman in the UK parliament represents them! Shocking.
    Further, immigrants are a problem in any country. We are getting some of those problems here. Clever, White, English people are fleeing UK to to NZ to escape from the problems that unrestricted migration bring.
    Workers in UK, with no jobs, are seeing migrants move in, ten to a house, and undercutting Workers wages. We had the same here in Queenstown. A refusal to pay decent wages led to migrant labour ‘bed sharing’ to enable them to survive.
    I could continue. The UK is a total disaster.

  6. Don Franks says:

    When the discussion sinks to the level of “clever white English people” vs “unrestricted migration” its time for this thread to be moderated against racism.

  7. It is not racist to discuss real issues. The most important one is why on earth would ‘Workers’ try to put into power the British Labour Party? They are the murderous supporters of the Iraq invasion, and now the Afghanistan invasion. With spin and lies. What on earth does the UK Labour Party contribute to the betterment of working people?
    How Hodge, the richest woman in the English Parliament, is a champion of the Working Class is quite beyond me.
    The BNP, funded by ordinary working people and not Big Business, quite clearly has the support of working people and are addressing important problems.

  8. Thanks for the response, Phil. But I disagree.

    The idea that the Labour Party is now really bad, dead, beyond rehabilitation and should be radically quit by the left right away only makes sense if you think that there was an earlier period in which it was great. I don’t think there ever was such a period. Every Labour government has attacked the working class and carried out a capitalist programme. No doubt. But that (sadly) doesn’t change the fact that it is the political party that the organised working class looks to in one way or another and is linked to. That means we can’t ignore Labour Party politics.

    There has always been a tension between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Party at its lower levels – the constituency party organisations, Conference, and so on. In those lower levels, there was (especially when the youth wing LPYS existed) and to a lesser extent still is useful room for socialists to move around in. This is less true at a national level now, but in certain local party branches, it’s still the case – and in certain areas, the ‘left’ of the local workers’ movement is grouped around the local LP organisation.

    The question is not, “is the Labour Party good or bad” – it’s a question of one’s assessment of what work can be done within it to regroup the socialist elements that remain there; and a question of what effect Labour Party work will have in terms of the politics of the broader workers’ movement.

    Firstly, we think that the unions should assert themselves politically within Labour. They’re affiliated, and at the moment, disaffiliation actually has the effect of de-politicising unions. Disaffiliation campaigns are often run by right-wing leaders with an ‘anti-political’ agenda. Again, the example of the FBU is clear enough – it has become less politically active, not more, since disaffiliation. Of course, it would be good if there was an alternative working-class political project for these unions to affiliate to. But we can’t wish one out of thin air. A left regroupment within the Labour Party (like, say, the Labour Representation Committee around John McDonnell) could provide a lever for creating an outside-Labour working class party (in the way the CIO grew within the AFL, sort of). A political fight nationally in the Labour Party by the left in the Party and the trade unions would have a salutary effect on a large part of the workers’ movement – larger than the combined efforts of the extra-LP trot left could reach.

    Locally, there are also good opportunities for work in and around Labour Party organisations.

    I’m not denying any of the bad stuff, and we acknowledge that the openings are radically smaller than they were in the 1980s or even the 1990s or even the early 2000s. We consider our work in the LP at the moment to be more like ‘reconnaissance’. But the left of the LP is still a vital component in any united front struggle against the cuts – a struggle which could open up greater cracks and opportunities in the Labour Party.

    • Alistair Boyd-Bell says:

      Actually, Ed, I don’t think anybody in the WP thinks that any Labour Party in any period has been pro-worker, we’re just as capable of looking at the evidence as you. Also, there is an alternative working-class project for unions to affiliate to, namely the Respect party (to say nothing of the various socialist and nominally-socialist parties).

  9. Amazing how many of my posts have disappeared. The Green Party in UK and the BNP in UK are today probably the only two parties supported by cash from the grassroots. The rest of the parties are the clones of Big Business. Yet the NZ Workers Party support the UK Labour Party. Why? It is like supporting the NZ Labour Party.
    Further if you want to know the policy of the BNP, go to their web-site. I can support all of it. Individual people may have quite extreme views, so what? Best that people feel they can talk about their individual situation.
    The family of my wife in UK were underground miners. Sacked by Conservatives with the collusion of Labour. And you lot support that sort of action.
    Plus the Barking and Dagenham 2010 election was won by a change in the demographics of the area into 40% ethnics. Obviously Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP lost. But BNP had 560,000 votes whilst only being able to afford to contest 300 or so General Election seats. That support would translate into 60 seats in an MMP parliament.

  10. Ray, the WP have never supported the Labour Party. I’m not sure where you get that idea from. Re-read Phil’s response to the interview to see what our position is.

    As for the BNP, they may be slicker than the old National Front, but they’re still fascists.
    Cheers,
    John

  11. Many thanks for the reply John. What is the definition of ‘Fascist?’ I would think, and I may be wrong, that ‘Fascism is the rule of people by a combined political party and big business. With a demagogue to pacify the voters. (Such as Tony Blair.)’ So that definition would quite comfortably cover the British Labour Party. Probably the conservatives too in UK. Your definition?
    I find it amazing that the defeat of the BNP at Barking and Dagenham and the election of Labour was written up with a report from ‘the alliance for workers liberty’ saying what a ‘good thing’ it was. It was a total defeat for workers. They are still left without representation. It is quite OK to think BNP are are shade too far, but to support the election of big business Labour is outrageous.

  12. A link to the Daily Mail, UK, about Ed Balls, a former Cabinet Minister in the Labour Govt talking about the migration problems in UK. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1284473/Hypocrite-Ed-Balls-claims-Gordon-Brown-brushed-aside-warnings-immigration.html
    Also see the comments. My homeless brother, born in England, was told he did not qualify for an English council house and had to live in France. Quite outrageous at the least. People can be against uncontrolled migration without being racist.

  13. //Plus the Barking and Dagenham 2010 election was won by a change in the demographics of the area into 40% ethnics.//

    //Clever, White, English people are fleeing UK to to NZ to escape from the problems that unrestricted migration bring.//

    //It is not racist to discuss real issues. //

    Ray it is racist to talk about “real issues” in a racist ways. In talking about “Clever, White, English people” you’re implying that people not as good are replacing them, i.e. stupid, non-white, non-english people.
    That is racist Ray. Outlining people’s capacity based on their race, which you have done here.

    • Many thanks Joel for your reply. What you are saying is that ‘real issues’ can only be discussed providing you have a suitable vocabulary. So if I rephrased my ‘Clever White’ comments as ‘educated English, descended in the main from Anglo-Saxons are…’ That would be perfectly OK. What a ridiculous comment for you to make. Working people, from Birmingham where I come from, call things by their real names.

      I have not said in any way that people replacing English people in England are stupid. They are not, most have drive and want to work etc. So much so do they want to work that they drive down the wages of ordinary people. The result is an unemployed group of very upset people. Both coloured and white. Their jobs are being systematically down-rated for the hourly rate. It will lead to riots. Not racism, jobism. They have already had riots over this issue.

      All people are not of the same value to society. If I need a brain-surgeon, then I would prefer to have a fully trained and qualified one than someone, of any ethnicity, who had Googled the instructions. What is happening in UK is the loss of skilled people and their replacement by unskilled or people not skilled in the job demands of England.

      We are seeing a small amount of the problems here in NZ of immigration. Why are taxi drivers all Asian? They have degrees. But no job. The result is pretty serious and will in future get worse. Their clever kids will excel at University study. Top marks etc. Kiwis in future will of course be happy in their turn to drive taxis. It will not cause any trouble at all. Yeah, Right. We will get mayhem in NZ unless we are very careful.

  14. I think the definition you give is so general it could apply to any political Capitalist party in government. A Green Party government would be “a combined political party and big business” too unless it moved against “big” business. Fascism is more than that. It is anti-communist, which the BNP is. It is typically racist, which the BNP is in its anti-immigrant stance. That they cloak it in “culture” is only testament to the way that Labour Parties in both NZ and Britain have been able to reframe race as culture. That is an issue the WP has written many critiques of.

    I agree that support for Labour is not a pro-worker position and the WP position is that Labour has long since become a purely capitalist party. Read our pamphlet on the Labour Party available in the Resources section of this site, or on paper from us if you want to see a more detailed version of our view of them.
    Cheers,
    John

  15. neprimerimye says:

    What a funny interview you have run with Daniel Randall of the AWL. Lets look at some of the less convenient facts he chose not to mention.

    The AWL actually ran its own candidate at the general Election. The comrade won a derisory 75 votes and was humiliated by the loony tune remnant WRP winning a greater, though still miniscule, vote. What this says about the AWL I leave to your imagination.

    In fact candidates to the left of Labour won no more than has been the case at the last few elections. In many cases work done in the past have been wasted due to the ever changing alliances of the various components of the far left.

    In the real General Election, that between the major parties, no party won a mandate. hence the lash up between the Tories and the LibDems. The only segment of a major party to increase its votes was the Labour left. Most left Labour candidates increased their majorities contrary to the overall trend of Labour losing seats and votes.

    The impact of this in the country very much indicates that although eroded Labourism as an ideology is still alive in Britain. To dismiss this as you do in your editorial comments runs the risk of dismissing the possibility of utilising the method of the United Front with regard to workers and elements within the unions conected to the Labour Party.

    Dagenham, where the Nazi BNP, lost council seats and its leader failed to win in the parliamentary election, was discussed by Cde Randall. What he failed to mention, for sectarian reasons I suspect, were the efforts of Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism. Both associated with the SWP hence Randalls antipathy. However even margaret hodge acknowledged the immense contribution the hundreds of UAF activists made in the constituency.

  16. I suspect that we’ll have to agree to disagree on this Ray but our position in the WP is that immigration controls and focusing on “local” vs “foreign” workers is a dead end, and in fact leads almost inexorably to racism. The fact that some workers *believe* that foreign workers are the cause of their problems does not make it true. In reality, capitalism has crises and has bouts of high unemployment regardless of whether or not the country concerned has many migrant workers. The migrant workers are not the cause of the problem.

    When Joel criticised the racialised language, he wasn’t saying that rephrasing it in some supposedly politically correct way would make it OK. He was saying that the problem lies in framing the inability of capitalism to provide meaningful work for everyone in terms of the racial or national origins of the people involved. If everyone in England was white and could trace their origins back to pre-Celtic times, the problems with capitalism would be identical – periodic crises originating within the system itself and causing unemployment. Capitalism needs a level of unemployment, any economist and apologist for it will tell you that. That this pool of unemployed (what Marx referred to as the reserve army of labour) is now racialised to a certain extent is simply another sign of the failure of capitalism. The tendency of some workers to latch onto the racial origin of the people “taking my job” is just an example of the way that workers get divided against each other and against their own interests. We see it as our job to counter those ideas rather than to buy into them as organisations like the BNP do.
    Cheers,
    John

    • Excellent John. The issue of migration, both emigration and immigration, has to be debated. People who wish to discuss the issue need to be listened to, not told they are ‘Racist.’ And shouting ‘Fascist’ is almost as bad. We do not even know what ‘Fascist’ means, the word is used as an emotive form of abuse and aggression. It leads ultimately to claw-hammer attacks on those branded ‘Fascist.’ As in England.

      The problem in Christchurch at present is the bus contracts. One friend has had to take a job with another bus company, driving the same route as before, for about $3.00 per hour less. Doing the same job. Getting around $120.00 per week less. Nothing heard about it in the media. There is no question that if there are more workers than jobs that the hourly rate goes down.

      Of course it does not affect all workers. If you are a qualified brain surgeon for example who can take their skills anywhere then they do not suffer from wage pressure at times of financial stress. Just bus drivers and the low paid. Yet we are bringing into NZ unskilled people.

      They are of course hard working. Entrepreneurial types. Which is why they end up frequently in crime. A taxi driver at $200.00 a week with the chance of being killed or a criminal on many times a taxi drivers wage. And less chance of being killed. I think they should be congratulated as showing the true spirit of coming to a new country. The result of course is catastrophy. We have to stop migration of unskilled people into NZ until there is a demonstratable need for more workers. It is not racist, it is putting bus drivers first.

  17. You’re right Ray, the issue of migration is important and should be debated. The WP’s policy is that we should have open immigration. We realise that this will never happen under capitalism so at this point it’s more a point of principle than a realistic goal. It is completely undeliverable under capitalism because capitalism wants (and has) complete freedom of movement for capital and capitalism, but maximal control over the movement of workers. The things you describe – pitting one group of workers against another, using unemployment to drive down wages etc, are useful to capital. My point is that these things occur regardless of immigration. The solution to attempts to drive down wages, such as the one you mention, is to unionise the drivers, including those who are new migrants. If some workers can’t be taken on for lower wages, the wages of others can’t be lowered. The problem is that with such low levels of class consciousness at the moment, fewer workers are unionised and it is possible to drive wages down. But remember, it isn’t just foreign workers who are working for low wages, and thereby undercutting others. It’s done by some workers to others, regardless of race. In Wellington, the bus drivers have been much more successful at unionising the migrant drivers and protecting their conditions.

    I agree with you too that high skilled workers are far less vulnerable than low skilled workers. That’s why the WP identifies so strongly with low paid workers, supporting the Unite $15 minimum wage petition etc.

    I think you need to substantiate any claims about immigrants being disproportionately involved in crime and choosing a life of crime over a life of taxi-driving. In 2006, the conviction rates were:
    European: 45% Pop’n 77.6%
    Maori: 43% Pop’n 14.6%
    Pacific: 9% Pop’n 6.9%
    Other: 3% Pop’n Asian 9.2%, other 0.9%
    In other words, new migrants (mostly Asian) are underrepresented in crime figures. It is Maori and to some extent PIs who are overrepresented in crime, and that we know is closely correlated with their relative poverty. The suggestion that immigrants come to New Zealand, get jobs as cabbies and then progress on to lives as professional criminals simply cannot be substantiated by the figures.

    The other claim you make is that New Zealand is “bringing into NZ unskilled people.” Actually, it is very difficult nowadays for unskilled people to get into New Zealand. New Zealand immigration policy massively favours people with money or high skill. It is almost impossible for a low skill worker to get into New Zealand other than on a very temporary visa to do things like fruit picking – work that is so poorly paid that few New Zealand-born workers are prepared to do it. And those workers are particularly heavily exploited, frequently having their passports confiscated by the employer, and having “deductions” taken from their wages so that they are working for virtually nothing and can’t move to another job. Nationalist parties, especially those of the extreme right, like the BNP, offer no solution to this sort of thing. Only genuine internationalism, both within and across borders, can deal with this.

    As for the reference to fascism, I’m reluctant to use the term and don’t throw it about lightly for precisely the reasons you note. The BNP is one organisation I would use it for though. Take this, where they seek to demonstrate that they have rid themselves of the label given them by “those detractors who still falsely label the BNP as an anti-Semitic party.”
    Welcome to one of Britain’s “real enemies”:
    “the Crescent Horde – the endless wave of Islamics who are flocking to our shores to bring our island nations into the embrace of their barbaric desert religion.”

    Hardly an enlightened description of the Palestinian people is it?

    Or how about this, from Lee Barnes, on the BNP’s site:

    “All true nationalists should be supporting Israel in this struggle … The example of the resistance of Israel against the New World Order should give hope to all those of us who want our nations back and the end of the international era to begin … If Israel is a democracy, then we can be a similar democracy. Israel is the model for a nation that understands the importance of putting the interests of the nation and the people before all other factors.” He goes on to add:
    “As a Nationalist I can say that I support Israel 100 % in their dispute with Hezbollah. In fact, I hope they wipe Hezbollah off the Lebanese map and bomb them until they leave large greasy craters in the cities where their Islamic extremist cantons of terror once stood. The 21st Century is the Islamic Century. Unless we start to resist the threat of Islamic extremism then within 100 years the West will have become Eurabia.” http://web.archive.org/web/20071014195705/www.bnp.org.uk/columnists/brimstone2.php?leeId=80

    For the BNP, antisemitism has been replaced by anti-Muslim racism. There is nothing progressive in such poison as this.
    Cheers,
    John

    • Bit difficult to type a long reply since only two fingers work! At typing. Ignore the comments on the BNP site. Look at the official posts. Most who comment are not members.

      The BNP has 15,000 members approx. With an electorate population base of 60million. NZ has 4million people. So pro-rata that works out at around 1,000 members. The Workers Party must have 500 to contest an election. If UK had proportional representation as in NZ it has been calculated the BNP would have 60 seats, approx 10% of the seats in the UK parliament. The BNP is representing peoples serious concerns. That is the job of political parties in a Democracy.

      The BNP seems to be doing well. So why are the Workers Party not doing as well? May it not be that you are not actually talking about the issues of the day? If you did you would get at least 5% of the vote.

      Next Fascism. I think my definition is better than yours. To say ‘Fascism is anti-Communism is a bit far. Are you now saying that anyone who is against Communism is a Fascist? Your new definition please since screaming Fascist seems to me have now developed into abuse, not a statement of political position.

  18. This is a link to the BNP website. It portrays an Orwellian Society of mass control and recording of movements. It centres upon Sparkbrook, Birmingham etc. Places I know well and where I went to school and worked.

    http://bnp.org.uk/?q=news/anti-terrorism-cctv-cameras-muslim-areas-confirm-correctness-bnp%E2%80%99s-position

    The area used to be totally multi-cultural. All sorts lived there. The Ship Inn was an Irish Pub. One workmate, for a dare, drank in the pub all evening pretending to be Irish. On St, Patricks Day. He managed it. Lots more stories of a multi-racial society. Not any more. The area is now described as ‘mono-ethnic, Asian, Muslim’ by a Moslem academic, 3 Feb 2007.
    Or consider this one. My brother was driving a bus in London. Fifteen young men get on. Polite. Friendly. The bus turns a corner. 50 armed police stop the bus. Take away six of the boys. They have not been seen since (4 February 2007). The police explanation to my brother was ‘We are investigating stolen cell phones.’ With 50 armed police?

    Now I am sorry to have to use a BNP link about the spy cameras, but I have not seen this in any other media. If you can find a link, feel free to delete my link. The cameras, and I used to tap phones in Hong Kong years ago, do far more than that I am sure. At the least they will photograph every person in every car going into the selected area.

  19. I never gave a definition of fascism so I’m not sure how you can compare your definition with mine. I merely pointed out that your definition was too broad and anti-communism is another characteristic, one which the BNP does exhibit. I don’t bandy the term fascist around lightly and I’m not sure why you keep suggesting that I do.

    You said early on in this discussion that in terms of the policy on the BNP website, you “can support all of it”. It turns out that the party cheerleading for Israel bombing Lebanon until only “a greasy crater” remains where Hezbollah previously was, and extolling Israel as a model nationalist democracy doesn’t count. The party’s characterisation of Islam as a “crescent horde” with a “barbaric desert religion” doesn’t count either. So here’s Nick Griffin himself. Since he’s the party leader and the website defines the leader as the one who determines policy, and since they’re happy to have this statement in the policy section of their website, it must be policy.

    ” In this official statement, party chairman Nick Griffin explains why, while the BNP is not racist, it must not become multi-racist either. Our fundamental determination to secure a future for white children is restated…”

    “We don’t hate anyone, especially the mixed race children who are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism, but that does not mean that we accept miscegenation as moral or normal.”

    I’ll disclose a personal interest here and say that my children are just such “most tragic victims” of what Griffin elsewhere in his document describes as “the essentially unnatural and destructive nature of miscegenation”. Funnily enough my children don’t share Griffin’s, and presumably your, view of their “tragic” lives.

    “This isn’t a matter of ‘racism’; it’s simply a fact of human nature.”

    But this is patently absurd and impossible to prove. Most cultures, including that of Britain, are the result of previous miscegenation. Freezing culture at a given time and saying *we are what we are now*, that previous miscegenation that occurred a few generations back is OK, but any more would be “tragic” is simply ridiculous.

    “The divine or Darwinian pressures which created different races in the first place also very clearly created the innate human tendency to prefer ‘us’ to ‘them’ as the way in which such differences would be preserved. So while we don’t hate other peoples, we would rather mix with our own. In a nutshell, we want to walk down our streets and see the familiar faces which a hundred generations would all have recognised as ‘British’ – and all normal people of all races feel the same way.”

    So 100 generations (about 2500 years) means the only people entitled to call themselves British are pre-Celtic Britons. Good luck to Nick developing a system to prove how many Britons have no Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Jute, Norse, Norman, Hispanic or any other ancestry. The history of humanity is inextricably linked with the history of miscegenation. That some British people, including some workers, respond to the very real problems and concerns that face them by looking to ultra-nationalist ideas like those of the BNP does not make those ideas valid. People turn to all kinds of ideas when they’re looking for solutions to or explanations for their problems. That doesn’t make all those ideas equally valid or just.

    You state that the BNP is responding to real concerns; I completely agree with that statement. I disagree with what they identify as the root of those concerns and I disagree with their proposed solutions.

    I notice too that the BNP believes all races and nations have the right to implement policies to more or less reestablish racial purity – in Britain’s case, “to spend whatever it takes to persuade so many non-whites to return to their ethnic homelands that Britain once again becomes – and will remain for all time – the fundamentally white nation that it always was before 1948.”

    In that case Ray, as one who “can support all of” the BNP’s policy, I take it that you would support a policy in New Zealand whereby a future Maori nationalist movement “spent whatever it takes” to encourage white people to “return to their ethnic homelands”, that the black African governments encourage white Africans to leave Africa, that whites are encouraged to leave America etc. Because if you don’t, you’re exhibiting hypocrisy. I doubt the BNP would want Britain to be swamped by massive white immigration from the USA and Canada, but that’s the logical outcome of their policies. Either that or they really are racists and believe that white people have the right to go and live anywhere in the world but that the same right is not extended to anyone else. Somehow, I think the latter is the more likely.
    Cheers,
    John

  20. Well, would you please define Fascism. My definition may be pretty broad, but I cannot think of any other which would define Fascism. Since as the BNP shows they are quite happy to love Jews and hate Moslems. Or is that just politics? I dont know. I would like a definition of Fascism however.

    I think that your comment of ‘going back to 1948’ is a bit too far. I left UK in 1968. Sparkbrook was still multi-racial. Today it is mono-cultural. And the whole area is obviously considered by UK Security as a breeding ground for extremism. Hence the spy camera system.

    Congratulations on your children being of mixed race. Hong Kong could be a good place to bring them up since when I lived there, 1968 to ’74, all sorts of colours were happily living together. Not so here.

    Two of my grandchildren are mixed Kiwi and Chinese. The elder one, four and a half, is fluent in both Chinese and English. Hopefully your kids are fluent in two languages.

    Pei, my daughter in law was recently returning home from Polytech and abused over her driving by a car-load of ‘integrated’ Kiwis. She is still frightened to go out in the car at night. Quite outrageous. If we do not do something to stop it, racism will do rather well in Kiwiland.

    All of my grandchildren have Kiwi passports and English ones. Except that the English passport is ‘British.’ Should be English.

    Your statistics on immigrant involvement in crime is totally suspect. Since your figures relate to convictions. My connections to the Asian community are quite good. Many are making a living in a semi-legal manner. Some illegally. It is not my job to ‘denounce’ them. But I do know what I am talking about.

    The BNP ‘send them back’ policy would be welcomed by many migrants in UK. They would love to go ‘home’ with cash in their pocket etc. And many immigrants in UK would totally support a ban on any more migrants coming to UK. Since the result is a continuous depression of wages and unemployment for older workers and poorly educated workers.

    Both UK and Kiwiland have real racial problems. Not helped by Ostriches nor screaming ‘Fascist.’ Or claw-hammer attacks which is what has happened to the BNP.

  21. Ray, I suspect that the reason why a section of the working class in Barking & Dagenham voted BNP was not because they saw it as the “real” workers party, but rather because they wanted to give the Labour Party a bloody nose. I remember a similar dynamic happening when the BNP had their first break through with the election of Derek Beacon in the Isle of Dogs 15 years ago, which is what first motivated me to get involved in anti-racist activity.

    In both cases the tactic worked in as much as the Labour Party got a fright, did some old-fashioned door-knocking, and pretended to care. However, the workers remain in exactly the same position as before. As you pointed out, thousands of jobs have been axed at Ford’s Dagenham plant (although that is just as much down to the trade union leadership’s craven attitude as the Labour government’s neo-liberal policies.)

    The other problem with the tactic is that it is extremely dangerous. By tactically voting BNP, you are playing with fire. Even if you chose to ignore the many links between the BNP and fascist street fighters, the fact is that a BNP win nearly always results in an escalation of racist attacks in the local area.

    Ultimately this is also an indictment of the revolutionary left, who have failed to present a credible, progressive alternative to the working class.

  22. Ray: Well, would you please define Fascism.

    A corporatist state, typically racist, extremely nationalistic – prioritising the local population, regardless of how impossible that is to define, over everyone else, authoritarian and anti-communist, usually but not necessarily ruled by a demagogue. Contemporary fascism wouldn’t look very much like classic fascism at all. But I don’t waste a lot of time worrying about fascism, or branding people I disagree with as fascists because I don’t see fascism as a particularly relevant political current at the moment.

    Ray: I think that your comment of ‘going back to 1948′ is a bit too far. I left UK in 1968.

    I think quibbling about which decade you set as your template for a racial profile is irrelevant. I object entirely to the whole notion. And it wasn’t my comment, it was Nick Griffins, and it’s presumably BNP policy, since that’s where it’s to be found.

    Ray: Hong Kong could be a good place to bring them up since when I lived there, 1968 to ’74, all sorts of colours were happily living together.

    Not if the BNP had their way since their policy states that it is “human nature” to not want to mix, and the locals have the right to drive the others out . . .

    Ray: Pei, my daughter in law was recently returning home from Polytech and abused over her driving by a car-load of ‘integrated’ Kiwis. She is still frightened to go out in the car at night. Quite outrageous. If we do not do something to stop it, racism will do rather well in Kiwiland.

    I would rather address the issue than pander to the racism by developing race based policy. Stop for a minute Ray and think about what the BNP’s policies would mean for your daughter in law and your grandchildren. Do you honestly believe that a ban on new Asian immigrants and a policy of encouraging those already here to go home would make their lives easier? That a (polite, of course) “Asians Go Home” policy would reduce the harassment she experiences? that it wouldn’t give the carload of racists a sense of vindication and authority? Because if it did, it would be the first instance I can think of where a policy of “(insert demonised race) Go Home” resulted in greater tolerance.

    Ray: Your statistics on immigrant involvement in crime is totally suspect . . .

    They’re not my statistics, they’re the government’s. I can’t debate on the basis of claims of classified inside information on a secret Asian crime wave, but even to be on a par with population, it would have to outweigh non-Asian unreported/unconvicted crime by a huge amount.

    Ray: The BNP ‘send them back’ policy would be welcomed by many migrants in UK. They would love to go ‘home’ with cash in their pocket etc.

    They would be “home” already if it was so attractive. Migrqants have gone to Britain because British (and other)imperialism impoverished their countries and stiffled their development. The real solution to that issue is the genuine development of the countries of the third world. That won’t happen under capitalism and it certainly won’t happen under the BNP.

    Ray: And many immigrants in UK would totally support a ban on any more migrants coming to UK.

    So we should stoop to that??? Because the ones who were there first, whether “native” or prior migrant, wish it?

    Ray: Both UK and Kiwiland have real racial problems. Not helped by Ostriches nor screaming ‘Fascist.’ Or claw-hammer attacks which is what has happened to the BNP.

    But not helped by pandering to racists either. The BNP claim not to be racist but Griffin says someone with mixed race kids is “unsuitable” for membership in his party, and no BNP member should bring his/her mixed race grandchildren to a BNP event because BNP events are the only time decent folk can get “respite” from non-whites. Perhaps he thinks they smell funny, but he probably hasn’t been close enough to one for a while to remember.
    Cheers,
    John

  23. Mike K., excellent post. But if both ‘Labour’ and Conservatives refuse to actually represent the fears and problems of voters, or even discuss the issues, what else can people do? The problem is that working people are no longer either represented or even considered except for a week at election time. Fighting an election needs a very large sum of money. Most working people are effectively disenfranchised. Not just that, they are actively lied to.

    I like your comment on the BNP being linked to Fascist Street Fighters. As a matter of fact, both the Conservative party and the Labour party are directly related to Sir Oswald Moseley. Conservative MP 1918 to 1922?, then Labour MP for Smethwick 1924 to 31. Leader of the British Fascists. So the Fascist Street Fighters were actually the product of the Labour and Conservative parties. Nothing to do with the BNP.

    In fact, BNP avoid marches etc for that reason. They did try in the last election to hold a few public meetings but were often attacked. Where is the freedom of speech? Gone in UK since one young bloke even threatened to kill Nick Griffin and got off the charge.

    I am very interested in the total lack of comment on this site of a multi-racial community, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, being totaly destroyed and replaced by a ‘mono-ethnic, Asian, Muslim community.’ Do you support mono-ethnic communities providing they are not English? And what about the spy cameras monitoring the area for terrorists?

    Enclaves one of the major problems in UK today. They have ‘communities’ of Turks, Africans, West Indians etc all over. They form enclaves, and there are thousands of enclaves. A good example of this is the Assembly of God Church, Cresswell Road, Hall Green, Birmingham. Congregation dwindled and it closed. Lack of numbers. Very sad. What happened next is unbelievable. The entire congregation of Bordesley Green AoG church transferred to the Hall Green property. Their Bordesley Green church had been subject to WEEKLY attacks by the local Moslems. Ethnic Cleansing. It worked. They moved. I suppose you support ethnic cleansing providing it is English being driven out.

    UK has 400,000 emigrants per year and 500,000 immigrants per year. Educated people of Anglo-Saxon stock are leaving. The brain-drain is very serious. You are most welcome to come over to St. Saviours Anglican Church, Sydenham, Colombo Street, Christchurch any Sunday morning at 10.00am. Half the congregation are English. Many are young, married, with kids. Educated at UK taxpayer expense and now left the country.

    Race is an emotive subject. Not helped by by the denial of discussion. Now I do not suggest for one minute that the Workers Party should promptly follow the BNP lead, but it does need discussion. The Workers Party has to find policies that reflect the concern of working people. The steady depression of wages is one of those issues. Another is immigration.

  24. Mike K., thinking about your comment on the Isle of Dogs election 15 years ago. Were you in UK then and are you in NZ now? If so, being involved in ‘anti-racist politics’, do you not think you had and still have a moral obligation to live in the society you have helped create in England?

    You could obviously move if now in NZ. What about the workers, such as one of my friends, dying in Hall Green, Birmingham, in the house she has lived in all her life, who now has no English neighbours whatsoever. If she had wanted to live in Pakistan she would have moved there. But they moved into her street and she is now the only English family left in the street. Multi-culturalism eh? And it is Racist to not want that? Oops, I forgot, if you dont want that sort of society you move to a Walled Village, in England called a ‘gated community’ in England I think. Very expensive though. Keeps out undesirables.

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