Racism

The BNP and EDL

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A new racist political group is organising on the streets. They call themselves the English Defence League, but who are they and what do they represent? Martin Smith investigates

Alan Lake is a middle aged English businessman. Last September he addressed an anti-Islam conference organised by the racist Sweden Democrats in Malmo. This shady figure told delegates that it was necessary to build an anti-Jihad movement that was "ready to go out onto the street". He also claimed that he and his friends had already begun to build alliances with football supporters.

The English Defence League: Not suited but booted

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This summer saw a sinister new development on the far right of British politics.

Groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) have started to take to the streets, organising anti-Muslim "demonstrations" in towns and cities such as Birmingham, Luton and Harrow.

Anti-fascists have responded by mobilising against the EDL, often at very short notice. In Birmingham thousands mobilised on two occasions to chase them out of town. And in Harrow last month some 2,000 people, of all ages and backgrounds, turned out to defend the local mosque from a protest planned by the EDL and an organisation called "Stop the Islamisation of Europe".

Letter from Northern Ireland

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Attacks on Roma families have shocked many, argues Goretti Horgan. But politicians must shoulder much of the blame.

Two stories have dominated the headlines in Northern Ireland over the past few weeks: racists driving out a number of Roma families from their South Belfast homes and the expensive tastes of "Swish Family Robinson" - first minister Peter Robinson and his wife Iris - exposed by the MPs' expenses scandal. The two stories, of course, are not unconnected.

Stand up to the Nazis

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Elections next month may see the Nazi BNP win their first MEPs. But, argues Weyman Bennett, the threat of fascism can, and must, be challenged

The elections for the European parliament on 4 June this year will be a watershed for British politics. As things stand presently, there is a serious danger that the fascist British National Party (BNP) will gain their first seats in the European parliament. Some people will react to this news by dismissing it. Others will be paralysed by fear. But the important thing is not to laugh or cry, but to understand what is fuelling the BNP's electoral rise - and what we can do to stop them.

A government's revenge

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It's beginning to look as if the government is out for revenge on the Muslim community for its resurgent mobilisation over Gaza.

That is surely the explanation for the pressure now being put on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to force one of its leading officers, Dr Daud Abdullah, to resign. Dr Abdullah is the deputy general secretary of the MCB and has played a staunch and active role in opposing the "war on terror" and the attacks on the Palestinians. He is a regular speaker on demonstrations and at meetings.

Institutional racism

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Writing in the Daily Mail on the anniversary of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry last month, Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), gave the police a clean bill of health.

He described the label of institutional racism as a "badge of shame that has hung over" the police for the past decade, "So, today, ten years on, is the accusation still valid? I don't think so."

The four legged stool that won the US presidential election

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What are Barack Obama's political roots? Manning Marable considers his historic election and argues that he is part of a new generation of post-racial black politicians.

My initial reaction to Barack Obama's victory is that of a historian - race has been the fundamental chasm in US democracy for 400 years. Blacks arrived here as slaves in 1619, about 150 years before the American Revolution and 170 years before the US constitution was ratified founding the nation state. All of that rested on slavery and the exploitation of black labour. So in 1790, in the very first law passed by the incoming administration of George Washington, the definition of a US citizen was a free white person, preferably with property.

After the election

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I was with an African American guy on the morning of the election; a thoughtful working class guy who must have been in his 50s. When I asked him what it felt like to come out from voting he started crying. Even he didn't know where it came from.

I met up with him later that evening in a bar on the south side of Chicago. People were out celebrating the possibility of what the US might be. That sense of possibility had all but been extinguished over the past seven years. There had never been a consensus for George W Bush. Bush didn't win his first election and in the second he only got around 52 percent of the vote. People felt that they had been excluded from the national conversation, and therein comes the symbolism of this black man who is the kind of anti-Bush.

Barack Obama as president symbolises change

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Barack Obama as president symbolises change and finally something I'd consider a revolutionary transformation.

People often see revolution as being an event where people have picked up guns and have seized the state. That is certainly one manifestation of it, but revolution is also a process and not necessarily a conclusion.

O is for oppression

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One of the common accusations thrown at Marxism by others in the movement is that it is "economistic" - it reduces everything to the economy and class relations and therefore can't deal adequately with questions of oppression.

On the surface this can seem a reasonable point.

Oppression doesn't mirror class but cuts across it. All women suffer from sexism, whether an Indonesian factory worker or a highly paid (though not as highly paid as her male counterparts) London City trader. A factory worker's experience of her oppression, however, is very different to that of a rich woman.

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