Jon Cruddas raises the very important English question


by Sunny
10th October, 2010 at 10:34 am    

An article in the Observer today by Jon Cruddas says: English Defence League is a bigger threat than the BNP:

A thousand English Defence League supporters protested in Leicester yesterday, the latest in a wave of anti-Muslim activity across the country.

Last week, 40 EDL followers protested for three days outside a KFC restaurant in Blackburn which was trialling halal meat. A fortnight before, 30 EDL followers in Gateshead held an impromptu demonstration outside a police station after six of their friends were arrested for burning the Qur’an; a similar number attacked a leftwing meeting in Newcastle. On the anniversary of 9/11, there were EDL actions in London, Nuneaton, Leeds and Oldham.

The EDL is a much bigger threat than the BNP, consumed by infighting and debt since its crushing defeat in May’s local elections. It also poses the biggest danger to community cohesion in Britain today. Its provocative marches, “flash demos” and pickets are designed to whip up divisions between communities and provoke a violent reaction from young British Muslims.

The rise of the English Defence League, Jon Cruddas rightly contends, is a result of increasing disconnection and confusion about national identities.

He says the left must get organised. True. But first the left must also recognise that national identities matter, and we’re going through a flux in identity, which gives rise to these people.

The problem, for me as well as people like Jon, is that we’re then faced with lefties who are uncomfortable with old-left notions of community and solidarity, and want to blame everything on capitalism.

So I’ll be intrigued to see where Jon Cruddas takes this. All this confirms the point I’ve always made: that identity politics (whether class or race) has been integral to British politics for centuries. The rise of the EDL is merely the latest reincarnation.


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  1. earwicga — on 10th October, 2010 at 11:00 am  

    Too right. The demonisation of the underclass/undeserving poor/benefit scroungers/single parents/young mothers etc. by Labour and now the tories is shameful.

  2. Dalbir — on 10th October, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    But first the left must also recognise that national identities matter…

    Too right. What we normally get from the left is ‘recognition’ (and promotion) of a particular ‘English’ identity that pretty much encapsulates what they wish it were, rather than the identity as perceived, understood and accepted by large sections of the white English working class themselves. This is most probably because that version of the Anglo-Saxon identity is one they find pretty loathsome or embarrassing? Plus that whole issue of trying to ‘integrate’ people who couldn’t easily visibly pass for indigenous English people (because of their colour) gets thrown into the mix. SO we have an attempt to reconfigure Englishness with this understandable agenda.

    However, only an idiot would think this would not cause resentment and fracture. Poor Johnny Saxon doesn’t know what the hell is going on anymore. But I can understand the lefts motive for this ‘reconfiguration’ because the old version of the English identity is pretty much tied up with a lot of allusion to recent colonial experiences and what many of us would probably consider base, yobbo culture or superciliousness with a barely concealed undercurrent of racism.

    As if this wasn’t enough, we also have the fascinating dynamic inbetween the white English classes too, where common ground between a upper middle class and lower working class seems so difficult to come by and the former seem to define themselves by othering the ‘lesser beings’ and going out of their way to put as much distance between themselves and them, when what they should be doing is acknowledging that these ‘chavs’ are indeed their own people and have not descended from Pluto. Just because swathes of them are knobs, it doesn’t mean you can go around pretending they are nothing to do with you.

    At best you may get some sympathetic noises and even action in an attempt to try and raise the perceived bleak prospects of the lowly section but this is self defeating because it just reinforces the deeply ingrained perception of inferiority.

    As a Sikh man I’ve read dozens of books from Anglo based sources on my own people covering the last few centuries. Sometimes I think some of us need to create a text that defines the English covering their complexities. I think in a rapidly changing world, identity crises are apt to happen to any community. I don’t think sections of English society handle this fact very well? Show some positive dynamism for fucks sake. Most of us are living in a state of flux right now. Take it like a man.

    PS – It is hard not to feel that a carefully constructed ‘house of cards’ is tumbling down in front of our very eyes.

    Karma.

  3. Kamal — on 10th October, 2010 at 2:14 pm  

    The above two posters make valid points but why aren’t the working class whites joining forces with the (mainly) working class Muslims instead of attacking them ? It’s the old game of the wealthy setting the poor against each other so they don’t challenge the real iniquities (bankers bonuses,etc)

  4. boyo — on 10th October, 2010 at 3:11 pm  

    “The problem, for me as well as people like Jon, is that we’re then faced with lefties who are uncomfortable with old-left notions of community and solidarity, and want to blame everything on capitalism.”

    Which goes to show why you have only just joined the Labour Party and voted Liberal before that. There’s nothing older on the left than seeing capitalism as the prime cause. Without an understanding of that you’re left with… the BS. I think JC understands that Sunny.

  5. Dalbir — on 10th October, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    It’s the old game of the wealthy setting the poor against each other so they don’t challenge the real iniquities (bankers bonuses,etc)c

    There is certainly an element of this, I think the antiMuslim propaganda has been going on since the mid to late 90s at least. I may be off the mark but I suspect it may have the result of some long term strategic post Cold war goal with an eye on resources? I might be wrong. Do bear in mind that the WWC are generally quite cowed down (they know their place) and hence have never really had the balls to seriously challenge their establishment/authority figures. At least in recent times. Sure they may go out and beat their chests and occasionally riot, but changing the political set up is something they usually never give any serious thought. The closest elements got to that was the BNP. Easier to just scapegoat immigrants and grumble under your breadth about the leaders.

    why aren’t the working class whites joining forces with the (mainly) working class Muslims instead of attacking them ?

    Because they still identify with their oppressing leaders. I’m not sure of the basis of this exactly, whiteness perhaps? Those leaders are still ‘us’ and the working class Muslims are ‘them’. Plus let’s be frank, a lot of the working class Muslim communities (who I would argue have been mainly Pakistani or Bengali until recently) are quite insular. I’m not faulting them for this by the way. I see nothing wrong with forming your own strong communities, much like Brits do in Spain. Also, I have seen quite hostile relationships between these parties over the years along cultural, religious and resource lines. So it doesn’t come as any surprise that they are not rushing to form alliances. To me anyway.

    They’ve had the notion of being innately superior drummed into them for centuries. You can’t switch that off with a snap of your fingers.

  6. boyo — on 10th October, 2010 at 4:22 pm  

    Sigh. The problem the elite has is the EDL is not more like the NF or BNP – it was easy to contain WWC dissent within the racist box. Few (serious people) seriously believe the EDL are all racists, though they may be thugs. Rather they are the tip of an iceberg of WWC anger at immigration stretching back to the 1950s.

    The case for immigration was always slight and never put to the vote thanks to a cross-party consensus. The purpose was, of course Sunny, capitalism – to shore up the bourgeois by undermining the bargaining power of the working class which had given them such a shock in ’45.

    As a consequence, historic and demographic forces have led naturally to both radical Islam in the UK and the EDL.

  7. Dalbir — on 10th October, 2010 at 4:29 pm  

    What happened in ’45 that shocked them so much?

    Were they uppity after ‘winning’ the war?

  8. Don — on 10th October, 2010 at 4:30 pm  

    Dalbir,

    I suspect it may have the result of some long term strategic post Cold war goal with an eye on resources?

    That’s quite a stretch, but I suppose it’s possible Personally I think it unlikely that that sort of coherent, covert, long-term planning exists. But I could be wrong. Maybe the Bilderberg group are behind it.

    the WWC are generally quite cowed down…have never really had the balls to seriously challenge their establishment/authority figures. At least in recent times.

    Depends on what you mean by recent times, but if you mean in the last couple of decades you may have a point. As one gets older ‘recent’ becomes a more flexible term.

    I’m not sure of the basis of this exactly, whiteness perhaps?

    Yes, in many cases. But in my experience people from long-established afro-caribbean backgrounds and people of mixed race now have fewer problems with working class solidarity than would be implied if ‘whiteness’ alone were the issue.

    On insularity,

    I see nothing wrong with forming your own strong communities, much like Brits do in Spain.

    Really? But very few Brits in Spain (in fact very few Brits abroad) see their country of residence as being their home (The US and the antipodes aside). They don’t anticipate their children and grandchildren identifying as Spanish or French.

    ‘Strong community’ is a fairly value laden term, just as ‘self-imposed insular ghetto’ would be. I’m dubious about how helpful either characterisation would be.

    quite hostile relationships between these parties over the years along cultural, religious and resource lines.

    No argument there. I’ve seen the same thing.

    They’ve had the notion of being innately superior drummed into them for centuries.

    Not so sure. A moment ago they were ‘cowed’, now they have a sense of inate superiority that goes back centuries? I agree that part of the imperial project was to push this line, but I doubt if it really had any imapact on the working class population earlier than the mid-19th century.

  9. Don — on 10th October, 2010 at 4:32 pm  

    Really would like to see the ‘edit’ button back.

  10. Don — on 10th October, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

    Were they uppity after ‘winning’ the war?

    Yes.

  11. Dalbir — on 10th October, 2010 at 5:22 pm  

    Depends on what you mean by recent times, but if you mean in the last couple of decades you may have a point. As one gets older ‘recent’ becomes a more flexible term.

    Well, what do you see as a serious attempt to challenge and alter the establishment by the WC in relatively recent times? Lets go back a hundred years then, or even two hundred if you like? I hope you’re going to give me more than Poll Tax riots or miner’s strikes. My history is weak in this area and region, I’m all ears. Teach me.

    But in my experience people from long-established afro-caribbean backgrounds and people of mixed race now have fewer problems with working class solidarity than would be implied if ‘whiteness’ alone were the issue.

    The historic nature of white and black relationships has always been very different to the white and brown ones. Interracial relationships have been less of a taboo between the former group than the latter. There are a lot of reasons for this that we don’t need to get into here but it is illustrative to point out that
    despite a century in North Indian regions (including what is now Pakistan) we never saw lots of mixed-race children emerge. Also the Afro-Caribbean community in general has been quite heavily Christianised, whilst most subcontinent browns seemed to have retained their original belief, cultural and social systems. They generally still seem to want to, to the point of being prepared to struggle for preservation. In that context it comes as no surprise that there is much closer identification where you mention. I’m hoping not to offend anyone by saying this but Afro-Caribbeans can be considered closer to whites culturally than many ‘brown’ communities from the east. We can of course possibly bar subcontinent Christian coverts from this understanding? I could be wrong though?

    But very few Brits in Spain (in fact very few Brits abroad) see their country of residence as being their home (The US and the antipodes aside). They don’t anticipate their children and grandchildren identifying as Spanish or French.

    Well, there was a similar mentality with first gen ‘Asian’ immigrants here. Look how that changed. I don’t doubt that many of the ‘ex-pats’ who have migrated with young family members are likely to go through similar experiences, unless they really push the old ‘bulldog’ thing. It would be interesting to find out how many ‘Brit’ children who have grown up in the Med would like to come back to grey old Blighty when older? Mind you, it’s not grey at all today is it….in October? Plus i get economic, employment prospects come into play here.

    ‘Strong community’ is a fairly value laden term, just as ‘self-imposed insular ghetto’ would be. I’m dubious about how helpful either characterisation would be.

    One man’s strong community is another’s self imposed insular ghetto. Believe you me, I know.

    Not so sure. A moment ago they were ‘cowed’, now they have a sense of inate superiority that goes back centuries? I agree that part of the imperial project was to push this line, but I doubt if it really had any imapact on the working class population earlier than the mid-19th century.

    The ‘innate sense’ manifests in cross racial encounters whilst the the ‘cowed’ bit applies in the dynamic between them and the higher/ruling classes.

    Fair point with the chronology. Though that brain shafting, which has only really begun to wind itself down fairly recently, seems to have an enduring effect on many minds. It still echoes in many of the institutes of this nation too in my opinion. Something I know people will now jump up to vehemently deny.

  12. Don — on 10th October, 2010 at 7:33 pm  

    I hope you’re going to give me more than Poll Tax riots or miner’s strikes.

    Miner’s strikes are an interesting part of history, and a ittle research would show that they were often very much a challenge to the establishment.

    Interracial relationships have been less of a taboo between the former group than the latter. There are a lot of reasons for this that we don’t need to get into here but it is illustrative to point out that

    How is it illustrative to point out something we don’t need to get into?

    We can of course possibly bar subcontinent Christian coverts from this understanding? I could be wrong though? I suppose you could. How would that work?

  13. Dalbir — on 10th October, 2010 at 8:52 pm  

    Miner’s strikes are an interesting part of history, and a ittle research would show that they were often very much a challenge to the establishment.

    It is hard for me not to fall back on what I know of the history of the region my family originally hail from to compare and contrast these things. In terms of the type of challenge to the government that was going on at about the same time there (Panjab), without going into the merits or otherwise of it, the contemporary miner’s strikes seems a bit….lightweight. Also other recent challenges I am vaguely familiar with like Bhagat Singh’s, the Gurdwara reform movement etc. The point I was originally trying to make in this area was that the modern English wwc ‘rebellions’ as such, don’t seem to take the grave nature of other broadly comparable friction elsewhere. Whether this EDL thing will turn into something bigger or peter out is anyone’s guess and contingent on many factors.

    How is it illustrative to point out something we don’t need to get into?

    Well, it just seems patently obvious to be true to me. Maybe it isn’t then? I could be under a misapprehension.

    How would that work?

    Well, the thing with ‘Indianness’ is that it can be super enduring so the culture permeates, sometimes in a very conspicuous way. The best and clearest example I think I can give is how caste remains a societal factor with both Muslims and Sikhs, communities that disavow caste considerations theologically but still haven’t managed to shake it off. If a similar situation exists with India Christian converts and they have retained enough of their Indian ‘thinking’ (as opposed to a specifically western outlook), then they could be argued to have remained somewhat outside of the sphere of white influence compared to people who have disconnected themselves from past practices/thought quite severely.

    I’m just not sure how western or eastern such Christians are to form an opinion on their cultural proximity with western white people. Actually, now I think about it, I doubt they have much in common with the wwc at all. They do see like a jolly bunch singing their songs on the high street on a Saturday afternoon.

  14. Don — on 10th October, 2010 at 9:06 pm  

    Well, it just seems patently obvious to be true to me. Maybe it isn’t then? I could be under a misapprehension.</i?

    Well, quite. One couldn't possibly argue with that,

    Again.

  15. Sunny — on 11th October, 2010 at 1:47 am  

    Boyo

    Immigration is the cheap and lazy answer. The broader point is about globalisation, the easy movement of capital and labour, as well as liberalisation of trade in this country pushed by Thatcher.

    Now, that said, there are societies such as the US that can absorb immigration without falling apart. But you need a narrative to bind people together, who aren’t just interested in economic answers to everything.

  16. douglas clark — on 11th October, 2010 at 3:26 am  

    Dalbir @ 2,

    What a provocative and interesting comment! The best bit for me was this:

    As a Sikh man I’ve read dozens of books from Anglo based sources on my own people covering the last few centuries. Sometimes I think some of us need to create a text that defines the English covering their complexities. I think in a rapidly changing world, identity crises are apt to happen to any community. I don’t think sections of English society handle this fact very well? Show some positive dynamism for fucks sake. Most of us are living in a state of flux right now. Take it like a man.

    Yup.

    The Anglo Saxons have a superior attitude to scholarship, they are right and no-one else is really allowed into the sand box, unless of course, they support the status quo.

    What would your guess be on the number of Anglo Saxon scholars commenting on Asian issues: politics, history, economics, shit I nearly missed religion, and the corresponding flow in the other direction?

    I’d have thought the Anglosphere was likely to have won, hands down.

    Which is not a good thing.

    If the intellectual arguement about relative merit is surrendered so easily, because one side does not – check – is not allowed to, present their case, then what does that tell you about the society we both live in?

    It is a sign of immaturity or endowment, I think. Either they are so busy defining ‘the other’ that they have no time to consider themselves. Or that’s where the money is.

    I think that a foreign – meaning not Anglo Saxon – perspective on the UK, absent it’s colonialism, and dealing with it’s present is actually very interesting.

    I return, again and again, to Kenan Malik’s book ‘From Fatwa to Jihad’ because it says something pretty profound about modern Britain.

  17. douglas clark — on 11th October, 2010 at 3:42 am  

    Sunny,

    Genuine question.

    Why is this an issue?

    20 folk does not, a revolution make. These folk sit in the gutter of sectarianism staring at the moon. They could not organise the proverbial piss up.

    I do not know why you or Jon Cruddas give them any house room.

    It seems to me that the EDL is not a credible threat and will, have, fallen apart when challenged. Usually by the Police, who tend to move them on after they get a bit pissed.

    I think that is a realistic assessment. These folk are less serious about the politics and more serious about the booze and the aggro!

  18. damon — on 11th October, 2010 at 4:19 am  

    From the opening post:

    The rise of the English Defence League, Jon Cruddas rightly contends, is a result of increasing disconnection and confusion about national identities.

    I don’t think the people who go on EDL demonstrations are confused about identities.
    I think they are pretty grounded in who they think they are. They have a problem though (in my opinion) in the way that modern places like Leicester and Bradford just are in every day existance.
    What should be done about them I really don’t know.
    Just tolerate them through gritted teeth for a few hours and hope the bugger off home soon after their demo? Or welcome their being banned and police forces being drafted in from surrounding counties to kettle and confront them with dogs and horses?

    I’m still not sure if Rageh Omaar was irresponsible a few years ago when he did a couple of documentaries that highlighted survey by YouGov which gave statistics like:

    Eighty-three per cent of Britons polled said they feel that there is an immigration crisis, and 84 per cent believe that the Government should stop or reduce immigration altogether.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-559126/The-inconvenient-truth-immigration-Rageh-Omaar-asks-Enoch-Powell-right.html

    Part of the reason for their profile is that so much attention is given to them. But I also see that there is a conundrum with what to do about them.
    Seeing Serb thugs rioting at a gay pride event in Belgrade on the news tonight, I thought they looked just like the EDL.
    The EDL aren’t that homophobic I think though. So maybe we should be glad that our thugs aren’t as bad as that.

  19. douglas clark — on 11th October, 2010 at 4:44 am  

    damon @ 18,

    Not really.

    How do you feel about being allowed to comment here?

    Seriously.

    Are the people that own this site, write for it or stuff, not quite nice people? People that give you grace, allow you to say what you want? Don’t ban you, or forever throw you into the fires of Hell?

    Seems to me that they are quite nice people, and are not deserving of your more ascerbic criticism.

    Are they the sort of people you want to alienate? Quite a number of these folk I see as friends, some I see as deadly enemies – mainly Brownie – however the point is that you see allies of ignorance in “jolly good chaps”, and I don’t. Frankly, I really, really dislike folk like that;

    So.

    I think not.

    You say:

    Eighty-three per cent of Britons polled said they feel that there is an immigration crisis, and 84 per cent believe that the Government should stop or reduce immigration altogether.

    I do not believe that is a worthwhile poll. Y’know why?

    Because I don’t believe it, and I believe me to be a better judge of what people think than damn stupid polls. And no-one asked my opinion.

  20. damon — on 11th October, 2010 at 5:04 am  

    What are you on about douglas clark? The first bit I mean. Maybe it being ten to five in the morning has something to do with it.

    I was quoting a poll done by YouGov which was the basis of three documentaries by Rageh Omaar … which you might not have noticed that I questioned whether he was irresponsible to make or not.
    Let’s all shout a pollsters and say: ”well they didn’t ask me!”

    Go back to bed.

  21. boyo — on 11th October, 2010 at 7:37 am  

    Sunny @15 I agree. The huge challenge for Cruddas is to re-present the issue for the WWC and Muslim community as what it is – about power, and that they are both disempowered. However I can’t see how this can really be accomplished, other than completely re-imagining the British state, which too many vested interests would oppose. What we need i think is something that encompasses Tom Paine and Karl Marx. I know, I know…

    Paradoxically I think BS may be a recognition from the patrician standpoint that “something needs to be done” and its worth bearing in mind that Cameron’s class is NOT bourgeois, so therefore was never threatened by the people below. But i think its unintended consequences will be to increase division as people are encouraged to fall back on “their own” communities to survive. Britain in 2015 will be much more divided, unequal and unhappy than now.

  22. Ravi Naik — on 11th October, 2010 at 10:06 am  

    The rise of the English Defence League, Jon Cruddas rightly contends, is a result of increasing disconnection and confusion about national identities. He says the left must get organised. True. But first the left must also recognise that national identities matter, and we’re going through a flux in identity, which gives rise to these people.

    Is the EDL really something new? Racist skinheads, hooligans and other assorted losers have been around forever always finding an excuse to get drunk, engage in violence and do all things tribal. In my view, it has more to do with low socio-economic background levels, including low educational levels and few opportunities, the same that some immigrants find themselves trapped into.

    I also do not believe the EDL is more of threat than the BNP. People see EDL for what it is – a group of thugs. The BNP, on the other hand, represent Britain in the EU parliament. Both share the same racist mindset.

  23. Jai — on 11th October, 2010 at 11:47 am  

    Some further developments:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/oct/10/english-defence-league-tea-party

    English Defence League forges links with America’s Tea Party

    As the far-right group marches in Leicester, details are emerging of growing contacts with extremist US groups in a ‘war on Islamification”

    The English Defence League, a far-right grouping aimed at combating the “Islamification” of British cities, has developed strong links with the American Tea Party movement.

    ….The league has also developed links with Pamela Geller, who was influential in the protests against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero. Geller, darling of the Tea Party’s growing anti-Islamic wing, is advocating an alliance with the EDL. The executive director of the Stop Islamisation of America organisation, she recently met EDL leaders in New York and has defended the group’s actions, despite a recent violent march in Bradford.

    …..Devin Burghart, vice-president of the Kansas-based Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, said: “Geller is acting as the bridge between the EDL and the Tea Party. She plays an important role in bringing Islamophobia into the Tea Party. Her stature has increased substantially inside the Tea Party ranks after the Ground Zero mosque controversy. She has gained a lot of credibility with that stuff.”

    …..The Tea Party is expected to be an influential force in America’s mid-term elections. Last month their candidate Christine O’Donnell romped to the Republican nomination in Delaware, following a stream of populist rightwing candidates who carry the movement’s endorsement. Burghart says anti-Islamic tendencies have become far more marked in the grassroots organisation: “As we move farther and farther away from the Tea Party origins, that were ostensibly around debt and bail-outs, social issues like Islamophobia are replacing that anger, that vigour. The idea that there is a war between Islam and the west is becoming commonplace.”

    …..With the Tea Party said to benefit from millions of dollars of funding from conservative foundations, experts warn an alliance between the EDL and extremist elements within the US movement could allow the English group to invest in wider recruitment and activism.

    …..The EDL’s website relaunched briefly last week with new US links. Currently shut down for “maintenance”, the site featured prominent links to a site called Atlas Shrugs, which is run by Geller, and another US-based site, Jihad Watch, which compiles negative news coverage of Islamic militancy.

    In addition, two members of the EDL leadership, a British businessman called Alan Lake who is believed to fund the group and a man known by the alias Kinana, are regular contributors to web forum 4Freedoms. The forum claims to be “organising US activities” and has links to the anti-jihad group, American Congress for Truth, which in turn has supporters within the Tea Party.

    Lake is also believed to have been in touch with a number of anti-Islamic Christian evangelical groups in the US…..Lake, believed to be a principal bankroller of the EDL, which claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation, is understood to be keen on the possibility of setting up the UK equivalent of the Tea Party. At an event organised by the Taxpayers’ Allliance last month, US Tea Party organisers outlined how the movement emerged last year, partly in protest at the US bank bail-out.

    Those present included Freedom Works and the Cato Institute, one of the Tea Party’s main backers. However, Simon Richards, director of the Gloucestershire-based Freedom Association, which is looking at developing a pseudo-Tea Party movement in the UK, said he was concerned the project could be hijacked by elements such as the EDL. Nick Lowles of anti-fascist organisation Searchlight said: “The EDL is an integral part of an international campaign against Islam. While some are fighting in a cultural and political arena, the EDL are taking it to the streets. The images of the EDL allegedly taking on Muslim fundamentalists on the streets of Britain is also delighting right wing religious organisations in US.”

  24. Kamal — on 11th October, 2010 at 1:56 pm  

    Douglas Clark @19 … well said!
    Someone needs to stand up to this bigot Damon and his constant defence of bigots,racists and Muslim haters .

  25. Ravi Naik — on 11th October, 2010 at 2:58 pm  

    Eighty-three per cent of Britons polled said they feel that there is an immigration crisis, and 84 per cent believe that the Government should stop or reduce immigration altogether.

    We always seem to be debating as if there was ever a time when immigration was remotely popular among the people.

  26. Ravi Naik — on 11th October, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    Someone needs to stand up to this bigot Damon

    I actually enjoy his contribution in PP. He has an interesting take on several issues.

  27. damon — on 11th October, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

    ”Kamal”

    ….and his constant defence of bigots,racists and Muslim haters.

    You are wrong using that word ‘defence’.
    You seem to be the kind of person who thinks that not supporting Unite Against Fascism (for example) means you must be a fascist.
    My original point on this thread was to question what Jon Cruddas was saying about the EDL’s rise was … ”a result of increasing disconnection and confusion about national identities”.
    I didn’t really understand that point, so said so. It seemd wrong to me.

    I then gave my reason for where I thought ‘the rise of the EDL was coming from.’
    What douglas clark made of that I have no idea because he didn’t seem very coherent.
    You’d hope for better posters on a site like this.
    But I even got deleted this morning on the Liberal Conspiricy site for giving the opinion that the climate activists who do things like invade airports in ”flash mobs” are a bit silly and annoying.

    See here @ post 12.
    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/10/09/get-organised-and-join-us-your-planet-needs-you/

    Kamal reminds me of the pro Moscow communists who tried to purge all of the anti-fascist factions who were not pro Moscow, during the Spanish civil war.
    As described by George Orwell in his acount of his time there.

  28. Dalbir — on 11th October, 2010 at 5:25 pm  

    The Anglo Saxons have a superior attitude to scholarship, they are right and no-one else is really allowed into the sand box, unless of course, they support the status quo.

    What would your guess be on the number of Anglo Saxon scholars commenting on Asian issues: politics, history, economics, shit I nearly missed religion, and the corresponding flow in the other direction?

    I’d have thought the Anglosphere was likely to have won, hands down.

    The mechanism they have used to do this is worthy of careful study. Especially how they have managed to use ‘academia’ to propagate their views.

    That point about the non-reciprocal nature of this type of stuff is very important too. To put it succinctly, most other people can’t be bothered with the effort required to constantly manipulate things to try and consistently present matters in a skewed but obviously utilitarian way (for themselves). They just don’t have the inclination or the sort of societal structure and characteristics to pull it off. The very fact that such a thing is capable of being done – and that for so long too – really gives one an insight into the types of minds that have been in positions of power and influence in English society for some time now. It also shows how passively the AS wwc can take on ideas coming from top down.

    On the opposite side, yes, people have been slow on the uptake to grasp what has been/is going on. I think some of the more conspicuous early attempts to outline, understand and combat this stuff come from African-American literature. Of course Edward Said’s work is of direct relevance here too.

    The truth is that a lot of people have been fooled some of the time here and some of those who have been subjected to such misrepresentations are only just beginning to fathom out what has been happening. There is a strong likelihood that the Anglo account of what is and what isn’t (written in the last few centuries) will be ‘retranscribed’ quite significantly in future, especially by those written about. When it comes to accounts of politics, history, primitive ethnography type stuff the English seemed to specialise in, large swathes of it does seem to be what I can only describe as ‘the narrative of a clever conman’. A lot of the ruses seem to be running to the end of their courses now. What remains to be seen is how the rest of the world will encapsulate this experience in their collective memories as more and more light is shone on the matter.

    Going back to the original post. How this narrative that we speak of has seeped into the very marrow of the type of people who generally make up the EDL is a very interesting question.

    I think that a foreign – meaning not Anglo Saxon – perspective on the UK, absent it’s colonialism, and dealing with it’s present is actually very interesting.

    Absolutely. And the independent Scottish perspective will be an important and especially fascinating account due to their close proximity to what has been going on in more recent colonial history as well as their collective understanding of Anglo-Saxons going back much further than that. Cognitions from that perspective and quarter has the potential to really pierce deeply into the manufactured fog.

    And before anyone jumps in, when I’m talking of ASs like this I don’t mean every individual but more the leaders and their policies, ideas and thinking’s effects on both their own people and those that they came into contact with recently.

    I return, again and again, to Kenan Malik’s book ‘From Fatwa to Jihad’ because it says something pretty profound about modern Britain.

    I’ll keep an eye out for it but I do hope it is not the narrative of the converted, so to speak.

    It is a sign of immaturity or endowment, I think. Either they are so busy defining ‘the other’ that they have no time to consider themselves. Or that’s where the money is.

    I had to end with this because I think you are on to something very important here and that there is truth to both of the propositions you have made.

    That being said, what the EDL are basing their own identity on is very flimsy. The only way it can really survive is if the lock themselves up and perpetuate it whilst avoiding too much outside influence. That is probably what they will try. I don’t know how it will work out for them in the long run. Some of them (not the opportunist generally racist ones), are scared of Muslims I think because they are having quite a lot of success in propagating and protecting their lifestyles these days. If this is what the EDL are against, then they are too dumb to realise that what they are doing is actually self-defeating in that it will only serve to make Muslims feel even more persecuted and thus insular causing an inevitable hardening of position from that quarter.

  29. Ravi Naik — on 11th October, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

    If a similar situation exists with India Christian converts and they have retained enough of their Indian ‘thinking’

    Christianity in India has been around for 2000 years in the state of Kerala. And conversions to Catholicism (brought by the Portuguese) happened 500 years ago – I am guessing around the same time Hindus/Muslims were converting to Sikhism. So calling present day Christians in India as “converts” is inaccurate.

  30. Kamal — on 11th October, 2010 at 6:47 pm  

    Ravi@26 So do I ; he’s a real genius. Now please excuse me the men in White coats have just arrived from the mothership to take me away.

  31. joe90 — on 12th October, 2010 at 9:23 am  

    edl are costing the british taxpayer a lot of money, i am reading its costing millions to police their right to turn up drunk and start abusing minorities. Not exactly a brilliant move considering we are in dire financial situation with cuts being made all over the place!

  32. douglas clark — on 12th October, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    damon,

    Two points. The first being a bit of a joke.

    Yes, I commented at 4:44am. A combination of insomnia and tooth extraction can do that to a chap. Secondly, you commented at 5:04am!. What’s you excuse?

    I am not a member of UAF. Neither, rather obviously, am I am member of the EDL. Your oevre here is to take an unfashionable group of people, people that comment on the Millwall site for instance, highlight that and try to claim that that is a genuine or widespread reflection of wider society. Oh, you caveat it right, left and centre, but it is what you do.

    I have never seen you do the same with groups of people that do not support that somewhat warped idea of what a wwc agenda ought to look like. Or even query whether there is a way or means to move it on.

    If you are merely saying that people should have the right to free association, then I doubt very many people around here would disagree.

    However, there is a line to be drawn in the sand between peaceful association and running around rioting.

  33. damon — on 12th October, 2010 at 11:38 am  

    There’s nothing wrong with posting in the early hours of the morning douglas. I just found your comment to be a bit of a rant – that’s all.
    The wwc is just the way it is. You might wish it different – you might wish that Rangers fans didn’t all sing along with ‘We’re up to our knees in Fenian blood, surrender or you’ll die – for we are the Bridgeton **Billy Boys’ ….. but sing it they do.

    And probably, if a place like Bridgeton became as multi-cultural an area as parts of some English cities, there could well be some nagative comment about it amongst the more lumpen sections of the Glasgow wwc – and people might even move away from the area because the schools (for example) had become majority ethnic minority. And there even became schools that were practically segregated like in Bradford and Oldham.

    And several of the local pubs had closed down because the new Muslim residents didn’t drink – and Bridgeton became a place where it was Asian lads who would win if there was ever trouble in the area, because they could quickly call up numbers, and chase any whites who were being agressive out of the area.

    These are threads about the EDL – and sometimes the BNP, so why shouldn’t I (or anybody) try to talk about how they see things and where they think these backward movements come from?
    Do we have to take into consideration the thicker people who comment on here who will see that as somehow supporting these backward trends in society?

    The Millwall site can be interesting because it shows an ”online community” where there are a range of wwc opinions aired on subjects like the EDL and racism.
    Some of them are racist and others aren’t … with their range being to the more lumpen end of the scale.
    So some of them are of the ”I’m not racist but …” type.

    Like the guys on it the other day who were talking about how much changed had occured around the once Millwall supporting wwc area around Camberwell Road.
    http://www.millwall.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=54333&posts=4

    I have read somewhere before, that the ‘Camberwell ward’ has become 40% African in just a short number of years, and like the guy says, you really do see a lot of fancy African dress on a sunday when people are going to church.
    And where even Operation Black Vote concedes that there are serious problems with practices of ”regular faith-based abuse of children within ‘rogue’ elements of African churches”.
    http://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/churches-challenge-channel-4-bias-but-condemn-rogue-pastors-child-abuse-claims/

    I find it perfectly understandable that wwc people of a rather thick mentality will comment on issues like that in a rather backward way. Why wouldn’t they? It’s their nature.
    I have been told in the past that there is no point going into long explainations like this on Pickled Politics though. Someone will still say I must be ”defending” racists. Like ‘Kamal’ did just yesterday.

    **Note to anyone who doesn’t know who the ”Billy Boys” of Bridgeton were .. Google will tell you.

  34. Dalbir — on 12th October, 2010 at 4:19 pm  

    Doug….Doug….Dougie…..

    You’re aren’t going to disavow your statement and blame it all on the dentist now are you …..

    tut tut tut…..lol

  35. douglas clark — on 12th October, 2010 at 6:17 pm  

    Dalbir @ 34,

    Nope.

  36. douglas clark — on 12th October, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

    damon @ 33,

    Thought I’d posted a reply, but apparently not.

    Anyways as we’ve both been cured of our vampyric tendancies I’d just like to make a couple of minor points, or cavils or whatever, which are probably best summed up by:

    “Yes but, as they say.”

    I don’t think that there is any sort of ubiquitious wwc conciousness or any of that stuff. It seemed to me that during the ‘troubles’ – in Belfast in particular – the mere idea of wwc solidarity would have got you tarred and feathered. As it might still, in Belfast, Glasgow or Liverpool.

    It is true, as you say, that to some extent set piece confrontations depend on muscle. But the need for that confrontation (or not) usually depends on one side preening itself and goading the opposition. Which is exactly what the EDL have been doing. They have to be bussed into a community in order to riot. They choose their flash point, not the other way around.

    If they wished a seemly protest then perhaps they could have had it in Trafalgar Square or some other neutral venue. Parliament Square comes to mind. But these folk are shock troopers, at least in their own minds. They have to take their fight outwith their own communities and inflict, and I mean inflict, it on Saturday shoppers in a town far away of which they know little.

    That, to me, is deliberate provocation. No matter how it is dressed up as a ‘freedom of speech’ issue.

    Second and very different point.

    Your entire perspective is based on two assumptions:

    Firstly that you express a Runyonesque admiration for the rough and ready working class when, for every example of thuggishness you can present I can put up a counter example of altruism. For instance there are pretty well documented examples of asylum seekers being smuggled away from Police snatch squads in both Manchester and Glasgow. In working class areas, by working class people.

    Neither your example nor mine is an accurate representation of wwc ideas or sensibilities or whatever. Because there is no single narrative, there are no ties that bind.

    For example. If one drunk thug in a riot prone working class pub said: “I hate Asians”, another drunk thug would fight him. Despite possibly there being no Asian within a five mile radius. To that extent I agree with you, it is for the sake of the rumble and not because of beliefs as such.

    So we come to the nub of my critique of what you are saying.

    You are completely silent on half of the wwc. What about the women?

    Northern Ireland’s early attempts at cutting this Gordian knot were down to those mono trousered aliens from the planet Venus. But you knew that, didn’t you?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4781091.stm

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