Frantz Fanon wrote about the colonized Africans: The colonized man will first manifest this aggressiveness, which has been deposited, in his bones against his own people. This is the period when the niggers beat each other up, and the police and the magistrates do not know which way to turn when faced with the astonishing waves of crime in North Africa. While the settler or the policeman has the right the livelong day to strike the native, to insult him and to make him crawl to them, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis-à-vis his brother. (Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, New York, 1968, p52).
Although the above assertion by Frantz Fanon depicts the behaviour of the oppressed colonised African native, the same behaviour is prevalent in many poor socially deprived British communities. Violence, in all its insidious forms is common in poor British working class communities. The British police and the dominant culture have many authentic excuses for this violence and crime, but never do they even consider to except that this crime could be a manifestation of poverty, social exclusion and oppression by the dominant culture at local government level and the public servants who represent and perpetrate the dominant culture’s agenda.
Pathway Partnerships, just as senior council officers do, try to give the impression that they are diverse in the way they operate, they are in reality sectarian. Sectarianism, in all its subtle forms, exists within Pathway Partnerships and amongst Pathways staff, especially senior staff. Paulo Freire spoke eloquently about the issue of sectarianism and how sectarianism manifests within civil society (especially pertaining to the left and right wing political beliefs) in his book Pedagogy of The Oppressed, he wrote: Sectarianism in any quarter is an obstacle to the emancipation of mankind. The rightist version thereof does not always, unfortunately, call forth its natural counterpart: radicalisation of the revolutionary. Not frequently, revolutionaries themselves become reactionary by falling into sectarianism in the process of responding to the sectarianism of the Right. This possibility, however, should not lead the radical to become a docile pawn of the elites. Engaged in the process of liberation, he or she cannot remain passive in the face of the oppressor’s violence. On the other hand the radical is never a subjectivist. For this individual the subjective aspect exists only in relation to the objective aspect (the concrete reality, which is the object of analysis). Subjectivity and objectivity thus join in a dialectical unity producing knowledge in solidarity with action, and vice versa.
For his or her part, the sectarian of whatever persuasion, blinded by irrationality, does not (or cannot) perceive the dynamic of reality, or else misinterprets it. Should this person think dialectically, it is with a “domesticated dialectic.” The rightist sectarian (whom I have previously termed as a born sectarian) wants to slow down the historical process, to “domesticate” time and thus to domesticate men and women. The leftist turned secterian goes totally astray when he or she attempts to interpret reality and history dialectically, and falls into essentially fatalistic positions.
The rightist sectarian differs from his or her leftist counterpart in that the former attempts to domesticate the present so that (he or she hopes) the future will reproduce this domesticated present, while the latter considers the future pre-established, a kind of inevitable fate, fortune, or destiny. For the rightist sectarian, “today” linked to the past, is something given and immutable; for the leftist sectarian, “tomorrow” is decreed beforehand, is inexorably preordained. The rightist and this leftist are both reactionary because starting from their reflective false views of history; both develop forms of action that negate freedom. The fact that one person imagines a “well-behaved” present and the other a predetermined future does not mean that they therefore fold their arms and become spectators (the former expecting that the present will continue, the later waiting for the already “known” future to come to pass). On the contary, closing themselves into “circles of certainty” from which they cannot escape, these individuals make” their own truth. It is not the truth of men and women who struggle to build the future, running the risks involved in this very construction. Nor is it the truth of men and women who fight side by side and learn together how to build this future, which is not something given to be received by people, but is rather something to be created by them. Both types of sectarian, treating history in an equally proprietary fashion, end up without the people, which is another way of being against them.
Whereas the rightist sectarian, closing himself in “his” truth, does no more than forfil a natural role, the leftist who becomes sectarian and rigid negates his or her very nature. Each, however, as he revolves about “his truth, feels threatened if that truth is questioned. Thus, each considers anything that is not “his” truth a lie. As the journalist Marcio Alves once told me, “They both suffer from an absence of doubt.”
The radical, committed to humane liberation, does not become the prisoner of a circle of certainty” within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side. (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1966).
At the beginning of the above quote reference was give to oppressor violence. In the western world this violence is not, in most cases, physical. Further on in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed Freire expounds on the issue of oppressor violence, he wrote: Any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hiders his or her pursuit of self-affirmation, as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence, even when sweetened with false generosity, because it interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocation to be more fully humane. (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1966).
Freire speak about how sectarianism can affect people from both left and right wing political affiliations. It is a known fact that Merseyside’s community workers, be they employed in whatever position, have been mired in left and right wing political dogmas. The democratic socialists within the local Labour Party who work in community organisations say, it is a known fact that there are Marxist Trotskyite’s working, often in high positions, within many of Merseyside’s communities. They often refer to these far leftists as “sleepers.” It soon becomes apparent to the critical thinker that both of the latter mentioned work to and advocate the same community participation methodology, a kind of sectarian left and right wing inspired methodology that ignores open democratic practice and has evolved in such a way that it only serves to disempower, segregate, and propagate divisive forces, such as parochialism, which in turn brings about a divisive inward looking environment which eventually serves the dominant cultures hegemony and agendas.