Protests across the US are intensifying following the arrest of sacked police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was formally charged with the murder of George Floyd. The third degree murder charge has done nothing to reassure African Americans, who’ve been here too many times to believe this will lead to a conviction. Black Lives Matter is trending again at the worst possible time. Live feeds relay images from a war zone where African Americans are supported by white and POC, in numbers I don’t remember seeing before.
(Image: A car burning)
It’s not like white people are suddenly waking up to racism. The willingness of African Americans to risk everything, has empowered white people to stand up to the monster in the White House and his army of pig minions. It’s not selfless. Black people have always provided the inspiration for white liberation and well, things aren’t looking too great for white working class Americans without the MAGA spectacles.
Harriet Tubman was freeing the enslaved and leading them across the country while white feminists were pleading with the patriarchy for basic rights. The bravery of women like Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks played an instrumental role in providing a route to justice for African American women who were raped by white men during segregation. Their contributions further empowered white feminists, who thanked them by becoming gatekeepers of the funds they raised from liberal supporters and allowing racism to run rampant in the feminist movement. White liberation has always been a bi-product of Black liberation.
Not everyone out protesting is anti-racist. Most of them probably never did anything of note to challenge racism until this moment. They’ve just been forced to acknowledge the cost of their apathy to systemic racism.
It happened with Mark Duggan. I’ve no doubt most who were revolting were disgusted by his murder, but young, white working-class people were already at breaking point. When the uprisings of 2011 broke out, the gap between the rich and the poor was at its widest since the 1930’s. When Black British people lit the flame of rebellion, the white working class joined in.
Here we are again. Two nations lured by the promises of grotesque leaders. Just a few months ago, racism wasn’t important enough for white working-class Brits to curb the right-wing extremists in their midst. Reducing white-working class politics to the single issue of immigration. Tommy Robinson shouldn’t be able to set foot on a council estate. Nigel Farage, Nick Griffin et al should never be able to convince working class people that they have their interests at heart. As for Boris fucking Johnson. Yet here we are. NHS in tatters. 60k dead. The elderly disabled and shielding, left isolated indefinitely with no access to hospital treatments while the virus is so widely circulating.
(Image: 1930’s Fascist Parade London. Anti-fascist protester being carried away by police)
And the Tories are laughing. No, not behind closed doors. On the TV, right in our faces. They’ve lied about everything from PPE, to the number of tests, to the whereabouts of the PM’s Covid ridden chief fucking adviser, Dominic Cummings. A guy who thinks that we should be screening embryos to weed out the thick ones. Who wants to use the NHS to conduct large scale genetic testing to predict the behavioural and educational outcomes of children. Eugenics, the practise of messing around with human reproduction to create a more attractive society.
White working-class people don’t realise that racism is self-harm. Stuck in a cycle of ignoring or amplifying. Grenfell. Like they don’t occupy illegally clad tower blocks. Windrush. Like they don’t need the human right of a family life. Police murder. Forgetting that, since its inception, the primary objective of the police force has been to protect the resources of the rich and maintain civil obedience among white working classes. As flattering as all the police attention is, we are not the main threat. A unified white working class could bring the establishment to its knees in an hour.
The failure to stop right wing politics in working class communities has led them to hand their children’s futures over to a man who wants to forecast their life outcomes with a saliva sample. It’s driven them to hand their children and grandchildren a lifetime of austerity. We’re still being squeezed for the bank bailouts. Imagine the bill for the pandemic when it lands, as usual, on the doorstep of the working class.
(Image: Liverpool Docks)
And that’s why I have to rate the white working-class people of Liverpool. Liverpudlians will chase them Nazis out of town. White working class Liverpudlians aren’t afraid of politics. It’s not taboo like in the white working-class community I grew up in in Leeds. Political affiliations are not something that you slip quietly into the polling box and discuss only with your nearest and dearest. Socialism is in Liverpool’s blood and the city runs red at every election.
And it doesn’t matter how much right-wing policy punishes Liverpudlians. They never betray their class for racial privilege at the polling booth. Liverpool Council led the movement to protect the nation’s children from the government’s reckless plans to reopen the schools tomorrow. When they stood up, other councils followed suit. Once again, the most oppressed, empowering others to take a stand. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Take care of the people at the bottom, the rest of society takes care of itself. If we say Black Lives Matter, then unless the Black community centres our most vulnerable, that movement too will fall eventually.
During a pandemic, white working-class society has centred the 99% who will survive. ‘The others’ watch in fear as ‘the rest of us,’ as they call themselves, storm the beaches and DIY stores. ‘The rest of us’ will have BBQ’s and see friends and family, while ‘the others’ watch from their windows. Wondering if they’ll spend the last days of their terminal illness staring at four walls. Or if their immune compromised child will get to hug their grandparents or see their friends again. Or if they’ll be blue lighted to die alone in hospital. Wondering how they could be so easily forgotten by the rest of society.
The rest of us won’t fight for the others. They’ve done nothing to stop their elders being left to die a horrible death. Didn’t blink when cancer patients were told sorry, you can’t come in for treatment while the rest of us could be walking around asymptomatic, spreading the virus.
The rest of us, think it’s ‘just another flu.’ The others, aware of their vulnerability, have been scouring medical studies from around the world. Following virologists on Twitter and arming themselves with the information that could save their lives. The rest of us listen to a government who are openly ignoring the scientists they chose to guide them. Sending the kids back to school and putting the workforce back to labour as the rest of the world watches the car crash in slow motion.
I’m not sure how I feel about witnessing one of history’s tipping points. In the USA the battle lines have been drawn and white working-class Americans have no choice but to pick a side. At the final stage of the cycle, the oppressor has removed his mask and stares calmly down a camera lens as he lynches a Black man in broad daylight. It Tweets, from the White House, words so racially violent, even Twitter has to censor it. There’s no fence to sit on. You fight for white supremacy or you fight against it.
Britain’s white-working class will soon have to make a similar choice. Black people here are being harassed and abused by an agitative police force. The racist systems white Brits failed to address, are disproportionately killing Black and People of Colour during the pandemic. The early warning signals have been sounded. Racism has come full circle again. White people will no longer be able to hide behind ignorance. It will be overt and violent. There’ll be no debate about whether incidents are racially motivated or not. It will be as clear as a hundred riot police, hatred burning in their eyes, stepping over white protesters to advance violently on African Americans.
Black people will fight for our lives. British Asian communities will too, be forced to stand with us, or fall next. For white-working class people, there’ll be no turning back if they choose to stand with or ignore the fascists.
Disposable workers. Imprisoned pensioners. Disabled and chronically ill people left to die. All a bonus for a government looking to genetically engineer a society of economically productive people. Although, someone did try that, the last time white-working class Europeans were invited along to the Nazi party. As I’m wrapping this up, a notification alerts me to a story of a Black woman being crushed by police in London The only thing the government is ramping up is fascism. Soon there’ll only be Nazis or revolutionaries. Will they land their kids with the pandemic bill? Tie them up in trade deals with Trump’s America? Or will they resist?
The National Guard have been called into Minnesota for the first time in history. The Black British Community watch our African American cousins across the Atlantic.We’re afraid for their lives. Grateful for this stand. I acknowledge in the present, the liberties they are winning for future generations in the USA and throughout the Diaspora. May the Ancestors guide and protect them.