(Originally written on the ACAB – Anti Capitalists Against Brexit blog on June 25 2016)
People blaming Corbyn for not pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment among some sections of the white working class miss the point. Instead, he should have done more to push a genuinely socialist message of working class people of different nationalities having more in common with one another than they do with the rich of their own countries.
It’s a basic idea, so basic that most leftists take it for granted that everyone already has heard that argument but the truth is many working class people don’t think like that because they are always encouraged to think the opposite way.
I feel the left wing intelligentsia in general is to blame for not acknowledging it’s the responsibility to educate that comes with the privilege of being educated. You get this weird and horrible paradox that many leftist middle class graduates actually hate working class people so much they can’t be bothered to even talk to them, let alone seriously try to argue their case in plain English, instead dismissing anyone who doesn’t respond to Marxist or liberal jargon as a hopeless case.
In Latin America I was always impressed at how the leftist activists I met from the universities always saw going into the shanty towns to do workshops and film showings as a normal practice, whereas the same idea never occurs to their equivalents here.
People often use the argument not to do it that it would be condescending or patronising, failing to see that being patronising and condescending is precisely why people like Boris and Farage and Trump succeed. There are ways of sharing the knowledge and insight you have without being condescending if you actually bother to try.
For more on this theme see my article More Ants With Honey