Racism

Getting nastier

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As opposition to austerity increases Mark L Thomas looks at how the Tories are entering a new and much nastier phase and considers how the issue of European integration is forcing old divisions to the fore.

The government has entered a new and much nastier phase. Two events stand out. Firstly, George Osborne's autumn statement to parliament on 29 November promising further austerity - the day before the mass public sector strike - and 9 December, when David Cameron wielded the British veto to block proposals at a European Union summit for a new EU-wide treaty, much to the delight of his Eurosceptic backbenchers.

Black and fighting back

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The riots that happened last summer highlighted the gulf that exists between many young black people and mainstream black political figures. Brian Richardson and Mark L Thomas spoke to Weyman Bennett about the new mood of anger among black people.

“There is a significant change taking place among young people. The people involved in the riots generalised politically much more than in 1981 and 1985.”

But there were signs of this even before the riots, argues Weyman. The demonstration a couple of months earlier over the death of the black musician Smiley Culture during a police raid on his house attracted several thousand people - the biggest protest over a death in custody for a number of years.

Europe's forgotten minority

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Europe's Roma are facing a wave of racist attacks. But, argues Daniela Manske, the oppression of Europe's largest ethnic minority is no new phenomenon. As the economic crisis in Europe deepens, challenging anti-Roma racism is a vital task for socialists.

In spring last year paramilitary gangs roamed several Hungarian villages with dogs and whips following anti-Roma marches in "defence of ethnic Hungarians". The fascist "Movement for a Better Hungary", better known as Jobbik, organised the marches. Jobbik came third in recent national elections. One march, in the Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata, attracted 2,000 Jobbik supporters, and over Easter 300 Roma were evacuated in anticipation of another paramilitary attack.

Putting Socialism back on the agenda

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Estelle Cooch and Jack Farmer spoke to Owen Jones, a left wing member of the Labour Party and author of Chavs, about New Labour, capitalism and the demonisation of the working class

What was it that first motivated you to write Chavs?

Above all it was to put class on the agenda. I wanted to challenge this idea that we're all middle class now and that all that remains of the working class is a feckless rump. The point is that if you don't have class, then you don't have class politics and if you don't have class politics, then you don't have a left.

The many lives of Malcolm X

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Manning Marable, an academic and activist, died in April this year, just three days before the release of his biography of Malcolm X, the great icon of the Black Power Movement.Brian Richardson looks at this landmark book and the extraordinary life of Malcolm X

Malcolm X is unquestionably the great icon of the Black Power Movement. His emergence in the mid-1960s sparked one of the most exciting and dramatic episodes in the history of black struggle in the United States. There had been a rising tide of anti-racist struggle from the mid-1950s onwards. The Civil Rights Movement led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr succeeded both in desegregating many municipal and private facilities across the Southern states and forcing the US federal government into passing civil and voting rights legislation in 1964 and 1965.

The war that became a revolution

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The US Civil War began 150 years ago in April 1861. It ended with the abolition of slavery in the Southern states. Mark L Thomas spoke to historian James McPherson about this turning point in US history


To what extent was the Civil War a war to preserve the Union and to what extent was it a war to abolish slavery?

It was primarily a war to preserve the Union and that was the sole objective at the beginning of the war for the North. Indeed President Lincoln said on many occasions in the first year and a half of the war that it was not a war to abolish slavery.

Voices of the unheard

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Thirty years ago the Brixton riots heralded a wave of unrest in Britain's inner cities that terrified our rulers and helped forge black and white unity

"Molotov cocktails were thrown for the first time on mainland Britain. There had been no such event in England in living memory."

These words come from a police report into the Brixton riots of 1981. On 10-11 April 1981 massive riots exploded in Brixton, south London, and thousands of people fought running battles with police. Some in the popular media described the unrest as race riots. They were not. Black and white joined together to find a voice: they are part of the battles that forged multiracial Britain.

Culture: it's all in the mix!

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With David Cameron's words on multiculturalism still reverberating round the gutters, now's a good time to take a second look at the word "culture".

The two main overlapping ways the word is used in everyday conversation are: (a) to cover artistic products we consume - plays, films, books, paintings and the like - and (b) to talk of "the way we do things in our everyday lives" - our kinship relations, what we eat, what kinds of dwellings, rituals, music, gestures we make and, significantly, what language(s), dialect(s) and accent(s) we speak with.

Fighting racism on two fronts

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When the racist English Defence League (EDL) announced it was going to hold a demonstration in Luton on 5 February everyone knew that it was going to be a big test for both the anti-fascist movement and the racists.

In the run-up to the demonstration the EDL boasted that it was going to put 8,000 people on the streets. But on the day it claimed 2,500 turned up.

However, anti-fascist protesters outnumbered the EDL two to one. Around 2,000 activists gathered at the official Unite Against Fascism (UAF) rally in the town centre and up to 3,000 people joined the joint UAF/community protest in Bury Park, the predominantly Asian part of the town.

Tories sow false divisions

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Last month David Cameron used a speech in Munich to attack multiculturalism, gaining fulsome praise from far-right and fascist organisations across Europe. Hassan Mahamdallie exposes Cameron's racist lies, while considering the legacy of multiculturalism in Britain

David Cameron travelled to Munich, of all places, at the start of last month to make a speech attacking our multicultural society and the more than one million Muslims living in it.

Why was this speech of such significance? It could be argued that Cameron was only travelling further down a road mapped out by Tony Blair. The deafening silence from New Labour, apart from frontbenchers distancing themselves from MP Sadiq Khan's condemnation of Cameron, was indeed wretched.

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