This leaflet came through my door on St George's Day in an envelope addressed to me personally. Headed
it did not surprise me because having lived at this address since 1986, I have found my way onto a number of mailing lists from the far right to the far left to the mystical, the cranky, get-rich-quick schemes, and a fair amount of banal things, national and local. What did surprise me however was after reading the first paragraph, before throwing it in the bin, I looked at the bottom and saw not the logo of the BNP or some supposedly far right organisation but the address:
and the claim that it was produced by the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
At this point, remembering Richard Wolff
, I was inclined to think this was an April Fool's Day joke that had been delayed in the post, but it didn't take long for me to realise it was indeed genuine.
Those with longer memories will recall both the slogan and the mindless, at times hysterical, reaction it induced in persons of a certain political persuasion, in particular Marxist-Leninists and others active in the socialist and (misnamed) anti-fascist movement. “British jobs for British workers” was a slogan in common usage with the National Front, the forerunner of Nick Griffin's British National Party
. At one time, the Front was the pre-eminent racial-nationalist party in Britain but like many extremist parties - and not a few mainstream ones - it split into various factions. Exactly what happened, when and why is not important, but the man in charge, John Tyndall, led a breakaway, the New National Front, which became the BNP, and after his betrayal by Griffin, it became the party it is today, what is left of it.
Actually, the National Front was not that extremist, it did have a few ex-Nazis and some not so ex-Nazis in its ranks, it campaigned to keep Britain white, and to repatriate especially blacks. It also advocated debt-free money - of which more anon - and it was almost certainly this that was its downfall.
The loony left and at times the not-so-loony left formed a broad coalition against the NF, the main popular front of which was the Anti-Nazi League (with or without the hyphen). And it was the worst kept secret in British politics that the Anti-Nazi League was the Socialist Workers Party in all but name. The SWP is an organisation that rails incessantly against the police
, while excusing the lawlessness
that prevailed last August during the riots.
With the fall of the Evil Empire - anyone remember that? - the SWP and other Trotskyist and Marxist-Leninist organisations didn't whither away and die, but their activists moved into other fields, in particular so-called race relations, and some into the feminist
movement. And, of course, the peace
movement. The late 70s/early 80s was their heyday though, and they knew it. They were out on the streets organising against the imminent fascist takeover, picketing, attacking National Front meetings and its activists. On occasion, “anti-racists
” would dress up in Belsen pajamas on anti-Front protests, and the cry “Never again!” went up a thousand, a million times.
The bottom line was that anything the National Front wanted, the left was against, so as the NF was opposed to immigration, the left wanted lots of it, indeed, anyone who didn't support unrestricted immigration into Britain - from non-white countries in particular - was a racist
and a Nazi. What else could he be?
It was this sort of hysteria that turned Britain and especially London into the refugee capital of the world. Later it would turn out that some of these refugees - asylum seekers they are now to be called - had blood on their hands, including, later, from the Rwandan genocide. At the moment, the British Government is tying itself up in knots over convicted terrorist Abū Qatāda
, who is far from the most odious of asylum seekers who have turned up in this country.
Now, finally it seems, some elements of the left have woken up, sort of, but as usual, they are aiming at the wrong target. They realise there is a problem, that British workers are in the doldrums, and - as they see it - foreign workers are being imported into Britain to take their jobs. According to their leaflet: “While capitalism appeared to be booming, it stole workers from poorer economies who were needed in those countries - a reverse colonialism - to provide a pool of cheap, unorganised labour here”.
Here is a similar leaflet
Notice how the rhetoric has changed? While it is still taboo to attack immigrants - wherever they come from - it is no longer taboo to oppose immigration, but stealing workers from poor economies? Come on!
While it is true that capitalism likes cheap, or rather cheaper labour, this is not a bad thing in itself. Cheaper labour means more goods and services for us all because although we don't all produce, we are all consumers.
The following was directed at the Lloyd George government, and was published in the Financial Times
of September 26, 1921, page 2:
“Most people have not yet realised how dangerous a thing it is that the banks of this country are now in five big groups, and that half a dozen men who control them can make or ruin the entire nation.”
And: “Does he, and do his colleagues, realise that half a dozen men
at the top of the five big banks could upset the whole fabric of Government finance by refraining from renewing Treasury bills?”
That is the problem now as it was then, business - ie capitalism - needs a constant flow of credit, or more specifically, money. The reason for the current recession/depression is because the people who control the money are themselves beyond the control of governments. The reality of this problem and of the steps that must be taken to rectify it are now widely known, and pressure groups such as Positive Money
provide real solutions. The power of the usurers over all of us - workers and capitalists alike - must be broken. Although they or some of them may mean well, the Communist Party of Britain have failed to grasp the nettle, and until they do they will simply be trading one set of scapegoats for another.