The race class narrative: constructing a brand new narrative


We’re trying down the barrel of a chilly, troublesome winter. However some politicians need us to suppose the largest menace dealing with the UK is the ‘wokemob’.

That is an article from the fifth difficulty of the New Economics Zine. You possibly can learn the total difficulty right here.

We’re at present within the midst of the worst value of dwelling disaster of a era, hovering power payments, a local weather disaster, a authorities that collapsed like a home of playing cards and moved onto the third prime minister this 12 months. But, sure politicians, elements of the media and public figures will nonetheless have you ever consider that the largest menace dealing with the United Kingdom is the scourge of the so known as wokemob’.

Look no additional than the primary Conservative management election earlier this 12 months, the place it grew to become clear that the platform of selection for many candidates was a pushback in opposition to wokery’. From Suella Braverman’s pledge to do away with all this woke garbage” to accusations that Penny Mordaunt is too woke” to be chief, it’s evident that this can proceed to be a focal level in British politics subsequent 12 months.

In the meantime, over the previous 12 months, the Centre for Labour and Social Research (CLASS) have been working in collaboration with ASO Communications on the UK Race-Class Narrative (RCN) undertaking, which seeks to neutralise the divide and rule ways utilized by sure sections of the precise. The UK RCN makes use of methodology from the overwhelmingly profitable American undertaking, carried out throughout quite a lot of US state elections and the 2020 Presidential Elections which examined seven progressive narratives, of which six registered extra positively with the general public than a Trumpian opposition’ message.

Utilizing a survey and revolutionary dial testing, we now have spent the previous 12 months testing messages and accumulating knowledge on public attitudes in direction of matters associated to race and class, utilizing the Race Class Narrative technique co-developed by ASO Communications. Unsurprisingly, our analysis discovered that this narrative of the wokemob’ — although constructed by a comparatively small part of hard-right politicians, elements of the media and really privileged public figures – has been remarkably profitable.

Central to this story is the thought of the conventional’ or genuine’ white working class who’ve been left behind and who try to uphold true British values in opposition to the yoke of political correctness enforced by the wokemob’. The wokemob’ are seen to favour undeserving minorities and immigrants over the white working class. Racial justice and equality are thus portrayed as a zero-sum sport through which minorities and immigrants acquire unfair privileges at the expense of everybody else. By pitting the white working class and the wokemob‘ in opposition to one another in a false binary, the precise has embroiled us in what they time period the tradition battle‘.

By pitting the white working class and the wokemob‘ in opposition to one another in a false binary, the precise has embroiled us in what they time period the tradition battle‘.”

Via analysing the narrative panorama, the UK Race Class Narrative undertaking discovered that this story is nicely understood, emotive, persuasive and efficient in dividing persuadable working class folks by race and ethnicity. 

Many on the laborious proper genuinely subscribe to those beliefs, however they’ve additionally used this narrative to distract from the multitude of points the UK faces right this moment, whether or not it’s the a number of scandals that have plagued the present authorities or the price of dwelling disaster. Our analysis discovered that solely 10% of the general public strongly share hard-right beliefs, whereas 60% truly have undecided or persuadable‘ political views. And it’s by means of this narrative of the wokemob‘ that our opponents on the proper have been so profitable in gaining the assist of the persuadables. By presenting the anti-woke story and a summation of the present progressive response to our individuals, the UK RCN discovered the antiwoke story to be the decisive winner. Worse nonetheless, one in three individuals who took half in our analysis couldn’t even bear in mind what the progressive response was instantly after listening to it, not to mention resolve whether or not they favored it.

Within the face of such a dangerously efficient narrative which reveals no indicators of abating, progressives are at greatest avoiding the difficulty and at worst legitimising it. From analysing communications, we discovered that progressive actors are falling into sure traps laid by our opponents. By echoing the sentiment that Britain is within the midst of a battle of cultural values, we legitimise this harmful concept. In the meantime, by repeating their phrases in an try and refute them, we’re unwittingly ingraining them additional into the general public consciousness. Worse nonetheless, we haven’t offered a compelling different narrative of our personal. Whereas the precise have painted a vivid image of what their Britain would seem like, we discovered that present progressive messaging is definitely forgotten, much less persuasive to the persuadable part of the inhabitants and generates solely lukewarm assist from our base.

Nevertheless, there’s hope. Our analysis discovered that working class folks in Britain are way more united than the precise suggests. Working class individuals are not a homogenous block, and as an alternative embody many ethnicities and nationalities, occupations, incomes, schooling and political views. What truly binds working class folks throughout race and different variations are their shared experiences of precarity, prejudice and a scarcity of energy and an unsure sense of place, and above all, their values.

Our analysis discovered that working class folks in Britain are way more united than the precise suggests.”

Furthermore, by means of empirical testing, we discovered that utilizing phrases and phrases to construct a story of unity round folks’s shared materials pursuits truly outperformed the precise’s divisive anti-woke story. Our tried-and-tested messages come instantly from listening to working class folks. They talk the reality that there’s a small elite making choices in opposition to the widespread pursuits and join the need of individuals uniting (throughout race and sophistication) to safe a higher future for us all. These new narratives, by means of creating an inclusive us’ by utilizing intersectional language and emphasising what we now have in widespread – ie what we wish and worth – have the facility to neutralise our opponents’ messaging. Most significantly, these messages are efficient.

As confirmed by the unique US Race Class Narrative undertaking, the core method of the RCN framework is as follows:

  • Worth: Open with a shared worth that explicitly contains folks throughout race and financial standing traces to construct cross-racial solidarity.
  • Drawback: Narrate the issue and find this downside in sure highly effective actors. Be particular about what they’re doing and the way it harms us.
  • Resolution: Talk an aspirational imaginative and prescient, being particular concerning the outcomes we are able to obtain by becoming a member of collectively. Emphasise how collective motion helps us deal with the issue and implement the options that profit us all.

Through the use of this framework and becoming a member of collectively, we now have all of the instruments at our fingertips to neutralise our opponents’ harmful divide and rule ways, and current a hopeful but viable different to these with persuadable views. The rise of ultra-conservative governments is just not inevitable. With the precise instruments, deployed well and strategically, we can win.

Ayesha was beforehand CLASS’s public affairs officer.

This piece has been edited following CLASS suppose tank’s announcement that will probably be dissolving. The unique model may be discovered right here.

Picture: Elisa Macellari


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