Antony Hamilton

Why our rulers created racism

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Racism is regarded as “natural” or a result of ignorance but, writes Antony Hamilton, the notion of a hierarchy of races has material roots in the birth of capitalism.

Racism is one of the most favoured weapons in the arsenal of the ruling class. Whenever there is economic or political crisis, instead of pointing the finger at a banker, a scapegoat is created, a minority to blame. Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out and ban Muslims from travelling to the US; Theresa May has blamed migrants for falling wages and “displacement of jobs”, and has prioritised the Tory promise to reduce immigration in her election campaign to the “tens of thousands”.

Prophets of Rage

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Prophets of Rage are a rap-rock supergroup formed in 2016 by members of Rage Against the Machine (RATM), Public Enemy and Cypress Hill.

Guitarist Tom Morello describes the group as “an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing”.

Reminiscences of RAR

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Reminiscences of Rock Against Racism (RAR) is an essential buy for every socialist and anti-racist. This is not simply a collection of stories, but a guide to building a mass movement, and it couldn’t be more needed. With the racist bigot Donald Trump in charge of the US and the far-right rising across Europe, the movement against racism needs to be united on a scale much larger than anything we’ve seen in recent years.

Politically black is back

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Debates about identity, racism and “blackness” have re-emerged in the student movement this year.

The summer conference of the Black Students’ Campaign, a liberation campaign within the National Union of Students (NUS), was framed by explosive debates about identity, racism and how we organise. These debates drew on the discussions happening in wider society, from the question of who can be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, to how we can stop the Tories’ Islamophobic Prevent agenda.

I Am The Greatest

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Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest boxers of all time. He won the world heavyweight championship four times — a record he still holds. This exhibition takes you through his life, centring on his fights, but it also celebrates his resistance to the war in Vietnam and racism in society.

After a short film a maze of corridors leads us from Ali’s Louisiana childhood in the 1940s through to his comeback in the 70s. He grew up as Cassius Clay and changed his name in 1964 to X before being given the name Muhammad Ali by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

The Lobster

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Having watched Dogtooth a few years ago I was pretty excited to see what Yorgos Lanthimos did next. The Lobster proves to be just as strange, brutal and confusing.

The film is a brilliant satire of society’s expectations of relationships. In this world they are founded upon one common characteristic two people share rather than anything more meaningful.

Dear White People

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Dear White People comes out at a time when the issue of institutional racism in the US has exploded into the open. A wave of protest has forced the mainstream press to acknowledge that racism hasn’t gone away.

The film — a broad comedy — opens with the breaking news of a race riot erupting at Winchester College. It is an institution where frat houses decide the hierarchy of student politics and black students have their own fraternities.

To Pimp a Butterfly

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It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from Kendrick Lamar. Before checking out this new album I took a step back to listen again to the Black Hippy Mixtape and Good Kid In A m.A.A.d City. Both are brilliant collections of work representing where he came from and the guy he wanted to be.

Malcolm X: The road to revolution

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This month marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Malcolm X. Antony Hamilton looks at his life and politics.

Malcolm X is one of the great icons of the Black Power movement. He inspired a generation to resist racism “by any means necessary”. His life was a battle of ideas in which he responded to institutional racism and segregation with tactics that evolved alongside the struggle for civil rights. Speaking in January 1965, a month before his murder, Malcolm X warned of impending social upheaval and global revolution:

Malcolm X at Oxford Union

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When radical black American leader Malcolm X spoke at the Oxford Union in 1963 his speech was hailed as a "30 minute explosion that is perhaps the best encapsulation of [his] ultimate views on race, American politics and what can only be called universal human rights".

In his book Malcolm X at Oxford Union, Racial Politics in a Global Era, Saladin Ambar explores one of the world's most inspiring revolutionary leaders during the last year of his life, leading to one of his most anticipated debates hosted by the Oxford student union debating society.

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