Using the London attack to strengthen the dominant ideology

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baboon
Using the London attack to strengthen the dominant ideology
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Using the London attack to strengthen the dominant ideology . The discussion was initiated by baboon.
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baboon
At the end of the article

At the end of the article above it talks about "the more rabid forms of populist ideology not being very strong in London". I think that this question needs to be nuanced further. It's generally true I think that like many big cities, London has a certain "resistance" to racist and populist ideology. Since the 70's, and despite the openly racist divisions of the trade unions (modified for their own effectiveness over the next two decades), many workers, black, white, asian, have been involved in joint class struggles in the airport and related industries, hospitals, transport and so on. The class basis overrode the divisions played up by the bourgeoisie. Similarly certain cultural tendencies such as music and football broke down divisions particularly amongst youth and like the class basis these have persisted. But one can't doubt the existence of "rabid populism" even here as recent events have shown: Reker Ahmed, a 17-year old Iranian/Kurdish asylum-seeker was attacked and beaten nearly to death by a mob of around 20 a month or so ago. He was asked if he was an asylum-seeker and when he identified himself as such the assault began. Local Kurds report a constant level of racial abuse even if it doesn't take such violent turns. Unusually the police were quick to release details of the case which I think they surmised could quickly get out of hand.

This is an example of the pogrom mentality and the violence against the other that is such a feature of populism. But just as much as the "populist wing" like Farage, the "fascist" groups, various commentators and UKIP feed such populism then so does the "mainstream" of politics which has been doing so for years. Populism is not an alien body invading a healthy multi-cultural political set-up but comes directly from it. It's distinct but it's not distinct. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, who like Thatcher promised "harmony" on her accession, was one the main promoters of rabid populist ideology when she was head of the Home Office. She told asylum-seekers to "go home", said she wanted to create a "hostile environment" for them, sent lorries to immigrant areas with inflammatory, racist slogans on them and said that migrants were "criminals". She might call the assailants of Reker Ahmed "scum" but her and many of the leading elements of the major parties have all contributed to the rise of such scum.

jk1921
Going Forward

baboon wrote:

This is an example of the pogrom mentality and the violence against the other that is such a feature of populism. But just as much as the "populist wing" like Farage, the "fascist" groups, various commentators and UKIP feed such populism then so does the "mainstream" of politics which has been doing so for years. Populism is not an alien body invading a healthy multi-cultural political set-up but comes directly from it. It's distinct but it's not distinct. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, who like Thatcher promised "harmony" on her accession, was one the main promoters of rabid populist ideology when she was head of the Home Office. She told asylum-seekers to "go home", said she wanted to create a "hostile environment" for them, sent lorries to immigrant areas with inflammatory, racist slogans on them and said that migrants were "criminals". She might call the assailants of Reker Ahmed "scum" but her and many of the leading elements of the major parties have all contributed to the rise of such scum.

Let's not forget May's use of her discretion as Home Secretary to strip British citizenship from various individuals on little more than her say so. But we should be careful here I think that we do not extend the concept of populism to the point where everything looks like an example of it. Were May's actions in the Home Office populist or part of a more generalized tendency towards repression in the name of the "war of terrorism," something that some factions of the populist movement actually say they have problem with?

Its true that populism is not entirely seperate phenomenon from the supposedly "muti-cultural democratic state." One feeds off the other, and it is certainly the case that establishment rhetoric around around race, religion and immigration status can devlove into something like a flipside or compliment to the openly racist, xenophobic rhetoric of populism--i.e. Clinton's denunciation of Trump's voters as "deplorables." But then we have something like Trudeau's tweet in response to Trump's Muslim ban:

"To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017" This kind of thing represents a completely different face than populism or the pseudo-populist attempts by mainstream politicans to recuperate populist themes. This is a boldface repudiation of populism and all it stands for. Now, of course the policy will be unlikely to live up to the rhetoric and Trudeau has been rightly criticized for such public statements that tend to give refugess a false sense of security that they have a guaranteed asylum in Canada leading hundreds to risk hypothermia and frostbite to cross the US/Canada border, while Trudeau's government refuses to pull out of the Safe Third Country agreeement with the US. But that seems besides the point here, there remains a faction of the bourgeoisie that wants to paint a completely different face on these kinds of issues and the difference seems deeper than just an "ideological division of labor," but a different conception of the nature of capitalism going forward.