Open Letter to Heart of Midlothian FC regarding Tommy Robinson

Yesterday, a member of the IMT Edinburgh branch was contacted by Police Scotland, regarding the letter (below), that we sent to the club. Marxists place no illusions in the ability of the police to fight the far right. History has shown, many a time, that they will protect the far right and in times of crisis, even use fascist gangs to defend the capitalist state against the organised working class. However we do thank this individual officer for describing the letter as “very passionate and convincing” (if he is really convinced he should go on to campaign for the Police Federation to be an independent union).
Whilst it is positive that the campaign against Tommy Robinson’s appearance at Tynecastle is gaining ground, we still note that Hearts have said nothing. We can’t rely on the club themselves or the police to stop this. Only socialist ideas can fight win people from racist ideas and the only force that can stop the far right is the organised working class. We call on all our readers as well as all Edinburgh and Lothians based union branches and trades councils, left wing groups and supporters clubs (Hearts/Hibs or any others) to to join the counter demo on Sunday at 10.45  at the concourse area outside Hearts FC Stadium on Sun Dec 2nd.

 

For the administration of Heart of Midlothian FC, supporters of the club and the community of Edinburgh and Scotland,

 

The Edinburgh Branch of the International Marxist Tendency displays its deep concern towards the upcoming visit of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) to Tynecastle Stadium on the 2nd December 2018. As an organisation pledged to creating social conditions in which citizens can equally flourish, we are extremely apprehensive about the repercussions of the polarised atmosphere he will both create and hope to preserve within the city.

 

Football is a traditional leisure activity of the working class. The formal organisation of the sport has been tied to the ordinary citizen since its very inception; the spark of the Industrial Revolution produced many of the original founders of the Football League in England and its correlation is equally woven into the fabric of the Scottish game. The humble beginnings of co-operatively owned clubs such as Burntisland Shipyard and Inverurie Loco Works provided a platform for Scottish communities to use football as a meeting-place of civic comradery. Like all Scottish clubs, Heart of Midlothian FC continues to uphold this custom in the modern era; to remain passive towards the visit of an individual with a track-record of spreading division and hatred amongst ordinary people is an inexcusable betrayal of the beautiful game.

 

Furthermore, the club denotes on its official website that it ‘will not tolerate any form of… disorderly or discriminatory conduct… at Tynecastle.’[1] Far from a sweeping general statement, it also confirms that ‘disorderly conduct includes [that]… which stirs up or sustains… hatred or ill will against or towards individuals or groups of people.’[2] Even the most ardent supporter of Yaxley-Lennon’s activities would struggle to argue against the fact that they are built upon this premise. Hell-bent on criminalising those who don’t fit an ultra-nationalist stereotype, he whips up sentiment which blames ethnic minorities for the economic deprivation which cripples working-class communities. Support and financial backing from the elite-backed candidates responsible for this incessant austerity has now seen him ride a careerist wave into the arms of the overtly racist UKIP. These activities and actions directly breach the Policies and Charters of Heart of Midlothian FC and he must be denied entry from Tynecastle Stadium.

 

We believe that the majority of Heart of Midlothian FC supporters are extremely committed to building working-class solidarity across the city of Edinburgh. This is supported by recent demonstrations against the alt-right Football Lads Alliance and frequent interventions in supporting anti-racist initiatives. If the club fail to take direct action, we will be supporting the growing contingent of supporters opposed to his visit and rallying our comrades in the city’s trade unions to do the same. This remains consistent with our commitment to fight against racism, far-right politics and capitalism.

 

Your sincerely,

 

The Edinburgh Branch of the International Marxist Tendency

[1] https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/more/key-links/policies-and-charters

 

[2] https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/more/key-links/policies-and-charters

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