I think Michael tells an important truth here.
There is a saying: the fish rots from the head, or the dominant idea of any age are those of the dominant class. Reactionary ideas of many stripes have gripped the labour movement to a debilitating extent. But we ought not forget the origin of those ideas. It was not the working class that set nation against nation, race against race or sex against sex. Those ideas filter down from the elites in society. Often it seems as if the working man or woman is more uncouth in the expression of such prejudices, but that is to be taken in by the hypocrisy of the elites, who disdain to say directly what they think.
There is a world of difference between challenging racism in the workforce and attacking workers for being racists. In the first instance you are interested in their views because you value their potential. In the second you satisfy yourself that workers are beyond the pale of polite society. -- Jim heartfield