Anti-racism

A decisive triumph for anti-racists everywhere

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The Rotherham 12 are vindicated in their fight against charges of violent disorder on an anti-Nazi demo in 2015. Campaigners Phil Turner, Abrar Javid and Matt Foot draw out the lessons.

The acquittal last month of the last two defendants in the group of Asian men known as the Rotherham 12 is probably the most important victory in the fight against racism and fascism in Britain for decades. The impact of such a decisive triumph for anti-racists has not been felt since Southall in the late 1970s or the Bradford 12 in the early 1980s. It is a victory for the whole of the working class.

Say it loud: hands off the hijab

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The government and its allies in the media are once again fuelling anti-Muslim attitudes, this time with their attack on the right of young Muslim girls to wear the hijab at school.

Following the chief inspector of schools Amanda Spielman’s call for primary schools to consider banning the hijab, Neena Lall, the head of St Stephens School in Newham, east London, imposed such a ruling. But after a meeting of more than 150 parents, she scrapped it, and apologised for her huge error of judgement.

Ambalavaner Sivanandan, 1923-2018

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Ambalavaner Sivanandan, who died on 3 January, was the director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and one of the most important anti-racist activists and intellectuals in Britain.

Sivanandan talked and wrote on all aspects of racism in an anti-imperialist, Marxist framework. He spoke out strongly against the idea of celebrating fixed ethnic or racial communities as the basis for fighting racism. He said that the fight must come out of “communities of resistance” — people who came together and thus defined themselves as a community in the fight against racism.

Danger on the right in Europe

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The far-right has made a series of major electoral gains across Europe. Charlie Kimber details the links between their rise and the wholesale distribution of bigotry by the establishment.

A series of election results in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic have seen advances for hard right and sometimes fascist forces. The left has made advances, including the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. But there are stark warnings of the danger from the right.

Refugees need our support this winter

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The refugee crisis has not gone away and the need for solidarity and aid is as great as ever. The destruction of the the “Jungle” last autumn, however, has meant that the issue has drifted down the news agenda. Now as winter approaches thousands of refugees face the prospect of sleeping in the woods around Calais and Dunkirk, under the motorways of Paris and in the parks of Brussels.

We visited these sites with Care4Calais in August and September. This is what we found:

Build on crucial anti-racist conference

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There have been growing signs that forces on the far right are reorganising and making gains of late.

The idea you could go to protest racism and be killed by a Nazi in a vehicle reverberated around the world after Charlottesville in August. At the end of September the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had 94 MPs elected in Germany. In October the fascist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) came third, winning just one seat fewer than the Social Democratic Party.

Here we go again?

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The Football Lads Alliance made its shocking appearance in June with a 10,000-strong march against Muslim “extremism”. Brian Richardson looks at the history of football and racist organisations.

Those of us who are football fans invariably approach the start of a new season with a mixture of optimism and trepidation. The hope that our team will win a trophy sits alongside a fear of relegation or failure to qualify for a prestigious competition. As the 2017-18 season began, however, there was real concern about a significant development that has emerged during the summer and away from the stadiums.

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”.

Shadeism and the politics of skin tone

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Western societies’ beauty standards are underlain with a racism that has its roots in slavery and colonialism

Shadeism, also known as colourism, is the discrimination against an individual based not just on their perceived “race” but on their darker skin tone. Although two people may both be black, one may suffer further discrimination than the other due to being darker in skin tone, which has led to a sub-categorisation of black people as “light-skinned” or “dark-skinned”.

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