Stop laughing at the English Defence League

Stop laughing at the English Defence League

Three reasons why laughing at the EDL is counter-productive, and what we should do instead.

You've all seen the images doing the rounds on facebook of EDL members waving mis-spelt placards. Maybe you've liked or shared them on Facebook. I had the autotuned 'Muslamic Ray Guns' tune stuck in my head for ages even though it was politically problematic. While humour and ridicule can be an important political tool, much of the 'humour' in this vein is counter-productive to an effective anti-fascism.

The problem with the EDL is that they're a violent, nationalist street movement. Not that they have northern working class accents and can't spell.

1. Class hatred. The first problem here is the most obvious one: laughing at the EDL for poor spelling or regional accents is barely-veiled class hatred - in the wrong direction. I'm not sure when exactly the left joined in patronising the working class rather than identifying with them, but this fuels the EDL sentiment that white, working class people are the only ones it's still ok to hate in 'PC Britain'.

The concept of 'the white working class' is of course bullshit. The working class is the most diverse class. But sneering at accents, spelling and grammar cedes a whole demographic to the far right. Some of the grievances that feed into far right mobilisations are legitimate concerns around as housing, unemployment, the abandonment of former armed forces personel.

These are and should be issues of class mobilsation. This should not be the natural constituency for the far right. The EDL have attacked picket lines. EDL leader and small-businessman Stephen Yaxley-Lennon even goes by the psuedonym 'Tommy Robinson' to sound more working class. By laughing at the uneducated proles this territory is abandoned to the anti-working class politics of racist scapegoating of muslims and immigrants.

2. Ignoring liberal racism. The second problem with this kind of laughing is it cordens off explicit, inarticulate, uncouth racism and thus ignores smug, implied, articulate liberal racism. The latter is far more common. Professional controversialist Rod Liddle was forced to apologise for describing the Woolwich murder as the work of "black savages", but far fewer people saw the problem with the Guardian's front page which said the same thing to its genteel, educated audience with an image and decontextualised quote:

3. Not all racists are thick. Third is the little problem that not all racists are thick. Racism is not the product of inadequate education or reason. In fact, plenty of racists spout well-educated nonsense about genetics, or in the past, phrenology. Some of the canniest racists are in government. When Theresa May said the Woolwich stabbing was 'an attack on us all' she knew exactly what she was doing. If only there was some kind of 'league' to rally to the 'defence' of 'England'...

In this sense the EDL are the extra-parliamentary attack dogs of institutional racism, whistled into action when the government wants to pass represive legislation, or the right-wing press want to criticise the EDL as a way to paper over their daily hate-mongering and incitement. Laughing at mis-spelled placards underestimates the breadth and depth of the problem, and obscures the way it's intertwined with 'respectable' mainstream politics.

Some perspective
All that said, we shouldn't over-state the threat. While the EDL and friends spate of attacks on muslims and mosques has understandably created widespread fear, there's signs their sudden revival from infighting and near-collapse is not a complete ressurection. Nor will it necessarily be sustained. As a comrade wrote:

Ok so not getting complacent, but should probably have a bit of perspective on yesterday however shit it was. EDL had a perfect storm. Bank holiday, good weather, immediately following a "terror" attack hyped by the media. Held in central London, the easiest place to get to in the UK. Most figures are 1500-2000. Obviously this is shit, but without having any of this on their side, in Luton in 2011 they pulled 3000.

That said, at the time of Luton the EDL were keen, in public at least, to stress their allegedly non-racist opposition to extremist Islam. They even used the anti-racist slogan 'black and white unite'. Now, their leaders are openly saying "Islam is not a religion of peace… enough is enough..." and calling to "send the Black cunts home". So while the numbers haven't recovered their peak, they are no longer attempting to hide their racism and are certainly up for a fight.

Strategy?
Finally, some brief comments on strategy. I think what's needed is a two-track approach. Physical mobilisation to counter the immediate street threat, and class mobilisation to deny them a constituency in the longer term.

In terms of physical mobilisation,Brighton's anti-facsist mobilisations are those I'm most familiar with. The main element of the mobilisations was the refusal of the familiar split between secretive, small group direct action and mass, symbolic action. Rather the mobilisations created the space for mass direct action and community self-defence, where participants could engage in tactics they were most comfortable with. Streets were blocked and roaming fascists chased and confronted.

In terms of class mobilisation, there's some promising campaigning against the bedroom tax in Merseyside, and an increasingly urgent need to organise collectively around housing. Workplace organsing is also important in creating solidarity (it was heartening how many workmates turned out to oppose the March for England), while anti-raids work and migrant solidarity is also significant. This isn't a comprehensive list, I more want to pose the question to groups and individuals about what longer-term class-based organising involves, and stress it shouldn't be abandoned for the necessary short term street mobilisations.

There's a place for piss-taking and lulz, but let's save the class hatred for the class enemy.

South London Anti-Fascists are calling for a calling for a counter-mobilisation agains the BNP's march on Saturday. Get involved and contact them at southlondon-antifascists@aktivix.org

Posted By

Joseph Kay
May 29 2013 11:54

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  • The problem with the EDL is that they're a violent, nationalist street movement. Not that they have northern working class accents and can't spell.

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Comments

flaneur
May 29 2013 13:07
Quote:
1. Class hatred. The first problem here is the most obvious one: laughing at the EDL for poor spelling or regional accents is barely-veiled class hatred - in the wrong direction. I'm not sure when exactly the left joined in patronising the working class rather than identifying with them, but this fuels the EDL sentiment that white, working class people are the only ones it's still ok to hate in 'PC Britain'.

But suggesting if you're white and working class, you can't spell isn't just as patronising? They managed the second placard though, Aslan are shit.

Chilli Sauce
May 29 2013 13:05

This blog almost makes me wish I had Facebook just so I could spread it around.

donnacha.delong
May 29 2013 13:19

Hmmm, I'm not sure Lennon/Robinson's name change is about class, it's more about ethnicity. He's the child of Irish immigrants and is thought to have changed his name to sound more English.

mons
May 29 2013 13:27

People understandably turn to these kinds of politics when middle-class liberal elites refuse to talk about race. When gangs of all-Muslim and predominately British Pakistani men systematically groom young white girls and rape, drug and prostitute them and the liberal elite refuses to recognise any racial element to it then people rightly identify the ridiculous PC nature of the elite. For example, in the recent case in Oxford everyone who lives or goes to the area where the gang operated were relatively unsurprised by its discovery. It's common and indisputable knowledge in the area that a small minority of British-Pakistani and North-African men are hugely predatory towards white girls. Most parents in the area will probably tell their children if they're going out to steer clear of 'dodgy' looking men at night. And yes part of what makes them 'dodgy' is based on a kind of racial profiling. But dismissing it entirely as racism will only alienate ordinary people of all races who actually live in the area, and know their lived experience is better than a politico's ideological pronouncements. So when the liberal Left writes terrible articles (like this one, which is full of blatant factual and logical inaccuracies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/22/how-racism-takes-root) it's not hard to see how people will easily fall into EDL-type politics. Because they relate directly to working class life, whereas the liberal-Left seems to write in a vacuum divorced from the messy realities of life.

I'd even say this article doesn't go far enough. I think there is a 'white working class' - which consists of white, working class people. I think I understand the argument that it's meaningless to talk about one - that there is not a part of the working class made up of white people who face problems specific to them being white. But I don't think that argument is nearly strong enough, and it ignores the fact that there are elements of racial division within the working class in Britain. So refusing to use terms like that is alienating and again will appear like it comes from a privileged elite. I mean even by acknowledging the Left joins in laughing at the EDL and that this feeds sentiment that it's only okay to laugh at the white, working class you are almost acknowledging the existence of that social group, no?

This is why we need more IWCA-type politics! They just put out a decent new article which is relevant to this, although more on UKIP than EDL: http://www.iwca.info/?p=10223

Barbosa
May 29 2013 13:32

How can you say that that insulting grammar and spelling is class hatred ? Any class should be able to spell and use correct grammar.13 year old's in Canada can speak and write excellent English and French and it's class hatred to ask people to speak one language correctly ? How can they talk so proudly about England and being English but have such a horrible grasp of the English language ? Education is free in the UK but most of the people I know left as soon as they could at 16.

I'm working class myself and I can tell you that most working class racists I know are simply motivated by jealousy. They see an Asian man driving down the road in a BMW and think he's taking their jobs etc. The same people who mocked me for working hard in school to go to university. Every single racist I know would not be qualified to get the jobs that qualify someone for immigration. The ignorance is shocking such as claims that Asians are all pedophiles ? The channel 4 documentary said that as a percentage of their UK population, white males are still more likely to commit sexual offences against children. There has been one act of Muslim extremism since 7/7. That's one in 8 years. I doubt I missed any because of the way the media treat them. It was classed as terrorism but when Anders Breivik killed people I didn't hear any UK media class that as terrorism.

Oh and despite the fact that not all racists are "thick", Psychological science did a study that found significant correlation between racism and low IQ test scores.

A UK soldier stabbed a 10 year old boy in Afghanistan and there was no outcry from the public at all. A 10 year old boy stabbed by a soldier, who in turn received 18 months in prison. Can you believe that ? What happened to Lee Rigby was tragic but if the perpetrators had been white Christians then it would of been little more than a one page article in the middle of the paper.

Barbosa
May 29 2013 13:52

What would you have people do ? If you base reported cases on population numbers, a white man is still more likely to commit a sexual offence than an Asian man. What are you achieving by telling young women to avoid "British Pakistani an North African men" ? What does a North African even look like ? How do they look different to a British Indian or West African man ? What you mean is tell children to avoid all Brown and Black men. You think if children come home safe after that it's because you told them to avoid Brown and Black men ? There was a story about a Paedophile ring including a soldier Simon Davies and a farmer. They were holding parties where girls as young as 8 were raped. You gonna tell your children to stay away from farmers. What about this Jimmy Saville case and the domino effect it has had ? How many celebrities have been accused in the last few months ? Rolf Harris, that PR guy and a few Coronation street actors. You gonna tell your children to stay away from celebrities too ? Until someone does a study that shows that a certain race is significantly more likely to commit sexual offences, telling children such things is simply encouraging them to be racist. I would bet a large amount of money that no correlation between race and any crime will be found any time soon. People say we are being too PC but what is the alternative ? Telling our children to stay away from ethnic minorities ? Telling them to be cautious of them ? Where does that road lead.

donnacha.delong
May 29 2013 13:57
Quote:
What happened to Lee Rigby was tragic but if the perpetrators had been white Christians then it would of been little more than a one page article in the middle of the paper.

Unless, of course, they'd been Irish and of a Republican point of view and then it would have been top story on all news broadcasts and newspapers. Don't forget, we Paddies have been through this time and time again going back to the 1840s.

mons
May 29 2013 14:14
Quote:
The channel 4 documentary said that as a percentage of their UK population, white males are still more likely to commit sexual offences against children.

That's just not true at all. British-Asian men commit around 40% of child sex offences in the UK, and given that Asia is a hugely heterogeneous continent it is safe to assume that amongst certain British-Asian groups this disproportion becomes even larger. I will try dig up the statistics; not sure whether this is for all child sex abuse, or specifically grooming. I suspect the latter but either way it doesn't change what I'm arguing.

Quote:
" Psychological science did a study that found significant correlation between racism and low IQ test scores."

Let's not stoop to the level of racists in our own reasoning. This exact same structure of reasoning is used by racists to justify their racism. You can also find correlations between low IQ and certain races, classes, etc. It's clearly not a good way of determining whether a group is 'thick', or discrediting the views, status, etc. of those within the group.

Khawaga
May 29 2013 14:18
Quote:
13 year old's in Canada can speak and write excellent English and French and it's class hatred to ask people to speak one language correctly ? How can they talk so proudly about England and being English but have such a horrible grasp of the English language ?

I teach at a university in Canada and sadly most of my students cannot write; even in second year courses I teach remedial English more than actual content. And it's actually getting worse.

Barbosa
May 29 2013 14:49

Absolutely unbelievable that you have just posted that. What is your source ? I told you about a documentary anyone can catch on 4od and you say that with no proof. The population of the UK is 62 million and 7.5% of them are Asian (source 2011 census). That gives about 4.5 million people. There were 536,000 victims of sexual assault in the UK last year (source ONS). 40% of 536,000 is 214,400. You think 4.5 million people commited 215,000 sex crimes ?

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/race_and_sex_offences-27153

Ethnic profile of sex offenders 2010.

Asian 8%. That means 8% of sexual offenders are Asian despite them making up 7.5% of the population. Nice try but your attempt to incite racial hatred has failed.

The fact you just said 40 and the actual number of people is 8% leads me to believe you are an EDL member mascarading as something else.

Also did you seriously just say "it's safe to asssume that" it "becomes larger" in "certain British Asian" groups.

Coldwitz
May 29 2013 14:51

Actually i think litracy is a class issue. Increasingly middle and upper class people are sending their kids to private school, if they cant afford to send their kids to private school they pay for private tuition to get them into the most desirable schools, or they move closer to them. This polarises the education system, with the middle/upper classes sending their kids to 'better' schools and with new labour choosing to incentivise good schools by rewarding them financially we end up with sink schools with disproportionately high numbers of children with special educational needs and a lack of resources making it harder for teachers to give all pupils the attention they need. To further complicate matters children are expected to perform academically at younger ages, streamed into ability groupings sooner despite studies showing that they dont benefit from streaming at key stage one and two and they tend to get stuck in their ability groups (something that doesnt happen if they're not streamed) An alarming number of children leave primary school unable to read ans write, i think its something like 42% and white working class boys wcore particularly badly. Of course working class people arent all illiterate, and their certainly not stupid but the education system in this country is far from equal and that has an impact. One of the reasons i find litracy interesting is because i'm dyslexic, somapologies if this is hard to read.

Barbosa
May 29 2013 14:56

My source for that comment was the pen pall relationship me and several of my class had with some people from Montreal. All our pen pals classed English as their second language and I hardly ever found a grammatical or spelling mistake. I believe around 70% of Canadians class English as their first language so I'm quite surprised that they are struggling at University level.

mons
May 29 2013 16:08

Err you posted something which actually backs up what I said. In the statistics from that fullfact.org thing you posted it appears that 28% of offenders in child grooming cases come from Asian backgrounds. That number jumps to 46% if you just take the cases where the racial identity was not withheld; more than the 40% I cited. These are from the figures you cited, if you actually bothered reading them, rather than skipping to the bottom of the page where it, yes, says Asians accounted for 8% of all sexual offences resulting in sentences in 2010. Yes, there are problems with the lack of evidence on this issue. This gives a pretty balanced account I think: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/child-sex-grooming-the-asian-question-7729068.html

Quote:
Also did you seriously just say "it's safe to asssume that" it "becomes larger" in "certain British Asian" groups.

Yep, and I doubt you can seriously dispute that, so maybe I wasn't being clear, apologies, because it's self-evidently true... Are you seriously saying you think that the 8% figure (which as I have already explained is misleading and irrelevant to this issue, of child grooming) will be uniform across people from all parts of Asia? That is utterly absurd. And if you accept there will be variation, then you must accept that some Asian groups will be further over-represented in the child sex grooming statistics.

Khawaga
May 29 2013 17:39
Quote:
My source for that comment was the pen pall relationship me and several of my class had with some people from Montreal. All our pen pals classed English as their second language and I hardly ever found a grammatical or spelling mistake. I believe around 70% of Canadians class English as their first language so I'm quite surprised that they are struggling at University level.

That makes sense. ESL students typically have a better grasp of grammar, spelling etc. than those who have English as their primary language. Almost all the ESL students I've had were much better writers than the average non-ESL student. And it's not just writing, it is also reading comprehension. A lot of students cannot figure out what an author is really arguing, thinking that if something is in the text of an author that author must mean it.

bristolianworker
May 29 2013 18:51

Anti-racist flyer:

Our country is being screwed by the rich. They have all the money, make all the big decisions, and don't have to work.

The millionaire bosses pretend if we work hard enough that we can get the cushy luxury lifestyle, this is a lie. The game is rigged. If you didn't go to the right schools, if you couldn't afford college there is no way you are going to get there.

We are the people who do all the work, get the least wages, pay all the taxes. Working people also face daily discrimination. Live in the wrong part of town? Struggling? Got the wrong accent? No chance you are going to get that cushy job.

It's tempting to blame immigrants for the problems of this country, but we have more in common with them than we do with our bosses, the billionaires. It's the bankers and politicians who have made a mess of this country, not the guy who washes your car, or serves in the cornershop.

It's only working people who are suffering in this recession, The rich are still getting richer and richer, buying up more land and houses. Rent and Mortgages are unaffordable because there are 651,000 empty houses in England to 61,000 homeless households. These properties are not owned by immigrants, they are mainly owned by white millionares.

The Home Office estimates that migrants contribute 10% more in revenue than they receive in benefits. If there were no foreign-born people in Britain, taxes would need to rise by 1p in the £ or public services would be cut.

In the UK asylum seekers are not allowed to work and forced to rely on state support, set 30% below normal income support. They are not allowed to claim mainstream benefits. An adult receives less than £40 a week.

Ordinary Muslims in the UK have more to fear from terrorists than most of us. The terrible but rare acts of this tiny minority breed hatred and have led to attacks on honest hardworking Muslims. The murderers of Lee Rigby want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence. Don't give them what they want.

In 2009 the founding meeting of the EDL was held in banker Alan Aylings luxury £500,000 flat, he was joined by buy-to-let property tycoon Ann Marchini, who lives in a £1.6m Highgate mansion, along with Tommy Robinson.
Their plan is to divide hardworking people, and those unable to find jobs because of the mess they have made of the economy.

The extremists on both sides have a shared agenda; cause division, distrust, anger and violence. Both sides have the same intention. Don't fall for their lies.

Make eye contact. Shake hands. Communicate. Build peace.

Chilli Sauce
May 29 2013 19:17

Bristolian, great flier. My only advice is that if you're planning on distributing it, cut it down to 300 words or less. After that point, only those who already agree with you will bother to read it.

Quote:
" Psychological science did a study that found significant correlation between racism and low IQ test scores."

Yeah, IQ tests are horribly biased. They're written by people of a predominantly wealthy, white, and university-educated background. That means the questions and the language reflect that. In fact, studies have shown that if the wording of questions are changed to reflect the speech patterns of certain groups (but testing the same basic information) IQ scores of various demographics change accordingly.

Chilli Sauce
May 29 2013 19:31

Re: crime statistic.

Worth noting those statistics are convictions. So, in America, the crime statistics would indicate that black people (per capita) commit more drug crimes. What's lost in those numbers is that poor and black communities have higher police surveillance and that in every stage of the justice system, whites are both more likely to have access to a lawyer, are more likely to get off, and are more likely to receive a lesser sentence (or even a community/first offenders sentence that doesn't appear as a conviction).

I have no idea if the same is true for sex crimes, but I do know that the vast majority of sex crimes are unreported and, even when they are reported, remain unconvicted. And, in any case, I imagine institutional racism plays some role in those numbers.

Fleur
May 29 2013 20:12

(I can't quite believe I'm posting a point of information about education in Montreal in a thread about the EDL confused )

I just want to make a comment to Barbosa about using Montreal as an example of good English literacy. I'm English, from the UK and my kids go to French schools here. 70% of the kids in this particular school may be French speaking as a first language, but it is a very bilingual place and regardless of which language they are schooled in, francophone teenagers generally have a good working knowledge of English. Everyone watches American TV, listens to English language music. It is very difficult here not to learn the other language to a certain level, unless you are very stubborn. English is taught as a second language in French schools, with an emphasis on technical aspects, spelling, grammar etc. There is, however limited scope for creative writing in these lessons. The overseas pen-pal project is a standard thing here and is graded, all my kids have done it and the letters are not approved until they have been checked by the teachers, so it's not surprising that they will be grammatically correct. There is also a particular emphasis amongst middle class families that, even though French is the language of business here, without a good English, their kids will be disadvantaged in a largely English speaking continent, so there's an awful lot of tutoring going on. Actually, I would be quite interested to know which school you were corresponding with.
Incidentally, things are not so very different here in Montreal to the UK. Quebec has the highest high school drop-out rate in Canada, especially among boys, many choosing to drop out at 16, instead of graduating at 17 and early exiting from school is along much the same socio-economic lines as in the UK.

And I have to agree with the other posters that IQ tests are immensely biased and culturally specific.

Fleur
May 29 2013 20:19

Actually, to make an actual point about the EDL, I don't live in the UK so I don't have any real feel for their presence, but I would be much more concerned about the mainstreaming of racist ideology. From a distance ( and correct me if I'm wrong but I only have the media and conversations with friends to go on) it looks to me that there's been a shift to the right since I left the place and I have been especially struck by levels of militarisms and nationalism, which seemed to me to be much lower when I lived there.

Dave Coull
May 29 2013 20:55

I'm white. I'm working class. I left school at the age of fifteen, way back in June 1956, fifty seven years ago. Most of my working life, I worked on building sites, as a bricklayer. I'll be seventy two in a couple of months. I know how to spell. I agree we shouldn't laugh at the EDL on class grounds, because that would amount to abandoning large sections of my own class to the far right. However, I do NOT agree that we should never laugh at them at all. Are you kidding? My reaction when I saw the sign that reads "Never submit to Aslan" was spontaneous laughter. Then, when I stopped laughing, I suggested that, if we're going to try to keep Narnians out of the country, we'll have to put border guards on the Wardrobe.

omen
May 29 2013 21:28
Reddebrek
May 29 2013 22:12
Quote:
EDL leader and small-businessman Stephen Yaxley-Lennon even goes by the psuedonym 'Tommy Robinson' to sound more working class.

Actually that isn't quite true, he chose that name to distance himself from his Irish roots. The British Nationalist scene overlaps Ulster Loyalism and back when the EDL first took off the boys from Ulster weren't very happy that they were supporting a group lead by a Irish man. In fact I can remember seeing a video by an ex EDLer (though still racist loon) that had clips from two interviews? of Tommy were he kept either bigging up his "Irish Blood" or in a later interview denying his Irish heritage because he'd been getting some flak from the real Balaclava brigade.

Maybe its my familiarity with Irish surnames but Yaxley-Lennon doesn't really scream middle class to me. If anything I can see Robinson being the name of my bank manager or an accountant.

mons
May 29 2013 22:19

If anyone actually wants to respond to what I'm saying other than downvoting it please do. I'm fucking bored, have been researching and writing on this subject for the last couple of weeks, and need to procrastinate from doing actual work on it!

mons
May 29 2013 22:33

double post sorry

pete117
May 29 2013 23:19

"The working class is the most diverse class."
It is now, but Mass immigration is what the EDL are whining about (amongst other things). It seems to me that immigration is a tool of capital and not something that should be championed by the left at all. Immigration is used by the establishment to displace the working class, undermine their ability to bargain a fair price for their labour (increasing capitals "reserve army of labour") and focusing the workers attentions well away from class struggle. It seems a bit paradoxical to skip over these facts considering their impact is borne almost exclusively by the workers and societies least able to deal with globalization. Fine if the middle classes want to 'celebrate the diversity' etc. but you'd expect them too because they are fine with class warfare being waged through immigration.

jonthom
May 29 2013 23:34
pete117 wrote:
"The working class is the most diverse class."
It is now, but Mass immigration is what the EDL are whining about (amongst other things). It seems to me that immigration is a tool of capital and not something that should be championed by the left at all. Immigration is used by the establishment to displace the working class, undermine their ability to bargain a fair price for their labour (increasing capitals "reserve army of labour") and focusing the workers attentions well away from class struggle. It seems a bit paradoxical to skip over these facts considering their impact is borne almost exclusively by the workers and societies least able to deal with globalization. Fine if the middle classes want to 'celebrate the diversity' etc. but you'd expect them too because they are fine with class warfare being waged through immigration.

out of interest, where do working class immigrants come into this equation?

Chilli Sauce
May 30 2013 07:53
Quote:
Fine if the middle classes want to 'celebrate the diversity' etc. but you'd expect them too because they are fine with class warfare being waged through immigration.

There's a lot to say about that.

We can start with the practicalities: it's migrants that keep, for example, the NHS running--an institution that is of distinct benefit to the working class. Then there's the fact that some of the largest and most active class struggle groups in Britain today are of migrant background--the ongoing cleaners struggles in London, for example.

On a theoretically level, I don't think the discussion here is about diversity, but solidarity. Capital is international. It moves freely throughout the world looking for cheap labor. That means populations will be displaced on account of capital flight and investment.

To combat that we have to (a) be organized internationally and (b) not allow ourselves to be divided on grounds of race, ethnicity, migration status, etc., etc. To do so only strengthens the hand of the bosses.

You're right that a lot of middle class language is alienating. But we combat that by (1) creating working-class discourses based on the need for real, practical solidarity between all working people and (2) being organized.

The UK working class has been battered for going on decades now, but we won't change that by either blaming migrants or stopping immigration. We can only achieve that by being organized--as a class--in our workplaces and our communities.

P.S. I'm a white American immigrant to the UK, I am a tool of capital to displace the working class and undermine wages and bargaining power, too?

mons
May 30 2013 11:17

Chilli,

Maybe your point about statistics was applying to what I said.

Quote:
Worth noting those statistics are convictions.

Not all of them; if you read through the Independent article or any other research and experience from, e.g. charities supporting victims of child sexual abuse, such as Barnardo's, the extent to which they corroborate each other indicates the validity of the statistics. This is the more important point I think.

Quote:
What's lost in those numbers is that poor and black communities have higher police surveillance and that in every stage of the justice system, whites are both more likely to have access to a lawyer, are more likely to get off, and are more likely to receive a lesser sentence (or even a community/first offenders sentence that doesn't appear as a conviction).

Yes, certainly. And white suburban kids who are always taking drugs are likely to get away with nothing. This argument doesn't extend to here as far as I can see. Simply citing institutional racism isn't enough unless you can explain how that is operating, even in general terms. These cases are not exposed through police surveillance of suspect groups, which could lead to institutional racism. Instead, the police respond - shockingly and slowly - to allegations when they arise. So I can't see how this tendency for convictions to disproportionately affect poor and black communities in the US is applicable at all here. What you would instead expect, is that those communities within which such abuse is more normalised and less marginalised these incidents would be under-reported, and thus under-represented in statistics for convictions.

taffboy gwyrdd
May 30 2013 12:01

I did a blog satirising, among other things, the appalling language skills of the EDL.

The "other things" got lost in the "debate" surrounding it, which ran on lines laid out here. I got very heavy criticism for it, but it was also very popular.

Those other things included their dire logic, general stupidity and some in jokes. I think it was more popular with those who got the in jokes.

I consider the EDL fair game. It is not about class, they twist class politics e.g anyhow with their foul twisting of the misleading "white working class" concept (Why is a 4th generation West Indian or Sri Lankan excluded from this group?).

Laughing at stupid bigots is as old as any politics. Obviously you have to laugh at the stuff they are stupid about.

You could almost turn this around to say are Libcom et al suggesting that the EDL are stupid because they are working class? The real clincher is that an English Defence League are shit in their use of English.

I despise middle class bigotry. It's often hilarious as well. I do another blog related to that now. That's the thing - for this "class hatred" accusation to stick, the accused should be proved to not laugh at middle class bigots. It's true that Middle class people may, through one reason and another, have slightly better language use. You can see it in the UKIP droolers who think that because they can string a sentence together they are verging on the intellectual. But again, the bottom line defence is that an "English" Defence League who are shit at using English is fundamentally funny. Their hatred makes them fair game. It has nothing to do with their economic relation to society or how much control they do/don't have of the means of production.

http://whoistherealracists.wordpress.com/

taffboy gwyrdd
May 30 2013 12:08

One more thing. The politics of the EDL are vehemently opposed to the interests of the working class in theory and practice. They have threatened and physically attacked trade unionists and other groups on matters unrelated to their usual weird obsessions.

Anarchism and various brands of socialism have a lot more to offer. Why haven't they succeeded in building a movement even comparable to the EDL,who were badly floundering before the chance to exploit Lee Rigby's murder?

Perhaps it's because they spend too much time denouncing people on their side, getting all high minded about exactly which tactics and strategy we should use. In fact, anti fascism has been fairly cohesive during the EDL years and I hope it stays that way.

The struggle against capital is still horribly plagued by Peoples Front Of Judea horseshit, and it's the reactionaries who are laughing now that UKIP are getting around 20% in the polls.

The left have dropped the ball, the consequences (the right having such a free run at picking it up) are pretty disgraceful.