Boris Johnson, the Tory journalist turned politician, has come a long way since he first entered Parliament in 2001. He reached the dizzy heights of Foreign Minister in 2016 only come tumbling down following the Eurosceptic revolt in the Tory Cabinet last month. Johnson wants to become the next Tory leader when Mrs May finally throws in the towel. But his naked ambition is frowned on by many Tory grandees and his past performance merely shows that his privileged background has elevated him way beyond his capabilities.
Now Johnson is playing the race card with vulgar remarks about the traditional veiled dress of some Muslim women which he says make them look “like letter boxes” or bank robbers. This has, naturally, provoked a wave of protests from the Islamic community including the few prominent Muslims still in the Tory ranks. But Johnson is wallowing in the publicity he’s gained and refuses to apologise for his putrid comments.
Johnson lacks the depth of support that Enoch Powell once enjoyed within the Tory party and he clearly doesn’t possess the rhetorical skills of Sir Oswald Mosley. Powell had been a major player in the Tory party and Mosley was Labour’s rising star in the 1920s. But when these ambitious men fanned the flames of racial hatred working people closed ranks in a mass movement that forced Powell to seek the solace of the Ulster Unionists and Mosley into voluntary exile in Ireland and France.
Anti-fascist resistance drove the Blackshirts off the streets in the 1930s. A new anti-racist movement did the same in the 1970s to beat the National Front. Now Labour is calling for another Anti-Nazi League to do the job today.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said anti-racists should build on the work of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL), which was founded in the 1970s to clear the streets of the fascist threat. Jeremy Corbyn’s number two spoke out against the growth of the far-right pointing to the protests in support of jailed racist ‘Tommy Robinson’, now released after winning an appeal, the attack on a left-wing bookshop in London as well as Johnson’s recent Islamophobic remarks. McDonnell said: “We can no longer ignore the rise of far-right politics in our society. Maybe it’s time for an ANL-type cultural and political campaign to resist”.
Capitalism is in deep crisis. It cannot solve the problems of the millions of working people whose labour it exploits but it always seeks to divert the masses to perpetuate its rule. In Britain and throughout Europe we are witnessing the “creeping fascism” of the bourgeoisie who couple their attacks on workers’ rights and living standards with tactics that seek to scapegoat asylum-seekers, religious and ethnic minorities, and immigrants to divide and weaken the working class.
The ruling class is not inherently racist but it has always used racism to divide and weaken the working class. When any worker suffers abuse or discrimination because of their race, religion, gender, sexuality or for any other reason, the class as a whole is weakened and it is the responsibility of the whole class to combat racism and all other divisions of the class.
This is why the New Communist Party does not support separate organisation for workers of different colour, religion or gender. The class must stand united on the basis that an injury to one is an injury to all. Labour and the organised working class, the trade unions, must take the lead in driving the fascists off the streets and combating racism at work and in the community.
We have always supported the anti-fascist and anti-racist movements in the country and we will always continue to do so. But day-to-day struggles must become consciously linked to the fight for fundamental change, and that means revolution and socialism.