Standing up to Ukip's racism

Issue section: 

Ukip look set to make major gains in this month's European and local elections. Socialist Review looks at what lies behind Ukip's rise and how their racist populism can be challenged.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) is dangerous. It is deepening racism, targeting immigrants and directing people's real fears about lack of jobs, poor housing, low wages and an unaccountable political elite away from the real culprits and towards scapegoats.

Black experience in focus

Issue section: 

The runaway success of the searing artistic triumph that is 12 Years A Slave has illuminated a wider shifting landscape of black cinema. We are at a pivotal moment for black experience stories driven by black talent or led by a black majority cast.

Recent headlines about these films aptly encapsulate this period. In Bloomberg Businessweek, for instance, there's: "In Hollywood, Black is the New Black"; Vanity Fair, "Emancipating Hollywood"; New York Times, "A Breakout for Black Filmmakers", and from Hollywood Reporter, "Whites Suddenly Gripped By Black Dramas".

New spin on same old story

Issue section: 

Ken Olende demolishes the new arguments put forward by liberal commentators about the "dangers" of immigration, and the intellectual cover they give to right wing ideas over race.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson's programme, The Truth About Immigration, was the latest step in a concerted attempt to redefine the "liberal" agenda on immigration.

Two recent books, Britain's Dream by David Goodhart and Exodus by Paul Collier, try to stake the same ground with more intellectual clout. Both are dreadful and shallow.

Goodhart is director of the Demos think-tank and former editor of Prospect magazine. Collier is an Oxford professor and former advisor to the World Bank. All three deploy similar arguments in favour of controlled immigration.

Stopping the BNP and EDL: Strategy of patience and small deeds

Issue section: 

Paul Sillet, UAF national campaigner

When the EDL first emerged in 2009 we thought, "What is this new beast?" We noticed that there were former BNP, Combat 18 and National Front types around the demos, if not necessarily on them. Those on the demos were mainly from the "firms" - football supporters involved in inter-club violence - and others.

The EDL were attracting supporters to the prospect of launching mini pogroms in places like Luton and Dudley. At the time we were facing a possible BNP electoral breakthrough alongside a growing fascist street movement.

'We took a risk, and it paid off'

Issue section: 

Leicester was one of the turning points in the battle to stop the EDL. It was to be the first major UAF demo built locally, despite facing a national mobilisation by the fascists. At the time it represented an attempt to turn the EDL strategy on its head. Instead of them leaving behind local groups, UAF would use the opportunity to put down deep roots.

Leicester had been trying to get a local UAF group running for a while. We had managed to get a number of people to some of the national mobilisations against the EDL, as well as days of action against the BNP. We that knew sooner or later the fascists would target our multiracial city.

When the EDL announced they would march on 9 October 2010 we assumed that there would be a national UAF mobilisation. But we received a call from the UAF national office telling us that we had to build a local demo. Our first reaction was, "You've got to be joking!"

'A victory that came from unity'

Issue section: 

Dean Harris and Natasha Munoz, Waltham Forest UAF

Dean: 'As soon as we discovered that the fascists would come to Waltham Forest we called a meeting and invited everyone we could. No one was to be excluded. We wanted it to be as broad as possible, even though there were others who disagreed - especially some people who wanted to exclude the Labour Party as they accused them of implementing austerity.

To us it was clear that we needed to build a big movement, despite any other disagreements. It was a big advantage to have Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy with us. She played important role in the campaign.

'EDL are splintering and demoralised'

Issue section: 

Kelvin Williams, UAF photographer

When Tommy Robinson and Kevin Caroll announced they quit the EDL it was greeted with acrimonious disappointment by the foot soldiers. The constant opposition they faced was the chief factor in them drawing the conclusion that the street movement was no longer working.

Anti-fascism and the spirit of the united front

Issue section: 

In this special feature Socialist Review sets out the challenges and strategies faced by the anti-fascist movements in Britain. With contributions from activists involved in the struggle here.

The declaration by Tommy Robinson and his cousin Kevin Carroll that they were abandoning the English Defence League (EDL), the street organisation they had founded, marked an important milestone in the struggle against fascism in Britain. Robinson had led one of the most successful fascist street movements since the National Front in the 1970s, a model emulated by dozens of "Defence Leagues" across Europe. His resignation marked the movement's demise, and follows the electoral collapse of the Nazi British National Party (BNP).

Life out of the shadows

Issue section: 

Bayard Rustin was a key strategist in the US civil rights movement and the main organiser of the March on Washington. He was also gay and a communist. Josh Hollands celebrates his life and achievements.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and civil rights. Until recently it seemed as though one of its most important organisers would remain largely forgotten.

Bayard Rustin was a key strategist of the civil rights movement, as well as an adviser and mentor to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Historians have noted that it was Rustin who guided King to mass non-violent action to challenge the racist Jim Crow system.

A tradition of resistance

Issue section: 

Socialist Review spoke to Hassan Mahamdallie, one of the contributors to the new book Say it Loud, about the fight against racism in Britain, the role played by socialists and the lessons for today.

How has racism changed in Britain over the past 30 to 40 years and what's been driving those changes?

Let's go back a little further - let's talk about the past 50 years. If you think about the first generation of West Indian and Asian and other groups that came to Britain to fill the labour shortages and rebuild Britain after the Second World War, they experienced naked racism.


Subscribe to RSS - Racism