What we didn’t hear in the 1960s

Canada Free Press – by Gail Jarvis

Americans are witnessing the harmful effects of years of unchecked immigration and coerced racial preferences. But these dire consequences were rarely predicted fifty years ago. At that time, such policies were the cause du jour of many 1960s politicians.

The late senator Ted Kennedy vigorously asserted that such policies would greatly benefit society and assured us that they would cause no harm. The mainstream media solidly supported Kennedy’s starry-eyed predictions. Admittedly, there were dissenting voices, but none so vocal and contentious as one voice in England. I am referring to the late English parliamentarian, Enoch Powell. In his famous 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech he correctly predicted dreadful consequences to society as a result of Britain’s loosened immigration policies and proposed expansions to race relations legislation.  

As Americans now realize how counterproductive these policies have been, it seems appropriate to review Enoch Powell’s famous “Rivers of Blood” speech. The 1968 speech, not well known in this country, was prompted by letters from and discussions with Powell’s constituents who feared or had experienced the negative effects of unchecked immigration. During his military service in World War II, Powell spent considerable time in various countries with diverse cultures. In India he witnessed first-hand the myriad of societal problems resulting from a multi-ethnic society where caste differences were extreme and not amenable to compromise. Powell’s India experience greatly influenced his opposition to what is now generally referred to as “diversity.”

The Biblical adage, “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.” certainly applies to Enoch Powell. After delivering his “Rivers of Blood” speech, he was not only without honor, his political career was almost destroyed. The speech was delivered at a conservative association meeting in Birmingham, England in 1968, when Powell was a member of Edward Heath’s conservative shadow cabinet.

Although 74% of the English public approved of the speech, media and politicians reviled it. The establishment called it an “evil speech” and one that appealed to “racial hatred.” On the day following the speech, Heath publicly condemned Enoch Powell and dismissed him from his shadow cabinet. Three decades later Edward Heath admitted that Powell’s speech “had not been without prescience.” It was indeed prescient. In fact, the harmful consequences to England’s society have been far worse than even the dire predictions Enoch Powell made in his famous speech.

Powell’s fearful predictions for British society recall Edmund Burke’s 1790 prediction of the failure of the egalitarian state that would be implemented following the French revolution’s removal of the monarchy. Burke predicted great harm to French society if the Jacobins tried to arbitrarily alter the wealth and social standing of citizens. Burke was publicly rebuked, as Powell would later be. Like Burke, Enoch Powell also opposed shared wealth, encouraging instead shared morals, using the phrase “spiritual glue” to characterize their effect on a community.

The opening paragraph of Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech incisively identifies the root of legislative flaws of the last few decades, not only in England, but also America. “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature. One is that by the very order of things, such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred. At each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future.”

Communalism: Allegiance to one’s own ethnic group takes precedence over allegiance to society at large

The “expense of the future” is what Powell urged his audience to be wary of. Central to his argument was the concept of “communalism” by which Powell meant that allegiance to one’s own ethnic group takes precedence over allegiance to society at large. And this overpowering group loyalty stands in the way of “integration.” Powell uses the original meaning of the term “integration” – assimilation into the larger society, i.e. accepting its culture – customs, beliefs, arts, etc. At the time of the speech, most Englishmen still believed that immigrants would conform to the way of life of their adopted country. Indeed, that is essentially what happened in the past, when persons from one European country immigrated to another European country. But at the time of Powell’s speech, England was experiencing immigration from non-European countries, with radically different races and cultures. And these new immigrants clung to their customs and resisted assimilation.

Powell declared that immigration be either temporarily suspended or drastically reduced. He also insisted on the recolonization of those in the country illegally. He maintained that the situation was already critical, and predicted even worse consequences if corrective measures were not implemented. England’s elites refused to lend credence to such warnings.

In his speech, Powell quoted from a letter he received from one of his constituents. He identified her only as an old-age pensioner, the sole surviving member of her family, trying to survive by renting rooms in the house where she lived. Powell’s elderly constituent was discomfited by newly arrived black immigrants who spoke little or no English. She refused to rent rooms to them, and was subjected to increasingly ugly forms of harassment as immigrants took over her neighborhood. She wrote Powell to express her fear that the pending Race Relations Bill would criminalize her rejection of a tenant she didn’t feel comfortable with.

This was one of the reasons why Powell was anxious about the pending 1968 version of the Race Relations Act. He was willing to concede some restrictions on public bodies and commercial organizations, but was adamant that individuals should be free to make discriminatory decisions in their lawful affairs with other individuals. Powell expressed his concern that England should avoid what was happening in the United States. “That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic…is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect.” During Powell’s lifetime, England’s race relation laws avoided racial preferences common to American legislation.

John Cleese: “London is no longer an English city.”

The media’s caption “Rivers of Blood” is misleading because it implies that Enoch Powell was predicting violence as a result of lax immigration laws and enforced diversity. But Powell was partially quoting Virgil – “ – I see the River Tiber foaming with blood” , as a metaphor for the damage to economic and living conditions, as well as the loss of British traditions.

In the years since his speech, Enoch Powell has been largely vindicated, although some still portray him as a racist and xenophobe – a modern-day Savonarola. Recently, Prime Minister David Cameron was unfavorably compared to Powell for complaining that immigrants shouldn’t be eligible for benefits immediately upon entering the country, and that too many migrants were entering Britain. Indeed, white Britons are now a minority in London and mosques are replacing churches. In the words of former Monty Python comic John Cleese: “London is no longer an English city.”

Although parts of his 1968 speech could have been expressed more delicately, that would have lessened the impact Powell wanted to make and did make. I personally do not find his speech offensive, and I believe that many today share my view that our society would have been better served by an Enoch Powell rather than a Ted Kennedy


5 thoughts on “What we didn’t hear in the 1960s

  1. This strategy is nothing new. This time around it’s the Mexicans, and before the first Great Depression they used Euro-trash.

    Jacob Schiff funded the Russian pogroms to scare a million Jews into this country, who were promptly registered as democrats to get Wilson elected.

    The Democrats are always importing their votes, because no one in this country wants ’em.

    We need to finish what Joe McCarthy started, and purge this country of commies once and for all, and I think expelling the Jews might solve the problem once and for all.

    Millions died to give the Jews a “homeland”, so what’s so inhumane about sending them there?

    1. Millions died to give the Jews a “homeland”, so what’s so inhumane about sending them there?

      The problem with that notion is Israel has very solid security, unlike the US, they would never get into Israel.

      1. From Wikipedia, another Jewish front: “Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, more than 3 million Jews from over 90 countries have ‘made Aliyah’ and arrived in Israel. Zionist representatives welcomed displaced Jews all over to what was then Mandatory Palestine … Organizations such as Nefesh B’Nefesh and Shavei Israel help with aliyah by supporting financial aid and guidance on a variety of topics such as finding work, learning Hebrew, and assimilation into Israeli culture.”

  2. Although 74% of the English public approved of the speech, media and politicians reviled it. The establishment called it an “evil speech” and one that appealed to “racial hatred.”

    Similar comparison to the state of the current immigration scene in America.

    Amnesty will do two things the usurper craves: endure generations more of entitlement (ie: Democrat) voters & hasten the destruction of America.

    Tyranny Abounds

  3. Good posting on Powell’s warning and what came to pass. Mass immigration is being used as a weapon to destroy the nation-states of the World, along with “free” trade they are the one-two punch of the New World Order.

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