Sep 06 2013

50 Years After MLK: Will Harrow Labour Address Discrimination?

labour_roseHarrow Independent Labour sent this release, in response to David Perry’s article about Martin Luther King.

50 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, it is important to assess what progress has been made on racism and discrimination. Praising towering figures like Martin Luther King can be seen as political opportunism when there is unacceptable discrimination in a Party one leads. It is not universally known that the Bristol Bus Boycott led by Paul Stephenson, ended on the same day that King made his famous speech. That Boycott 50 years ago led to the end of discrimination in employment in the Bristol Omnibus Company but even more important, helped usher in the Race Relations Act. Challenging inequality, campaigning for the end of discrimination, campaigning for fairness and justice in society have never been popular when the struggle for justice is at its height. It is a fact of history Martin Luther King that was reviled almost as much as he is being feted now. He was told to stop meddling in politics and stay in church. His quest for justice included the Vietnam war – he was against it, long before it became popular to condemn it. The Independent Labour Group was formed as a result of a courageous decision to challenge discrimination in Harrow Labour Group, a difficult path. The whole party machinery and powers that be joined ranks to attack the ‘rebels’ and protect their self-interest.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]The Independent Labour Group was formed as a result of a courageous decision to challenge discrimination in Harrow Labour Group[/pullquote]David Perry, Leader of Harrow Labour Group praising Martin Luther King is a bit rich when he refuses to support the call for an Independent Inquiry and has spent countless energy in trying to discredit former colleagues now in the Independent Labour Group and blocking a motion for an independent inquiry. On his watch, there has been a lack of fairness, justice and respect. If he is so sure the allegations are unfounded, why doesn’t he and Harrow Labour support an Independent Inquiry?

The 50th Anniversary of a defining moment in the struggle for Race Equality is seen as some people as a means to gain publicity and political advantage and credibility. The reality is that political credibility comes from walking the walk, not just talking about it. When will Harrow Labour agree to independent investigation of these claims about discrimination and racism and why did they block the motion by current Labour members for an Independent Inquiry? In the same week of a speech about Martin Luther King, Harrow Labour Group took a leaf from the book of Victorian employers to treat their own office staff in a most despicable manner. The universal revulsion at such terrible behaviour has led to a whispering campaign by Labour against the staff. We should probably expect more of the same ad-hominem attitude from them.

True praise for Martin Luther King would be to fight for justice and equality no matter where the inequality and injustice is found, because it is the right thing to do. To quote from the great Martin Luther King:

Cowardice asks the question: is it safe?

Expediency asks the question: is it political?

Vanity asks the question: is it popular?

But conscience asks the question: is it right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular. But one must take it because it is right.


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