Racism – Alive and Dangerous

The past couple of days have made me sick to the very core. First a racist cartoon blaming individuals for poverty and a widespread response which claimed ‘it’s just a joke’ and now the news that a neo-nazi group ‘Right Wing Resistance’ is trying to set up branches around the country.

As times get more desperate and people start feeling the brunt of economic hard times, people start looking round for something to blame. Racism is a tool to focus the anger of everyday people away from the people responsible for creating the hard times – government and city council cutbacks and bosses that lay people off, slumlords and profiteering power companies – and onto other, even worse-off, sections of society.

The cartoon in the Marlborough Express yesterday last week was an example of how racism is used to divide the working class.

Nisbet’s ugly cartoon uses racist mockery to make food in schools seem dirty and demeaning. He has claimed “it’s just a joke”, and told people to “lighten up”. But this is not a light-hearted thing. Nisbet is playing on some pretty deep stereotypes – about the nuclear family and about “lazy Maoris” – to get his laughs.

Feeding children in schools is not something which should be controversial or race-based. So why is it that an issue so mainstream has raised a racist monster? Because it is something that benefits all working class families and challenges the nuclear family, which is so essential to the smooth-running of capitalism. The nuclear family individualises care for the well-being of workers, and places the responsibility of children onto the family – specifically on to unpaid women’s work – rather than society as a whole. Capitalism benefits because the reproduction of the next generation of labour is done at the expense of the workers themselves.

Feeding children in schools is seen as outrageous to people who think food and childcare (and often health care and care for the elderly) should be completely privatised. In practice this means nannies and private schools for the rich and neglect for the children of the poor. There is nothing inherently wrong with shared childcare or food being provided at school – or work.

The reality is all working class families will benefit from this. These so called ‘jokes’ and ‘satirical’ cartoons open up space for openly racist scumbags like convicted terrorist Kyle Chapman and his gang of neo-Nazis.

Kyle Chapman is a right-wing parasite who feeds on alienation and desperation. He has a history of racist violence, and a criminal record for firebombing marae. He has been part of white supremacy groups since he was 14 and in 2009 became the leader of the grandiosely named Right-Wing Resistance – a group of drop outs and thugs who like to parade around with swastika tats in pretend SS uniforms. His “white pride” marches in Christchurch blame immigrants and Maori for society’s ills. Right Wing Resistance has been linked to attacks on immigrants in Christchurch – usually a gang of cowards attacking a single person!

Recently Chapman claimed his minions in Dunedin had distributed 1000 leaflets titled “China: a threat to New Zealand?” In response to a complaint, Chapman told the Otago Daily Times ”If they can’t accept that we are in a free country, in a free society, with free speech, then they really came to the wrong country. If they want to go to a country that is full of fear, where people aren’t allowed to speak out, they really need to go back to whatever country they came from.”

This is bullshit. Chapman is a terrorist. He has the record to prove it. This leaflet is calculated to intimidate. It is people like him who in fact make people fearful to walk down the streets of Christchurch. He is a Nazi, an enemy of free speech and a street thug. He would dearly love to set up a branch in Dunedin and other cities, gather in cranks, bigots and disaffected and alienated youth to use as minions to make racism just another part of the political scenery. His words are the theory, hate crime is the practice.

The International Socialist Organisation exists to build working class unity and power. We reckon Kyle Chapman is a buffoon, but that never stopped Mussolini taking power. Mussolini’s melodramatic combination of thuggery and respectability helped birth Hitler’s hell on earth. Chapman may be an idiot but we take his threats seriously because he himself is the dupe of bigger forces.