Anti-racism

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”.

What did the first black MPs achieve?

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In June 1987 four black Labour MPs were elected. Gary McFarlane recalls this cause for celebration in an otherwise grim night, and looks at the political trajectories of these pioneering politicians.

There are plenty of theories about how Labour managed to lose four general elections in a row to the Tories from 1979 onwards, despite mass unemployment stalking the land and the relentless attacks on working class living standards. Vast swathes of the country became factory-free zones. The working class is disappearing, we were told by the misnamed journal of the Communist Party, Marxism Today. “De-industrialisation”, we were told, meant the only hope for progressives was to band together around the lowest common denominator.

Darcus Howe: Black Power in the New Left

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Darcus Howe, who died last month, was a central figure in the radical black movement in Britain. He developed his politics from his roots in Trinidad through the fight against the National Front and the Mangrove Nine campaign against police harassment. Christian Høgsbjerg tells the story of his life.

The black Trinidadian political radical Darcus Howe was one of the leading ideological agitators of the British Black Power Movement, and a lifelong rebel and “troublemaker” who made a critical contribution to the making and shaping of modern multicultural “post-colonial” Britain.

Historical blindness hurts

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Three recent arguments over cultural representations of anti-racist struggle expose a willingness to distort or ignore real historical events in order to fit with current ideas, writes Ken Olende.

The Metropolitan Police brutally attack a peaceful anti-racist demonstration in a key early scene from the new TV drama Guerrilla. It is 1971 and the police violence recalls two real incidents — the demonstration against police harassment that led to the arrest of the Mangrove Nine, and the later death of anti-racist activist Blair Peach.

Fight for EU nationals' rights

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With negotiations over Britain’s future relationship with the EU now under way, Theresa May still hasn’t spoken out to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently living in Britain. Instead the Tory government has stated that it wants to wait until it gets an offer from EU member states securing the rights of British nationals abroad. People’s lives, their relationships, homes and future plans, are all being used by politicians as bargaining chips.

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