“Jack Straw” chose to begin a conversation last week. Unlike the macabre circus of bourgeois pseudo-liberal racist commentators and Uncle Tom so-called “community leaders” who insisted on legitimizing “Straw”’s views by joining the debate, I assume anyone who reads this blog doesn’t need a patronizing lesson on why this whole debate is racist. White men commit rape and sexual violence every day, and you never hear anyone blame it on white “culture”. I assume in most cases the obscenities will have reached your ears anyway, certainly it did not want for spectacular saturation. I am sure it will be as topical amongst petty white tyrants in workplaces and pubs, as it was in the nest of racists that apparently makes up Straw’s section of the Blackburn labour party. A lot of energy has been wasted in discussions around whether what “Jack Straw” has said is anything other than racist shit. I take it that readers of this blog will realize it is not. Instead, we should ask who “Jack Straw” is when he talks this way.
Sufficed to say, what “Straw” has done here is precisely analogous to the work he carried out for the most powerful sections of the capitalist class in the noble pursuit of the legitimization of torture and the ending of (even bourgeois) liberties. In my life time I have seen an obscene change in the way the physical torture of innocent people has been discussed; what once entirely excluded as now debated as an administrative affair. “Jack Straw” is the name of the barbarous ethical question that haunts the post Guantanamo world, shaped through his endeavours; is water boarding technically torture?
If the longing of the oppressed for an end to the hypocritical violence of the powerful is as old as that hypocrisy itself, so too is the content and form of Straw’s recent statement. I have no doubt that Pharoes and Kings would have died out a long time ago, if not for the mystifying work of their obfuscatory bureaucrats, creating division and mistrust amongst their subjects. If the man had any decency, it would soothe him to recall that history has a habit of forgetting the names of the secretaries and agents of the powerful. In the truest sense of the word, we remember only Caesar and Spartacus.
The name “Straw”, is a patronizing one, treating Asian people as voting fodder who will always vote Labour no matter what. Straw is trying to make political capital out of a handful of rapists so as to appeal to the most backwards and petty portions of the so called “white” working class, who one presumes are under electoral attack from BNP/UKIP around Blackburn. To try and counter act this he is playing the populist racist game of suspending all real politics for denunciation of some particular “foreign” element that has allegedly ruined the old balance of society. Indeed this is the essence of formally anti semitic positions. He talks as if all previous questions about sexual violence and male power are suddenly suspended, as the so-called issue of Pakistani men and their “white meat” (Straw’s words, not mine, or indeed any Pakistani’s) is the be all of these issues. Even Straw himself had to admit that upwards of ninety five percent of all sexual violence is committed in this country by white men. Yet, he chose not to claim, to make his argument fair, that these cases constituted evidence of some kind of “problem with white culture”, or whatever. Why? Because he is a racist.
To this end, Asian people who are pissed off by this escaped, should not be wasting their time arguing that “Islam” or “Pakistani Culture” has nothing to do with this. Such platitudes about abstract nouns are neither here nor there. They certainly will not help the young Asian men and women who will bear the brunt of what the name “Straw” has inflicted on them; the racial abuse and the violence. On the contrary, it is time for Asian people to organize a principled anti racist movement that shows the rest of the working class how to fight back. The true victory will be when names like “Straw” mean as much to the world as the epistemic worries of Duns Scotus do now. Remember that the system of racism is one in which human beings are constructed as objects in stead of subjects. Where a racist might spew tired old shit about Blacks lacking proper subjectivity, being immersed in nature and lacking critical cognitive faculties, it’s the white man who is really trapped by this stuff, unable to see the reality of what race is, oblivious to its materiality. The ideas of racism are part of the way it reproduces itself. Thus the name “Straw” does not refer to a man. Just a self replicating, overdetermined shit spewing machine.