Cut the roots of racism

Submitted by AWL on 10 June, 2020 - 5:06 Author: Editorial

The Office of National Statistics compile statistics on the number of Hate Crimes reported each year. They have more than doubled since 2012 to 103,000 in 2018-19. Of those, nearly 79,000 were race hate crimes.

Between April 2018 and March 2019 the police made 376,000 stop and searches In England and Wales, a rate of 7 per 1,000 people. The rate for white people, however was 4 per 1,000 and for Black people 38 per 1,000.

In 2017 the Lammy Review showed that Black people (African or Caribbean background) represent 3% of the general population yet 12% of the prison population in England and Wales.

In the ten years prior to 2018-19 Black people made up 8% of deaths in police custody.

The TUC’s Racism at Work report (2018) found that over 70% of BAME workers in their large survey had experienced racism at work in the previous five years. About 60% felt they had been subjected to discrimination at work. Over 10% had experienced racist violence at work.

The vast amount of discrimination in the UK on grounds of race has been given a boost politically by the victorious Brexit campaign and the election of a populist-right Tory government with a vicious anti-immigrant agenda.

In the recent past Labour has pandered to anti-immigrant racism. Under Blair, Labour drove Labour drove anti-migrant measures, strengthening of police powers, and a growth in prison population. Ed Miliband included tighter immigration as a key pledge in the 2015 election campaign. Under Corbyn the Labour Party promised 500 extra border guards and 10,000 more police in its 2017 manifesto. In its 2019 it said it would top the Tories’ police numbers by 2,000.

Verbally Labour opposes racism. The Tories and Liberals claim the same. Words are not enough.

We must fight for policies that can undercut and remove the roots from which racism flourishes.

We demand:

• Disarming the police, curbing police powers, and much-increased democratic scrutiny and accountability

• A radical reduction in the prison population

• Closure of immigration detention centres and the opening of our borders. End “No Recourse to Public Funds” and the NHS surcharge

• Freeze Brexit

We must build a movement — inclusive to Black, brown, white workers from all backgrounds — capable of unity in a struggle that can benefit us all. We demand:

• A well-funded NHS

• Jobs with proper contracts and union pay rates for all, and a cut in the working week with no loss of pay

• Free education

• High quality affordable housing for all

Our programme is a programme for active working-class unity. Labour and the unions must take a lead and call people out onto the streets in ways that are both safe and visible.

The young people protesting for Black Lives Matter have shown us the way.

Our movement must advocate a workers’ government. We need a government that fights for our class as hard as Johnson and the Tories fight for the rich and powerful. Such a government would rest for its power and legitimacy not on the capitalist state machine (civil service, courts, prisons and police) but on an organised base in workplaces and communities.

If we fail to rouse our movement, currently partially locked-down, but for decades since the 1980s quiet and under-confident, we will be set back further. We face serious attacks from the right and the far-right in the UK as the bosses attempt to make workers and young people pay for the enormous Covid-induced economic crisis. An aspect of those attacks will be to foster and exploit racist divisions and hatred of foreigners.

Class is central. Only a government based on the working-class majority, uniting those from all backgrounds and skin-colours, can cut the roots of racism and intolerance.

Young people and students, turn to Labour and the unions, make them fight!

Inside the labour movement: demand a radical workers’ government. Workers of the world, unite!

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