Letter: Is the British Worker a racist paper?

Are there colours, fonts or names we need to avoid in order to preserve our socialist message as we try to connect Marxism with the working masses?

Letter writers

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The following email was received after the publication of our first edition of the British Worker free sheet, which was distributed to thousands of homes and workplaces in Britain in the week before the EU election.

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I am writing to inform you about my views on your British Worker paper.

I feel this paper would be dismissed by minorities due to the very white British and racist aesthetics. The title seems to be portrayed to a confining group of people – eg, white British. I feel this isn’t a good look for your party, who are a very open party and hold no racist views. The font used makes the ‘s’ in British to be seen as a Nazi font, which only supports my prior comment. This seems like you agree with and support the National Front party and BNP.

Finally, I will attach a photo of what this new look reminds me of, hopefully you can see the points I have made and change back to the natural red aesthetics and include the logo. The title I feel also needs some work as it is very easy to misinterpret.

AC, Wakefield

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Many thanks for your email and we’re very pleased and grateful to receive the feedback.

First of all, be assured that Proletarian, complete with red lettering on white paper (in no way a nod to the flag of St George) is to continue to be printed every two months as it has been since 2004.

Before implementing this change to our free sheet our comrades thought long and hard about the aesthetics and content. Firstly, we chose a name, ‘The British Worker’, which needs no dictionary definition for any English language reader to understand.

We have printed immediately below the title a call to battle, made specifically to immigrants and chauvinists – that they should consider all workers a part of the British working class if they live and work in Britain. Far from being a nationalist, chauvinist or racist position, this is the correct revolutionary proletarian position.

It would benefit us if you could explain to us your understanding of these three lines, and perhaps we may be able to make this more explicit.

Secondly, there are no racist colours or ‘Nazi’ fonts used in the free sheet, and certainly nothing that would be detected as being ‘Nazi’ by any regular member of the British working class. Blue and red are primary colours, white is the colour of the paper we have always used.

They are the same colours used in the flag of the DPRK and Cuba, and the colours are not a nod, subconsciously or otherwise, to any papers produced by the BNP, NF or anyone else. A cursory reading of the content should dispel any reader of that feeling.

Some comrades sympathetic to ‘left-wing’ politics have felt an instinctive disgust when thinking of ourselves as British workers. As disgusted as we may be with the crimes of British imperialism, we cannot conflate the two.

We are British workers. That includes those of us who imagine we’ve been here since the mammoths, those from the Irish or Indian diasporas, or those who arrived in recent years. Our task is to win the British masses over to socialism and communism. That means speaking to British workers, and that is what we are trying to do.

Overall, those who have taken copies of the free sheet have fed back to us that the paper has been taken readily by workers at workplaces, transport hubs and at their front doors. Twelve thousand copies have been distributed this month and many comrades have asked for more. This means our material is in the hands of those who need to read its anti-imperialist, anti-racist, socialist content.

That is just the beginning of the gigantic task that confronts us. We hope that you will consider taking and distributing 50 or 100 copies of the free sheet – to neighbours, outside colleges and workplaces – and gauge the reaction of those who take it, and more, speak to those who read it and try to win them to socialism.

Our comrades are finding out from their practical experience that our message has broad appeal, and broad appeal growing out from adherence to principles is what is going to be needed to win the struggle for socialism.

Comradely
Organising Committee