Why are white working class people turning to Right Wing groups like the Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, NeoNazis and the like? Why are they supporting Trump and Brexit?
The working class whites used to have a good income from dangerous, dirty well-paid jobs in industries such as mining, ship-building, car manufacture, oil, steel and components industries. These jobs have largely gone. Automation and globalisation have taken these jobs away. They are either operating in countries where the workforce is paid a great deal less or automation has reduced the need for workers. Bosses have maximised their profits by cutting the wage-bill.
The working men and women not only used to receive a good wage for their hard work but also had the respect of the community who recognised the arduous and dangerous nature of their work. Consequently those working communities had great self-respect.
The world has moved on. Some of these industries are in terminal decline. We no longer need oil, gas and coal with its pollution and global warming. We need renewable energy.
While the new industries require labour a lot of the work is skilled or automated.
The working class has been left high and dry. They are unemployed or doing low-level, poorly paid work, delivering or stacking shelves.
Many white blue-collar workers feel desperate and totally let down by the system. They look for scapegoats and blame immigrants for taking their jobs. They have turned to Brexit and Trump – both running campaigns focussed on cutting immigration with lashings of blatant xenophobia and overt racism - both claiming that these policies will solve the problems and make the country great again. Neither will.
What is needed is an overhaul of the way society works.
Firstly we need to build new industries to replace the old ones. China has seen this. Their renewable energy programme has made them a world leader while the USA, under Trump, is vainly hanging on to old industries and the UK sits on the fence.
Secondly we need to seize the opportunities presented to create a better society. At present huge profits are going into the pockets of fewer and fewer. We need to provide a progressive taxation system so that these profits are share more uniformly. With the taxes gathered we should revitalise our infrastructure, provide quality education, health care and social care. This will provide quality jobs.
The desperate plight of the displaced workers requires urgently addressing before their anger turns to hatred and violence.