On January the 29th, Identity Ireland invited English Defence League founder ‘Tommy Robinson’ to address their press conference. The press conference had a pre-planned turn out of well known bigots and a few members of Identity Ireland. It was observed by anti-racist and anti-fascist activists in the Cork area. From complains issued to the ‘Commons Inn Hotel’, the meeting was moved to Blarney Woollen Mills.
Both speakers, along with the blatantly scripted one or two questions made several claims and points. They claimed that all their points are backed by ‘facts’ and ‘statistics’. It is true, some of what say is true. For instance, the political elites of the EU truly do not care whether the working classes of Ireland, England, France or wherever else live or die. We are their peasants and vassals. It is also true that Saudi Arabia along with other Gulf states actively promotes international terrorism, both in the Middle East and in the EU. It is also true that there are extremist aspects of Islam that are extremely harmful and fascist in nature themselves. It’s true again, that governments, both in Europe and abroad purposefully stoke religious tensions in different communities.
In the Occupied Six Counties, Protestant and Catholic workers came together many times to strike against poor labour conditions. The fascist Orange State took to giving small privileges to the Unionist demographic and as a result ensured that the workers of each community maintained animosity towards each other, rather than the ones actively manipulating them.
The same is on-going in Europe and a nuanced account of this is absolutely necessary to help disqualify myths stemming from both the open racists and the leftists who stamp their feet but hold no theoretical conviction of the nature of the situation.
What terrifies the government of each nation the most is the common interest of the working class. The common interest of the working class is to either maintain or improve their living and working conditions. What the working class ultimately benefits from is a collective conscious which will help advance their class interest. One of the historically easiest methods of dividing the working class has been to stoke ethnic and religious tensions. Thing is, we have more in common with the refugees and migrants than with the governments that hurt, rob and kill us on a day to day basis.
From the video Identity Ireland posted themselves, I’ll take talking points, discuss them and provide any facts I think are relevant.
- Euro skepticism
It seems that both Tommy & Peter maintain a highly confused, mixed and inconsistent approach to the EU. On one hand they speak about a ‘European race’, and ‘Western values’ and quote senior establishment figures (Cameron & Merkel) about how multiculturalism has failed. On the other hand they call for complete independence from the EU and how it is anti-democratic. They selectively choose information which suits their argument, which truth be told makes me even more suspicious about their claim that they are not racist.
It’s true, as I mentioned above, the EU has taken away the democratic functions of several states and enforced debts of colossal level. The current form the EU should be dismantled as soon as possible, but that has nothing to do with immigrants. It has everything to do with sovereignty, liberty and self-determination.
The Sky News article outlining the EDL’s support for monarchism is gone, but I did find this, an article on the white supremacist website ‘Stormfront’ discussing the EDL and their support for the monarchy. The discussion seems to talk about blaming the ‘Zionists’ for the EDL turn out at this rally/demonstration. Never the less, this is merely another example of the lack of any coherent ideology that Tommy Robinson & Identity Ireland espouse. It’s foundation is racism, everything else is simply hammered in to fit the picture.
- Homelessness, poverty, social situation in Ireland
This one is rather interesting. As Peter speaks, he directly implies that the reason Ireland has a scarcity in resources and social inequality is because foreign nationals have the same rights as Irish citizens. Social and economic inequality in Ireland is not a result of foreign nationals, it’s a result of a crooked government that is catering to landlords. Failure to construct social housing, enact preventive measures against rent increases and evict people.
None of this has anything to do with refugees, migrants, or foreign nationals. Landlordism and evictions existed in Ireland during the days of the British Empire, continued under the newly founded Irish Free State and today are simply another aspect of austerity. More on landlordism here.
- Accepting 4,000 migrants means placing them above ‘our own’…
The Direct Provision program in Ireland is essentially comparable to a prison, not only that, but it is a disgusting method of generating money for those running the program. The ‘camps’, or ‘centers’ are essentially sub contracted by the state for a generous payment to house people. The people staying there receive a weekly payment of just under 20 euro, are forced to sign in and out, and can be interned indefinitely. Children are literally growing up in these centers because they are not being liberated and allowed to enjoy a full life in Ireland.
The life these people lead is no life at all, it is a manufactured bare minimum existence that wreaks havoc on their mentality and treats them like second citizens. Some, excel in academia but have no opportunities to progress because they continue to be ostracised by the State on various grounds.
Direct Provision centers, however, are highly profitable and therefore the incentive for them to be open remains for those who operate them and the politicians who are aligned to these operators.
Despite both the asylum seekers crisis and the homeless crisis in Ireland, thousands of homes remain empty. Perhaps Tommy and Peter would be best investigating that, rather than implying the State cares more for the refugees it interns than it’s own citizens? Perhaps they ought to consider that the capitalist State cares as little for it’s own citizens as it does for the migrants, because that is what the numbers add up to and unfortunately for them, numbers rarely lie.
- Radical Islam is a product of geopolitics, ISIS a literal interpretation of Islam
Both Tommy and Peter flirted with the idea that Islamic fundamentalism is sponsored internationally, though they did not go into any detail. After all, outlining how the CIA essentially created the Taliban, all for the sake of fighting the USSR. Or, how the government that Tommy seems to have mixed feelings about has been funding extremist rebels in Syria to pursue their global strategy of ousting states that do not yield to Western interests.
Helping debunk another myth is a summary of what hundreds of Muslim scholars compiled together to show that ISIS is not, in fact, Islam. Have a read yourself and arrive at your own conclusion.
- 1.5 million citizenships handed out to refugees by Angela Merkel…
This basically didn’t happen and there’s no sources to even deny it because there’s no sources to prove it in the first place.
- “I’m peaceful, not asking people to fight, blah blah blah…”
This is a nice soundbite, Tommy, but a lie. The history of the EDL and your own is riddled with violent confrontations, attacks and intimidation. This statement is made by right wing groups when they are small and insignificant so that they do not attract attention. The truth is a little bit different.
A quick search of ‘english defence league violence’ will bring up pages of videos and results showing the violent, racist and clearly distorted nature of the EDL and it’s supporters. As a founder, Tommy, you are responsible for the actions of your members. If your organisation engaged in violence then chances are, you sanctioned it.
- Many of the people coming aren’t from war torn areas…
United Nations report on where refugees and asylum seekers are coming from.
Shock, horror and gasp, they are in fact coming from war torn regions! Coincidentally, Syria and Afghanistan and to some degree Kosovo are all areas where Western states have intervened militarily.
I guess another thing you’d be shocked at is that countries with far less capacity, resources and wealth are hosting a lot more refugees than all the European countries combined.
- 3 refugees partook in the Paris attacks!
Another disgusting lie generated by the right wing, all in order to spew hatred and stir up discrimination.
All participants in the attacks were European nationals.
- Debate is shouted down, ignored.
This is half true. I personally hold the belief that organisations such as the EDL and Identity Ireland first need to have their ideas and positions de-constructed before being confronted. Leftists and anti-racists pursue the incorrect strategy when only resorting to breaking up meetings and physically confronting fascists, and their defence of peoples rights and equality must be dual pronged. The result that is most likely, in pursuing only physical confrontation is an alienation of the misguided and lied to demographic that supports movements such as this.
As illustrated above, a disproportionate amount of what Identity Ireland/Tommy put forward is literally made up or distorted to the point where it may as well be made up but it’s easy to believe, because there are nuggets of truth here and there making it all sound plausible. For instance highlighting Islamic fundamentalism that’s a truth, or banking on the current Euroscepticism shared by people and blaming the failings of the EU on multiculturalism.
Ultimately, I feel that leftists have a duty to nuance the entire argument, despite how much we may dislike it. But screaming about equality and refusing to acknowledge that Islamic fundamentalism does lead to major problems is an issue. As a Communist, I believe in a society governed by secular laws and reject the role of religion in education, health or political decision making and that is taken in consideration when discussing all religion.
I feel that in a society that is humane, rather than malicious as ours is, a far better way of helping people adjust and integrate together could be found. A more equitable society based on principles of collectivity and community would, I have no doubt, allocate resources in a more transparent manner, ensuring that issues such as homelessness or impoverishment are not issues at all!
Imagine if every empty house in Ireland wasn’t owned by a landlord, but by a socialist workers republic. We would be filling them with the homeless of other capitalist countries!
I hope that this piece was compelling enough for you to see Identity Ireland and Tommy Robinson for what they are. Dangerously ill-informed racists who can’t be bothered using the internet to research a single allegation they make.