Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

We are Catalan and we want independence!
Here’s another image of multiculturalism in action that will have both far-right thugs and cynical state-nationalists choking on their cereal I hope.
Stateless nations, in this instance Catalonia, can welcome immigrants and their descendants as parts of their diverse societies. This is an image that simply will not compute in the minds of various ‘anti-fascist’ organisations so intimately bound as they are to the state-nationalisms (imperialisms) of previous centuries.  
Our Cornish, Scottish and Welsh societies and identities can be as welcoming and open as Britishness or Englishness, tainted as they are by previous centuries of imperialism and cultural supremacism. It’s our choice. Don’t let anybody, certainly not British state-nationalists, try and tell you otherwise. They are playing a cynical game of faux anti-racism fuelled by British nationalism.

Below is a blog on a similar theme from the Breton Connection.
Now that’s multicultural for you. An interview in a national minority language (Breton) about a traditional music event with a couple of black musicians wiping the floor with the competition in the background. 
Not the kind of thing you’d find on the websites of the various anti-fascist state-nationalist organisations that seem to be two-a-penny in the UK, France, Spain etc. 
In their defence of the old imperialist states – institutionally intolerant of their original national minorities as well as any other minority group that menaces the establishments hold on power – these anti-racist organisations seem at times more part of the problem than any kind of solution.

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You can read here a recent article, No One Is Free Until Everyone Is Free by Mark Wilson, which started out, frankly, being pretty defamatory of the Cornish cause in general but then, with a little help and good-will, was re-written as a much more balanced and thought provoking piece on the possible inter-relations of nationalism, anti-racism and racist abuse in Cornwall. The title, by the way, quotes Fannie Lou Hamer of the US civil rights movement.
In a chilling coincidence, while this article was being debated, the very same long-suffering institution in Cornwall which the article discussed, which seems to have been made a scapegoat or lightning rod over recent years, was again targeted by cowardly runts spraying absurd hostile graffiti. God knows those targeted deserve some peace and quiet to pass traditions on from grandmother to daughter, grandfather to son, just the same as every one of the rest of us. 
So what is the situation regarding racist incidents in Cornwall ? Looking at statistics of reported racist incidents by police force in England, Wales and Cornwall, and the population within each force’s jurisdiction, we can calculate the ratio of incidents per capita population in each police force’s area. Then we can rank them in order, where “good” is the least number of reported incidents per capita. If we do that, Cornwall and Devon comes 18th out of 43, worse than Lancashire or Greater Manchester, better than Gwent or Kent (Leicestershire coming out best, City of London worst). It’d be daft to rely on statistics to assess the real decency of everyday conduct, but clearly 18th is not good enough for Cornwall. Without wanting to slope shoulders from a position of ignorance and dump the blame elsewhere (cos we Cornish have already had enough of that sort of slander ourselves from outside Cornwall), although Cornwall & Devon police have not broken down stats by county (sic), evidence suggests that large urban centres outside Cornwall may be hot spots, such as Plymouth. Recent figures about racist incidents reported in schools imply something similar – and underline the importance of helping young people learn how to deal fairly with diversity in their minds and actions. 
These figures probably ignore the elephant in the Cornish room, namely racism based not on colour but culture, but in any case there’s no room for complacency in Cornwall. Justice demands that everyone in the Cornish movement do as they would be done by, at home or abroad, and encourage in their own and others’ hearts the smelting of intolerance, moulding it into the will to engage with the differences of others in ways which will make our Cornish society richer, fairer, stronger, brighter.
The above contributed by a CRB reader.

Interesting to note that following the large scale condemnation by the Cornish movement of the first round of racist incidents at Quenchwell  the thin façade of Cornish nationalism has been dropped by the eloquently described ‘cowardly runts’. Their true colours, white anglo-supremacist and British nationalist, can now be seen by all. I call on the all those in the Cornish nationalist movement to maintain and strengthen the unity against fascism.

Here is just a little quick publicity for the European Network Against Racism and the work they do. You can visit their site and sign up for their weekly newsletter full of information on projects to combat racism and discrimination from around Europe. 

ENAR is a network of vibrant NGOs working to combat racism in all EU Member States and represents more than 700 NGO’s throughout the European Union, as well as in Croatia and Iceland. ENAR is determined to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, to promote equality of treatment between European Union citizens and third country nationals, and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European Union initiatives.

A strong thread of Anarchist thought can be found within the movement for Cornish self-determination. Resilient autonomous communities, direct democracy and autogestion are popular themes.

Anarchism however is often the victim of gross misrepresentation. The low brow UK tabloid press being experts in the field of dumbing down otherwise legitimate political positions. The recent student protests provide us with the perfect example. The essay below comes from the The Anarchist Studies Network and tries to set the record straight. I was tipped off to its existence on the generally excellent Our Scotland forum.

Direct action is part of creating direct democracy, but the student protests saw the media painting a caricature of anarchism

Protesters are never a homogenous group, but those who protested under the anti-cuts banner last week were united in the view that the marketisation of higher education should be opposed. Typically, however, property destruction magically transformed a sizeable subset into “anarchists”, and gave a green light to the general dismissal of their concerns.

It’s certainly true that anarchists were among the protesters. What’s misleading is the media’s assumption that there’s a generalised relationship between anarchism and violence. Anarchism is a far richer tradition, and in the light of the media frenzy, it’s worth reflecting on what it stands for.

The Con-Dem alliance is looking to roll back the state. Anarchists want this too, but the government is looking to roll back the state and let business take up the slack, thereby bringing a fictitious “free market” into every last recess of our lives. That’s where the disagreement lies. Anarchists advocate practical alternatives to both this neoliberal slash-and-burn policy and the old Labour state-socialism.

Generating a market in education will benefit those who want to make money out of it. Principally, this will include profit-driven universities and businesses. Education for the purpose of developing a sense of our personal and social potential is out, while education for a fat pay cheque is in: the government takes training off its balance sheets and heaps the cost onto students. Students are in effect being asked to pay universities up to £40k for a job interview with a graduate recruiter. And if your “investment” in your future doesn’t pay off, the system will claim to be blameless: the responsibility is the student’s. To assume that the interests of business and society are the same is utopian.

But anarchists do not believe that state socialism is the only alternative to the undemocratic inequalities produced by neoliberalism. Socialising property does not have to mean nationalising it – that would simply be substituting one set of bosses for another. What about genuine collective worker ownership of industry and services; what about universities democratically run by academics, students and support staff, instead of largely unaccountable and overpaid managers and technocrats?

More widely, couldn’t we radicalise the co-operative model and have all companies democratically owned and run by managers and workers? Couldn’t we expand and federate worker co-ops, mutuals and collectives? The movement for fan-ownership of football clubs is a further indication that these kinds of alternatives work. The challenge is to think through their potential, and anarchism provides such a framework.

But how does all this differ from the “big society”, you might ask? In brief, the Tories are trying to mutualise the welfare state in preparation for privatising it. Individuals will be made responsible, but they will be given none of the power. Charities, voluntary associations and so on will be allowed to organise a village fete but the neoliberal structures of power will not be challenged. Wouldn’t it make more sense to start by mutualising the banks?

As it stands, politicians have managed to protect the banks while everyone else takes the pain. As the cuts pinch the poor and the rich get no poorer, it will become clear whose interests are being served. As worker militancy grows and protests become more frequent, the demand for ever stronger, authoritative states will become louder, civil liberties will be curtailed (again), and those at the top of the tree will tell us that they have some special right.

Modern liberal democracies garner the opinion of some adults of voting age once every five years as a solution to pre-determined elite bargaining. Who voted for the Con-Dem coalition? When the governments that are voted in then routinely ignore the will of the people, be that over wars, cuts, or the minutiae of policy, we see modern representative democracy for the sham that it is. Allowing protest only on condition that it will never present a challenge to government is part of that same sham.

Because this fake democracy doesn’t work and the interests of anarchists could never be represented by a political party, direct action is the tactic of choice. And direct action is part of the process of creating direct democracy. It produces results by raising the profile of causes and often halting practices many object to.

As well as a tactic, direct action is also a means for self-empowerment. It is a component of the society we hope to create, where people take control of their lives into their own hands and confront the root causes of injustices directly, without representatives. This sometimes includes property damage, but anarchists take seriously the notions of liberty and equality: that people are capable of speaking and acting for themselves and become even more capable through practice rather than representation.

The threat to a liveable world comes not from anarchists, but from governments and capitalism. Before the current crisis is used as a front to take us even deeper into a neoliberal nightmare, let’s reconsider alternatives.


(The Anarchist Studies Network is a specialist group of the UK Political Studies Association. This piece was collectively written but does not necessarily reflect a consensus view)

This seems an appropriate time to give a hat tip to the Kernow Anarchists Network and the campaiging they do for Cornwall’s communities. KAN manage to give recognition to Cornish difference without betraying the egalitarian principles of anarchism. For that they should be clearly distinguished from the National Anarchist Movement, a strange Frankenstein’s monster of ideas that advocates racial separatism. Make no mistakes the NAM –already mentioned on One Kernow– is but one of the latest incarnations of the extreme-right. As a movement it is invested with plenty of old hands from the far-right and neo-fascist circles. They might link to Warlinnen on their website but can anybody take the idea of a racially pure Cornish community seriously? Sounds like a recipe for inbreeding, bad food and extreme boredom to me.

In the spirit of One Kernow and as far as I’m concerned Cornish culture is not the possession of any imagined pure Cornish race. Cornish language and culture is part of humankind’s heritage and should be open to all who wish to celebrate it. Perhaps residents of the Duchy and those of Cornish ancestry feel a particular attachment to Cornish culture. Perhaps they should consider themselves the caretakers of Cornishness responsible to the rest of humanity for preserving their piece of the human cultural jigsaw, but it is not any one groups exclusive possession.

Love to hate

Posted: November 22, 2010 in anti-fascism, racism

After a blatant attempt by a new member of the Cornwall 24 forum to use the actions of 30 Islamist extremists -Muslims Against Crusades (MAC)- in order to whip up hatred against Kernow’s placid Muslim community I thought it apt to share the following from Hope Not Hate.

Plague on both their houses!

I particularly like the way in which the author makes it quite clear that both groups of nut jobs need each other to exist and feed off each other. I can almost see them all at knocking off time taking of their apparel of English fascism and Islamic fundamentalism and going for a curry together.

I’ve hesitated in the past in giving too much support to campaigns like Hope Not Hate as more often than not they seem dominated by the British state-nationalist left (Unions, Labour etc) and therefore viscerally hostile to the recognition and empowerment of the UK’s stateless nations. I hope one day they prove me totally wrong. What are Plaids and the SNP’s relations like with such organisations? Does the Celtic League have any ties with them?

Anyway a good campaign can’t be knocked. All power to its organisers.

>Scots Against Racism

Posted: October 19, 2010 in antifa, BNP, racism

>If You Have a Racist Friend taken from the excellent pro-independence blog Bella Caledonia.

Scots Against Racism

Posted: October 19, 2010 in anti-fascism, BNP, racism

If You Have a Racist Friend taken from the excellent pro-independence blog Bella Caledonia.