These all appeared for different reasons on my twitter timeline today.
Today in 1936 Jesse Owens, an American won a gold medal at the Berlin olympics. Not surprisingly Hitler refused to shake this black athlete’s hand.
Then this conservative party poster from 1964. It seems likely to be Australian in origin but please tell me if you know different:
It’s not a million miles away from this:
And then I saw this hilarious youtube video about modern day racists ideas of hate mail.
These all appeared for different reasons on my twitter timeline today.
Thanks to Nick Lowles of ‘Hope not hate’ for posting this news report on the conviction of a ‘would-be’ arsonist, EDL and Combined Ex Forces (CXF) member from Wales.
Today a small number of similairly fine, upstanding examples of the ‘master race’ are strutting their intolerant stuff on the streets of Burnley and Sheffield.
No doubt they’ll be driving the Taliban from the town hall steps with their usual chants of…..
“Allah? Allah? Who the fuck is Allah?”
And, significantly given recent events ….
“Burn a poppy and we’ll burn a mosque!”
I’m sure the good people of Burnley and Sheffield feel safer already.
After all there’s nothing quite like a bunch of law abiding, zeig-heiling, Nazi-saluting, racist arsonists to inspire confidence, is there?
There is no way that any Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) can possibly be banned in any European state. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prevents it. Even if the UK backed out of the Convention (an unlikely scenario in spite of Cameron’s rhetoric) you still wouldn’t be able to make it work.
The very thing that sets UK apart from theocracies (religiously run states) like Iran is our tolerance. Without that we’d be just as likely to end up as a Christian theocracy which, by the way, could be just as barbaric. Have you read the bible lately? It’s every bit as brutal as the Koran, which is hardly surprising since it’s based upon the same God of War.
Of course, many EDL supporters might complain that it’s different in Christianity – modern Christians are usually pretty moderate. And they’d be right – many Christians are moderate, but so are many Muslims. Have you ever wondered why so many Muslims choose to live in less radical countries like UK instead of Islamic strongholds? Have you ever taken the trouble to talk to a few Muslims and ask them? I have. Many Muslims are moderate – that’s why they’re here.
Of course there are some Muslim extremists in UK – but there are at least as many extremist Christians. I know – I used to be one.
Here’s a challenge for you. Go to your local Pentecostal, fundamentalist Christian church and ask the local congregation what they think about male dominance, about the wife being subservient to the man in all things. Ask them what they think about women speaking in church or about the rights of homosexuals. Ask them if the rules in Leviticus are to be obeyed (that’s a real eye opener) and then disregard their bigotry.
The fact is that there are bigoted Christians just as there are bigoted Muslims. But the Muslims that don’t like those rules – those awful prejudices – are the ones most likely to come to countries like UK where they can be free. These people are much more like you than you might imagine.
Just as you reject the more ridiculous rules of both Islam AND Christianity (you know – the bits about keeping slaves and stoning raped women to death), so do they. That’s why they moved.
And these Muslims have something that can be a great asset to UK society – they understand what religious oppression is all about. They understand it and they want no part of it.
Of course there will be exceptions. But then there are exceptions among the Christian community too. There are Catholics who oppose contraception and Christian fundamentalists who oppose sex education. There are Christian creationists who want our children taught only creation instead of evolution and there are Christian bigots who oppose equal marriage as though what other people do in their own bedrooms is any of their business.
There are also people who believe the world is flat because the bible tells them so but they’re hardly mainstream. So it is with Muslims.
And there are other things that we know about Muslims too.
• We know that many Muslims are hardworking and peaceful.
• We know that many Muslims are devoted to their families.
• We know that many Muslims hate terrorists and report extremism to the UK intelligence services when they turn up in their Mosques.
• We know that many Muslims are just like the rest of us.
So here’s a challenge – ask yourself just what it is that you hope to achieve by standing around in car parks and police kettles shouting obscenities about someone else’s God. And when you ask yourself – answer honestly.
• Is it about the people in your local Mosque or is it about your need to blame someone, anyone for the fact that you’ve been knocked back by an oppressive society?
• Are you really sure that you’re attacking the right target?
• Are you really sure that your methods are the right ones?
In one sense the current trend toward nationalism (toward fascism, to give it its true name) can be thought of as just ‘more of the same’. I was a teenager in the late 1970s and I vividly remember the abuses of the National Front (NF) with their violent rampages and attacks on black and other ethnic minorities. By the mid 1980s these racist thugs had morphed into the British National Party (BNP) in an attempt to develop a veneer of respectability to cover their abuses. It is out of the ranks of the BNP that the current threat, the EDL has arisen.
The English Defence League (EDL) claims to represent the traditional values of the working class. However even the briefest glance at the history of working people in the United Kingdom shows this not to be the case. My people, the working class majority, have always opposed fascism. Ours is a socialist tradition where all people are judged upon merit, not colour or religion, where a fair day’s work is rewarded with a fair day’s pay and where the vulnerable are protected by the people around them.
It was the white working class people of Britain who opposed Moseley and his fascist Black Shirts at the battle of Cable Street. It was the white, working class people of Britain who stood shoulder to shoulder with their Black and Aisan neighbours to beat back the National Front during the Battle of Brick Lane and it is working class whites who today stand in solidarity with their Muslim neighbours against the English Defence League and the British National Party.
The modern nationalist movement can be traced right back to the brown-shirted thugs of Baronet Oswald Moseley – a group of Nazi sympathisers who wanted the UK to join Germany and Adolf Hitler in his bid to subjugate Europe under the fascist jackboot. Working backwards from the EDL and UKIP we can move effortlessly back to the BNP and the NF, from the NF to Enoch Powell with his ‘rivers of blood’ rhetoric until ultimately we land on the doorstep of Moseley himself. This is far from a working class movement.
Baronet Ernold Oswald Moseley was a British aristocrat who thought no more of the working classes than did any other aristocrat, then or now. He saw working people as resources to be exploited, much as (arguably) the wealthy, aristocratic conservative party does today. And Moseley knew, as Hitler did, that the best way to exploit the masses is to pretend that you are on their side. This means finding a scapegoat to hide behind. People who are downtrodden will always need someone to blame for their misfortune. It’s better for the fascist to keep the poor blaming each other than to let them know that the real enemy is their ultra right wing ‘friend’.
That’s why the naive prejudices of football hooligan turned EDL leader Tommy Robinson (real name Steven Yaxley Lennon) was such a gift to the fascists. It created a vehicle to distract the dispossessed and prevent them from asking the really important question:
Why are we so downtrodden?
There have always been exploiters and those exploiters have always sought to scapegoat others as a distraction to hide behind. Let’s face it – even when Europe was essentially white there were poor people struggling to survive. The workhouses and mills of Victorian England weren’t run by Muslims – they were run by Christians who exploited the workers for their own ends. The feudal system that saw so many peasants starve to death wasn’t the creation of Islam – it was the work of white Normans (the ancestors of Nick Griffin of the BNP, as it happens).
This series then is written as much for English Defence League supporters as it is for anyone else. It’s an attempt to ask them to calm down and deal with the real cause of their dissatisfaction through the ballot box.
The real reason that working people are downtrodden in UK has nothing to do with Muslims. Nor are the current acts of terrorism the fault of our working class neighbours here in UK. There have been religious terrorists of all stripes for decades. Remember the IRA. Remember the Orange Volunteers. Remember Aanders Breivik. They were guilty of appalling atrocities in their day but nobody blamed all Christians for it. It’s equally wrong to blame all Muslims for the violence of a few.
If you truly wish to support the working classes of UK. If you genuinely want to improve the lot of disadvantaged citizens then stop targeting equally disadvantaged Muslims and start voting instead. If you genuinely want to combat terrorism then stop wasting public resources policing your attempts to defend empty car parks or smash up public houses. And stop beating people up just because they look a bit foreign.
Above all – stop firebombing Mosques, assaulting non-whites, sending hate mail, nailing pigs heads to places of worship and stripping Hijabis in the street. These tactics do you no favours – not least because you’re aiming them at the wrong targets.
Please stop being the distraction that prevents the working class from tackling the real problems of inequality and exploitation that concern us all regardless of colour, creed or ethnic origin.