Specific demands in the fight against racism

Submitted by AWL on 24 June, 2020 - 7:28 Author: Becky Crocker
Sheffield BLM demo

Dan Katz's debate piece (Solidarity 522, 17 June) is self-contradictory and unclear. It says Workers Liberty's programme to tackle racism combines the "specific demands against racist activity by the police, state bodies, and racist groups, and in opposition to racist government policy, with the idea of a united workers' movement which fights for basic, fundamental rights". But, like the editorial in Solidarity the week before, it offers no specific anti-racist demands.

It says, "In order to win the trust of black workers, white people in the unions and Labour Party must be seen to take up anti-racist concerns". But follows with, "So black and white workers' unity in common struggle on basic questions is a big part of the fight against racism". The second sentence almost directly contradicts the first. Is this article saying that we should raise specific demands to address anti-racist concerns? Or that addressing "basic questions" is enough?

The lack of clarity leaves us to guess the author's answer. The thrust of the piece is that addressing so-called "basic" questions is enough. The emphasis is on "workers' unity on key questions: homes, jobs, education". It even says these basic questions "are also anti-racist questions", implying that no specific anti-racist demands are needed.

So clarity is needed. It is not enough to pay lip service to the idea of specific anti-racist demands while making arguments that imply that "all-class" issues are sufficient to fight racism. If we can agree that we need specific anti-racist demands and demands that unite the working class and promote class struggle, let's develop and push some of the issues emanating from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations inside the labour movement.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.