The bourgeois parties are courting voters disillusioned by Labour and Tory alike by stimulating, aiding and abetting xenophobic prejudices. These prejudices help to blind many British workers to the fact that their problems - in finding good jobs, in securing adequate housing, pensions and social facilities etc - are problems intrinsic to capitalism, which only the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism can solve.
Ever since society split into minority exploiter and majority exploited classes, the minority ruling class has survived by deploying the maxim 'Divide and Rule', encouraging the exploited to blame each other for the misfortunes inherent in their status as members of an exploited class. State ideologues encourage sections of the poor to consider themselves inherently 'better' than others, while unfavoured sections - generally the poorest, but also those whose colour, religion or language etc differ from those of the ruling class - are presented as boorish, ignorant, dishonest and/or vulgar (and thus deserving of poverty or marginalisation). In falling for this evil propaganda, the exploited are condemned to a perpetuation of their slavery.
This is the background to the anti-asylum seeker stand taken by bourgeois parties today. The racism they are promoting does not take the same form as Hitler's anti-semitic racism, which for the present is not 'acceptable'. But racism, like a flu virus, is capable of mutating in order to be able to carry on inflicting its pestilence on the exploited masses. Today in the UK, racism, taking the form of a virulent campaign against 'asylum seekers', 'drug traffickers' and 'terrorists' - all lumped together conveniently to make it appear they are the same - is being enthusiastically encouraged and propagated.
Yet asylum seekers do us no harm. Johann Hari in The Independent points out that "if you add up how much immigrants and asylum seekers cost us, and how much they put back into the economy, you'll find they make a net contribution of £2.5bn". At one time, low-wage immigrants brought down the level of wages of native workers with whom they competed for jobs - although even then the proletariat harmed its own interests if it turned against immigrants rather than against capitalism. Nowadays an employer who finds wages too high for profitability takes his jobs to another part of the world where wages are lower. In fact, were it not for low-wage immigrants the bourgeoisie would, rather than pay high wages, simply reduce the services it provides. This is true not only of various cheap catering establishments, it is true of our state schools and NHS hospitals where higher wages would lead to cuts!
It is therefore obviously only to promote racism that prime minister Tony Blair, a 'socialist' whose party is eternally presented as the 'party of the working class' throughout the opportunist left, is prepared to announce that the public are "rightly worried" about asylum and immigration and that Britain's "traditional tolerance" is being tested by "abuses".
Repressive legislation directed against the whole working class
Officially-sponsored xenophobia has been used to gain support for the bourgeoisie's drive to curtail traditional British civil liberties. British imperialism claims to be promoting civil liberties and democracy when illegally invading foreign countries, but it has little regard for such values. Its government has just passed a viciously repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act, which was ably summarised in the Guardian by Clare Dyer:
"The new law will apply to British citizens and foreign nationals alike, but it would violate virtually all the elements of a fair trial - the right to know the charges against you, to see and rebut the evidence against you, to have a legal representative of your choice, and to have equality of arms between you and the might of the state.
"The state will not be required to prove involvement in terrorism beyond reasonable doubt, the criminal standard of proof. For house arrest, the civil standard of proof - 'on the balance of probabilities' - will be enough. The home secretary will have to prove only that it is 'more likely than not' that you were involved. For lesser types of control order - electronic tagging, bans on the use of telephones or computers, confiscation of passports, restrictions on the people you can associate with - mere reasonable suspicion will be sufficient to brand you a terrorist … The 'evidence' produced will not be like that put forward in a criminal trial, but a mass of intelligence information and assessments - which neither you nor your lawyers will be allowed to see."
Racism and internal suppression at home and endless war abroad
These repressive measures, passed by the Labour government and enthusiastically supported by the Tories, whose only complaint was that they were not repressive enough, were passed in the run-up to the elections, as a means by which Labour could show the electors that it has been taking their safety seriously and is prepared to lock up lots of Muslims, however innocent, in order to keep Britain ‘safe’.
Of course, these measures will not prevent attacks, for the threat to Britain comes from people's reaction to Britain's illegal wars against, and occupation of, Afghanistan and Iraq. If the government were truly interested in making Britain a safer place, it would withdraw all troops from those countries. But the government does not care about the safety of ordinary people. Its only concerns are the safety of the multinationals as they squeeze millions of pounds in profits out of all of us and the peoples of the oppressed nations, getting re-elected and staying firmly lodged on the gravy train.
The legislation, although apparently aimed at foreigners, is targeting British citizens too. There is no question that the ruling class is planning to impose swingeing public expenditure cuts, with welfare benefits of various kinds likely to be severely reduced and perhaps abolished altogether. Tory leading light Howard Flight was sacked for mentioning that this was the Tories' "secret agenda", but it is undoubtedly the "secret agenda" of Labour as well, as indeed of any pro-capitalist party. The new legislation is designed to prevent any effective resistance to these cuts developing as it did against the iniquitous poll tax.
Work to build a party that will represent the interests of the working class
The CPGB-ML lacks the forces to stand in the forthcoming election. The extraordinary cost of doing so keeps out those who have not yet gained mass support (or the support of monopoly capital!) The present dire situation proves that the British working class desperately needs its own party to represent its interests - both in and out of parliament and, above all, to lead it in the fight to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism. We therefore appeal to all those who desire to work for a bright future for humanity to support our party and give us every assistance in our work.