Article from the Sept 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

How to take on the racists

RACIST ATTACKS are now an almost daily occurrence across the North, many carried out by fascist groups as well as elements of the loyalist paramilitaries, especially in South Belfast.

By Larry Cummings

There is little or no support for the racists. The overwhelming majority of people in the areas where these attacks have occurred, are opposed to them. A mother and son attacked in Cullybackey were persuaded to stay in their home due to the support of the local community who rallied round the family, isolating the racist thugs.

The racists behind these attacks are using the ethnic minorities in the North as a scapegoat for the problems of poverty, unemployment and lack of housing. The openly fascist White Nationalist Party (WNP) is using the issue of racism as a means to try to create a base for its organisation. In North Antrim the WNP have been behind vicious attacks and sticker campaigns to intimidate ethnic minorities.

The truth of the matter however is that we had all the problems of unemployment, poverty and lack of housing a long time before any immigrants came here. The insecurity felt by a population that lives on low wage jobs is being used to scapegoat ethnic minorities who are no more responsible for this situation than the weather is!

The reaction in Cullybackey shows how solidarity can be built in the communities for victims of racist attacks. Communities need to be mobilised to isolate the racists. To do this it is necessary to campaign also against the social problems that the racists play on.

As with sectarianism, the only force capable of defeating the racists and ending the attacks is the working class mobilised through the communities and in the workplaces. The Anti Racism Network has received a lot of publicity on this issue but, unfortunately, its leading spokespersons have been sowing illusions that the state can be relied on to combat racism.

In February, the ARN issued a press release stating "The ARN also welcomes the decision of the PSNI to learn from other police forces about how to deal with racism.

The PSNI has a vital role to play in the fight against race hate, and it is important that they learn best practices in dealing with perpetrators and assisting victims." This is a reference to the PSNI learning from police strategies in England to deal with racism and racial disturbance.

Rather than arguing that people should rely on the state, we need a campaign that will concentrate on mobilising the working class in united and independent action to stop the attacks. As well as taking direct action to stop the fascists organising, the Fascists Out Campaign has been trying to mobilise the communities on this issue in North Antrim, South Belfast and other areas.

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