Racism

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.

Roma face "ethnic cleansing" from French government

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The policy towards Roma communities led by French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his minister of immigration, integration and national identity, Eric Besson, has provoked international outrage.

Since its introduction at the beginning of the summer, 9,000 Gypsies have been expelled to Romania in packed Boeing 747s, rewarded with just €300 per adult and €100 per child.

Romania's foreign minister, Teodor Baconschi, has raised questions over the real nature of what French officials have called "voluntary repatriations", which have cost the government €18 million. Along with a section of the French media, he expressed regret that this money wasn't used instead to encourage integration.

Travellers under attack

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Travelling communities have suffered bigotry and attacks for centuries - frequently characterised as petty criminals, they are seen as a soft target whose culture and way of life are illegitimate. Jake Pace-Lawrie reports from Dale Farm, Essex, where Travellers are struggling against eviction.

It was early morning in Essex when men in high-visibility jackets surrounded the trailers of Hove Fields. The families woke to find a gang of bailiffs had descended on them, and they were soon presented with a notice ordering that they leave their homes.

Frank Crichlow: Standing tall against racism

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Frank Crichlow, a life-long anti-racist from west London, died recently. In a hitherto unseen interview from 1995, he spoke to Hassan Mahamdallie about his life.


Frank Crichlow

I've been in Notting Hill for quite a long time now, since the 1950s. I first came in contact with Notting Hill police station when I opened a cafe called the Rio in Westbourne Park. A lot of people used to go there.

Growing up with racism in Britain

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The threat posed by racists on the streets and fascists at the ballot box shows that racism has not gone away. Zita Holbourne, Weyman Bennett, Hesketh Benoit, Marcia Rigg and Assed Baig discuss their experience of racism and how to fight back.

"Let's tackle the roots of racism" - Zita Holbourne

Growing up in 1970s London, I was viewed as a strange phenomenon by many. Frequently my mother was told to "go back home" and called a "wog". People tried to apply labels to me and called me "half caste", "half breed", "half pint". Some didn't know what my race was but knew they disliked me because of the way I looked and called me "Paki", "Greek girl" and "Chinese girl".

Fash mob

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The racist English Defence League (EDL) seem to be developing a new strategy for continuing their campaign of hatred against the Muslim community following their failure to pull off "the big one" in Bradford last month.


Photo: Valerios Theofanidis

Their self-imposed leader, Tommy Robinson, wrote to supporters saying, "The mood of members has been somewhat low since the Dudley demo... Yes, we had one bad demo... We need to forget the past and look forward to the future."

EDL - racist leagues on the defensive

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After taking a short break to allow their friends in the Nazi British National Party (BNP) to have a free hand in the general election, the racist English Defence League (EDL) are once again back on the streets.

But one thing has become very clear: things are not going as planned for the EDL.

The first protest they called after the recent general election was in Newcastle on Saturday 29 May. The EDL organisers of the protest told the police they expected 5,000 people to attend. On the day they could barely claim a tenth of that number. Greeting them was a thousand-strong Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-demonstration, supported by a large number of trade unionists and local Muslim people. The day ended with Newcastle and Sunderland EDL supporters fighting each other.

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