Brexit Racism Nationalism & another way.
(From the Facebook album of Sarah)
I have seen and heard of an alarming number of racist incidents in the 48 hours following the Brexit leave vote. Race based bullying in schools, on buses, on the streets, all at a level unprecedented in modern British history, and that’s not including the brutal shooting and stabbing of Jo Cox, an MP who spoke of tolerance.
I’ve been accused of “spreading hate” for sharing these images of awful things that are happening so I apologise for the triggering likely for my non-white friends,
Yet for the comfortable, there’s no benefit in pretending that this isn’t happening, that hate filled racists aren’t emboldened by this vote and are now saying and doing things they only thought about before.
There’s no benefit in pretending that racism wasn’t pandered to, encouraged, and emboldened by the leave campaign.
Even if there were legitimate things to be upset with the EU about, they were nothing that couldn’t have been fixed from the inside, and there was nothing so bad that they needed to “take their country back”.
Europe is heading down a dangerous path. Rising fascism, Nationalism based on race, and growing intolerance. There is real frustration. People got screwed over by economic crises, bailouts to the rich, and austerity to the people.
Instead of pointing their anger up, people pointed their it anger out, at people different to them. Migrants. It’s happening all across Europe.
It was based on a clinging to sameness and any fragments of identity not yet destroyed by the neoliberal capitalist monster. It is an understandable anger, but taking taking it out on “the different ones” is a destructive and terrible response. There will be beatings, and I suspect murders.
What’s needed is solidarity, realising common humanity. “Class Consciousness” is an old fashioned term, but it means realising that working people Europe and the world over all got screwed over, that they have more in common with the working people in neighbouring nations than they do with the elites of their own nation who screwed them over.
My friend shared a quote that that
“this was a working class revolt, but not a working class victory”.
I believed the people got played. They were screwed over by their bosses, by their governments who bailed out banks instead of citizens, and who cut all the services.
The people were right to be angry at those ruling them, but the British elite managed to misdirect the anger away from the real masters, themselves, and made them despise foreigners. Whether they used fancy language or brutal, that was the message.
Now thinking of what to do from here, positive progressive people in England will try and make the best of it, and I hope they can, but let’s not pretend that this was a vote for progress.
Almost all progressive voices urged remain, and as as result of this, many hard won victories will have to be fought again.
Whilst not all British are racists, and whilst people may have voted Brexit for other reasons, the major factor campaigned on, and the major issue cited as important by Brexit voters was immigration.
Dissatisfaction with the EU is understandable, people should be just as dissatisfied with their Tory government, cutting services, making the people pay for the mistakes of speculative banking and the crash they caused.
The government the British people need to be freed from is their punishing elite Tory boys.
What’s needed is a truly progressive, for the people, all the working people, in co-operation across nations, against those that hold them down, and using the tools of the state to deliver real change, security for the people. Homes. Food. Schools. Hospitals and health care. Meaningful work for those who want it, support for those who can’t, the things essential for a dignified human life, and which make true prosperity possible.
My hope is that this movement can be built/rebuilt, maybe it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, maybe its something else, and that this will rise, rather than a further rise of racist hate, of walled nationalism, which could tear Europe and the world apart, and turn working people against each other. Nothing would excite the exploiters and elites more.
We live in interesting times. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of history.