Marx, Engels and Lenin all remarked on the ‘peculiar’ insularity of the British workers, and their indifference to theory and attachment to limited trade unionism. On the Facebook page entitled Trade Unions GO I acquired the above political poster. Trade Unions GO describes its function as ‘Making the case for trade unionists to leave the EU on June 23rd’ and yet the rhetoric utilised in its campaign (above) is suspiciously similar to that used in racist UKIP ‘anti-migrant’ propaganda. If this is a genuine trade union site, then its rhetoric displays all the hall-marks of racism and the sully of the ‘leave’ the EU argument replacing sound logic with a blatant appeal to anti-Chinese racist rhetoric. This indicates that ‘racism’ in the UK is not limited to the political rightwing, but exists quite happily on the British left, tucked neatly away in the British trade union movement. With regards the EU Referendum, racism on the left remains the elephant in the room. This confirms that it is only the Communist left that has formulated sound economic and legal reasons to leave the EU (a case I support), but that the trade union rhetoric has only a nodding acquaintance with these reasons.
In fact, the comment above is attributed to Mark Turner of the GBM. The rightwing (such as UKIP) often attempt to hide or package its racism behind a thin veneer of ill-thought out and ill-conceived economic argument. It is not ‘China’ that is the problem with the European or British economies, but CAPITALISM! The trade union movement often does not work to overthrow the capitalist system that oppresses the workers, but instead seeks to ‘reform’ and ‘influence’ it – this lack of action explains why the trade union movement in the West has lost all its rights. However, the idea of demonising ‘foreign’ workers is a common aspect of British trade union rhetoric, a racist approach that excludes British-born workers who are Black, Asian, or Chinese, etc, from either joining a union or continuing membership of a union in the UK. Due to this Eurocentric and racist approach, many non-white British workers have opted to form unions of their own – where they can pursue better employment rights ‘free’ of the malignant racism found within many corners of the British trade union movement. This demonstrates the clear water between historical trade unionism (which has betrayed the workers at key points in that history) and the Communist movement that not only represents the workers, but seeks to actively over-throw the capitalists system.