Destroying workers’ power
In order to keep the obscenely unequal imperialist system in place, and to preserve their tremendous wealth and power, the billionaire capitalist class has become very experienced at dividing the oppressed.
Racism is used to make us redirect the anger and frustration that should be focused on the capitalist system at our fellow workers.
The job of bourgeois political parties is to protect the interests of the exploiting class. That’s why they turn a blind eye to the pollution of the planet, send working-class kids to die in predatory wars over resources and markets, and push wages down as far as possible.
The drive for a cheaper workforce has led to cuts in housing, health care, education, benefits and services. It also leads to the export of capital – whereby British capitalists close down enterprises here in order to produce more cheaply abroad.
These things are done to maintain profits, but blame for the ill effects is regularly laid on a scapegoated minority (‘immigrants’ or ‘asylum seekers’) which is itself suffering from the drop in living standards.
Essentially, all capitalist parties have to be racist. It’s part of their job to make sure that, instead of recognising that all workers are our class brothers and sisters, we learn to deride each other’s traditions, and to identify with our ‘own’ exploiters because of shared skin colour, language, culture or religion.
Racial prejudices are deliberately renewed by capitalist media and politicians every day, and this is increasing as the economic crisis gets worse.
Even better-off white workers suffer as a result, since our class is unable to organise itself to replace capitalist exploitation and war with a secure, meaningful, cultured and dignified socialist life, free from inequality, insecurity and war.
That is why we say that racism is a class issue and not only a problem for its victims.
Racism and immigration
Population migration has been a feature of human life as long as we have existed as a species. ‘Immigrants’ are not our enemy; British capitalism is!
Classifying workers as ‘illegal’ leaves them prey to the most extreme exploitation and abuse, and turns them into weapons of the capitalists to depress the wages of all.
That is why we demand full citizenship rights for all people who live and/or work in Britain.
If we fail to understand that it is the capitalists’ insatiable urge for profit, not some ‘other’ group of workers, that is responsible for our problems, we can become prey to the lies of fascistic hatemongers, who want to mobilise us against our own class to help save capitalism. Those who fall for BNP-type ravings are being turned into dupes of our rulers against their own class interests.
And it is not only white workers who are played for fools by the ruling class. Non-white communities, too, are encouraged to keep themselves apart – to avoid ‘contamination by western culture’ or to organise under the seemingly ‘progressive’ banner of black nationalism, which is founded on the insidious lie that all white people are congenitally racist and that ‘white supremacy’ rather than the capitalist ruling class is the main enemy of ethnic-minority workers.
Racism, the police and war
Recruitment of black officers cannot change the institutional racism of the police.
As agents of the capitalist state, they have to arrest disproportionate numbers of young black men, since mass criminalisation serves to reinforce the racial prejudices stirred up by media and politicians. Criminal records are also used as ‘proof’ that individuals are at fault, and not the system.
Another important reason for the promotion of racism is as a justification for wars abroad. If the people under attack can be presented as incapable of managing their own affairs, and their leaders as inherently corrupt and dictatorial, our rulers can dress up their barbaric bombings as ‘liberating’ missions.
Campaigns to demonise targeted peoples abroad are used in turn to renew racist vitriol against British workers with ethnic or religious ties to those being attacked. It is no accident that Britain’s wars in the Middle East have been accompanied by an enormous wave of islamophobia.
Marx said that “a nation that enslaves another forges its own chains”, and showed that our oppressors gain strength both from the vast increase in their looted wealth and from the accompanying division of workers.
That is why communists support national-liberation struggles; we know that weakening British imperialism abroad will help us to destroy the capitalists’ power at home.
Socialism will end racism
When we have grown up in a capitalist world, it can seem that racial tensions are inevitable, but the experience of socialist countries shows that they are not.
The 1917 October revolution in Russia declared imperialist war, occupation and colonial seizure to be criminal, and all people to be equal, outlawing discrimination.
By involving people from Asia in the building of a new society and culture, the USSR crushed imperialism’s excuses for its ruthless exploitation of the world, proving that there is absolutely no justification for any kind of racism.
The USSR replaced xenophobia, bigotry and warfare with cooperation, respect and fraternal harmony, and showed the huge contribution that all people are able to make to the building of a higher culture when given the opportunity.
The era when open racism and naked colonialism could be tolerated was over, as millions of oppressed people were inspired to join the fight against it.
This in turn inspired anti-racist movements in the imperialist countries.
Britain’s first anti-racism law in 1965 was an admission of moral defeat by our rulers. Where once they trumpeted their racist ideology proudly and openly, now they have to hide it behind weasel words about ‘equality’ and ‘respect’.
Organise the resistance
After decades of marginalisation and demonisation, the poorest communities in Britain today are a powder keg of frustration and rage, full of revolutionary potential.
What is lacking is the organisation and ideology that will turn the forest fires of our occasional uprisings into an unstoppable inferno that will ultimately burn the entire system of exploitation to the ground.
Class-conscious workers of all backgrounds need to take hold of the weapon of Marxist-Leninist education, and to use this understanding to break down the walls of suspicion between our communities, uniting them in a common fight against our oppressors, and advancing the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and for socialism.
As the old adage goes, ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. Or as Marx and Engels wrote so profoundly: “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win!”