To make sure that the dignitaries attending the £32m Royal wedding on 19 May were not reminded of the social divides in the UK the police removed the homeless from the streets of Windsor. The state comes down hard on homeless people – not just in Windsor, some are banned from town and city centres, fined hundreds of pounds and jailed if caught repeating the ‘offence’.
By Martin Ralph.
Another attempt at camouflaging government and capitalist-institutional racism was done by the invitation of Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American leader of the US Episcopal church and descendent of slaves, by speaking at the wedding. He quoted Martin Luther King but said the way to solve problems was by love, “Love is the way”.[i]
The use of such personalities is intended to help dampen the Black struggles while the government cracks down on immigration, although capitalism does not have ‘love’ for any poor and oppressed workers. Statistics show that ethnic minority workers are consistently paid less, progress less and have a poorer quality of life than white workers [conclusions of an ethnic pay audit for London.[ii]
Royalty and the state need a camouflage for many reasons
The Windrush scandal shows that Caribbean people who had lived here for most of their lives were being deported because they had not applied for a passport, while various state agencies had destroyed documentary evidence of their right to remain (that would have proved their right to remain even under the UK, racist, immigration controls). It was no surprise for some Caribbean activists, as immigration uncertainty had existed from the late 1940s, but it came as a shock for many others.
Two days after the wedding the inquiry into the horrific fire of Grenfell Tower opened. Eight months after the tragedy, where 71 people died, there are still no arrests and 297 towers remain flammable; 100s of survivors are homeless (or still in Bed and breakfast) and they are not represented on the inquiry.[iii]
These type of attacks on refugees and poor go on unabated as the government imposes its “hostile environment” agenda. In reality a war on ethnic minority people.
Two reports published in May 2018 by Amnesty International and The Monitoring Group pinpointed “the role played by government departments, spearheaded by the Home Office, in allowing racial profiling to spread across a range of institutions. Most telling is the unthinking ease with which a multitude of agencies – from the probation service to youth offending teams, from job centres to housing associations, from local authority to voluntary sector partner agencies, appear to have colluded in the racialised logic that underpins the Gangs Matrix.”[iv]
The Gangs Matrix was developed by London’s Metropolitan Police because of the 2011 uprising in London (that spread to 41 cities in 24 hours) which was blamed on urban gangs by the Tory Government, and not on the permanent lack of jobs, poverty, discrimination and institutionalised racism that bore down on these communities.
In October 2017, 3,806 people were on the Matrix. Around 40 percent of these have no recorded involvement in any violent offence. Meanwhile more than three-quarters (78 percent) of those on the Matrix are black – a disproportionate number given that police figures show 27 percent of those responsible for serious youth violence are black. The youngest person on the Matrix is 12 years old.
“The public are fed a constant stream of misinformation about ‘gangs’ involving young black men, so that if the police and prosecutors decide to charge large groups for the actions of one or two individuals and tarnish them all with gang associations then juries will believe they are all ‘in it together’ and convict. Indeed, in one recent case, the judge said to seven west London school friends aged between 13 and 16 (all black): ‘You may not have been in a gang but you were a gang on the day.’ Chilling and racist…”.[v]
Only class struggle and socialism will end racism
Immigrant workers are subject to racist laws, many are put into detention centres, many are harassed by the DWP (as are many unemployed workers and low paid workers). Many jobs that immigrants have are low paid and insecure, commonly in places like Amazon warehouses, security jobs at super markets – some do not even get paid for the work they do.
Some families who fled war in Syria are being wrongly sanctioned and had welfare payments stopped by jobcentres for attending English-language courses.
Because of suspicions about the way some colleges were administering the officially accredited TOEIC English-language exam around 45,000 students’ visas were cancelled and many of them have been deported through no fault of their own.
To put an end to the policy of blaming and punishing the victim – for being victims, and which revels in target driven hostility to the most oppressed, like the attacks on the Windrush people and all others cannot seriously think that love is all you need. It was a good Beatles song but it can never defeat capitalism.
Struggles do not emerge easily, so when the new London unions such as the United Voice of the World and Independent Workers GB union and others start fighting, winning and growing amongst young workers and immigrant workers all of whom are casual workers then something new is happening. They are fighting against the harsh divisions imposed by capitalism so that the city of London and multi-nationals continue to take as much profit as they can.
Unlike the preaches of the Bishop that the old slaves in America’s South, “even in the midst of their captivity”, would sing for a promised land where a balm would cure their wounds, the modern salaried slaves, black and white, prefer to fight in this real land for their rights, where they have always lived.
Their struggles are not about love, they are about the end of racism, oppression and about the class struggle. They have just to change it, by making a revolution that will destroy the capitalist system to build socialism.
[i] Diana Evans, Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon will go down in history
[ii] Greater London Authority publishes 37.5% ethnicity pay gap, www.personneltoday.com].
[iv] Police database spreads institutional racism, Institute of Race Relations, http://www.irr.org.uk/.
[v] JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association).