1990s >> 1994 >> no-1078-june-1994

Socialists against racism!

More than three million people in Britain are currently living under the threat of racial attacks because of the colour of their skin. According to the 1991 Census, 3,015,014 out of Britain’s population of 54,888,844 are from the ethnic minorities: 94.5 percent of the population is white, while 5.5 percent is black.

Racism and prejudice are not new to Britain. In recent years racial abuse and attacks have mainly been aimed at non-whites. But over the centuries foreign workers have been invited and initially welcomed to Britain to provide skills and labour power which would enrich the lives of the British capitalists. But when the newcomers settled here they were made to feel unwelcome, especially when boom turns to slump.

This racial intolerance and prejudice is perpetrated by many politicians who have played a key role in stirring up racial hatred. The 1979 General Election was won by the Conservative Party partly as a result of its success in attracting the vote that had gone to the neo-fascist National Front in the course of the 1970s. The leader of the Conservative Party made a carefully timed intervention in which she claimed that “British people” had a legitimate reason to fear that their culture might be swamped by immigrants.

The following argument is familiar to most people in Britain: “Of course, I don’t mind them coloureds personally. I even work with some of them. It’s just that there’s too many of them.”

These people should look at the statistics stated above. All of the capitalist political parties are tainted with racist pasts, including the Labour Party which passed the first racist immigration legislation. The only way to stop racism and fascism is to understand its cause — the competition between workers engendered by the capitalist system — and, instead of wasting time fighting the effects, remove the cause once and for all.

Michael Ghebre