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(en) Freedom 6402 25 Jan, 2003 - Hardly a hammering

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 29 Jan 2003 03:19:01 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Regular readers of Freedom will have noticed the
continuing debate about the extent to which the left and
anarchist movement is relevant to, and able to work
within, working class communities. As a regular West
Ham supporter since I was a kid, I was appalled to see a
prime example of how not to go about it at the
Newcastle game on 11th January. The signing of Lee
Bowyer until at least the end of the season has triggered
the emergence of a group calling itself West Ham Fans
United Against Racism.
I have a few problems with the focus on Bowyer. He was,
lest we forget, found 'not guilty' last year of attacking an
Asian student in Leeds. He's being sued by the student,
so can't comment on the case regardless of the media
clamour for him to do so. An earlier charge of criminal
damage is now being presented as racially motivated,
even though - again - this allegation formed no part of
the trial. The logic seems to be, Bowyer is a white
working class lad from Poplar's Teviot Estate so he must
be racist!
And even if Bowyer were a card-carrying BNP member,
the demo outside Upton Park a fortnight ago wouldn't
have helped. Most people can smell bullshit and
opportunism, and the idea that a motley crew of SWPers
(at least two of them from south London branches) and
career anti-racists like Suresh Grover and Unmesh
Desai were 'West Ham fans' was a joke. It was the usual
soft left rentamob, come to preach to the unconverted.
Why does the left feel it has to express its opinion on
issues it has no way of affecting except negatively?
Anyone sympathetic to revolutionary politics who went
to the game would have been embarrassed and alienated
by this farce. By the end, they needed police protection
even to keep the demo going.
The left lacks credibility in most working class areas,
and it's got two choices. It can carry on as normal and
repeat fiascos like West Ham United Against Racism, or
it can accept that it's starting from a position of
weakness and begin to campaign for the relevance of its
politics within working class communities generally.
Maybe it could even dirty its hands over issues like
poverty, housing and policing, winning itself some
credibility and a working class base before it begins to
sermonise over issues it know

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