Regular readers of this paper will not need convincing of the racism of all the bourgeois parties, including Labour, as we have, over the years, presented irrefutable evidence in abundance of this fact. So much that it could now be described as a ‘well known’ fact. However, the problem with ‘well known’ facts is that unless you keep repeating them they can very quickly become unknown facts to a large number of people. As new people are coming into the movement every day, it would be criminal to assume that our readership remains unchanged; indeed, we know that it is expanding and so for this reason, if no other, we really cannot let recent utterances by the Labour MP, Margaret Hodge, pass without comment.
Ms Hodge, the sitting MP for Dagenham and Barking, has recently been quoted as saying that it was “time to lance the boil of resentment over the ‘unfairness’ of immigration”. From this you could be forgiven for thinking she was talking about the ‘unfairness’ that is paraded as an ethical immigration policy in this country, which locks up people, including children, in glorified prisons for wanting work and a better life than imperialism assigns to them. An immigration policy that can send people back to countries our rulers support, whether they face danger or not, while forcing those from countries our rulers do not support to mouth any lie about the government of the country of their birth or be repatriated.
People who leave their homes, their friends and families, to travel half way around the world to receive a frosty (at best) reception in the lands of imperialism do not do it for fun. They do not go through the many dangers and indignities in order to ‘sponge’ off of a foreign people. They follow work, they ask for nothing but the chance to work and contribute to their family’s well being. Let’s face it, the wealth of their nations has in all probability preceded them to these shores under the name of imperialist profits from abroad.
However, let us return to Ms Hodge. The ‘unfairness’ she is trying to convince us of (ably assisted by the Daily Mail and the Sun) is that of immigrants coming here and jumping housing queues, being given massive hand-outs on arrival, and generally living in luxury at the expense of the ‘British working class’. This is, of course, the same rubbish that the BNP and other such organisations mouth. So why is it coming from a leading member of a respectable bourgeois political party? The answer is simply that this racist trash has always come from all ‘respectable’ bourgeois parties. The Labour party has never lagged behind in this field because racism is a very good weapon for dividing workers, and in times of recession that is needed more than ever as that is the time when the truly unworkable nature of imperialism is laid bare to those who choose to see it. Racism and Xenophobia are means by which imperialism escapes blame for the very real crimes it commits against all workers.
The present Labour Government has implemented enough racist anti-immigrant policies and legislation to be considered the equal in this regard of any previous government (of any party) in this country, it has amply prepared the ground for the growth of parties and groups like the BNP. It then uses this growth that it has helped create to raise the cry ‘vote Labour to keep the BNP out!’. And this cry is then taken up by most revisionist and Trotskyist parties and groups. The idea of voting Labour (large racist party) to keep out the BNP (small racist party) put forward by these people, who profess to be opposed to racism, is about as sensible as that other cry raised at election times, i.e., ‘vote Labour to keep the Tories out!’ These feeble-minded supporters of Social-Democracy will earnestly tell us that should the Tories ‘get in’ there will be benefit cuts, higher unemployment, lowering wages and services, more wars, attacks on the NHS and education services etc. What they omit to point out, but what is becoming more and more obvious to working class people, is that if we follow the advice to vote Labour there will still be benefit cuts, higher unemployment, lowering wages and services, more wars, attacks on the NHS and education services etc. What this revisionist and Trotskyist gentry seem unable to get into their ‘thick as a brick’ heads is that in an imperialist system the needs of imperialism comes before all else; whichever of the bourgeois parties (all pro-imperialist) forms the government, it will be required to carry out the will of imperialism. Minor policy differences between these parties are of no real political importance: they are only there to create the illusion of difference between these parties, to create a façade of equality between the classes or even that now classes no longer exist. This deception is the real purpose of bourgeois democracy.
Margaret Hodge and 1 or 2 other Labour MPs find themselves in a difficult position because of the growth of the BNP that is so helpful to their party as a whole and the class it really represents. Hodge has a parliamentary seat in an area of higher than normal unemployment, an area that used to be a hub of industry where car manufacture was the main employer. As car production is now on the decline in Britain because of overproduction, the BNP have found such areas quite easy prey to the argument that says unemployment is the fault of foreigners living here, rather than a political decision of our rulers based on getting the most profit possible from any enterprise and walking away from those that can no longer generate a high yield. So the car companies are not to blame, the government that refuses to nationalise the industry to save jobs is not to blame, but somehow poor immigrants with little or no control over anything are. Instead of pointing out to white workers that the political system we live under is responsible for their current and future miseries, Ms Hodge and her ilk simply try to outdo the BNP in making scapegoats of the immigrants. Naturally, they do not attack the system that gives them the elevated status and standard of living they enjoys. Of course, Ms Hodge is respectable and wouldn’t talk in the same crude terms as the average BNP member, but she does come very close at times and her claim that “British values of openness and tolerance are under threat because of an increasing sense of ‘unfairness’ over immigration” leaves one’s head spinning as one tries to make sense of it. If we read it right, apparently our tolerance is under threat unless we become less tolerant! Only intolerance, it seems, can save our shared British value of tolerance!
What is obvious is that her calls, once again, for a points system based on length of residence, citizenship or National Insurance contributions for ‘economic’ migrants, before they can access social-housing or key benefits, will not offer anything better to the British worker. However, it will save some Government departments some cash, while driving those immigrants into the hands of those who organise jobs for those without papers etc at lower than legal rates, but who still need to live while such things are sorted out. The fact of the matter is that all new benefits claimants are under attack and that attack, whichever party wins the General Election, is set to become fiercer, and extended to all existing claimants in an attempt to deny as much as possible to as many as possible. Basically when the government, or individual MPs like Ms Hodge, ask us to accept attacks on the benefits of immigrants, they are asking us to accept the same attacks on all of us and, as unemployment is set to rise anyway, far more of us will feel those attacks – and these will happen with or without immigrants.
As far as social-housing is concerned, there is precious little left, and inviting us on the basis of our colour, nationality or National Insurance contributions, to squabble over what bit there is comes a poor second to providing decent housing for all. Again, take immigrants out of the equation and the situation is no better for those stuck on long lists for inadequate housing stock. Building affordable social-housing creates jobs and homes, but not maximum profits for the imperialists; the decision to not build council houses, and to get rid of those that do exist, is a political decision made by those who represent the interests of the ruling class, not by immigrants.
The decision to scapegoat immigrants for electoral purposes is not new, and Ms Hodge will certainly not be alone in doing it, but we don’t have to be taken in by such tricks. If there are not enough jobs, it is because we live in a political and economic system that needs a section of workers to be unemployed so that they can be used as a threat to those in work to toe the line. If not enough social housing exists, that is a decision of our masters to keep working class housing either in private hands – where the greatest rents can be demanded – or sold to owner-occupiers thus tying workers to paying banks back over years and making them liable to lose their homes anyway if they become unemployed for any length of time.
If the NHS and the state education systems are failing, it is because more and more parts of both are falling into private hands so that they can be properly milked of the maximum profits regardless of the ‘service’ offered. If there are more wars, it is not because Moslems or anyone else is posing a threat to this country: it is because our imperialist masters are busy seeking world domination to corner raw materials, markets and avenues for investment. Hence the Iraq and Afghanistan genocidal wars; hence the preparations for a war against Iran.
These then are the reasons behind the racist anti-immigrant words of people like Margaret Hodge and workers must learn to see the reasons behind their words. We call on those who have votes in the coming elections not to waste them on the big three bourgeois parties, for their pleas and lies are not in the interests of working people. Likewise, the smaller racist parties should be shunned as they too only turn worker against worker for the benefit of the ruling class.
Votes should be given to those who genuinely oppose imperialist wars, to those who support the struggles of the Palestinian people against the Zionist puppets of imperialism in Israel, to those who really oppose and work against the misleading of our class by the imperialist Labour Party, to those who stand against attempts to scapegoat immigrants and who stand on a platform of jobs, social-housing, publically owned education and health care for all who live in this country regardless of colour, age, sex, religious beliefs or legal status.
You cannot fight racism by pandering to racist views; these must be challenged, debated and changed – not condoned or excused. We expect racism from professional bourgeois politicians like Ms Hodge and her party but we should be able to expect those who call themselves communist not to be a part of the practice of making immigrants scapegoats for imperialist crimes. Further we should be able to expect them to actively work against parties that do use immigrants as scapegoats. The misnamed Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and its paper ‘Workers’ has earned itself the title of BNP of the left for its nationalism and anti-immigration policies, but some of those who deride them for this are little better. When the New Communist Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) both call on workers to vote Labour they put themselves, whether they intend it or not, in a position of supporting this warmongering and racist party. We commend to readers the clause on immigration in the Party Programme of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), to be found on their website at www.cpgb-ml.org as a very good example of what a correct attitude of a communist party towards immigrants should be. Furthermore, the CPGB-ML gives no support to either the Labour Party or any other bourgeois, pro-imperialist party.
Down with racism!
Down with imperialism!
Long live proletarian internationalism!