Behind the Headlines Anxiety Growing About the Spread of Racism in Great Britain

Growing anxiety about the spread of racism in Britain will be reflected at the annual conference of the ruling Labor Party to be held at the end of September.

Of the resolutions to be presented to the conference, 21 express alarm at the growth of hatred towards immigrant minorities. The resolutions, presented by local Labor groups throughout the country, are mostly couched in socialist terms, blaming racism on the capitalist-owned mass media and declaring that it can only be defeated by complete unity of the working class and by changing the economic system.

However, many resolutions contain more practical suggestions about countering the threat. They include calls for the outlawing of the National Front and similar fascist-type bodies; calls to local authorities to bar National Front meetings from their premises, the removal of police protection from their marches, and a campaign of public enlightenment by the government.

Others propose remedying the social conditions of immigrant communities, especially their concentration in the poor, decaying centers of big cities. The government is urged to make “a comprehensive attack on urban deprivation.”

The publication of the Labor resolutions last week came only two days after the latest success of the National Front at a by-election, in London’s Dockland area. While Labor’s majority was slashed to an all-time low, the National Front came fourth in the poll with 3250 votes, or six percent of those cast.

JEWISH LEADER SHARES PLATFORM

Martin Savitt, chairman of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Defense Committee and one of the National Front’s most energetic foes, says the result bears out many of his gloomy predictions. He blames it on the apathy of the Labor Party’s voters.

A week ago, Savitt shared the platform with leaders of the colored communities at a large open-air demonstration against racists. This was the first time the Jewish community had so openly associated itself with the fight of colored immigrants.

It caused him some embarrassment when Tariq Ali, head of the International Marxist group, listed Israel as one of the places where racism had to be fought. The local adherents of Israel’s Herut Party subsequently criticized the Board of Deputies for keeping such strange company.

However, Indian community leaders have since assured the Jewish leadership that Ali was speaking only for himself and have re-emphasized their desire for Jewish assistance in the fight against the common foe.

Savitt himself says that far from weakening the Israeli cause, the Board’s assistance for the colored communities enables it to present the Israeli case in an area where the anti-Zionist left has previously held sway.

Paradoxically, the right-wing National Front also claims that it is anti-Zionist. It says it has nothing against Jews who regard themselves as British but opposes Jewish “Zionists” who also show loyalty to Israel.

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