Sammy Wilson attacks victims


The DUP’S Sammy Wilson has recently accused anti-racism groups of exaggerating the scale of racism to access public funding. This statement comes not long after more than 100 Romanians were forced to flee their homes in South Belfast due to racist intimidation and attacks.

Mr Wilson is known for not holding back about his views and recently as Environment Minister he had made it clear that he believed that humans where not responsible for climate change. Yet given that Mr Wilson is now the Northern Ireland Finance Minister, attacking what he calls the ‘anti-racism industry’, this particular rant is alarming on a number of points.

Firstly by suggesting that anti-racism groups are exaggerating the scale of racism he is, in effect, giving succour to the racists. Even before the Romanians had to flee from Northern Ireland the scale of the racist attacks had been increasing year on year.

Mr Wilson’s remarks have been received with glee by not only racists but also by some of the micro fascist groups here, which has even seen some of them promoting the ‘debate’ on Mr Wilson’s remarks on their web sites. For them it just another avenue for their hatred to be aired, albeit this time sparked by the comments from our newly appointed Finance Minister!

Secondly what is interesting here is that given the huge ‘peace funding’ society that we live in, Mr Wilson has chosen to attack some of the most vulnerable.

Therefore it can be asked, is this ‘sector’ being singled out for a reason? 

Sammy Wilson’s words on the ‘anti-racism industry’ attack those immigrants who seek a better life for themselves and their families, it attacks those who seek political asylum away from persecution, and it attacks those who come here to do the jobs many of our locals will not do. 

Yet given the fact that the anti-racism groups are segmented it means that each of them have to fight for the little scraps that are given from the table. Secondly, given that they need funding to secure their existence, little can be done to rock the boat when it comes to activist agitation against racism.

In fact, as seen in recent months, such groups can come out and condemn actions by those who seek to mobilise and defend against attacks.

This was the case when a spokesperson for the Traveller community, Derek Hanway, condemned the actions of the local anti-racism activists who sought to defend the Romanian community at their time of need.

This was when little or no support was coming from statutory bodies. In fact, it was only with that initial intervention from grassroots activists that statutory agencies where then moved to react and provide assistance like temporary accommodation.

While anti-racism groups should rightly be fully funded, we anarchists will focus our attentions within working class communities. While we will challenge and confront racism and any emerging fascist activity in both words and deeds, we will also continue to challenge the conditions that give rise to it.

That means working within and with working class communities to challenge social and economic deprivation, unemployment, unfit housing, the poverty and alienation which is increasing in our working class areas as the recession really bites.