Roma

Marxism and oppression

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Marxists are sometimes accussed of being dismissive of oppression, preferring to emphasise the importance of class. Sara Bennett explains why socialists argue for working class unity as the best way to combat, and ultimately abolish, all forms of oppression

Forty five years ago being gay in Britain was a criminal offence. Today there is a good chance we could see gay marriage legalised by the government before the end of its term in office. This is just one example of many huge strides forward we have achieved in the fight against oppression, whether of LGBT people, women, black people or other oppressed groups.

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.

The Prophets Outcast

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''I am an invisible man. No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind."

The opening lines from Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man have remained etched on my consciousness ever since I first read them 30 years ago. The Invisible Man is narrated in the first person, by an unnamed African-American man, who is socially invisible. It could equally be applied to the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities of Europe today.

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.

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.

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