Who decides if culture is authentic?

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Recent controversies over food, hairstyles and music have highlighted the complexities of race and representation. Ken Olende unpacks some of the issues surrounding the notion of "cultural appropriation" and argues that culture is constantly evolving.

Beyoncé managed to both delight and offend with her US Superbowl tribute to the Black Panther Party. Fox News got a police sergeant to say it was the equivalent to a white act coming out in “hoods and white sheets”. She was attacked both by the right for politicising a sports event and by some on the left for trivialising a political movement, by turning a revolutionary struggle into a sexualised dance routine.

Call for global resistance

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Saladin Ambar, author of Malcolm X at the Oxford Union, spoke to Socialist Review about Malcolm's historic 1964 speech, and why his ideas will remain relevant as long as oppression persists.

I was looking at Malcolm X speeches for my students and I came across the Oxford speech. The more I looked at it the more I thought this was not just a speech; it was a moment. There was this “Oxford moment” both in Malcolm’s life and in the political life of the UK with the 1964 election and a changing dynamic in terms of colonialism, and in the US, with race relations starting to go in a different direction.

The hero of New Orleans

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After hearing that hundreds of racists had joined in the lynching and mutilation of a black labourer, Robert Charles called on black people to take up arms in self-defence. John Newsinger tells his incredible story.

On 23 April 1899 Sam Hose, a black farm labourer, was lynched in Palmetto, Georgia, after killing his employer in self-defence. An excursion train was run from Atlanta carrying over a thousand people to watch the spectacle with the guard famously calling, “All aboard for the burning.” Even by the standards of the time (more than 80 black men and women were lynched in the US in 1899), Hose’s lynching was a brutal affair. His ears, fingers, face and genitalia were cut off in front of a jeering crowd of men, women and children.

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.

Tide is turning on racists in Rotherham

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Support is growing for a “People’s Inquiry” into the Rotherham sex abuse scandal.

Barrister Michael Mansfield QC has already agreed to help such an investigation after the launch of a trade union campaign calling for “Justice for the 1,400 – don’t let the racists divide us”. The justice campaign has been welcomed after the horrific extent of the abuse — estimated by the Jay report to be 1,400 victims over 16 years and so far only five convictions — shocked and angered people.

EDL down but not out

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The EDL has fragmented since it suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) over the past few years.

Its leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), defected to an “anti-extremist” organisation, abandoning his former supporters. The motley crew that turns out at EDL protests has been reduced to a handful of thugs, many associated with old fascist groups.

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.

Ferguson, St Louis: Echoes of the past

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Hands up. Don't shoot!

The shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, a suburb of St Loius in Missouri, sparked a wave of anger and protest in America. Weyman Bennett attended the memorial service for Michael on behalf of Stand Up to Racism and Unite Against Fascism campaigns. Here he looks at what has changed, and what has not, for black people in the US.

You could feel the anger on the streets of Ferguson even after the days of demonstrations had peaked. Families in this relatively nice suburb of St Louis were sitting outside their homes in deck chairs with home-made placards demanding justice for Michael Brown.


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