Stop laughing at the English Defence League

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.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 29, 2013

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 [email protected]

Comments

flaneur

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by flaneur on May 29, 2013

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.

[youtube]09lE2mivr70[/youtube]

Chilli Sauce

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 29, 2013

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

donnacha.delong

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by donnacha.delong on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Barbosa on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Barbosa on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by donnacha.delong on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 29, 2013

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.

" 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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Barbosa on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Coldwitz on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Barbosa on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 29, 2013

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

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bristolianworker on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 29, 2013

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.

" 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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on May 29, 2013

(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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Dave Coull on May 29, 2013

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.

Reddebrek

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Reddebrek on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 29, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 29, 2013

double post sorry

pete117

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by pete117 on May 29, 2013

"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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on May 29, 2013

pete117

"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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on May 30, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 30, 2013

Chilli,

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

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.

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taffboy gwyrdd on May 30, 2013

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

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taffboy gwyrdd on May 30, 2013

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.

madashell

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on May 30, 2013

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 not just an issue of who is being laughed at, but what they are being laughed at for though. Laughing at working class racists for being poorly educated/uncultured/unemployed, as a lot of the SLATEDL stuff does (when it isn't attacking women for not being conventionally attractive), is problematic even if you take a moment to call Jeremy Clarkson a dick afterwards.

tbm

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tbm on May 30, 2013

Just so you know, you are accusing less than 10% of the UK population of perpetrating 40% of these types of crimes. That is totally absurd, unfounded, and racist.

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.

Yes, you are arguing TOTAL CRAP.

You've been reading to much BNP propoganda - please do go and do some research and "dig out these statistics"

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.

BY YOUR OWN LOGIC You just called yourself a racist, argued "like a racist" and were racist in one terribly written paragraph.

Different races do not have different intrinsic intelligence or mental capacity. Many things affect test scores; If English isn't your first language, that will probably lower your scores. People who have high IQs are good at IQ tests, the more you practice, the better you get at IQ tests. Draw some conclusions from that about who is going to score well. Also consider the phrasing and style of the tests - anyone who confronts one for the first time will testify that they make little sense to start with.

I am so angry right now.

ARGH!

madashell

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on May 30, 2013

tbm

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.

BY YOUR OWN LOGIC You just called yourself a racist, argued "like a racist" and were racist in one terribly written paragraph.

Different races do not have different intrinsic intelligence or mental capacity. Many things affect test scores; If English isn't your first language, that will probably lower your scores. People who have high IQs are good at IQ tests, the more you practice, the better you get at IQ tests. Draw some conclusions from that about who is going to score well. Also consider the phrasing and style of the tests - anyone who confronts one for the first time will testify that they make little sense to start with.

I am so angry right now.

ARGH!

Isn't that exactly the point being made though, that IQ tests are biased towards privileged groups and are unreliable as a measure of some quantifiable, innate intelligence (as if such a thing even exists)?

tbm

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tbm on May 30, 2013

That article states that its an incredibly small sample.

"They worried that "findings were being overextended from a small, geographically concentrated sample to characterise an entire crime type". Even their most recent work studies just five cases."

The problem with small samples is this; it might be that everyone on this forum is an idiot (myself included) does that mean every forum user in the whole world is idiot?

Probably.

Check these Rhetological Fallacies out -
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/rhetological-fallacies/

Good times.

tbm

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tbm on May 30, 2013

madashell,

My response was to "mons", above, who was claiming all kinds of things about Asian Men, IQs and I don't know what else!

Yes, we agree, IQ tests are pointless and certainly don't give data reliable or unbiased enough to condemn an entire race with.

Steven.

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 30, 2013

Dave Coull

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.

I agree with this.

I also agree that it is fair enough to criticise them having poor English, when they are attacking people for not speaking good enough English.

I also think it is fair enough to point out to racist to say that races they don't like have lower IQs to respond that racists have lower IQs. And of course that IQ is totally meaningless as it is a culturally biased measure of how good you are at culturally biased IQ tests.

That said, I agree with the article to some extent as we shouldn't just laugh at them, but laughing at them has a big part to play in creating a culture of widespread opposition both to racist groups and to racist views as a whole.

Just one small example, my girlfriend got a text out of the blue last night from a work colleague who had previously never even said anything about politics, let alone anything vaguely left-wing containing the link to the Muslamic ray guns interview.

Slagging people off for being uneducated is not on: but pointing out the stupidity and lack of any sort of logical basis for the prejudiced ideas of the EDL is totally fair enough in my view.

Steven.

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 30, 2013

mons

Err you posted something which actually backs up what I said.

err actually no it doesn't. What it states is that with sexual offences as a whole, Asian perpetrators are basically in proportion to their numbers. And with the specific offence of child grooming:

“Caution should be taken in drawing conclusions about ethnicity due to the relatively small number of areas where agencies have been proactive around this particular type of crime. We do not draw national conclusions about ethnicity from the data available at this time because it is too inconsistent.”

so you can't make overall generalisations about this. And you doing so is entirely counter-productive.

And of course if the overall number of Asian sex offenders is proportionate with a number of Asians in general, if there is a disproportionately high number of Asian men convicted of grooming then it means there is a disproportionately low number of Asian men convicted of other types of sexual offence. So it's not a valid point to use to demonise Asians. "I can't stand these Muslim groomers, give me a good old white kiddie fiddler any day…"

You could probably find loads of random crimes that have a disproportionately high number of people convicted from a particular ethnic group, but what would be a politically pointless exercise.

Not to mention it is very much off topic to this article, which is about whether people should laugh at the EDL or not. If you want to start separate discussion about this topic please feel free to do so in the forums.

madashell

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on May 30, 2013

tbm

madashell,

My response was to "mons", above, who was claiming all kinds of things about Asian Men, IQs and I don't know what else!

Yes, we agree, IQ tests are pointless and certainly don't give data reliable or unbiased enough to condemn an entire race with.

Yeah, but I think that was mons' point too, that using IQ tests for political point scoring against the far right just mirrors their use of the same tests to promote racism.

NannerNannerNa…

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by NannerNannerNa… on May 30, 2013

Hey I've got a silly question - where does the whole "child grooming" thing come from? Here in the states, we all despise the poor so much that any minority group that is disproportionately poor gets all sorts of shit heaped on them whereas minority groups that are relatively "successful" get praised a whole ton (asians and jews, and even then only to spite blacks and hispanics. I've seen hispanics praised just to spite black people it's crazy.)

Some people are ready to call black people lazy and inherently criminal and leeches and whatever, but child groomers? That just doesn't even make any logical sense. The fact that mons is fixating on that in particular shows how seriously prevalent this trope is, so what's up with that? Did somebody write a book about it that got talked up in Daily Mail and The Telegraph or something?

mons

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 30, 2013

Nanner:
I think people in general are fixating on it, despite the fact it only forms a significant minority of child sex abuse, because a spate of highly publicised cases that have come to light recently. The reason I am is because I think it is a good example of something relevant to this article; the left, including anarchists, making all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that fly in the face of the limited evidence that does exist, which further cements the divide between the experience of most people in the UK, and the claims and views of politically correct activists. It is only tangentially related, fair play, so I won't comment anymore on it on this thread despite getting some really frustrating, hyperbolic and illogical responses.

tbm:
I don't know whether you just failed to read that whole argument or are being purposefully misleading, I genuinely don't. But quoting the bit saying the stats are only based on 5 cases is a crazily inaccurate thing to do! Please if you're reading this, read the actual article - calling tbm selective is far too generous. I have to say I don't understand most of the rest of what you're saying, but I think madashell has cleared up the point I was making about IQ's.

Steven:
Thanks for actually responding genuinely. You ignored what I said was the most important evidence though; the extent to which all the scraps of evidence corroborate with each other. Don't you think that's meaningful? Certainly to assert as most others have that there is no correlation is clearly irrational. Granted, you concede that it could be that Asian men (and more specifically, British-Pakistani) are over-represented in child grooming cases.

So - fair enough - you conclude they are therefore under-represented in other sex abuse crimes. That logically follows and I agree. There is no evidence to suggest Asian men are disproportionately over-represented in sex abuse crimes in general, and I have not suggested there is. And yes, it's not a valid reason for 'demonising Asians'! There is loads of Islamaphobia as well as other racism (not all Asians are Muslim of course...) still pervasive towards Asians in this country, obviously I don't want Asians to be demonised.

However, you then state

You could probably find loads of random crimes that have a disproportionately high number of people convicted from a particular ethnic group, but what would be a politically pointless exercise.

which misses my point entirely, which is also maybe why you think my point is so irrelevant to the article. When people - against the evidence, however partial and fragmented - claim that there is no correlation between, for example, British-Pakistani men and child grooming this is nothing more than a dogmatic, unsubstantiated assertion of a politically correct ideology. It's true that pointing out these correlations has no political value in itself. But when these sentiments are rife amongst the public, making the irrational claim to the contrary only serves to alienate most people, of all races, from politico-types. An understandable reaction to these lefty politico claims would be to project a wider liberal, politically correct agenda onto society. Those who have those kinds of views will have their views validated. Those who, wrongly, feel that there is a white working class that is being ignored by this supposed politically correct conspiracy will also become further entrenched in their prejudice, and their views will become more palatable to many others. I have seen this happen in response to some of the more absurdly blindly pc responses to the Oxford case in particular. And I am opposed to this because I do not want moronic racist ideas to spread; not because I am spreading them!

radicalgraffiti

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on May 30, 2013

mons

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,

this is wrong,

mons

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.

Thats not how statistics work, you simple can't take the unknowns out as if they don't matter. the 38% unknown could be distributed in any fashion. 46% of convicted offenders for whom we have data doesn't even remotely justify the claim that 40% of child sex offences are committed be asians

Also the report this dater comes from says at the start that it doesn' refer to all child sexual abuse, or even all of the type it focuses on.*

the data submitted refers only to the ‘localised grooming’ model of
child sexual exploitation and does not include online
grooming, trafficking of children into the uK, peer-on-peer abuse or other forms of sexual exploitation. it has proven
impossible, however, to neatly segment localised grooming from other forms due to the complexities and overlap within the offending behaviour. this assessment cannot be seen as fully representative of the nature and scale of child sexual exploitation in the u.K.,
or, indeed, of the ‘localised grooming’ model. Data relating to child
sexual exploitation is often partial and incomplete, concealed in secondary indicator data, or simply unrecorded. in many cases, agencies do not have any data on child sexual exploitation.
indications from service providers suggest that because victims frequently do not recognise that they are being exploited and do not disclose abuse, there is significant unidentified and unmet need. Where police, children’s services and voluntary sector agencies have worked together, coordinated by the LsCBs, to identify and address child sexual exploitation, a significant number of cases have come to light. However, very few cases are known in areas where agencies do not routinely engage victims and collect data.
agencies which do not proactively look for child sexual exploitation will as a result fail to identify it. as a result, the majority of incidents of child sexual exploitation in the uK are unrecognised and unknown.

* i also notice the fullfact website has misunderstood the date ( and aparently don't know how to make tables) the state that Among the group providing complete details, 38 per cent were white, 26 per cent Asian (almost all of whom were of Pakistani origin) despite the fact that that there date shows only 30 out of 248 people in the Asian category

mons

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mons on May 30, 2013

(sorry to reply again like a stroppy toddler but nothing upsets me more than people disagreeing me online and I have an exam tomorrow morning so what else am I going to do...)

radicalgraffiti:
I said I suspected it was just for child grooming cases, and then clarified that was the case in my next post. So don't quote me out of context, it really pisses me off cos it reflects dogma not actually discussing things! The aim of an argument where you misquote people is to win that argument, not to discuss things genuinely, so those arguments are utterly pointless.

No, you can't take the unknowns out, you're right. Of course not; but neither of the statistical claims I made did that. I gave the proportion of men convicted where their racial identity is known as 28%, but merely relying on that would wrongly imply that 28% of those convicted for child grooming are Asian. So it's best supplemented by the second statistic I cited, that 46% of those convictions where we know the racial identity were of Asian men. Neither of those figures is fool-proof, never mind the limited statistical evidence it was based on, etc. But it's not wrong to cite either of those figures, so long as you explain what they represent. It would be wrong to present it as either 28 or 46% of those convicted were Asian men, but I didn't, I gave both statistics which gives a better picture than just citing the misleading 28% figure.

I didn't understand your final clarification at first, but I think I get it now. You're saying that when they say that almost all of the Asian convictions were of British-Pakistani men, they are only basing that on the small minority of cases where origins beyond just Asian were given. Yeah, fair play, that is bad logic on their part but has no bearing on what we're talking about.

radicalgraffiti

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on May 31, 2013

mons

(sorry to reply again like a stroppy toddler but nothing upsets me more than people disagreeing me online and I have an exam tomorrow morning so what else am I going to do...)

radicalgraffiti:
I said I suspected it was just for child grooming cases, and then clarified that was the case in my next post. So don't quote me out of context, it really pisses me off cos it reflects dogma not actually discussing things! The aim of an argument where you misquote people is to win that argument, not to discuss things genuinely, so those arguments are utterly pointless.

No, you can't take the unknowns out, you're right. Of course not; but neither of the statistical claims I made did that. I gave the proportion of men convicted where their racial identity is known as 28%, but merely relying on that would wrongly imply that 28% of those convicted for child grooming are Asian. So it's best supplemented by the second statistic I cited, that 46% of those convictions where we know the racial identity were of Asian men. Neither of those figures is fool-proof, never mind the limited statistical evidence it was based on, etc. But it's not wrong to cite either of those figures, so long as you explain what they represent. It would be wrong to present it as either 28 or 46% of those convicted were Asian men, but I didn't, I gave both statistics which gives a better picture than just citing the misleading 28% figure.

no, you tryed to us it to justify your original claim which was just plain wrong, you did not do anything to explain what the statistics actually meant, you seem, to be trying to find a way of presenting things so as t make the proportion of Asians involved in child sex offences appear as high as possible, even if it means being dishonest in your presentation of statistics.

mons

I didn't understand your final clarification at first, but I think I get it now. You're saying that when they say that almost all of the Asian convictions were of British-Pakistani men, they are only basing that on the small minority of cases where origins beyond just Asian were given. Yeah, fair play, that is bad logic on their part but has no bearing on what we're talking about.

its either gross stupidity or deliberately misleading, i put it as a stared note because i noticed it while looking at that source, but no one had tried to directly us it so far.

Hereward

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hereward on May 31, 2013

Guys, I have a simple solution to these arguments.

On the one hand we have mons, who, rightly, sees something strange in the media's coverage of certain events. On the other hand we have mons' opponents who, again arguably rightly, see something that makes them uncomfortable in mons' attempts to communicate what he finds strange. This is because mons, unfortunately, does not see the simplicity of the issue and is not making a clear argument, so his posts end up coming across as trying to 'say something' about the Muslim or Pakistani community (i.e. boosting racist discourse etc).

The issue is in fact incredibly simple, and we can solve it simply by remaining true to the knowledge and values that we on the left already have. The fact is that the muslim/pakistani community is no better or worse than any other community in England. A simple statement that everybody can agree with. Of course, as it is a normal community, composed of normal human beings, all the vices and faults that all the other human beings in the world are subject to are also present in this community.

So far so obvious, right? Well, not according to the left wing. Because there is a certain terrible human fault which the left wing press, and certain aspects of left wing ideology as a whole, completely refuses to mention with regard to for instance individuals in the Muslim community. This is the fault of racism. The left wing press, and to an extent even the centre and right wing press, refuses to use the term in relation to anybody who is not white.

Do I know for certain that certain of the crimes that have been mentioned were racist? No. Is it highly likely, considering that in some of the cases ALL of the perpetrators were pakistani/north african muslim, and ALL of the victims white? Yes. Is it very strange and very remarkable that the media have completely refused to raise the possibility of racism being at work? Yes, and this inequality in discourse is important for two reasons. One, people are noticing it, and are angry about it. This strengthens the right wing. A simple universalizing of anti-racist discourse is needed. When we universalize anti-racist discourse, as being able to consider anybody from any 'race' as perpetrator or victim, people will see justice done in language, and the right wing will lose a big crutch. Meanwhile we will still be able to combat the huge majority of racism that exists in the 'traditional' sense (from white people to others). All this involves is the simple logical following of our already-existing beliefs in the equality of humans and the evils of racism.

Two, I do not believe there is a weird 'conspiracy' about this. I believe that this inequality of discourse exists for social and historical reasons, and, when analysed, reveals things that we must understand, about how western cultures and peoples see themselves (or refuse to see themselves). I have written about this at greater length in an essay I have uploaded to Libcom, read it here:

http://www.libcom.org/library/hidden-struggle-critique-development-radical-theories-conceptions-culture-race-privilege

jef costello

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on May 31, 2013

I think Steven is right that just laughing at them is not enough, they need to be countered, rather than dismissed. Sometimes this is hard and often pointless. When I was younger a friend of mine took a heavy drift to the right and after we had stopped being friends ended up standing as a BNP councillor. I argued repeatedly with him about it, pointed out the inconsistencies in his arguments, showed him how it didn't make sense on his terms or mine and laughed at the ridiculousness of it. It doesn't seem to have made any difference but it was still worth it. At lot of the time his response, which I've heard a lot since from everyone from teabaggers to EDL was "I don't care". People need somewhere to place their anger and it isn't hard to demonise a group you don't feel you belong to.
In terms of grooming cases then I don't think mons is as bad as some of these responses make out. There are a few points to make clear, sexual exploitation of young women is widespread and even if this particular model of exploitation is more common from a particular community it doesn't mean that they are the danger to be afraid of (which I don't think mons was arguing) and even if their behaviour is motivated by racism that is neither here nor there. I do think there are issues within the communities with roots in Pakistan with regard to the treatment of women, but I don't think that a small group of men creates a structural problem to fear. I would be annoyed if someone told their kids to be wary of me because 'white males commit the vast majority of racially motivated crimes and their continuing support of extremist parties shows a structural inability to not be racist.'
To be honest if you live in the area you probably did get to know of these guys and 8 guys (or however many° is a large number to be committing these crimes but it doesn't necessarily reflect a community. It reflects the fact that people often do have more friends within their own race as well as the fact that a few of them were related. This was a sustained, and from the sounds of it profitable project of exploitation, it's hardly surprising that they did it with people that they knew and trusted.
I used to work in a school on Cowley Road and the main difference in terms of exploitation was that Asian girls were not usually allowed out as much, those who were had similar difficulties, white girls who had more protective homes (in that sense) were safer from this type of grooming. Race also comes into it, and I remember this from school, in that a lot of communities would protect 'their' women, who were often not allowed out as much, while then men could do as they pleased. As a white boy I could go out with a white girl, if I went out with a black girl I would have had the piss taken out of me and if I'd gone out with a turkish girl I would have had my head kicked in. More recent immigrant groups tend to be tighter knit and this can extend across generations and this leads some crimes to only be committed outside the community, while others (such as protection rackets run by various turkish and kurdish groups in Tottenham) target the group that they are from.
Ultimately, in my confused way I am trying to say that exploitation is based on weakness and opportunity more than anything else. There are structural problems in society and different groups are affected by them and manifest them differently but it is very difficult to move from a particular case to a an entire group.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

The COEP report that Full Fact are getting a lot of their information on makes for interesting (if pretty depressing) reading.

In many cases, agencies do not have any data on child sexual exploitation. Indications from service providers suggest that because victims frequently do not recognise that they are being exploited and do not disclose abuse, there is significant unidentified and unmet need.

Where police, children’s services and voluntary sector agencies have worked together, coordinated by the LSCBs, to identify and address child sexual exploitation, a significant number of cases have come to light. However, very few cases are known in areas where agencies do not routinely engage victims and collect data. Agencies which do not proactively look for child sexual exploitation will as a result fail to identify it. As a result, the majority of incidents of child sexual exploitation in the UK are unrecognised and unknown.

Still reading it, but there doesn't seem to be any breakdown of which areas are looking at this seriously. Could be that we're seeing more Asian men prosecuted for grooming because there's a push to investigate grooming in areas with large Asian populations. With data this limited, extreme caution is needed before drawing any conclusions about the wider population.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

Hereward

the media have completely refused to raise the possibility of racism being at work

Sorry, but this is straightforwardly not true. If you'd taken two seconds to use Google you might have found this article on the extremely popular website of a national newspaper in which it is suggested that:
[*]The gang were able to operate for so long because the police were afraid of being seen to be racist
[*]Grooming is a "race issue"
[*]British Pakistani men view white women as fair game for exploitation.
Which is basically the BNP/EDL line on the Rochdale grooming case.

Also, anti-white racism is not a thing, never has been, never will be.

wojtek

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on June 1, 2013

Also, anti-white racism is not a thing, never has been, never will be.

This is nonsense.

Noah Fence

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on June 1, 2013

Also, anti-white racism is not a thing, never has been, never will be.

Could you explain this please? If you can convince me I will be very impressed and even more surprised.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

Webby

Also, anti-white racism is not a thing, never has been, never will be.

Could you explain this please? If you can convince me I will be very impressed and even more surprised.

The whole notion is a nonsense, the low level prejudice with basically no serious consequences experienced by a small number of white people is simply not comparable with the systematic discrimination and violence of racism. White people do not face oppression as white people, honestly the only people who seriously think that we do are racists and people who are trying to pander to racists.

wojtek

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on June 1, 2013

Nobody said it was comparable, but failing to recognise its existence and confront its adherents gives a free pass to groups such as the EDL and the BNP who then successfully talk about 'Communistic' political correctness, British (read white) people being second-class citizens, etc.

Noah Fence

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on June 1, 2013

The whole notion is a nonsense, the low level prejudice with basically no serious consequences experienced by a small number of white people is simply not comparable with the systematic discrimination and violence of racism. White people do not face oppression as white people, honestly the only people who seriously think that we do are racists and people who are trying to pander to racists.

Ok, I see your point, but prejudice is prejudice and in isolation anyone experiencing prejudice feels isolated and vulnerable. That shouldn't be belittled just because the individual isn't a member of a more seriously oppressed group.
Also, surely it depends on your location on this planet - are you suggesting that there is nowhere in the entire world that white people aren't an oppressed minority. I don't know myself as I am neither well educated or well travelled but it seems unlikely to be the case.
Lastly, you state that there 'never will be' anti white racism. Hmmm, any other titbits for us from the future?

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

wojtek

Nobody said it was comparable, but failing to recognise its existence and confront its adherents gives a free pass to groups such as the EDL and the BNP who then successfully talk about 'Communistic' political correctness, British (read white) people being second-class citizens, etc.

Who are we at risk of alienating besides headbanging racists? The tens of white people who are scarred for life every decade by somebody calling them a cracker?

What do you think anti-white racism actually involves? How does it function? Who is being targeted? How does it affect them?

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

Webby

Ok, I see your point, but prejudice is prejudice and in isolation anyone experiencing prejudice feels isolated and vulnerable. That shouldn't be belittled just because the individual isn't a member of a more seriously oppressed group.

I've yet to hear of any complaint of anti-white racism that wasn't either not actually about race at all or an example of some racist idiot crying because things didn't go their way.

Lastly, you state that there 'never will be' anti white racism. Hmmm, any other titbits for us from the future?

I foresee the continued political failure of lefties who try to recruit people by patronisingly pandering to their worst and most moronic prejudices.

wojtek

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on June 1, 2013

madashell wrote:

Nobody said it was comparable, but failing to recognise its existence and confront its adherents gives a free pass to groups such as the EDL and the BNP who then successfully talk about 'Communistic' political correctness, British (read white) people being second-class citizens, etc.

Who are we at risk of alienating besides headbanging racists?

Well if you allow the far-right a monopoly on opposing anti-white racism, or in this instance radical islam, then quite a few people, people who wouldn't otherwise give them the time of day. There's been this discussion on libcom before.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

wojtek

Well if you allow the far-right a monopoly on opposing anti-white racism, or in this instance radical islam, then quite a few people, people who wouldn't otherwise give them the time of day. There's been this discussion on libcom before.

Who said anything about radical Islam? It's a deeply reactionary movement that we need to criticise, sure, but I don't see what it has to do with supposed anti-white racism.

The Diane Abbot thing is an argument for another day, don't want to derail the thread (suffice to say I don't think her comments were racist in any meaningful sense).

Edit: What is anti-white racism, anyway? Give me an example.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

The things I usually hear being called anti-white racism are:
[*]A white person not getting a job they want - not racism
[*]Grooming - still no strong evidence that it's a race issue at all
[*]Actual racially motivated violence against white people because they're white (as opposed to because they're, say, Jewish or travellers) - rare as rocking horse shit
So basically we have things that aren't racism and things that are so incredibly rare that the overwhelming majority of white working class people have never actually experienced them. The latter we aren't going to alienate many people with our stance on (unless it's actually pro-racially motivated violence, nobody's going to like that) because it effects such a tiny number of people, the former we can speak to without resorting to calling it racism, because it's not racism.

Which isn't to say that it isn't a terrible thing when anybody is violently attacked for no good reason, just that you're potentially talking about things that very, very rarely happen and I don't think they're a serious concern for many white, working class people at all.

wojtek

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on June 1, 2013

Edit: What is anti-white racism, anyway? Give me an example.

I suppose ideology speaking it is but not limited to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_supremacy but to be relevant it's the odd attack on white people that the BNP like to focus on, eg. Rhea Page.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 1, 2013

wojtek

I suppose ideology speaking it is but not limited to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_supremacy

Those guys are pretty marginal though, they're mostly just reacting against racism and going too far the other way (coupled with some pretty fucked up conspiracy theories). I'd honestly be seriously shocked if the attackers of Rhea Page had ever had any contact with US style black nationalists, for instance.

but to be relevant it's the odd attack on white people that the BNP like to focus on, eg. Rhea Page.

I'd say the major difference with that stuff is that we're talking about extremely rare, isolated instances. I agree that what happened to Rhea Page was pretty fucking horrible, but I don't see the relevance of it to revolutionary politics or even to the vast majority of people's lives.

martinh

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by martinh on June 2, 2013

OK, first off, I'm talking about the UK and more specifically outer London. Anyone who thinks there is no anti-white racism on a global scale is daft.

If you ignore class, there is no anti white racism. Include class and it becomes something else. Schools and council services have loads of projects set up to deal with the effects of racism. My kids' school has a parent group (for the middle class/educated) and a black parents group. There are structural reasons why they need to go the extra mile to involve non white parents, but those structural reasons are as much to do with class as ethnicity. So, white working class parents don't get the extra attention needed to get them involved.
Look at youth work and intervention from the authorities, albeit this is being cut back hard now. Again targeted at black kids. There are specific reasons why black kids need the extra support, lacking the sort of support networks that the middle classes take for granted. But a white working class kid who also lacks those support networks is unlikely to get any help.

Structural? Yes.
Racism? Yes.
Ignored by the left? Yes.

And we wonder why so many white working class kids look towards the far right.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 2, 2013

And yet youth unemployment amongst black youths is still around double that of their white counterparts. It's simply not true to suggest that white working class kids are at a disadvantage compared to non-white working class kids.

There should be more support available for working class school students, but the absence of that support is not "anti-white racism" just because there exist (inadequate) measures aimed at supporting non-white working class students who are at a greater disadvantage on average. This is the problem with the idea of a separate white working class, it just leads to playing the same shitty, communalist zero-sum games that state multiculturalism encourages.

Edit: Also this amounts to reframing class issues as white people issues. Rather than buying into far right narratives about white people being victimised by nasty political correctness gone mad need to be putting forward class arguments on class issues.

martinh

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by martinh on June 2, 2013

Unfortunately, your link just goes to full facts website and I've been unable to find the article, so cannot see whether it corrects for class and socio-economic background.

fingers malone

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by fingers malone on June 2, 2013

I've heard that in Hackney unemployment for young black males is 55%, but I don't have a source for it. I don't think it's very easy to compare "like with like" as the statistics don't usually include class background, but by observation I would say that unemployment is definitely very high for young black males.

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 3, 2013

martinh

Unfortunately, your link just goes to full facts website and I've been unable to find the article, so cannot see whether it corrects for class and socio-economic background.

Yeah, for some reason link doesn't work. The specific statistics don't account for class, but the point remains, black working class kids will face all the same problems that white working class kids do while also facing systematic racism.

wojtek

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on June 3, 2013

Some research by Chatham House and Demos on the EDL, not in a position to verify the methodology though:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/EDL-to-march-in-Cambridge-but-what-is-the-English-Defence-League-20130530131245.htm

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 5, 2013

That research is interesting, but pretty flawed. It focuses on people who in some way sympathise with EDL, rather than necessarily being involved.

Does show that EDL supporters are less likely to have degrees or FE qualifications and are older on average than rest of population. Also more likely to vote. Not sure that fits to well with the assumption that support from EDL comes from mainly disaffected youth, seem to be more likely to be (socially) working class.

Would be interesting to see similar research for left.

Edit: referring to Chatham house study - http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Europe/0313bp_goodwin.pdf

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 5, 2013

Having a closer look at Chatham house research, EDL sympathisers are significantly more likely to be in skilled manual (C2) occupations. No significant difference in likelihood of being in professional/managerial (AB), routine non-manual (C1) or unskilled (DE) manual occupations. Big differences in level of education. EDL sympathisers significantly more likely to have GCSE as highest level of education and significantly less likely to have A-levels or degree or postgrad qualification. However, no significant difference in unemployment or in likelihood or having no qualifications at all.

So like I said, more likely to be socially working class, but it's actually older men who already have full time employment in (semi-)skilled jobs who form the bulk of EDL sympathisers, not unemployed/precariously employed working class kids.

Entdinglichung

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on June 5, 2013

shows some similarities with stuff which I read about the social composition of Hooligan firms in the 1990ies

madashell

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by madashell on June 6, 2013

Saying that, just looking at Demos research, which seems to contradict Chatham House's. Demos has EDL with higher level of unemployment, much higher rate of support of BNP, though would be willing to bet the slant would be more toward UKIP now.

IMO, Demos research has a better measure of who is or isn't an EDL supporter, since the YouGov survey that Chatham House base their research on just took people responding to a general survey who said they agree with either the values or the tactics of the EDL (so not necessarily people who would ever be involved in EDL activities or identify with far right groups), while Demos have gone out of their way to find EDL supporters who are on Facebook* and got information about level and type of participation, whether or not they consider themselves an EDL member, etc. Having said that though, Demos also seem to be comparing demographic data on EDL who are on Facebook with stats about general population while Chatham are at least comparing like with like by comparing EDL sympathisers with other online survey responders.

Both have their merits, but would be tempted to give more weight to Demos' research. Of course, I'm far from an expert in these things and am just spitballing based on the small bit of undergrad statistical knowledge I do have.

*Their argument for using Facebook is reasonable, though still think it could distort results somewhat if you're comparing with general demographic data instead of other Facebook users.

georgestapleton

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by georgestapleton on June 6, 2013

Fwiw, thecommune published an article in 2010 that looked at the support base of the BNP that might be of some interest: http://thecommune.co.uk/2010/05/17/who-votes-for-the-bnp/

ocelot

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on June 7, 2013

I think about the only unambiguously useful thing about that BBC "Great British Class Survey" thing (that "7 class" nonsense) was that it nailed down, once and for all, that online surveys are utterly bloody useless ways of looking at class.

While I'm here, I'm surprised so far in the discussion that no-one has pulled out the distinction between racial prejudice and racism. Racial prejudices are the individual subjective prejudices that individuals hold against other people based on perceived "race". Everyone can have racial prejudices against any particular group. Asian taxi drivers can refuse to pick up afro-caribbean people, use the "N"-word etc. Afro-caribbeans can have prejudices against "Paki" shop-owners indistinguishable from casual white racists, etc. Either could have prejudices against white people.

A lot of the dominant "market society"* ideology sees racism as being nothing other than the sum of individual racial prejudices. Because people's day to day personal experience of social relations is inter-personal relations, there is a further bias towards this individualised model.

However, recognition of the systemic force of racism, over and above individual acts or attitudes of bigotry, is itself a "racialised" experience, for lack of a better word. Its much easier for white people to remain unaware of the systemic forces of racism in (say) English society, than it is for black** people. If, for example, you were to ask young afro-caribbean lads in a large inner city in England whether the biggest threat to them from racism came from individual racists or the police, you'd probably get answers that indicated a far greater degree of awareness of the difference between racial prejudice and racism, than if you asked a group of socio-economically similar group of white youth.

So, if by racism we mean not just individual prejudices, but systemic exclusion and disadvantage, then the example that Martin gave above, does come into play. You need to look at the intersection between race and class in real situations to answer the question - are (certain) groups of white working class people on the receiving end of institutionalised exclusion and disadvantage? The answer is, in the example given, they are, but it's the white middle class*** parents that are excluding them, rather than the black parents in the "outreach" parents group. This because the white middle class can accept the black parents as an "acceptable other" through "liberal anti-racism" (which is implictly racist, in fact), in a way they can never accept the "otherness" of the white working class families. Without the alibi of racial difference, the only way the power-monopolising hostility of the white middle class parents towards their working class counterparts can be justified is by normalising themselves as competent and decent and the others as incompetent or scum (there are more subtle ways this "not one of us" attitude is successfully transmitted, but when push comes to shove, these are the underlying attitudes that inevitably surface). By a sort of complex intersectional ji-jitsu, one of the justifications for "scum" status, is the accusation of racism on the part of the white working class families. This creates a double-jeopardy in that exclusion being first denied, and then being labelled as "racist" for persisteing in the challenge that white working class people are being excluded from the school governance process in a way that black people are not - at least at the level of appearance (in fact no doubt the same intra-class dynamics happen within those groups also, plus the fake participatory nature of the black parent "outreach" group, as dissected by Arnstein's ladder all those years ago, still relevant today) - is a good way of convincing people that maybe the label of racism is not something to be so afraid of, if it is used hypocritically in this way.

Ugg, sorry, that "paragraph" got away from me. Oh well...

* the problem with "bourgeois ideology" is it sounds like something only "bourgeois" or middle class people suffer from, the point is the ideology of the market, private interest, etc is most important (from our point of view) in the way it affects working class thinking
** understood in the original political sense given to it by anti-racist struggles in the 60s/70s/80s that defined black as the result of the political othering that constructs "whiteness".
*** NB we're talking about the socio-cultural dynamics here, which are distinct from the use of class in relation to the struggle between capital and labour. The antipathy and struggle between, say, the white middle and working class is, in the capital/labour sense, an intra-class conflict, if none the less real for that.

bewildered-UK

9 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bewildered-UK on July 22, 2013

When I see people behaving badly, and waving banners that display a poor command of their native language, or worse their ignorance of another culture, it upsets me, and I despair of what's happened to the country of my birth. The decline in education, the failure of law and order, and the abuse of human rights. I could list so many other things that have gone wrong over recent decades, but I'd probably run out of space. Am I expressing class hatred when I despair of all this? I don't think so.

wojtek

9 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on July 29, 2013

Stephen Yaxley Lennon wrote:

By the age of 26 I had acquired 7 properties , had a tanning salon, and a plumbing firm employing 6 lads. All from nothing? #uneducated

https://twitter.com/EDLTrobinson/status/361503063627939840

I guess those who aren't landlords or bosses/management are just pig ass ignorant then - working-class? Jabroni more like!

Noah Fence

9 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on July 29, 2013

Jabroni? What's that?

Ricemilk

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ricemilk on August 26, 2013

An American wandered through this thread and mentioned stereotypes in use against Asian people and Jews as 'model minorities'. it is important to note that in american english, asian usually means "east asian" and refers to a stereotype of mixed-immigration-status families, though they are still treated as perpetual foreigners (and abused with intentional as well as systematic racism) everywhere they go, even where they are the majority like at my university. Jews are also degraded both as a model minority and otherwise. South Asians are typically not well understood by USians, who tend to call them Indian, but never Asian outside of geography classrooms. Southeast Asians are a large minority group whose presence is largely ignored in the mainstream discourse due to their absence from TV and movies, their having dark skin without being Black, Mexican or Indian.

this has been your american ignorance minute.

Ricemilk

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ricemilk on August 26, 2013

cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth over our failure to recruit the last 1000 white people in each county who stubbornly refuse to see the difference between individual prejudice and systematic racism. no thanks. Where's the talk of how our movements can assure the humanity and safety of the oppressed? I have no interest in bending over backwards ti edit my or anyone else's language for the comfort of barely reconstructed racism apologists.

Ricemilk

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ricemilk on August 26, 2013

"all from nothing". I like how those properties magically constructed themselves from the ground and staffed thenselves from the ether. yep, nobody helped ol bootstraps steve, who built the roads to his properties himself, drew up the signage, and patrolled the properties with a knife himself, refusing the help of police.

wojtek

9 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on September 2, 2013

EDL now spreading lies about muslim workers coming up from Birmingham to undermine the BFAWU strike in Wigan over zero-hour contracts.

Noah Fence

9 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on September 2, 2013

EDL now spreading lies about muslim workers coming up from Birmingham to undermine the BFAWU strike in Wigan over zero-hour contracts

Where are they doing this Wojtek? Do you have a link or some more info? Thanks.

wojtek

9 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on September 2, 2013

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/1239680_469103569853777_1004228723_n.jpg