No, I’m not with you.
Those on the right-wing claim to be fighting for us all… So long as you’re white and English.
By Alex Potton
This year there’s been a political seismic shift. We’ve seen some of the biggest political shake-ups in recent times, which have frankly made for pretty distasteful conversation. It’s been the traditional battle of left-wing versus the right, except this time the scale has been far greater. Whether you look at the results of Brexit, or you look at the results of the U.S election, it’s clear that this year the right-wing won.
Many have dressed up the politics of the year as a rise of the ordinary people. A revolution. The year in which the people told the political elite that they no longer wanted to be a part of their games. Which, to an extent is correct, however, to ignore the rise of the right is something to be done at peril.
I’m a 21 year old white British guy. I am not a target of the far-right. I have little-to-no chance of being racially abused. The far-right, who are on the rise, claim to be fighting for me. They claim to be saving the country from those who are out to get me. According to them they’re doing me - and my future children - a huge favour. Naturally, they think they’re doing this by using ethnicities which exist in my friend group as political bait. Asians, Blacks, Eastern Europeans and anyone else that fits their agenda. These are the very people, if these political groups are to be believed, who are coming to my country, stealing my jobs and making my life hell. Nonsense.
The far-right have always existed of course, though typically in a much quieter existence. Prior to the Brexit referendum, far-right activists and campaigners have typically stayed in obscure online groups, or in grotty run-down pubs. Since the vote, these people have become emboldened and have dared to venture into the wider forum, feeling validated by a right-wing vote by the public. They believe that a British public voting for an exit from a multi-national organisation must surely mark the days of a retreat to complete isolation and nationalism. Closet right-wing wolves have chosen now as the time to shed their sheep-skin clothing and bare the teeth. Worst of all, they cannot understand why I am not like them.
You see, they really do believe that all of us are the same as them. They confuse their bizarre and dangerous thinking with common sense. They expect me to be supportive of their racist tirades. They expect me to behind them when they say England is for the English, or that all foreigners should “fuck off”. When I don't, they look at me with a look of confusion, blame it on my age and then procceed to call me a traitor. I never used to hear half of the things that I hear so openly now. “Too many ni**ers in this country”. “Look at this place, it’s spot the white man now”. They turn to me like we’re brothers in arms, fighting the moral fight against an enemy so vulgar.
Extremism. That’s what they claim they’re fighting against. They say that they don’t recognise their country anymore. They say it’s become a hotbed of extremism and radicalisation. Of course, it’s completely hypocritical and blindsided, because they seem oblivious to the fact that whilst they claim to fighting extremism, they themselves become the extremists. Constantly spouting ignorance and hate in the name of nationality, race and religion. They become the definition of the very thing they allegedly oppose.
It’s a privilege I hold. To be able to stay safe, keeping my political views internal if I feel in any way endangered in a situation. It’s not the same for others. Black people and other POC (People of Colour) cannot hide their colour from racists. Someone speaking English with an accent cannot hide the fact that they’re an immigrant. They’re the ones who will suffer the most whilst the far-right continue to grow. They’re the ones who have to read disgusting headlines about themselves in newspapers spreading propaganda about immigration. They’re the ones who have to hear that their friend was attacked in a train station, simply for being a certain colour or nationality. I will never have to experience the level of pain of being under threat simply for existing.
I am proud to say that my circle of friends, family and associates consists of a whole array of races, nationalities and religious beliefs. There’s strong diversity in the people around me. This isn’t intentional of course, I don’t choose who I am around simply to diversify, it just happens. However, being around people of different backgrounds allows me to open my mind to different experiences, different views and it most definitely taught me to never, ever judge someone based on any of the above. I not only owe it to them, but to myself, to honour the respect that we have for each other.
At times like this it’s more important than ever to engage in politics. It’s more important than ever to keep the conversation going. It’s more important than ever to let people know that whilst many were sold the lie about race, immigration, religions and policy, you were not one of them. It’s more important than ever to disassociate yourself from those who choose to spread hate.
It’s more important than ever to say “I’m not with you” to those who take it upon themselves to claim that they’re fighting for you.