Everyone who takes even a passing interest in politics knows that Johnson’s government is waging a “culture war” or “war on woke” against so-called “liberals” who oppose racism and other forms of prejudice. It is also well known that this is a worked out strategy, developed by Johnson’s advisers Dougie Smith and Munira Mirza — a couple who have close links with the “libertarian”-right Spiked outfit.
This strategy began over five years ago in an anti-EU campaign based upon hostility towards other European countries and the demonisation of immigrants.
Every politically aware person in Britain knows this — except, it seems, those around the Morning Star and the Communist Party of Britain. During the EU referendum and afterwards they repeatedly denied that Brexit had anything to do with racism — and when finally forced to admit there might be a link, blamed “the desertion by large sections of the left and the labour movement of the anti-EU cause”! (Morning Star editorial 2 Sept 2019).
More recently, the paper has carried frequent articles from Ian Lavery MP and his “No Holding Back” group: Lavery, as well as demanding Labour give a “full throated apology” for having opposed Brexit, is also on record claiming “an authoritarian liberal elite looks down its nose at working-class voters that the party that bears its name once represented” (Morning Star article, 7-8 Nov 2020) and the morning after the 2019 election, appeared on Good Morning Britain proudly claiming to represent the “white working class”.
The racist backlash that followed England’s defeat in the UEFA final forced the Morning Star to address the issue of English nationalism and its connection with racism.
An editorial on 13 July starts out praising the England team and criticising racist abuse but ends up promoting English nationalism, “patriotism” and sneering at those who question it “in the name of ‘internationalism’”. It’s a re-run of the paper’s line on Brexit and its repeated dismissal of the anti-Brexit left as “liberals”.
According to the editorial there are “good reasons why English people can rightly feel patriotic.” And in case any leftists should feel queasy about this, Marx and Lenin are roped into the patriotic cause:
“How Karl Marx would have mocked those on the left who turn their backs on their own nationality, as he did the members of the ‘Young France’ movement! How Lenin would have scorned revolutionaries who take no pride in the struggles and achievements of their own country’s working people, as he — the avowed Great Russian patriot — did.”
For the record, this completely misrepresents Marx (bit.ly/abol-n). He responded to: “the announcement [by some French leftists] that all nationalities and even nations were ‘antiquated prejudices’” by saying that was nonsense and that by their magic instant “negation of nationalities” they seemed in fact (inadvertently) to mean “their absorption into the model French nation”. The claim that Lenin was a “Great Russian patriot” is a mystery, ignoring as it does his innumerable condemnations of “Great Russian” nationalism.
And, of course, that shameful editorial completely ignores the most famous words of Marx on the subject of nationalism (in the Communist Manifesto) which make a mockery of the Morning Star’s “patriotism”:
“The workers have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word. National differences and antagonisms between peoples are vanishing gradually from day to day... The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster.”