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After Manchester attack—don't let right exploit horror

May 25, 2017

A horrific bombing killed 22 people, including five children, as they left an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday night. A further 59 people were injured in what Greater Manchester Police said it is treating as a terrorist attack by a suicide bomber. Isis described the person who carried out the attack as a “soldier of the caliphate”.

Racists have already begun to whip up ­division. It’s predictable that some people will seek to scapegoat Muslims and point the finger at migrants—such moves must be rejected and confronted. As Weyman Bennett from Stand Up To Racism said, “It is vital  that we stand together at this time in unity and solidarity against all forms of hatred, division and violence.”

But it won’t just be far right groups and Ukip that seek to exploit what’s happened.

Tory home secretary Amber Rudd said the bombing’s “intention was to sow fear, its intention is to divide, but it will not succeed”. But right wing politicians and newspapers are hoping to use it—precisely to sow fear and division.

More armed police officers are already patrolling London, and other major cities across Britain. Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick warned this will “continue for as long as it is needed” with a “mixture of armed and unarmed officers.” Her record on responding to terror attacks should make us wary. After the 7/7 suicide bombings in London, Dick headed the police operation that gunned down Brazilian electrician Jean Charles De Menezes.


The operation was part of a bigger police lockdown ­targeting Muslims—and led to increased levels of Islamophobia. Calls from the right for more police, more guns and more repressive powers directed at minorities have always followed terror attacks.

After the attack Theresa May said, “We can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future—to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence.” We should be in no doubt what May meant by fighting “the ideology”—ramping up repression against Muslims.

The Tory manifesto claimed, “Extremism, especially Islamist extremism … undermines the cohesion of our society and can fuel violence”. It warned that a Tory government would look into “new criminal offences” it could make up to “defeat the extremists”. May suspended the Tories’ flagging general election campaign, but this hasn’t stopped the Tories from outrageously trying to exploit the horrific deaths to bolster it.

Rudd said it was a “barbaric act”—then proceeded to use it for political gain. “The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before,” she said, alluding to the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) bombing in 1996. May joined in during her speech, noting that “it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way”.

Their comments come after the Tories and right wing press smeared Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to “condemn” the IRA last week.

May says “our way of life will prevail”, but when the right talk of “our way of life” it is a cover for a false unity behind “British values”. In reality, it is a racist and nationalist stick used to beat Muslims and the left with.

We need to build genuine unity from below—against the right and their attempts to divide us through racism and repression. And we need to keep fighting to kick out the Tories.

This is shared from Socialist Worker (UK)

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