Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/700/13463

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2012

Reader's comment: The right wing media and Diane Abbott

Senan, Tamil Solidarity international coordinator

Shadow health minister Diane Abbott was wrong when she said: "White people love playing divide and rule". The 'Twitter defence' of being 'unable to express everything in 140 characters' does not hold.

Diane is wide of the mark even if she was referring to the period of slavery in the 18th and 19th century. It is absolutely vital to insist on the difference between the 'white masters' who enslaved all races, and the white working class who often showed huge solidarity, struggling for better conditions for all. Clearly grasping the class divide has never been Diane's cup of tea. When has she gone on the defence of the working class, white or black?

But, following her tweet, there have been calls for her resignation from all sides. This is ridiculous.

That is not to say there are not reasons to demand she quits. For example, many would argue she should have been asked to stand down as a Labour MP, elected to represent working class people, when she sent her son to a private school while her New Labour government undermined state education.

Diane failed to effectively defend black people in Hackney when their services were slashed out of existence by 'posh white boys', as she correctly calls the Con-Dems. And, during the August 2011 eruptions of anger in London she notoriously advocated a curfew - in effect an argument for bringing the military onto the street. We do not support rioting as a method of protest, but research has proved that it was anger over cuts and police harassment that fuelled these events.

However, the portrayal of Diane in the media as an 'outright racist' is wrong and crude. And, crucially, it sews seeds of confusion about what racism is and why and how it must be fought. It has created sympathy among some of the black and Asian population for her - sympathy which is undeserved given her record.

Ruling elite

Diane would be absolutely correct to direct an accusation of 'divide and rule' towards the ruling elite, who are mostly from white rich families. Warmonger Tony Blair called for black or Asian mothers to control their kids and report on them to the police.

David Cameron got away with calling part of the community 'sick' referring to poor black people while the 'Black and Asian' MPs provided no explanation for the anger on behalf of people living in the most deprived boroughs in the country.

There was no major outcry in the media when so-called historian David Starkey on BBC's Newsnight caricatured the rioting as 'black culture'.

The list is very long. But Diane is not aiming her attack at these people, hence the outrage.

However, the media has picked on the tweet partly to divert attention from the conviction of Stephen Lawrence's murderers and all that it exposes.

The big-business owned media seems happy to focus on nationalism and racism, issues that can sew division and atomisation of society. But it took a vibrant thousands-strong student demonstration before they caught up with growing unemployment and the Education Maintenance Allowance theft. They are still refusing to dedicate enough time to talk about the effects of the cuts, youth unemployment, etc.

When it comes to issues of organised workers' action such as strikes and occupations, protests outside government offices, etc, there is rarely sufficient column space, apart from space given to condemn such actions. They even pass on momentous historical events. For example there was virtual media silence when more than 100,000 Tamil-speaking people marched through the streets of London in 2009 demanding a halt to the massacre of Tamils by the Sri Lankan military.

Murdochgate has exposed the connection to the ruling elite and the police. But so far the vast majority are carrying on as normal. Even the disgraced former News of the World editor has found a cosy editorial job in the USA.

As we fight the cuts, made by those who defend the interests of big business and the banks, we must also fight their mouthpieces in the media.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 January 2012:


Pensions battle

We say: NO WAY! Strike to defend pensions

Pensions dispute: Everything is still to fight for

Workers need an electoral alternative that fights for them

Unison member: no pensions sell-out


Socialist Party Interview

Fighting the pensions battle: An interview with Mark Serwotka


Them and Us

Fat cat pay: empty words from Cameron

Clock turned back on housing

Them & Us


Youth fight for jobs

Reject slave labour for young unemployed


Socialist Party workplace news

1,200 jobs threatened by DVLA closures

We need more railway jobs

Cuts councillors dishonoured

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party features

Stephen Lawrence murder - the untold story

Heseltine continued Liverpool's decline


International socialist news and analysis

Nigeria shut down at start of indefinite general strike


Socialist Party women

Socialist Women: At the frontline of the resistance


Socialist Party news

Socialist Party 2011 fighting fund target smashed!

Raffle - Ken Loach at the BBC


Socialist Party reviews and comments

Film review :The Iron Lady in meltdown

Reader's comment: The right wing media and Diane Abbott


 

Facebook   Twitter

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Related links:

Media:

triangleReaders respond to Trotskyist red scare smears by capitalist media

triangleKick out the Blairites

triangleUnited working class resistance can cut across racism

triangleThe media - and the Electoral Commission - must reflect on their role in creating a 'climate of hate'

Black:

triangleBlack footballer's taser death: stop police racism now

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Black Lives Matter

triangle2011 riots: An outpouring of anger at the system

triangleSouth London #BlackLivesMatter protest marches on Downing Street

Asian:

triangleGrunwick strike 40 years on - lessons of an epic battle

triangleTories 'Prevent' civil liberties

triangleOscars snub black artists: fight racism and austerity in the arts

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

24/8/16

Workers

A day in the life of a call centre worker

24/8/16

Letters

The Socialist inbox

16/8/16

Militant

A reply to Guardian writer John Harris

16/8/16

Militant

Guardian letter explains the success of the Labour Party Young Socialists

16/8/16

Liverpool

Guardian letter in defence of Militant-led Liverpool council

10/8/16

Letters

The Socialist inbox

26/7/16

Coventry

Letter to an anti-Corbyn Labour MP

25/7/16

Scunthorpe

Sanctioned - a victim of government callousness

6/7/16

Letters

The Socialist inbox

29/6/16

Pensioners

Old v young is a phoney war - the enemy is the 1%

29/6/16

EU

The Socialist inbox

29/6/16

Theatre

Theatre review: Bread & Roses

29/6/16

Blacklisting

Blacklisting victory donation dedicated to workers' struggle

22/6/16

The Socialist

The Socialist inbox

22/6/16

Music

Stay Voiceless: Manics' punk spirit is alive and well

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

triangle24 Aug 'Dis-Services' to Leon Trotsky

triangle23 Aug #KeepCorbyn: Answer right's attacks with firm socialist programme

triangle22 Aug Russia Today interviews Peter Taaffe and Tony Mulhearn

triangle19 Aug Immingham residents' housing battle

triangle18 Aug Leyton and Wanstead Labour backs Corbyn three-to-one

triangle18 Aug Walthamstow Labour backs Corbyn two-to-one

triangle18 Aug Corbyn backs teaching assistants at hundreds-strong rally

More ...

triangle24 Aug Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Opposing caste and race based politics

triangle24 Aug Barry Socialist Party: What the Socialist Party stands for

triangle25 Aug Coventry Socialist Party: Trotskyism, the Militant tendency and the Corbyn insurgency

triangle25 Aug Bristol South Socialist Party: All strike together to kick the Tories out!

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice