Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boris Johnson: Anti-anti-racism - so do the two antis cancel each other out?

For over ten years, the London Rise festival has been one of the biggest and brightest anti-racist rallying points in the UK.

That is, up until now. Now London has elected bumbling right-wing hack Boris Johnson to be in charge, he's decided that the anti-racism event can only go ahead if it drops the anti-racism message. It's kind of hard to see the point; it's even harder to see what Johnson's objection to a strong statement against racism actually is.

The petty banning of the Cuba Solidarity Movement, clearly, at least makes sense in a political point-scoring context. But dropping the key message? Why?

A spokestongue for the man explains:

"Boris has made a commitment to go ahead with the Rise festival this year but wants to emphasise its cultural and community dimensions."

Aha. Clearly, you can't have a cultural event which calls out the small-minded, or a community event that stands up to racists, can you? How brave of Boris to create an event which allows the plastic nazis to feel a part of the community.


marmiteboy said...

I can't believe I have read this. Johnson isn't the bumbling idiot we all thought he was.

He's a dangerous biggot who encourages racism and attacks those who stand up to it. Shame on all those who voted for him.

Anonymous said...

but what about the drinking!!! on teh tubes!!!

It's just a bloody disgrace that they place a condition on such an event. Dropping the anti-racism aspect? What on earth are they thinking? Oh wait... they're not.

Dan said...

He's a toffee-nosed cockjockey without a brain. And a half-witted bigot to boot. Congratulations on your son, Mrs Johnson - you've given birth to a drooling gonad.

ian said...

At least Johnson isn't a hypocrite, which given his use of phrases like piccaninnies, would be my only conclusion if he allowed it to go ahead. I think he's always been a nasty rightwing racist.

Anonymous said...


and on the guardian no less

surely if they approve, you lot should as well

personally, I think he's a bell-end and can be criticised in many valiud ways, but not in the one you seem to be suggesting...

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Comment Is Free carries a wide range of opinions; not all of them are endorsed by the paper editorially.

They are, instead, the opinions of the writer. And the writer of this piece is Munira Mirza, who is... cultural advisor in Boris Johnson's cabinet. So, that's positive feedback for Boris Johnson's cultural policy from the woman who shapes his cultural policy. Well, that's me convinced, then.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand that Guardian column. Basically Mirza is saying that by not being anti-racist the festival will now be more anti-racist? Wow. That's just brilliant logic. I'm utterly convinced.

Dan said...

So by the same token, Adolf Hitler might have been the most anti-racist person in history because he was actually the least overtly anti-racist.

I get it now.

Anonymous said...

@ simon h b

"Comment Is Free carries a wide range of opinions; not all of them are..etc" true enough, of course, but the fact that they are allowing her space would imply they are happy for her to use their organ to put out that message, and invite debate in their comment section. Without crudely generalising, one might suggest that an Asian woman is unlikely to work for a racist white man (though let's not get into the "I can't be racist, I employ 5 ethnic minorities" argument)

Johnson may or may not be racist, but I took the point of the article to be that Boris Johnson is not going to use taxpayers money to fund an event that has come to promote such parties as the SWP, CND and the Cuban Solidarity Party, whatever it's original noble purpose.

Johson is rightwing versus Ken's Left. He won't promote parties that are more naturally aligned with his predecessor. That, in isolation, does not make him 'racist', which I took to be the point being made in the original blog post.

The fact that he got voted in would imply the majority of voters are happy with that after Livingstone's reign (in the traditional swing in the other direction in an election versus a longstanding incumbent, c.f. Labour in 97, Tories in 09?)

Judge a politician by his policies - if he introduces a Purity Law then the matter is closed, but given the large amount of actual power to implement ideologically driven policies that the London mayor has, I think he deserves a little longer period of grace.

After all, Ken had a fair crack at the whip.

Unknown said...

If the term "anti-racism" had been hijacked by the SWP to mean "revolutionary Marxism", you'd think that the answer would be to take the term back from the radicals and for the mainstream; you know, the way that the Union Jack has been taken back from the BNP.

I see what he's getting at with the Cuban stage, though; the Cuban Solidarity Movement does appear to have an agenda of normalising what is technically a totalitarian state. Surely if we're meant to boycott Israeli sweet potatoes at the local supermarket lest we otherwise sign off on oppressing the Palestinians, surely the same principle applies to the cheerleaders of a police state that imprisons dissidents and journalists and tightly controls what ordinary people are allowed to say and do.

Anonymous said...

much as I can understand them wanting to avoid a bunch of pretentious morons in t-shirts with pictures of world-class Maoist sympathiser/firing squad leader/ruthless mercenary Che Guevara taking over the event, I'm still not quite sure how that warrants removing the anti-racism aspect?


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