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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
UK: Thousands march in London against austerity
by Richard Mellor
Huge protests in London last weekend against austerity. As I watched this, (the folks in black with the masks are not nurses, and are engaging in their usual self indulgent activity divorced from the working class) I also thought about the anti-immigrant blame game that seems to have gained traction since I left the country. We have it here in the US too. I noticed all the immigrant workers in this crowd, I also know that so many immigrant workers make the NHS function. What would an anti-immigrant slogan do in a movement like this? It would split it, weaken it, serve the interests of the bankers, hedge fund managers and other parasites who are destroying workers' living standards.
When I was young, for a brief moment the views a racist politician, Enoch Powell got a bit of an echo with me. He never used overt racist language but talked about threats to "our" culture etc., he was educated, a real intellectual. It made sense for a brief moment in time. If immigrants left wouldn't we have more jobs for us? Wouldn't social services be less strained? This is what the right wing mouthpieces of British imperialism like the Daily Express or the Mail used to say. My parents got the Daily Express.
I was fortunately rescued once when the issues were explained to me from a worker's point of view and how the unity we needed to raise all our living standards was threatened by this nationalist, xenophobic and ultimately racist position. I would not have thought myself a racist and didn't have racial motives and I came to understand that the threats to my livelihood didn't come from people who originated from a colonial country and have brown or black faces. Those threatening my livelihood looked like me, spoke very good English, and drank tea most likely. The similarity ended there.
Let's not fall prey to the immigrant blame game no matter where we are?