Large parts of English society, including many working class people, have joined in a nationalist frenzy. They blame immigrants for most problems, European countries for a few others and at the same time dream about starting new imperial adventures. This has become mainstream politics in Britain. Additionally, the far right is campaigning to get Muslims excluded from society; the more extreme ones also want Jews to be excluded. The political elite has decided to ignore reality around them, parliament is preoccupied with itself, obsessing about procedures and dirty tricks.
The majority of the left in England has embraced nationalism, while a smaller part does its best to ignore that. In the minds of the left, British history and its empire didn’t play a big role in the first place. They want to be elected into government, which is all that matters to them. Many in the left still hold Marxist writers in somewhat high esteem, especially the parts where they write about the necessary wrong conscience of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat that will be enforced by the leadership of the left party. With these basic Marxist theory elements, it is easy to justify handing out lies to working class people instead of stating the truth about the situation. And it is easy to justify ignoring what working class people are saying. As long as it is beneficent in order to come to power or stay in power, it’s ok.
The left ignores the reality of nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and instead remains fixated on the prospect of superseding the Tory government. Most of the left have long given up on the idea of changing much, and if they want to be the governing elite, such reality does not matter anyway. And because people without British (or Irish) passports cannot vote in British general elections, they don’t matter, either.
Len McCluskey was always vocal about his views, that immigration is bad for the British working class. That is why he was elected as leader of the trade union Unite. The SWP want UK to break away from EU and other international treaties as they hope on a national level they have better chances to come to power, so they criticise EU as being racist and capitalist, but leave out that UK is no less racist and capitalist. Jeremy Corbyn is often supporting nationalist and racist arguments, while still claiming that he is opposing racism. They all hope this ingratiation to nationalism and racism will be their path towards power.
There is an obvious contradiction between what the left is doing and what the left is claiming to do (and even more what the left should do). Therefore an additional ingredient is needed, in order to keep it together. This additional ingredient is anti-Semitism. The function of anti-Semitism in this case is to denounce Israel and/ or the Jews as being capitalist, racist, nationalist and imperialist, worthy of destruction or at least repugnance. Only once the blame for capitalism, racism, nationalism and imperialism is externalised and projected somewhere else, can the left make its peace with this country and the status quo. And that is a hard requirement for a left, who does not want to change much, but who wants to take over power regardless.
What can we do then?
Opposing fascism is a necessary start. Opposing nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism no matter if it’s on the right or on the left, should be the next step.
a friend in London