Monday, November 28, 2016
Where next in Weimar Little England?
When, two days ago, I wrote for the first time from “Weimar Little England” I did not realise that I was being anachronistic because we had already opened hostilities with the Poles. The random deportations of European migrants for allegedly sleeping rough joins the recent mass deportation to Jamaica to reveal to us the society in which we have been living for some time.
The official racism which legitimates, but never satisfies, right-wing populism is as happy scapegoating white “foreigners” as black (perhaps nearly as happy?) Bigotry is simple and straightforward (and all too common). For socialists trying to work out how to respond to these darkening days these are, however, confusing times.
I know that there would be great value in a united response to the resurgent forces of reaction and the far right (and I am inclined to be present outside the Supreme Court on Monday even if it is true that Farage has called off his attempt to be Mussolini).
However. I am confronted by some questions, of which these are three;
How can we unite with those who campaigned (whether they are comfortable to acknowledge it or not) alongside the populist and far right in favour of a vote to leave the European Union which, by the time it was cast, was a vote against immigration?
How do we engage, as anti-racists and anti-imperialists, with those whose first response to the death this weekend of Fidel Castro was to echo ill-informed criticisms rather than acknowledge achievements?
How do we work with those cowards and careerists are misleading the “Momentum” organisation having engaged in a blatantly racist witch-hunt of their own Vice-Chair as part of a craven capitulation to Zionism (never mind the Labour right-wing to whom they gave ground)?
I do not know the answer to these questions, but I do know that we will not succeed on the basis of simply ignoring these divisions. As urgent as is the task of uniting against our adversaries an even more urgent task is to understand what we face and to respond on the basis of principles.
We must start from a position of socialist internationalism, of unyielding support for equality and opposition to racism and imperialism. These principles we cannot compromise if we are to be useful in dealing with the rising tide of racism and reaction nationally and globally.
I shall keep thinking about what this means in practice.