We Mustn’t Let Those Who Seek To Divide Us Win: Guest Post By Rick Evans

“Racism is nothing new. It has always been around and is one of the worst characteristics of the Human race. It produces only suffering and heartache for those who suffer it. But it has often been used throughout history as a tool, sometimes blatantly, sometimes more insidiously, as a way of deflecting attention from other problems. We have made great progress against Racism over the years but it never seems to go away completely, and when times are tough it always increases. Let me explain why and and why we must defeat it. I also want to give a little personal background.

image

In the last few years the Tories having been selling us the lie that we need Austerity; that we can’t afford anything. They have also been talking tough on Immigration. The last few years have been tough for many of us; little pay increases, poor jobs, poor pay, zero hour contracts etc. In these sorts of times, when things are going badly for a lot of people, the blame game usually starts. This is always peddled by the right wing press; The Mail, Express The Sun etc. Immigrates are having all our jobs, houses etc. When immigrants are blamed Racism usually isn’t too far behind – they are often linked.

Immigrants are an easy target to scapegoat but there are other ones as well, for example people on benefits. This is part of the same agenda . Although the Tories and establishment can appear at times to talk the talk against Racism, at times like these some of them are quite prepared to play the Racist Card. The last few years have seen immigration increasingly talked about in the media and I think that has been quite deliberate. This is what they want us to talk about. During the EU referendum and since, Racists attacks have gone up. All this isn’t a coincidence and the media are playing a very dangerous game.

image

Why do they want us to talk about immigrants? The answer is clear to me. While we talk and moan and blame them we aren’t blaming the real culprits of why we have Austerity and cutbacks. The ones who are at the top of the pyramid, who caused the economic crash are the ones to blame, but of course they carry on as though nothing has happened with all their money and luxuries intact. They as normal get away scot free. So it’s not too hard to see why they would want to blame someone else for the problems in society is it?

Let’s be clear, the 1% who have all the power are intrinsically linked to the Conservative Party the Establishment and the right wing press. Obviously they want to keep the Status Quo. So they will use the press and media to their own advantage and will try to divide us to keep what they have. That is what they do and have always done. The politics of fear and division are what the Tories are about because they know a united working class is a huge threat to them. So while we blame immigrants, we are letting the Tories off the hook because Immigrants aren’t the problem. Immigrants aren’t responsible for the housing crisis; immigrants aren’t responsible for the cuts in public services or any of the other problems affecting most of us; it’s the Capitalist System that is. There are literally Trillions of pounds locked away in Tax Havens that could make a huge difference to many people’s lives, if only a bit of it could be tapped into. That’s the message we have to get across.

image

How did I come to these views? Well it started many years ago when I was at Secondary School. I grew up in Coventry and went to School in the late 70’s and early 80’s in a multi cultural school. At that time, my older brother had pretty far right wing views and they probably had some effect on me. But during my school years I became friends with many Asian and Black people. I quickly realised that the colour of your skin was irrelevant and that had no bearing on if you were a good or bad person. Looking back I’m extremely pleased I went to such a multi cultural school because it certainly contributed to my views about colour and race. After all we are all the same really and that is the point. On a happy positive note my brother has completely changed his views and has been a Muslim for many years now, and is also a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Which goes to show people can change.

We need to remember immigrants are the same as you or me; ordinary people who want a better life for themselves and their families. To fall into blaming them for our own ills is falling into a trap set for us by the right wing establishment. We have to learn from history and remember how far right fascist views can easily spread and we mustn’t let that happen again. When societies go down the road of scapegoating immigrants it can become a slippery slope. There is a big picture to look at here.

How we grow up and live help shape our views. But we need to be wary of outside influences as well because they often have their own agendas. Immigration can easily lead to racism – primarily because it’s used as a diversion by the establishment – and we have to be careful of that. Sometimes the left have been very weak when talking about this. But we have to get much better because this is something we are going to get attacked on relentlessly. So we need to go on the attack ourselves, and say it loud and clear; immigrants aren’t the problem; it’s the greedy super rich and the system they cling to that’s the problem.

We mustn’t let those who seek to divide us win, because together, united, we are so strong; and that is what the powers that be don’t want us to realise.”

Note To Anti-Corbyn MPs: Jeremy Corbyn Is Not Our Messiah. He Just Heeded Our Call For Change.

An extract from the Sunday Times in which anti-Corbyn MPs allegedly refer to Corbyn supporters as “faith based followers”  who are “off the page nuts” because we look upon Corbyn as a “Christ-like figure” is doing the rounds on social media, and I’d like to share my thoughts about it.

image

Firstly, any MP who made these remarks should have the courage of their convictions and put their name to them. Not to do so is weak and cowardly. Though I can understand why they wouldn’t want to, and I’m not talking about fear of reprisals from Corbyn’s backers. These remarks say a lot more about the MPs who made them than they do about Corbyn’s supporters, and they should be ashamed of themselves for making them, or even thinking them. Of course a journalist may have made it up, except we all know anti-Corbyn MPs hold us in contempt so I am going to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt and treat it as truth. And staying on the subject of truths, any MP who dismisses our movement as a cult, with Corbyn as a Christ-like figure at its head, is either blind to some fundamental truths, in denial over their own failings or both. So let me have a stab at enlightening them.

The moment the right wing of the party hijacked the leadership campaign after we lost the last General Election, was the moment socialists in the party said ‘enough is enough.’ A petition was created (see screenshot below) by ordinary Labour members, of whom I was one, calling for an anti-austerity candidate to stand in the leadership contest.

image

We were not calling for Corbyn, or anyone specific to stand. We were not looking for a ‘Christ’ to follow. We were simply in despair over the leadership candidates on offer; none of whom were prepared to stand up to cruel and needless Tory austerity.
Jeremy Corbyn just happened to be the MP who answered our call. The fact Corbyn supporters admire him for his integrity, principles and honesty, does not make him our Christ or us his devoted disciples.

The truth is we have had no reason to turn against Jeremy. This first year of leadership has been incredibly trying and stressful – largely due to those who have resented Corbyn’s leadership from day one – and Jeremy has borne that stress with dignity and determination which makes us admire him more. His response to the coup has made it clear where his loyalties lie, which has cemented the loyalty we feel toward him. We are very aware he is human and has, and will make mistakes, but he has changed the direction of the party and put intense pressure on the Tories which has led to U-Turn after U-Turn. That was the leadership we were crying out for and Jeremy has delivered. He has set the weather rather than following it. Labour is now a signpost rather than a weathercock.

image

And we have had electoral successes. In this first year of Corbyn’s leadership, we won every by-election we contested, every mayoralty, and our vote share in the local elections increased by 8% from the General Election. In tandem with these successes our polling figures were on the ascendancy.

These MPs need to be honest with themselves. It’s not us with the cult like obsession over Corbyn. They are the ones with the obsession; an obsession which is wholly negative in nature. It seems no matter how well we do as an opposition under Corbyn, they want to see Corbyn and our movement destroyed. It is not his purported unelectablity that drives them; quite the opposite. They are terrified we can win a GE under Jeremy. Consequently they engage in sabotage every chance they get. That’s why these MPs have been trashing Jeremy and his leadership on a loop for the past year. And their sabotage has paid off. We have fallen so far behind in the polls since their coup, the Snowden we had to scale has become a truly daunting Everest. The damage may never be repaired and it may even cost us the next General Election. Yet they have the audacity to blame Corbyn for our current dire polling.

Unfortunately for them we are not the glazed eyes cultist nutters they like to paint us as, and we see through their transparent schemes and plots.
We blame them for the damage done to our electoral chances and rightfully so. We will not reward their sabotage by turning on Corbyn and booting him out.
What we will do is stand up for Corbyn’s leadership because right now, it’s the only thing that’s stopping politics from returning to the homogenous, uninspiring mush of just over a year ago.

First They Mock You, Then They Imitate You, Then You Win.

When it comes to politics, imitation is not a form of flattery; it’s a sign a party is scared of losing precious votes to another party with popular policies. It can seem like savvy politics in the short term, but it can backfire. When one party imitates another they are inadvertently validating that party’s policies and values.
Rather than stealing a party’s votes, the imitator bolster’s it’s standing in the eyes of the voting public. Ultimately people don’t trust a party playing catch up. And they often stick to the party that came up with those policies first. After all, why vote for the echo when you can vote for the shout?

Under Corbyn, Labour are offering something truly exciting and different. This has clearly unnerved Mrs May, hence her attempt to reach out to voters who might be drawn to vote for those policies. This shouldn’t worry us. In fact quite the opposite. Thanks to Mrs May, the right wing commentariat (and I include some of our own MPs in that group) can’t so easily stick the ‘economically incompetent’ label on us when we talk about an end to austerity or major investment.

May thinks she’s being very canny, offering our voters a ‘perfect’ political pick and mix of progressive policies combined with tough immigration rhetoric. What she is in fact doing is giving credence to our socialist way of addressing concerns over migration – which often equates to its perceived impact on public services and housing. By promising to invest in our schools, hospitals and housing these concerns are eased, but only if those plans sound credible. Thanks to our new ‘progressive PM’ giving the thumbs up to greater state investment, our investment plans just got a whole lot easier to sell to the electorate. Yes, there is a certain demographic who simple don’t like ‘foreigners’ but we will never appease them, and nor should we try.

Maybe before embarking on this strategy, Mrs May should have reminded herself how the imitation game turned out for Ed Miliband. And despite the much hailed three election victories for New Labour, their fixation with imitating Tory policies did eventually drive five million labour voters into the arms of other parties; or even just into their armchairs, where they could sit and contemplate how depressing and uninspiring politics becomes when all politicians start to dress, look, and sound the same.

img_20161006_013650

So let the DisMay government imitate us all they like. With every policy they copy, the more they legitimise us; and we can capitalise on that.