Time 'to dump' multiculturalism - Joe Reilly

Bradford riots, 2001

Currently there is much discussion on how the rise of the far right can be halted. The truthful answer, says Joe Reilly, is that an anti-fascism joined at the hip with multiculturalism cannot do so.

libcom note: we disagree with much of this article but reproduce it for reference

Britain 'has the highest number of interracial relationships in the world' according to the Institute for Social and Economic Research. This supremely natural and healthy state of affairs, is however, not due to multiculturalism but in spite of it. For multiculturalist ideology, which believes that 'culture makes man' rather than the other way round, sets its face firmly against miscegenation, integration and assimilation - on principle.

"Multiculturalism actually promotes racism. It engenders confusion, resentment and bullying and prevents people developing a shared British identity. This idea should have been dumped long since", claimed Minette Marrin in a Guardian article on May 29.

Though evidence to support her claim is legion, in the same paper on the same day, Vivek Chaudry a Guardian journalist rather underlined her point, by inverting the Norman Tebbitt 'cricket test'. He castigated England captain Nasser Hussain for bemoaning the fact that people with origins in the Indian subcontinent continue to support teams from that part of the world rather than England. "My message to Hussain is this. You need to get in touch with your brown side" Chaudrey advised.

Though small, a not insignificant number of journalists are now beginning to publicly ask questions of multiculturalism. Marrin's though is not a typical liberal view, nor is she a typical Guardian journalist. She is in fact a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, which explains why her article was entitled 'A view from the right'. But is it? Might it not as easily, or more accurately have been entitled 'A view from the Left'?

Mainly, what prevents the conservative left assessing the multicultural impact honestly, residual dullness aside, is the fear of being denounced. So instead of properly mocking the Robin Cook 'chicken tikka' statement, the conservative left feel under obligation to denounce any misgivings as 'right wing', and from that same standpoint feel under obligation to push the agenda toward what it sees as the opposite fundamentalist conclusions, when, and where ever, the opportunity presents itself.

Thus in Oldham, while the British National Party canvass the white working class neighbourhoods, the Socialist Alliance (SA), whose analysis sees the white working class as the sole culprits, nevertheless distributes its propaganda, only in the exclusively non-white areas.

What political purpose, one asks, is served by such tokenism, when if it took its responsibilities at all seriously the SA would have put up candidates against the BNP in the area to begin with? As it is, while the SA 'intervention' allowed impeccably white liberals to wear their multicultural heart on their sleeve for a few hours, the BNP went about its business establishing a bridgehead for the local elections in 2002 unhindered. None of this is not to suggest that the SA is politically equipped to win white working class minds. It is merely to point out that it has no ambition to do so. Instead it is perfectly happy to strike a pose, and pronounce on events from a thoroughly partisan, that is to say dishonest, perspective.

Other factors detected within the debris of multiculturalism that is Oldham, are also worth mentioning. First of all, there is the carefully cultivated myth that anti-racism is the preserve of social groups A, and B. Only with 'education can there be enlightenment' The Guardian's Polly Toynbee announced recently. This is so often said, that it is now widely believed among all sections of society, to such an extent that for many, to be properly anti-racist it is necessary to be anti-working class.

Indeed to be properly anti-racist, it may for some, be necessary to instinctively feel 'anti-white'. "What we now have is a new version of the deserving and undeserving poor - the noble new British working class, who are ethnic, and the thoroughly swinish old working class, who are white". (Julie Burchill, The Guardian, 5.5.01)

Yet, even a casual glance at the make up of any inner-city community, reveals the conceit of an 'inherently racist' white working class to be a lie. It is among the working classes, and statistically, only among the working classes, that interracial relationships thrive. Elsewhere, apart from genially nodding to the man behind the counter in the corner shop, classes A and B contribute nothing to the project they loudly proclaim loyalty to.

On top of that there is the self-serving multicultural pretense that all ethnic communities are homogeneous, and in an ideal world, all would be treated as such.

Not only that, but while some such as 'Operation Black Vote' for instance, insist Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sikhs and Hindus, as well as African and those of West Indian and even Chinese descent, must for general electoral convenience you understand, be treated as 'black', along side this form of forced integration, other multiculturalists are working just as hard to see the term 'black' further sub-divided on the grounds of ethnicity and religion.

The aim? To have strict segregation in schools and housing (to begin with), not only for Blacks and Asians but, for Muslims, Hindus, Bangladeshis and so on, ad infinitum, finally ending in racial, cultural and political balkanisation.

Of course, in the midst of this racial engineering, one word is carefully avoided. That is the word 'class'. For the very good reason that the promotion of cultural diversity is intended to kill off, and replace the idea of social diversity.Yet despite such sleight of hand, that 'class' is as big a factor in the sense of alienation experienced by 'Pakistani' youth in Glodwick, as it is in the predominately white Fitton Hill is undeniable. For what is striking about their situation, is that unlike many Indians, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi inhabitants of Oldham show little sign of the fabled enterprising spirit, all of Asian origin, are we are told possess.

They came here with nothing, to work in the mills as labourers, and labourers whether in work or not, they largely remain. They have not broken out - or up. Some pious humbugs like Ken Livingstone, will insist that this is entirely due to endemic racism in British society. But if true, how to explain the equally downtrodden white counterparts with whom they are at war? If racism is the root cause, how to explain the inability of 'Fittonhillites' to rise out of the ghetto? 'Oh them, they are you know, just so much white trash', many a multiculturalist will explain without blushing.

Recently describing for the New Statesman, a visit to Oldham a couple of years ago when he more or less predicted the 'backlash,' Darcus Howe uses that very expression, unashamedly, and apparently in ignorance of its American Deep South origins. No matter, his observations make a nonsense of the working assumptions of the ANL/SA, that there is 'a uniform access to power for all whites, denied to all blacks'.

"For the first time in this country, I had seen people who fitted the American description 'white trash'. Their homes had a stench of decay: of damp, sweat, and stale food cooked days before. The little picket fences were collapsing. The roofs were leaking and pallid faces staring." These are the labour aristocracy, benefitting from imperialism and eager to protect their privileges and ill-gotten gains by voting BNP are they?

For a further insight into how skewed mainstream multiculturalism thinking really is, it is necessary only to take stock of the racially loaded invective of the 'anti-fascist' visitors to the National Front 'guest-book'. These startlingly ugly contributions are, bear in mind, should you be tempted to look, all products of a multicultural education of thirty years standing.

In a further tribute to the influence of such teaching, one Asian group, allegedly set up to fight the NF and Combat 18 has chosen for itself the title; 'Combat 786'. Like Combat '18' which represents the A and H in the alphabet, 'numbers 786' are The Observer reports, 'a numerical representation of Allah'. The similarities do not, I suspect, end there.

Meanwhile that the segregationist 'peace line' solutions proposed by the BNP, are these days impeccably multiculturalist in tone and delivery is the final irony. 'In one area' an Observer article mentions 'where an alleyway leads from Fitton Hill into an Asian street, the council plans to erect a metal gate to separate the communities'. Remarkably, the metal gate has since been erected in line with the Griffin edict.

How effortlessly euro-nationalism has appropriated the language of multiculturalism to meet its own objectives, also demonstrates just how far the anti-racism of the 1970's has drifted. Furthermore, the ease and comfort of the euro-nationalist fit, unmasks the lie that multiculturalism is naturally progressive.

In reality it is more trouble than it's worth. Not to say that people from the Indian subcontinent or anywhere else ought to be compelled to meet the 'Tebbit cricket test'. But neither should it be demanded of them out of some sense of racial fidelity that they meet the Chaudrey test either. Multiculturalism however, more or less insists they must. And it is largely when the the left promotes or defends multiculturalism's right to do so, that it becomes a politically dangerous liability, Oldham has exposed it to be.

Like many of the second generation Irish, whose support for the Republic at football is not entirely separate from an antipathy to England, similarly, as the unprovoked attacks of as many as 30 pubs in the Oldham area have illustrated, being pro-Muslim is not always entirely divorced from being anti-white. Clearly, such an ideology does not enhance authentic anti-racism - it subverts it.

Some commentators on the 'SPIKEONLINE' website (ex-Living Marxism magazine) have arrived at precisely such conclusions. "There was a time when the left was accused of stirring up race riots. Now it is the the far right that is accused of starting the violence. Where politicians once denounced violent blacks, today they are more likely to denounce violent racists. The establishment no longer relies on traditional British nationalism, but is more likely to talk in the language of anti- racism."

Continuing in a similar vein another adds: "When every issue and incident is racialised and seen through the prism of race, it is not surprising that people start to see their problems in racial terms. The end result can only be more division and conflict."

Professor Frank Furedi, one time mentor to the now defunct RCP is sure-footed on this subject at least: "today it is the race relations lobby and particularly New Labour that finds it difficult to avoid the temptation of playing the race card. By treating every routine conflict as racially motivated they are racialising everyday life. This process is as destructive as the old-fashioned racism."

It is a process he warns that can only end in "Everyday human contact" becoming "recast in racial terms, with the consequence that racism becomes normalised. This confuses and disorients people, breeding a climate of suspicion and mistrust." A by-product of this racialistion is that "it also trivalises the real experience of racism and distracts from confronting real cases of injustice" he concludes.

Currently there is much discussion on how the rise of the far right can be halted. The truthful answer is that an anti-fascism joined at the hip with multiculturalism cannot do so. Indeed the higher the activity of the likes of the ANL, and now, and even more ridiculously the SA, the more entrenched the respective working class communities will become. Put bluntly, 'racialising social problems' is the motive force of both euro-nationalism and multiculturalism alike. For purposes of anti-fascist strategy, if for no more principled reasons, multiculturalism is 'an idea that should have been dumped long since'.

Reproduced from RA Bulletin Volume 4, Issue 12, July/Aug '01
Lightly edited by libcom

Posted By

daniel
May 31 2007 11:08

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Nigel
Mar 31 2021 03:25

What's happening with the IWCA these days?

R Totale
Mar 31 2021 07:49

They've not been on a great trajectory these last few years. Nothing posted on their main website since 2019, and the second-most recent article on there is this: What lies behind the Danish Social Democrats‘ trend-bucking victory? An aggressive stance against hyper-immigration and reconnecting with their working class base.

Similarly, their fb page has nothing new posted in the last 12 months, so they've seemingly had nothing to say about the entire pandemic, with their last post being about how Lisa Nandy "someone who might at least put Labour back on an even keel: a safe pair of hands in short... before, inexplicably, she turned into Wile E. Coyote and stepped off the proverbial cliff" by signing up to support a trans rights pledge.
Because that's the main thing working class people have been worried about in 2020, whether Lisa Nandy is too supportive of trans rights.

Mike Harman
Apr 1 2021 07:42

Quietly noting that the IWCA's favourite website Spiked Online is now responsible for at least a couple of senior Tory government advisers, as well as long lime RCP-er Claire Fox being in the House of Lords after teaming up with Farage. Can't get more 'working class independence' than that!

R Totale
Apr 1 2021 11:55

If anyone has the time and energy, I think it would be fascinating to trace continuities and changes in their ideology from the RA/AFA days, through the early 2000s functioning organisation IWCA period, to the current "one blog post a year about Lisa Nandy" incarnation. Like, obviously there was always stuff there to disagree with, but I don't think that it was inevitable that they had to end up where they are now. Although in retrospect, the fact that they were already boosting Furedi 20 years ago doesn't look like a great sign.

Mike Harman
Apr 1 2021 13:22
R Totale wrote:
If anyone has the time and energy, I think it would be fascinating to trace continuities and changes in their ideology from the RA/AFA days, through the early 2000s functioning organisation IWCA period, to the current "one blog post a year about Lisa Nandy" incarnation.

If someone was to do this, probably worth noting the Hackney Independent split in 2004. https://www.hackneyindependent.org/2004/11/from-hackney-iwca-to-hackney-...

Hackney Independent itself isn't active any more, but of the people I know of from it that are still around, none are doing blog posts about Lisa Nandy. Do we know whether the person running the IWCA site these days is Joe Reilly?

Steven.
Apr 1 2021 16:20
R Totale wrote:
If anyone has the time and energy, I think it would be fascinating to trace continuities and changes in their ideology from the RA/AFA days, through the early 2000s functioning organisation IWCA period, to the current "one blog post a year about Lisa Nandy" incarnation. Like, obviously there was always stuff there to disagree with, but I don't think that it was inevitable that they had to end up where they are now. Although in retrospect, the fact that they were already boosting Furedi 20 years ago doesn't look like a great sign.

Yeah some of the people on the more anarchist side of things, like Class War, have followed a similar trajectory. For example one person went from this:
https://libcom.org/library/anarchism-british-islamism-putting-things-per...

To pretty much working full-time on white man identity politics, and saying that Black British people should be grateful just to live here… https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/soas-take-action-against-ill-informed...

Fozzie
Apr 1 2021 17:00

RA's connections with the RCP go back to the 80s with the "Red Front" electoral initiative. But they have also slagged them off in the past afaik. I don't think saying Spiked is "the IWCA's favourite website" is helpful.

Similarly I am not sure that the former member of Class War that Steven mentions is especially representative of what CW alumni are up to.

It's better to look at tendencies and so on and not focus on personalities and organisatonal formations really. I think all of this stuff is an interesting example of where an ultra anti-identity politics, but very pro- a particular working class identity will get you.

For me the IWCA was at its best when it combined the on the ground stuff with the theory. For whatever reason, the former is noticeably absent from its online material in recent years. (And I say this as someone who has not been door knocking in recent years myself).

Mike Harman
Apr 1 2021 17:14
Fozzie wrote:
I don't think saying Spiked is "the IWCA's favourite website" is helpful.

Well it's a comment on this 2001 article which spends two paragraphs on how great Spiked is, and another on how great a Telegraph columnist is. Maybe I could have said 'Joe Reilly's favourite website'.

Red Marriott
Apr 1 2021 17:59
Quote:
Stott, who is also a researcher at the Henry Jackson Society, ...

The Henry Jackson Society is rightwing think-tank, and has faced repeated accusations of pushing an anti-Muslim agenda. Its members have shared the same platform as Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, who are all considered key figures in the "alt-right" American white nationalist movement. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/soas-take-action-against-ill-informed...

Stott also joined UKIP and campaigned alongside Farage; https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/sorry-i-m-not-boris-ukip-s-only...

R Totale
Apr 1 2021 18:23
Fozzie wrote:
For me the IWCA was at its best when it combined the on the ground stuff with the theory. For whatever reason, the former is noticeably absent from its online material in recent years. (And I say this as someone who has not been door knocking in recent years myself).

Yeah, I dunno when exactly that shift happened but I feel like the lack of it probably played an important role in helping them lose their moorings.

freemind
Apr 5 2021 14:24

Gary oShea made the same point at a Connelly Association conference several years ago.He argued for a working class anti racism in poor communities instead of the break on Class consciousness that is Multiculturalism.
Nick Griffin replied saying that was an admission AFA was wrong and that the BNP was right.Obviously the Fascist prick was being short sighted(he is one eyed lol)as Oshea was arguing on a Class perspective which scum like Griffin hate not from a bourgeoisie racist base.
Is it any wonder that Fascists eat away at our communities when Diane Abbot and Lord Hain pour scorn on beleaguered Working class areas and preach tolerance from their privileged middle class ivory towers?AFA earned respect by ordinary people because it was working class and not some invading Leftist gobshite organisation preaching at people who know better.The Left and Labour are a joke that will slowly rot which leaves communities open to a new approach on which to fight class politics and defend our communities against Fascist and State attacks.