Thursday, 13 June 2013


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Answer lies in unity, not "terrorists" of the far right
Last month, we witnessed the brutal murder of a solider as he walked down a street near his home.
Within hours the word "terrorism" was being used to describe the attack and if it transpires this was indeed a politically or religiously-motivated murder then there would be considerable justification for using this term.
The aftermath of Lee Rigby's death also saw a rise in attacks on mosques and Muslims.
If "terrorism" is to be used so quickly to describe the actions of the Woolwich murderers, then surely this term equally applies to these attacks.
Elements of the far right, in their misguided defence of their concept of England, have sought to create fear among other communities – the very definition of terror.
The right-wing media is generally quick to use labels such as "hate preacher" for those few individuals advocating violence in the name of a particular religion, but, so far, most are reluctant to use the term to describe the leaders of the far right.
While the leaders of certain organisations may say they are encouraging peaceful protest, their words influence others to commit acts of violence.
It is not enough, though, to dismiss extremists of all shades as evil and to ignore the underlying issues which motivate their actions. To ignore them is to frustrate them to further acts of hatred.
As a socialist, I perceive these underlying causes in terms of class.Successive neo-liberal governments have sought to devastate the working class.
Some groups have been unfairly subjected to racism and discrimination while others have been completely ignored, or condemned as "workshy shirkers".
We have witnessed our industry disappear and our core values, such as solidarity, replaced with rampant individualism.
Now, especially during this economic crisis, we are all competing for an ever-decreasing slice of the pie.
It is no wonder working class communities turn on each other to compete for jobs, services, dignity and respect.
The answer, though, does not lie in looking to the far right: the answer lies in acknowledging what we all have in common, regardless of race, religion or country of origin.
It is in our shared interest not to fight each other but to fight against the injustices brought upon us by the elites of politics, banking and big business.
As a final point, it is to the credit of trade union, community and faith groups which have sought to heal the divisions in our society by taking steps to bring people together.
It is much more difficult to hate someone if you find you have something in common with them.
Matt Widdowson, Leicester

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