To make sure that the dignitaries attending the £32m Royal wedding on 19 May were not reminded of the social divide in the UK the police removed homeless people from the streets of Windsor. The state comes down hard on homeless people – not just in Windsor, but are banned from many town and city centres, fined hundreds of pounds and jailed if they repeat the ‘offence’.
Another attempt at camouflaging government and capitalist-institutional racism was performed by the invitation of Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American leader of the US Episcopal church and a descendent of slaves, who spoke at the wedding. He quoted Martin Luther King stating the way to solve problems was by love, “Love is the way”.[i]
The use of such personalities is intended to 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.[ii]
Royalty and the state need a camouflage for many reasons
The Windrush scandal has revealed that Caribbean people who lived most of their lives here were being deported because they had not applied for a passport, while various state agencies destroyed documentary evidence of their right to remain (that would have proven their right to be here even under the UK racist immigration controls). This scandal came as no surprise to Caribbean activists, as immigration uncertainty had existed since the late 1940s, however it was still a shock for many others.
Two days after the pomp and expensive Royal wedding the enquiry opened into the tragic and horrific fire of Grenfell Tower. Eight months after the tragedy, where 71 people died, there are still no arrests with 297 towers still flammable; 100s of survivors remain homeless (or in Bed and Breakfast) yet they are not represented on the enquiry.[iii]
Attacks on refugees and the poor go unabated as the government imposes its “hostile environment” agenda. In reality a war on ethic minority and Muslim communities.
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 following the 2011 uprising in London (spread to 41 cities in 24 hours) which was blamed on urban gangs by the Tory Government, ignoring widespread casual jobs and no jobs, poverty, discrimination and institutionalised racism that bore down on these communities.
In October 2017, 3,806 people were on the Matrix. Around 40 per cent of these have no recorded involvement in any violent offence. Meanwhile more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of those on the Matrix are black – a disproportionate number given that police figures show 27 per cent of those responsible for serious youth violence are black. Children as young as 12 years of age are on the Matrix.
In the words of the JENGbA campaign group, “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 held in detention centres, many are harassed by the DWP (as are many unemployed and low paid workers). Many immigrants work in low paid and insecure jobs, commonly by companies like Amazon warehouses, security work – and some who do not get paid for the work they do.
There have been cases including families who fled the war in Syria who have been wrongly sanctioned and had payments stopped by jobcentres for attending English-language courses.
Another scandal arose because suspicions about the way some colleges administered the officially accredited TOEIC English-language exam, resulted in the cancellation of around 45,000 students’ visas, and many then deported through no fault of their own.
To put an end to the policy of blaming and punishing the victim has for being victims, and which has revealed target driven hostility to the most oppressed, like the Windrush scandal and others, it cannot seriously be considered that “love is all you need”. It may be a good Beatles song but it can never defeat capitalism.
Struggles do not emerge easily, so when the new London unions such as United Voices of the World and Independent Workers GB began to fight to win and to grow amongst young and immigrant workers, all of whom are or were casual workers then it can be seen that something new is happening. This is a fight against the harsh divisions imposed by capitalism’s greed to take as much profit as they can for the City of London and multi-nationals.
Unlike the preaching by the US American Bishop who says 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, modern waged slaves, black and white, prefer to fight in the real world for their rights where they live.
Their struggles are not about ‘love’, they are about the end of racism, oppression and about the class struggle. But this can only happen through revolution that will overthrow and destroy the capitalist system and build a socialist world.
[i] Diana Evans, Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon will go down in history
[ii] Greater London Authority reveals conclusions from ethnic pay audit – 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).