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By Jason Michael
Terrorism is not the problem in the United Kingdom. The real problem is that terrorism has been manufactured by the state and used as a weapon to divide us, all to advance the ambitions and aspirations of the ruling class.
Last night in Finsbury Park, a busy inner-city stretch of north London, another vehicle was used as a weapon of terror; careering off the road into innocent pedestrians with the deliberate intention of maiming and killing in the cause of hatred. What sets this incident apart from what the British press usually highlight is that the perpetrator, 47 year old Cardiff man Darren Osborne, was a white Islamophobic extremist, radicalised – if The Telegraph is to be trusted – as a result of the London Bridge attack. His crime was no less an act of terrorism.
Why is all of this happening? This is the question on so many lips right now. We used to feel safe on the streets of our towns and cities, but now we are all on edge – all frightened. Answering this question is not easy, but before an attempt to answer it can be made we must first acknowledge that what we are experiencing is a serious social conflict in the United Kingdom. What we are seeing is the fruition of a race war that, rather than being a natural state of conflict between different racial, ethnic, and religious groups, has been wholly and cynically manufactured by the state.
One former Northern Irish Loyalist paramilitary commented in a televised interview that it was not the case that in the mid-1960s some sort of looney gas was dropped on Belfast, turning everyone into deranged killers and psychopaths. Conflicts develop, and they are the product of certain processes within and throughout the conflicting factions. There is nothing deterministic about conflict, but it happens because certain social, economic, and political factors are put into motion, and invariably to serve a political agenda.
It is the same in modern Britain. There is nothing essential about this “clash of civilisations,” where we have been led to believe Muslims and Christians simply do not get on. Muslims and “Christians” have been brought to the brink of open warfare in the United Kingdom to serve the purposes of the politico-economic ideology of capitalism. As such this social and sectarian conflict is but a theatre in a pre-existing British social conflict – class war. Theresa May and her government of multi-millionaires and billionaires have systematically chipped away at all the bonds that hold the fabric of our society together, turning working class neighbours against one another in order to distract them from the reality that the political ruling class is waging war on all of us.
Those at the bottom of society are not struggling by accident. Poverty in Britain is never a necessary condition of life. It is the result of decisions made by wealthy and powerful people in government to enrich themselves and their own class at the expense of everyone else. “Terrorism” is a useful distraction. It serves to divide communities and alienate scapegoats. It keeps everyone’s attention from the theft that is going on all around us. Darren Osborne had nothing to fear from terrorism. He, as we discovered only last week, was in more danger from his social housing.
Terrorism happens. It is rare, but it happens. “Islamist” terrorism never happened in the UK before Tony Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq and the subsequent involvement of every British government since in the funding of terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa, so it may have its causes – but it is still rare. Yet the terrorism of wall-to-wall coverage and existential threat is a complete invention, a fabrication of the British government. Initially under the criminal Blairites its purpose was to legitimise Britain’s neo-imperialist Middle Eastern invasions and human rights violations, but – in the context of austerity Britain – it has been adapted to suit the purposes of domestic power.
Blair, then Brown, then Cameron used terror as an excuse to securitise the United Kingdom; turning it into the most surveilled nation-state on earth bar none, always corroding our rights and freedoms. We have less privacy, less civil, political, and human rights now than when John Major was Prime Minister. We have become a police state in the guise of a democracy, all to assist in the transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top that has been happening in the UK since Blair came to government. We are on the cusp, with Theresa May’s proposed “digital charter,” of putting Kim Jong-un’s North Korea to shame. This is not a free country.
May’s hunger for power has seen the latest mutation in the state’s use of terrorism come about. The more she loses the support of the centre the more she romances the right and the far-right, edging further to the right with every new loss at the centre. Her dalliance with the fascists – all for the sake of votes – has meant that the tail has to wag the dog. Her rhetoric and political posturing has had to reconfigure the spectre of terrorism in the public imagination, all the while giving licence to more and more acts of racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic hate speech and hate crime. She is setting the country on fire to keep power and advance her class war.
At Finsbury Park last night; even after he had targeted Muslims coming from taraweeh prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque, killing one man and injuring a number of others, it was Mohammed Mahmoud – a local imam – and a handful of other Muslim men who protected Darren Osborne from an angry mob until the police arrived. Where was the clash of civilisations here? It was nowhere to be seen. What we saw was goodness and a community response to a violent, white supremacist, terrorist hate crime. This is exactly what we have witnessed in north Kensington in response to the Grenfell tower fire – another act of class war – where demonstrators like Ishmahil Blagrove are speaking out against the government’s attempts to divide his community through the weapons of poverty and terrorism.
Politics in Britain – the political hegemony of neo-Thatcherite plutocratic class warriors – has taken a dark turn, and the inter-community conflicts stemming from it; these division of the working class, are playing right into the hands of the architects of British neoliberalism and capitalism. Terrorism is nothing but a distraction, and the more we allow it to divide us in all of our communities the more we become powerless to defend ourselves from what is really going on – the wholesale theft of everything we have by those who are right now masquerading as our leaders.
Ishmahil Blagrove gives Sky reporters a little piece of his mind