Feature

How institutional racism survives

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A quarter of a century has passed since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence led to greater recognition of institutional racism. But how much has really changed since, asks Brian Richardson.

"What, what nigger?” Those were probably the very last words that 18 year old black student Stephen Lawrence heard as he waited for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Well Hall Road, Eltham, on 22 April 1993. Seconds later he was attacked by a knife wielding gang of racists. He tried to escape and managed to run some distance before collapsing in a pool of his own blood.

‘Talking about the displaced as people changes perceptions’

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Socialist Review spoke to Hsiao-Hung Pai about her new book, Bordered Lives, which exposes the failings of the refugee system in Europe.

Why do you begin Bordered Lives by questioning the term “refugee crisis”?

I think the media language that we have accepted (and often adopted as our own) has in many ways shaped the way we understand issues relating to refugees. “Refugee crisis” has been the media term by which we’re made to think about displaced people in the world. My biggest problem with the term is that it suggests “us” and “them”, refugees being the “problem” for “us” to find solutions to. That seems to be the way many in this country look at migration and movement of people.

‘Masculine? Feminine? It depends on the situation’

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The surrealist artist Claude Cahun is far too little known — especially at a time when her radical approach to gender and identity is so relevant to current discussions, writes Sue Caldwell.

It is unusual for this magazine to promote the cause of high fashion, but there may be a welcome overlap with that world this year. According to Vogue the muse of Christian Dior’s pre-fall collection is Claude Cahun, an artist whose life and work deserve much greater recognition. Not that Cahun would have been impressed by mentions in glossy magazines.

Grenfell: ‘We can leave a legacy so this never happens again’

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Months on from the tower block fire that shook Britain, Socialist Review spoke to Justice4Grenfell activist Moyra Samuels about how the community is coping and what the campaign is planning.

Seven months after the fire what is the feeling within the community?

The raw emotional pain has subsided a little bit and has been replaced by this enormous anger because it’s become obvious that the council and the government can’t organise a piss up in a brewery.

Focus on China: The East is green?

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Martin Empson examines the contradictions behind the green rhetoric of the Chinese government and its continued reliance on fossil fuels.

China’s rapid economic expansion is based on massive state investment, low pay and manufacturing for export to the Western economies at the same time as the promotion of domestic consumerism. Global competition for resources and markets means China must continue this economic model. But this brings with it the risk of war, economic crisis and the threat of workers fighting for an increased share of the enormous wealth being generated. But it is also driving environmental disaster on a local and international scale.

Tories out before 2022?

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Theresa May’s government is staggering from crisis to crisis, yet no likely replacement for May is apparent. Charlie Kimber assesses the political landscape as Corbyn’s Labour Party waits in the wings.

Theresa May keeps finding new ways to have a worse week than the one before. Don’t think this process will end in 2018. New lows will be reached, regarded as the bottom of the pit — and then even deeper depths discovered.

But it’s a great danger to think this means the inevitable demise of the May regime. No Tory wants to risk Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 and the spectre of a Labour government promising change is what saves May. There is no unifying alternative to her for the Tories, and she acts as the useful scapegoat who could be replaced later on.

No room for racism

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Decades of underinvestment in social housing have had a disproportionate effect on black communities in Britain and the US, writes Glyn Robbins.

George Clooney’s recent film Suburbicon lampoons the hypocrisy of the archetypal American suburb. Alongside a fictional crime caper, it tells the true story of the first African-American family to move to a neighbourhood previously reserved for whites. The Mayer family in the film is based on the Myers family who, in 1957, moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania. As the film depicts, they met with vicious organised racism (including the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan) aimed at driving them out.

China, the US and imperialism

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In the first in a new series, Adrian Budd examines the changing power balance between China, the US and regional competitors — and how this fits with the Marxist theory of imperialism.

The nuclear stand-off between the US and North Korea focused eyes on Asia in 2017. Despite their differences, including over sanctions, the US and China have cooperated over North Korea’s nuclear programme and have a common interest in attempting the impossible of stabilising global capitalism. But they also have rival interests and China’s rise is the key long-term issue facing US power.

Halting the conveyor belt of hate

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Donny Gluckstein analyses the relationship between nationalism, which helps convince workers to defend the “national interest”, the racism which flows from that idea of an us and them defined by nation, and full-blown fascism, which abandons the notion of democratic consent altogether.

We are daily buffeted by a bewildering mass of bad news stories on the racism front. The most bizarre example to date is Trump, the most powerful person in the world, retweeting the grotesque videos of Britain First, a tiny fascist grouping whose only claim to fame is that the murderer of Jo Cox MP shouted its name as he attacked her. To make sense of such events it helps to clearly understand what nationalism, racism and fascism are, how they are connected, and how they interact.

From the dream to a nightmare

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The argument that Lenin’s leadership of the Russian Revolution paved the way for Stalin’s terror is pervasive. Patrick Nielsen looks at the circumstances, objective and subjective, which resulted in the revolution being strangled and Stalin coming to dominate — the opposite of the aims of 1917.

The October Revolution of 1917 was barely mentioned in the mainstream media during its centenary year. When it was, it was used as a weapon to attack the left. When Jeremy Corbyn sacked three shadow cabinet ministers for defying the party’s agreed line on a Brexit vote, the Daily Express ran a hysterical article: “Corbyn’s hard left to purge Labour Party moderates in Bolshevik style revolution”.

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