Brian Richardson

The Olympics: a nation united?

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Now that the hysteria has subsided, Brian Richardson asks whether the Olympics lived up to their promise

"It just cannot get better than this! This is us, our time, our country, our Mo Farah. Crowd of our time; tears of our time. Hope for all time." Those were the words with which journalist Jon Snow greeted Mohammed Farah's victory in the Men's Olympic 5,000 metres final. Elsewhere there was similar hysteria as commentators rushed to celebrate "Team GB". London 2012 was, we were told, a triumph for the nation.

A dangerous enterprise

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Judge Red

A column about socialists and the legal system

The law on joint enterprise is one of the most complex and controversial in criminal law. It can be used to convict people who are said to have acted together while committing an offence. Each defendant is held "liable for the acts done in pursuance of that joint enterprise", including "liability for unusual consequences".

The politics of the Olympics

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The London 2012 Olympics look set to be a jamboree of profiteering and nationalism. Brian Richardson recalls how past Olympics have been the site of struggles against racism

The Olympic Games have been associated with three of the most inspirational moments in the struggle for black emancipation. In August 1936 Jesse Owens confounded and humiliated the Nazi dictator Hitler by winning an unprecedented four gold medals at the games in Berlin. Twenty four years later Cassius Clay was crowned as the light heavyweight boxing champion in Rome. He was lauded on his return to the US, but still found himself refused service in "whites only" restaurants and targeted by racist gangs.

It wasn't the Daily Mail wot won it!

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The Daily Mail has claimed that it drove forward the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence. Brian Richardson sets the record straight and argues that the real pressure for justice came from below

Daily Mail editor in chief Paul Dacre is one of the longest serving and most influential people in the press. He is also notoriously reclusive. In the wake of the Stephen Lawrence murder trial verdict, however, he could not contain himself.

After the riots

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The riots that exploded on the streets of London and other English cities last month provoked a vicious backlash by politicians and the media. Brian Richardson argues that the rage people expressed was rooted in the grinding poverty and injustice at the heart of British society.


Photo: Guy Smallman

How many rivers do we have to cross
Before we can talk to the boss?
All we have it seems we have lost
We must have really paid a cost

The many lives of Malcolm X

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Manning Marable, an academic and activist, died in April this year, just three days before the release of his biography of Malcolm X, the great icon of the Black Power Movement.Brian Richardson looks at this landmark book and the extraordinary life of Malcolm X

Malcolm X is unquestionably the great icon of the Black Power Movement. His emergence in the mid-1960s sparked one of the most exciting and dramatic episodes in the history of black struggle in the United States. There had been a rising tide of anti-racist struggle from the mid-1950s onwards. The Civil Rights Movement led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr succeeded both in desegregating many municipal and private facilities across the Southern states and forcing the US federal government into passing civil and voting rights legislation in 1964 and 1965.

The Tempest Tales

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Walter Mosley, Black Classic Press, £16.99

Walter Mosley is one of the most prolific US authors of today. Best known for his series of crime novels featuring reluctant private detective Easy Rawlins, he has also written science fiction, children's books and non-fiction essays reflecting critically on the state of the US and its role in the world.

Stories of Black Britain in Pictures

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Author Paul Gilroy tells Brian Richardson why he hopes images of past moments of everyday life and struggle will inspire a new generation

Your new book, Black Britain: a photographic history, is a very different type of book from those that have made your name. What persuaded you to curate and write a book based around photographs?

Nationality: Wog

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Kester Aspden, Jonathan Cape, £12.99

In the introduction to his book, author Kester Aspden boldly declares his belief that "the hounding of David Oluwale says something about Britain then and now." Initially this appears a brave, but injudicious assertion on a number of counts.

Firstly it is a story about a very specific set of circumstances, namely those surrounding the death of a 38-year-old Nigerian immigrant. Secondly, the events the book discusses took place nearly 40 years ago in a city almost unrecognisable from what Leeds had metamorphosed into by the early 1990s.

James Brown - Doing it to Death

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In life James Brown was a consummate entertainer whose live performances were the stuff of legend. It seems almost typical of the old showman that he finally bowed out on 25 December 2006.

Indeed one half expected the solemn Christmas morning newscaster to announce that the self styled Godfather had not died at all; that in melodramatic fashion, he had been led back onto the stage of life wearing his trademark robes and crown. It was not to be.

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