Brian Richardson

Obama’s broken promise

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A Promised Land, the first volume of former US president Barack Obama’s memoirs, reveals a politician determined to preserve the US’s global power. Brian Richardson praises Obama’s eloquence, but damns his record in office; one which saw the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mario Cuomo, the long-term governor of New York, famously suggested that politicians “campaign in poetry but govern in prose”. That could hardly be said of the outgoing US president who both campaigned and governed with a combination of racist populist rhetoric and bellicose Tweets. By comparison however, his predecessor is a renowned wordsmith.

Why a Biden/Harris White House can only disappoint expectations

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Brian Richardson looks at the hope for real change raised by BLM

I t has often been observed that the US vice-president is just a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Constitutionally the post holds little power. Indeed one incumbent, John Nance Garner is reported to have described it as “not worth a bucket of warm spit”. Given the age and obvious infirmity of Biden, there is a very real possibility that Kamala Harris will be more than merely a ceremonial VP. Much has been made of the fact that she is the first woman and the first Asian-American to be elected to the post.

BLM in music

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The explosive impact of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests was bound to stir music makers into creative action. Public Enemy’s Chuck D, once described rap as “Black America’s CNN”, the genre that provides the soundtrack and commentary to life in the ghettos. Fight The Power, released in 1989 is arguably the band’s magnum opus. Remixed for 2020 it includes a stellar line up of collaborators such as Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots, Rapsody and Nas. Meanwhile the images in Anderson.

Battle for the supreme court

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Donald Trump is set to nominate a successor to liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died on 18 September. His declaration speaks volumes about the opportunism of the ruling elite. Trump is proposing Amy Coney Barrett, described as a “social conservative”. She is pro gun, anti immigration and against abortion. His calculation is that he can increase his appeal among women that support the religious right’s reactionary agenda. Any nomination must be ratified by the Senate and it is here that the cynicism is most clearly exposed.

Da Five Bloods

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Veteran filmmaker Spike Lee’s latest release examines the multilayered nature and impact of racism, money, war trauma and father figures. Four black army veterans meet up 50 years after their tour of duty on a mission to return to Vietnam. Their aim is two-fold.
First, to reclaim and repatriate their inspirational leader Stormin’ Norman. He it was who taught them how to fight, but he also schooled them in the racist reality of the nation for whom they were fighting. As the tale unfolds, the grim reality of how he died is revealed.

An inquiry will not tackle the roots of racism

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The disproportionate number of BAME death rates during the coronavirus pandemic need to be investigated, but Brian Richardson argues, only if we tackle the racism that underpines them

There is a widespread consensus that when Britain finally emerges from lockdown there will be what the Observer’s chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley characterises as “the mother of all public inquiries”. Socialists could be forgiven for rolling their eyes in contempt at such a prospect.

Many people would agree with Guardian journalists Paul Lewis’s and Rob Evans’s suggestion that inquiries are usually initiated in order to “silence critics with one fell swoop and kick a controversy into the field of long grass where (those in power) hope it will be forgotten”.

Tories’ Betrayal of Windrush

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Brian Richardson pays tribute to the contribution BAME health workers made to the NHS, and the terrible price they are now paying.

Medical and support staff are making an extraordinary contribution to our survival and recovery at great risk to themselves. But a disproportionate number of those that have paid the ultimate price are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. At the time of writing, the first 10 doctors and three of the first six nurses to die were from BAME. Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has been built and sustained by people from all around the world.

Heavy is the Head

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When word dropped that Stormzy’s new album Heavy Is The Head would be released on 13 December there were, to my mind, three possible scenarios. Firstly, it would be the perfect toast to a stunning Labour election victory. Alternatively, it would offer consolation in the wake of a devastating defeat. Finally, the “Fuck the government and fuck Boris” refrain of Vossi Bop would be the defiant slogan of the continuing struggle.

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