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Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack

News of last Wednesday’s terror attack in London sent waves of shock across the country. It also sent establishment politicians clamouring for the media spotlight, seeking to define the narrative which came out of the events.

Our Prime Minister, Theresa May: “We will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”

Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron: “At times like this, we must remember who we are. Britain is an open, tolerant country and we will never let those who spread terror and threaten our values win.”

Labour’s Hilary “bomber” Benn: “As we grieve for the fallen and the injured, let us honour them with renewed resolve to uphold our way of life and our democracy.”

We’ve heard a lot of this stuff about unity over recent days, and we’ve heard it all before.

And each time one of these platitudes passes through their quivering lips, it is not comfort or pride which overcomes me. It is sickness.

It sickens me to hear appeals for unity from the very people who, at other times, cynically use race, religion, gender, sexuality to divide us. From the very people who, through their wars and austerity, make terror attacks inevitable!

This “don’t let them divide us” is the language of the international working class. It is the language of solidarity, cynically co-opted by establishment politicians for short-term gain.

In reality, there is no “we” which includes the working class and the representatives of big business. Our interests are fundamentally opposed! If we are to overcome the perpetual state of war, terror, poverty, and suffering which engulfs the world, the working class must forge an independent path.

This means real solidarity with the victims of the attack, by refusing unity with the architects of human suffering, be they ISIS or the capitalist class.

This is just one more reason why Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s principled anti-war leader, urgently needs to break with the warmongering Blairites who continue to dominate the Labour Party.

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Thomas Barker is an independent journalist and PhD student in Aesthetics and Politics. He can be reached at https://durham.academia.edu/ThomasBarker

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