They are us

Francis Fish
2 min readFeb 25, 2024

- 2 min read

By World_citizen_badge.svg: DasRakelWorld_Citizen_symbol.pngderivative work: Kizar (talk) — World_citizen_badge.svgWorld_Citizen_symbol.png, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10374864

Race is a knife that cuts us all.

Race is used to obscure class divisions. For example: Home owning types tend to be white for historical reasons around poverty and relative incomes. Their views aren’t driven by whiteness as such but by their material conditions. The same holds for other social categories, race is used to hide this. Folk who are historically marginalised tend to cluster in poorer socioeconomic groups, it’s not difficult to understand when you pull back the racist veil.

Seeing white working class as a political category is lazy and untrue. The folks in the so called Red Wall constituencies were not abandoned because they were white, which is a silly narrative, but because capitalism exported their jobs to other parts of the world. They were forced to become part of the reserve army that is used to keep wages down and instil a fear of fighting for better pay and conditions. Instead, their pain comes directly from capitalism’s need to create artificial scarcity as a means of social control.

Giving in to this and trying for some kind of left nationalist, pro borders, British jobs for British workers mummy’s little chauvinist grounding to build a political base from resentment of immigrants and migrants is a mugs’ game. Our class enemies will always win that one, it’s territory they created in the first place. It’s also not a place we want to be. It makes racism a legitimate part of the conversation, and that isn’t a somewhere from which you can build a better world.

Instead we need to use a slogan like they are us and change the story to one of love and understanding. Instead of embracing our owners’ divisive politics we need to start from our common humanity. Othering vulnerable people should be fought tooth and nail. No person is illegal, the very idea is obscene.

We also have to be careful of our language. Many well-meaning people use the word respect for example, but it comes from the same root as spectacle — as in you’re looking at folks and judging them. The same goes for the word tolerate — if you choose to tolerate a person then you can unchoose, this is very dangerous. Love, understanding and acceptance are where we should stand. It doesn’t mean accepting misogyny or othering of people for their sexual orientation, by the way, we aren’t hippies saying live and let live while destructive things are allowed to carry on. We’re saying they are us and we are all cut from the same human cloth.

Put simply: borders kill, accepting division and setting people against each other kills, and we want no part of it.

They are us.

Originally published at https://www.greenplenty.info on February 25, 2024.

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