Editorial: let’s beat back racism

Issue section: 


Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won against a key mainstream Democrat

Nothing quite sums up the heartless nature of nationalism than a child crying while their parents are handcuffed just because they wanted to move to areas where capitalism has hoarded global wealth. It’s an image that even Tory robots can be moved by.

Yet it wasn’t just the weeks of pressure against Donald Trump’s child separation agenda that forced a partial retreat. The day before a so-called U-turn was announced an article in the FT said, “US businesses speak out against Trump border policy”. It carried a cry from US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue, “This is not who we are and it must end now”.

In this issue Phil Marfleet explores the ways people have borne the brunt of contradictions trapping ruling classes between the needs of politics and economy at different moments in US history (see page 9).

The victory for 28 year old socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be a Democratic congressional candidate was significant because she unseated a party stalwart and used to work on Bernie Sanders’ campaign. She rightly went further than Sanders though and called for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that carries out the separations to be abolished.

The prospects for deselecting those long in love with the neoliberal centre might make Momentum supporters here take note. Or it may not. Either way the street calls long before the ballot box.

From the day Trump’s visit to Britain was announced eyes were fixed both on the protest against him on 13 July and the next day against those who cherish his bigotry. Tommy Robinson’s supporters have been boosted by former Trump stooge Steve Bannon (who got busy building the far-right in Europe) and Alt-Right activists (who have joined Ukip).

A radical left electoral surge does not avoid the need to confront fascism. As lessons from Germany show (see page 14), standing up to these forces is possible even in extremely difficult circumstances. It is also necessary because the far-right is a physical threat. Only a collective presence can beat it.