Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1006/27833
From The Socialist newspaper, 22 August 2018
Johnson's burqa outburst highlights racist Tory hypocrisy
Corbyn and unions can halt right populism by leading fight
Anti-racism demo 18.3.17, photo Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
Isai Priya, Socialist Party black and Asian group
Boris Johnson's attack on Muslim women who wear the burqa - comparing them to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers" - is a sexist, dehumanising comment, with racism at its root.
The former foreign secretary is known for his divisive, bigoted rhetoric. But his latest remarks further expose the racism that is rife within the Tory party.
Theresa May, under pressure, has acknowledged that Johnson has caused offence to Muslim women. But she has not acknowledged that his comments were racist or sexist.
The Tory party is weak and divided - fundamentally on Brexit, but more widely on a number of issues. The only thing they agree on at the moment is that Jeremy Corbyn must not enter government, so they join the Blairites' attacks on Corbyn's alleged antisemitism (see editorial, p2-3).
Yet the Tories ignore the far wider problem of racism - including anti-Muslim and antisemitic attacks - within their own party!
Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservative Party's former chair, said she spent more than two years trying and failing to get her successors, and Theresa May, to engage with the problem. The Muslim Council of Britain claims there are "more than weekly" incidents in the party.
The anti-Muslim hate-crime monitoring group Tell Mama has reported a spike in abuse against Muslim women since Johnson's Telegraph column appeared. His comments have emboldened a small number of right-wing, racist thugs to carry out these attacks.
The fact that he continues to defend his comments, and refuses to apologise, shows this was not just a throwaway comment. It was a calculated step towards building a right-populist support base.
Johnson has been sure to cover his bases, of course. He may be attempting to build support among sympathisers of racist or far-right groups, but his attacks on Muslim women were actually made while opposing a ban on the veil.
However, the divisions in the Tories are deep. Leave EU, a right-wing pro-Brexit group, is even asking supporters to become Tory members to back Johnson.
The future leadership of the Tory party - even its continuation as one party - is in question. It is clear that Boris is positioning himself as a leader.
Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union leaders have the power to cut across any growth of the racist right. To do so, they must adopt a bold, socialist programme which can really transform working class lives.
And they must lead a fight to get rid of all the Tories - both those in government, and the Blairites in Labour's own ranks - right now.
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In The Socialist 22 August 2018:
What we think
Antisemitism smears against Corbyn are battering ram of the right
Blairites go on saving Tories - boot them all out!
Nationalise rail! Tories out!
Bosses' pay up a fifth while workers' pay falls ...
Birmingham Prison crisis: a catastrophe of cuts and privatisation
Johnson's burqa outburst highlights racist Tory hypocrisy
Tories fear housing anger... but offer no solutions
Strategic discussion needed in civil servants' union after pay ballot
MOJ pay offer: robbing Peter to pay Peter
Victory: NHS workers say no to privatisation
London cleaners' strike: 'Pay us a living wage!'
Liebherr strike for better pay
Workplace news in brief
International socialist news and analysis
Argentina: The struggle for women's lives has been painted green!
Huge anti-government demos in Romania
Morandi Bridge disaster - private profit to blame
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Waltham Forest Labour council votes to close library - campaign goes on
Fight Leicester NHS cuts plan
Keep Middlesbrough hospital staff in the NHS
Newcastle fans protest against Mike Ashley
The Socialist sales drive - how can you help?
End Runcorn school PFI rip off
Huge but chaotic Brighton Pride needs to be politicised
Building Fund boost
Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I was searching for an alternative to this system"
Revolt and Rebellion West London walk success
Ahed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression
Union bureaucracies, soviets and workers' power
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