Friday, 27 February 2009

Speech during protest at PM Brown visit

Speech at the Gordon Brown protest in Oxford Uni, 27 Februari.

Dear Mr. Brown. Let me start on a positive note. From the media coverage about the tragic death of 6 year old Ivan Cameron we learned that you do have human feelings. How we wished you had these feelings two months ago when 6 year old Palestinians were being killed in Gaza. Your sadness and sympathy seemed genuine, you even suspended the PMQ's. How we hope you will remember your grieve the next time 6 year old Palestinians are butchered by Israeli tanks and F-16s, killing machines you in fact help deliver.

Alas, I am here to share another matter with you. I hear you are a bit nervous with the EU elections coming closer and the news that the BNP is stealing a few of your seats here and there ( I hear you; I am scared as hell of the BNP gaining seats too. But Mr. Brown, while we are innocent victims of this scary tendency, you in fact reap what you sown. Remember saying, loud and proud, 'British Jobs for British Workers’ when you were trying to score a few cheap points? We could have told you that flirting with fascism will not result in a short cut to electoral success. We could have told you that populism only works with 'originality'. What I mean is an echo of what France's fascist Jean Marie Le Pen said years ago, when French Social Democrats tried the same: “why would the people go for a copy if they can get the original?” When political parties copy racist propaganda in Britain, it’s the fascist BNP that takes the price.

Moreover, when top union or party leaders don’t shout out load against such racist filth or speak with double tongues , or if they even apologise for ‘what was really-actually-in fact-' meant by British Jobs for British workers’, then divide & rule will work. While others are silent, turning a blind eye, or making apologies, the BNP is printing leaflets and petitions and feeding into the legitimate and existential fear and anger of workers losing their jobs. Rather than collectively directing their anger at the top, the bankers and their bailout friends on Downing street, fear and anger is directed at each other. No, this is not propaganda: this is everyday live reality in Europe. People in the Netherlands, in Denmark, in France know that very well, these are historical facts. We learned about European history in high school and know what happened before when economic crises and scapegoat’n fuse, and when the majority does nothing: it’s the poor poor Palestinians who are paying a heavy price for Europe’s guilt now.

But I guess that’s too much to ask, PC gibberish in these ‘tough’ times. Can you still hear us out here? Dont leave just now; I want to end with an optimistic message. It is said that ordinary people make history, not politicians nor the ruling classes. Britain has great potentials to prove this. Antiracism here has not gone down the gutter as in many other European countries, as an antiracist activist from Holland I can assure you that the conditions here are much better. So not only the BNP, but ‘we’, the grassroots, are perhaps Brown's bigger problem. This country has a proud history of struggle against racism and unity between 'black'/'white' and Muslim/non-Muslim from the 70s to now, from the ANL to LMHR, we can build on that and I want to share in this struggle. I remember reading about the IWW struggle and how, against so many odds, they kept fighting, one of the slogans was: Don’t Mourn-Organize! Still so true today

Miriyam Aouragh, Febr. 27, 2009, Oxford

PS. Referring to 'British Jobs for British Workers' slogan as racist is not shared by all, British jobs for British people is a nationalist sentimental that poisons collective workers’ struggles. Being connected to/loyal to social democrats or Unions does not mean you have to turn blind eye for racism. I can only say: if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck hell even calling itself so: than it is a duck.