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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Racism Bridging the Sectarian Divide

Is Anna Lo's Assembly victory a one-off for the North's ethnic communities, or the beginning of a new ethnic power block? Revolutionary Unionist commentator Dr John Coulter examines if racism will be eased or increased by the election of ethnic politicians


Dr John Coulter • 19 March 2007

Ever heard of the Migrant Resettlement Act? Well, it doesn't exist, not yet anyway. But there is the growing danger if the North's ethnic communities do not elect more Anna Lo's, then a racist and populist movement will emerge on this island within the next decade.

Anna Lo's South Belfast Stormont seat for Alliance represents the first significant electoral break through for the ethnic communities into the previously sectarian dominated Northern tribal politics.

The Ulster Unionists attempted to reach out to the same communities in a last ditch bid to attract voters with a series of ethnic-friendly slogans on their party website. It flopped.

With the increase in racist crime since the turn of the new millennium along with the growth in the number of migrant workers in the North, is Anna Lo's election a one-off because of the large Chinese community in south Belfast, or is it the start of more ethnic elected representatives – especially with the new super council poll expected within two years?

However, the real dilemma is whether or not the ethic communities decide to enter politics under existing Northern politics, or form their own movements?

How long before we see the muslim community put up Hamas candidates similar to those who won the Palestinian elections?

The American intelligence community has already warned up to six militant Islamic groups have cells in Ireland, so the notion of Hamas, Jihad or pro-Al Quaida candidates maybe isn't so daft after all.

Will the North's rapidly expanding Polish community opt for the mainly Catholic SDLP, or form its own Northern version of the highly controversial extreme Right-wing League of Polish Families movement, which has seats in the European Parliament?

Will the Jewish community join the pro-Israeli Paisley camp or the UUP, or will we see the leading Israeli party, Likud, contesting seats?

Anna Lo's success proved the Chinese community could be integrated into Northern politics without forming an exclusively Chinese party.

However, the recent Assembly elections have proved the Northern landscape is no longer the domain of the so-called 'main four' parties; it is now a tale of the 'big two' – the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Only a few years ago in Paisley's stronghold of Ballymena, there was a confrontation between some DUP councillors and the borough's ethnic community over the presentation of the gift to the council.

Does anyone with a titter of a brain actually believe Northern muslims, hindus and sikhs will be queuing up to join the Protestant fundamentalist-run Paisleyites, or the ultra conservative Catholic wing of the Shinners?

But time is not on the side of the Northern parties. A decade ago, politicians in Britain dismissed the activities of the Far Right British National Party as irrelevant. Now the BNP has 50 councillors in England.

If there's no Far Right worth a hoot in the North, why is racial crime on the rise, and who is carrying out the attacks?

The sad fall-out from Anna Lo's election is that Northern Red Necks and Nazi nutters will be polishing their swastikas, ironing their Confederate flags and washing their Ku Klux Klan robes in their nonsensical desire to preserve the so-called Ayran tribe.

Even before Assembly member Lo's victory, a dangerous fistful of Far Right groups was already plastering some Loyalist districts of the North with leaflets, stickers and flags.

These included the White Nationalist Party, now renamed the British People's Party; the National Front, British Movement, and BNP.

The KKK is also using the web to recruit vulnerable young people into its ranks. On a more sinister note, a specific branch of the Klan, the Knights of the Invisible Empire – one of the KKK's most powerful sections in the United States in the 1960s – has already embarked on a policy of infiltrating its members into the Unionist parties.

And where did the late Enoch Powell, famed for his notorious 'rivers of blood' speech eventually find a political home after being shunned by the Tories – the UUP in South Down where he was MP for several years?

Of course, the hardline Right-wing Monday Club was once one of the most influential pressure groups within the UUP in the party's heydays. Although the Club is now defunct, many of its sympathisers are still kicking about the North.

A restored Assembly along with the power-sharing Executive will bring much greater cross-border trade and traffic.

With the increase in ethnic numbers across the island at an all-time high, unless migrant families are integrated into the existing political parties, it is only a matter of time before a populist movement emerges which crosses the sectarian religious divide.

And just when we finally lay to rest the boogie man of eight centuries of inter-Christian conflict in Ireland, who will be the first to uncork the racist genie from its bottle?












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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

27 March 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Paisley and Adams: The Ghosts of Politics Past
Brendan O'Neill

Democractically Elected Musical Chairs
Mick Hall

John Kennedy

Bun Fights & Good Salaries
Dolours Price

No New Era Yet
Republican Sinn Fein

The Cul de Sac called 'Futility'
Anthony McIntyre

Pathetic Claims
Joe McDaid

Gerry McGeough
Martin Galvin

Gerry McGeough & Political Policing
Anthony McIntyre

Miscarriage of Justice
Helen McClafferty

Racism Bridging the Sectarian Divide
Dr John Coulter

The Prince of Darkness
Anthony McIntyre

What's All the Fuss About the Veil?
Maryam Namazie

18 March 2007

How I Almost Got My Ass Kicked at the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Lived to Tell About It
David Kruidenier

The Protestant 'Pat Finucane'
Father Sean Mc Manus, President, Irish National Caucus

Green Party Declines White House Invitation
Green Party Press Release

Assembly Needs an Opposition
David Adams

Belfast Hot Air
Anthony McIntyre

Citizen Tom
Dr John Coulter

A History of Nationalism in Ireland
Liam O Ruairc

Review of Challenging the New Orientalism
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Two Sides of a Coin
Dr John Coulter

Anthony McIntyre

Sinn Fein Batmen
Brian Mór

Launch of
Colm Mistéil

Reject the 'New' RUC
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

32 County Sovereignty Movement: Water Charges Are Illegal
Kevin Murphy

The National Irish Freedom Committee on Gerry McGeough
National Irish Freedom Committee

NIFC Free Form Video Discusses Elections, Abstentionism
Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh

America's 'Global War On Terrorism'
M. Shahid Alam

Iñaki de Juana Chaos
Anthony McIntyre



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