The racist, scapegoating comments coming from ‘the heart’ of government feed the ideology of white supremacist groups in Britain, says a Manchester Green Party candidate.
Hulme Ward candidate Deyika Nzeribe, can often been seen at protests against marches by white supremacist groups such as the EDL and Britain First.
He is also a member of the Greens of Colour – a faction within the party who aim to represent Black and Minority Ethnic members and the issues BME communities face.
— Hulme Greens (@HulmeGreenParty) June 20, 2015
MM caught up with the politician from Longsight to discuss the reasons this extreme racism still exists in today’s society and how to put an end to it.
For Deyika, the problem lies not just with ignorance but also the wording used by officials, especially concerning Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.
He said: “It is not just ignorance that feeds the ideologies of racist and supremacist groups but also the way those in power express race.
“When you have the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, talking about ‘marauding migrants’, when you have the Home Secretary Theresa May giving a major policy speech – which aims to severely restrict migration into the country, which blames migrants and refugees for forcing down wages and creating unemployment amongst the British, for being a threat to the country’s ‘cohesion’ – those are clearly racist, scapegoating comments coming from the heart of government.”
The most recent of these examples used by the Green politicain, the Home Secretary’s conference speech, has been an ongiong source of controversy.
Ms May has received serious backlash for her comments, delivered in Manchester last week, promising a ‘tough’ British approach to immigration and the introduction of ‘safe return reviews’.
She said: “Reducing and controlling immigration is getting harder, but that’s no reason to give up.
“We have to do this for the sake of our society and our public services – and for the sake of the people whose wages are cut, and whose job security is reduced, when immigration is too high.”
She also claimed that due to migrants ‘thousands have been forced out of the labour makret’ and that high levels of immigration make it ‘impossible to build a cohesive society’.
‘PUSHED OUT OF WORK’: Theresa May claimed migrants are forcing British people out of work (© Conservatives via YouTube)
Since, Ms May’s speech has been branded both ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ and a ‘bitter attack’ but to Deyika, most importantly, it is a message of encouragement to white supremacists.
He said: “If the government is sending those signals, what do you think right wing racist groups are going to do with those views?
“Britain First, The Infidels, EDL and others are all part of the ‘new wave’ on the fringes. They attempt to use religious hatred as a fig leaf for their racism.
“When you have UKIP and the current Conservative views on migrants – especially when actually most of them are not migrants, they are refugees – I personally see it as all part of the same curve.
“And the response from Labour has been highly disappointing.
“It’s only been a few months since their ‘Controls on Immigration’ novelty mug. I would hope they are heading in a different direction now.”
It is this ‘institutional racism’ that Deyika believes will be the hardest to overcome but he believes people need to make a start by battling racial inequality in its other forms.
“First if we can cut out the economic inequality and make sure that the resources and opportunities are more evenly distributed, then you’ll see a downturn in practical racism,” he said.
“That doesn’t necessarily address institutional racism but it’s a start.”
‘A START’: Deyika believes battling economic inequality would reduce the level of ‘practical racism’
One of the best ways people can fight racism, and inequality in general, is to go out and stand up to the groups who perpetuate these harmful ideologies.
Deyika said: “We’ve been on the anti-EDL marches over the last couple of years.
“This year the police kept the two sides well apart but in 2013, it was a much more fraught affair.
“People should be out against these groups. Racism and fascism isn’t acceptable, full stop.
“True equality is something to aspire to. And equality is much more than racism – it’s gender, sexuality etc.”
We often here this notion banded about when discussion is raised on the ongoing fight for racial, gender, or sexual equality that the ‘big battles’ have been won – the right to vote, the right to marry.
But Deyika, who ran for parliament in the May General Election, feels this idea is the ‘complacency of the mainstream’.
“Most black people never thought that things were good enough to get complacent about,” he said.
“Just look at the long term statistics for employment, health, crime, the list goes on. Maybe ‘the mainstream’ were complacent.”
— Hulme Greens (@HulmeGreenParty) August 12, 2015
The politician and campaigner was quick to add that this is not the only way in which ‘the mainstream’ have deluded themselves.
He said: “Most of the other large parties have drifted to the right while deluding themselves that it’s the middle ground. It isn’t.”
Deyika wants a party with the determination to not become complacent and to ensure policy is always clearly reflected in practice and it is for these reasons he is a member of the Greens.
He said: “Green policies are ‘left’, and progressive.
“Fair responsible taxation, a welfare system that doesn’t punish the needy, a properly funded NHS, free education, clear and implementable environmental and climate mitigation policies.
“I’m for that, that’s why they are the party for me. If people feel the same they should vote Green.
“It’s policy and practice. No party is perfect but the Greens are sincerely trying to put their policies into practice.”
Image courtesy of Garry Knight, with thanks.