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Year 2009 No. 74, December 2, 2009 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Oppose the Racism of the British State

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Oppose the Racism of the British State

No to the Deployment of Troops in Afghanistan! Britain Out of Afghanistan Now!

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Oppose the Racism of the British State

Racism has always been a systematic policy of the British state. It has been cynically utilised by successive British governments imbued with the chauvinism of a “great power” that will not view human beings as having rights simply by virtue of being human. These facts cannot be lost sight of in the recent clamour about the danger from the “far right”. The theme of the cartel of the big parliamentary parties over the recent period has been that problems in society have been caused, or at least exacerbated, by a mistaken immigration policy. This is one of the ways in which the racism of the state has been manifest particularly since the reactionary focus on the danger of “Islamic extremism” as well as the movement of migrants from Eastern Europe, as well as elsewhere.

This reactionary policy was manifest as Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, made his first major speech on the question of immigration at the beginning of November, having been appointed Home Secretary in June. He has been reported as saying that both Labour and Conservative governments have made mistakes over the issue. However, most media reports made much of the fact that the Home Secretary claimed that recent governments had “struggled to contain the huge surge” in asylum seekers. Johnson alleged that “there are communities which have been disproportionately affected by immigration, where people have legitimate concerns about the strain that the growth in the local population has placed on jobs and services”.

With such remarks, which are reminiscent of infamous racist comments of the likes of Margaret Thatcher, the Home Secretary took up the mantle of all those who have over the years sought to use the issue of immigration in the most reactionary manner both to attack the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, as a part of the attack on the rights of all, and as a means to whip up chauvinism and racism, to act as a diversion to prevent any focus on the actual source of the problems confronting society. It is not coincidental that the Home Secretary’s comments came in the wake of the large-scale publicity that has been mounted to promote the fascist BNP and at a time when there have also been attempts to resuscitate various bogus and unscientific views on the subject of so-called racial differences. As in the past, the Home Secretary was not concerned to explain the reasons for migration and asylum seeking, nor did he elaborate how this is linked to the legacy of Britain’s colonial past and the government’s armed intervention around the world today.

The Home Secretary’s outlook is based on the racist and reactionary premise that Britain is allegedly being “swamped” by undesirable migrants and asylum seekers, “legal and illegal” migrants, while at the same time he also links migration and asylum seeking with an alleged influx of those connected with “terrorism” and the government’s so-called “counter-terrorism” measures. By such means, the government is justifying not only the attacks on the rights of migrants but also the surveillance of whole communities and sections of the population as the state positions itself to further attack the rights of all.

As for the contention that the major parties have been reluctant to discuss and legislate on the subject of immigration and asylum, or have not been vigorous enough in the implementation of policy, nothing could be further from the truth. Since 1997, the New Labour governments have introduced six separate legislative Acts concerned with immigration and asylum, limiting the rights of asylum seekers and providing the state with more draconian powers to attack migrant workers. These culminated in the introduction of the new UK Border Agency and under the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 creating a “Border Force” to more effectively police national borders. The facts show that the Labour government is following the path of previous governments. All governments since the early 1960s have introduced openly racist legislation, and if anything the present government has outdone its predecessors as part of its attacks on the rights of all at home and its reactionary colonialist policy abroad.

However, as in the past the aim is not to prevent migration, as the Home Secretary pointed out, since this is a vital source of necessary cheap labour as well as skilled labour, which can be exploited by the big monopolies in their quest to become competitive in the global market and to make maximum profits. Recent statistics show that around half of all new migrant workers have been educated to university level. The government’s immigration policy aims to provide a means for the state to manage the supply of such labour required by the monopolies, to attack the rights of all workers and to provide a green light for the open fascists in the promotion of the racism and chauvinism. In the period before the next election the two major parties appear to be attempting to outdo each other in this regard and demonstrating once again that racism is integral to the outmoded political and economic system, and that it is organised and promoted by the state, the media and the major political parties.

Oppose the Racism of the British State!

Defend the Rights of All!

Article Index

No to the Deployment of Troops in Afghanistan! Britain Out of Afghanistan Now!

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed plans to deploy of 500 more soldiers in Afghanistan in early December.

"I can confirm that we will move to a new force level of 9,500 – the extra troops will deploy in early December to thicken the UK troop presence in central Helmand," Brown told parliament on Monday. Britain’s total contribution to the eight-year war, however, would amount to 10,000 given the presence of special forces, who are involved in training and civilian activities.

The announcement comes just two days after the Prime Minister said that the government will host a conference on Afghanistan in January 28 to discuss ways of handing over security to the local forces. He said the discussions are expected to pave the way for the withdrawal of British troops from the country.

After the United States, Britain has the highest number of troops in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama declared the deployment of 35,000 more troops to Afghanistan in a nationwide address on Tuesday. Washington is also planning to train Afghan security forces to pave the way from the withdrawal of foreign forces in the Afghanisation of the war.

These aggressive and reactionary measures to occupy and control this strategic central Asian country are bound to fail. The anti-war movement, together with many troops themselves together with their families, are demanding that the troops be brought home now and that there be no British troops on foreign soil. The rise in troop fatalities in this unjust and aggressive adventure is also underlining that the Anglo-US programme is failing. Ninety-nine British service personnel have lost their lives in 2009 alone. This makes it the bloodiest year for British troops since the Malvinas War in 1982. A defence ministry statement confirming the death of another British soldier in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province on Monday coincided with Brown's announcement. The death takes the total number of British deaths in Afghanistan to 236. This war against and occupation of Afghanistan, the extension of the war into Pakistan, the scandals over the government’s irresponsible attitude towards the welfare of the troops, and the background of the economic and financial crisis at home, have all contributed to making this criminal Anglo-US and NATO-led campaign “unwinnable”.

The movement to bring the troops home is growing and the demand for an anti-war government is taking root. In these circumstances, Gordon Brown’s announcement of sending extra troops to the battlefield is one of desperation.

No to the Deployment of Troops in Afghanistan!

Britain Out of Afghanistan Now!

No Troops on Foreign Soil!

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