Brian Richardson

Between the World and Me

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Between the World and Me is one of the most powerful and poignant pieces of literature that I have read this year.

I say read — in actual fact, I downloaded and listened to it on audiotape before subsequently buying a hard copy. Given that it is an extended letter from the author to his teenage son, listening to him narrate his own words added to its impact.

Revolts after slavery

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Colonial oppression continued after the abolition of slavery - and so did the struggles against it. Brian Richardson commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica.

We are encouraged to believe that history is made by Great White Men. It is they who are responsible for the rise and fall of civilisations, for technological advances and the development of art and culture. Black people are generally restricted to walk on parts.

That was quite literally the case in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning biopic Lincoln. At the outset two black soldiers are seen pleading with their leader to abolish slavery. There is no sense of them fighting for their own emancipation.

All Involved

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All Involved, Ryan Gattis’s latest novel, is one of the most eagerly anticipated books of 2015. It is set in Los Angeles and begins on 29 April 1992, the day that a jury acquitted three LAPD officers of using excessive force in the arrest of a black man, Rodney King.

As the novel’s glossary helpfully informs us, “all involved” is slang for “someone participating in gang activity”. As riots erupted across the city in the week after the acquittals, many of LA’s gangs exploited the opportunity to settle scores.

Growing rage over black deaths in US

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Fifty years ago last month Dr Martin Luther King was being feted in Europe as he travelled to Norway to collect the Nobel Peace Prize. The previous year his legendary speech at the end of the March on Washington had captivated a worldwide audience. In its aftermath the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, and a voting rights act would follow in 1965.

Solidarity against racism

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The electoral success of far-right parties presents a challenge for the left. Brian Richardson reports from a key anti-fascist conference in Greece that is beginning to coordinate a continent-wide strategy to halt them.

The headline story in this May’s European Parliament elections was the success of the fascist Front National (FN) in France. Marine Le Pen’s party topped the poll with 24.85 percent which translated into 24 seats.

It is now the fourth biggest party in the parliament. That success was subsequently consolidated with the capture of two seats in the French Senate elections in September. The outright fascist Jobbik party took second place in the Hungarian elections with 14.6 percent of the vote, winning three seats.

Is racism on the rise?

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Black and white strike together

A recent survey suggests racial prejudice in Britain is increasing. Some argue this explains the rise of Ukip. Brian Richardson argues that the real picture is much more contradictory and complex.

Rising tide of race prejudice across Britain” screamed the front page headline in the Guardian at the end of May. This depressing declaration, which was repeated in similar terms across the press and media, came just days after Ukip topped the poll with 27.5 percent of the votes and 24 seats in the European elections.

CLR James in Imperial Britain

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When Cyril Lionel Robert (CLR) James died in May 1989, he was a seemingly marginal and inconsequential figure. His death in a tiny flat in Brixton, south London, appeared symbolic.

Supposedly "socialist" regimes were collapsing all across Eastern Europe. As James was taking his final breath, protests were erupting in Tiananmen Square against the tyranny of Chinese "communism".

After the inquest into Mark Duggan's death, police are racist to the core

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The killing that sparked the 2011 summer riots has exposed the reality of policing of black, Asian and working class communities. Brian Richardson looks at the inquest and its aftermath.

The police and political establishment must have feared the worst when an inquest jury announced in January that they did not believe that Mark Duggan had a gun in his hand when he was fatally shot by police officers in Tottenham, North London, on 4 August 2011. Ultimately, however, they must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the jury concluded that the killing was lawful.

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