Race

1 October 2021Review

Pluto 2021; 240pp; £16.99

‘The UK is not innocent’ became a rallying cry for thousands of anti-racist activists in the UK who took to the streets in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death in the summer of 2020.

Over the past year, there has been an astonishing awakening, especially among young people, to the reality of racism in Britain. But while radical anti-racist politics has certainly been growing, there is still a widespread perception in the UK that racism is uniquely a disease of the United States.…

1 June 2020Feature

A look inside the creativity fuelling the US struggle to defund the police

It’s hard to keep up when the world lurches from pandemic to racial justice uprising seemingly overnight. After months of living in a quarantine pressure cooker, amidst a global pandemic that’s thrown millions out of work, exposed the vicious inequities of our current capitalist system and killed hundreds of thousands, masses of people hit a breaking point.

Fuelled by their righteous rage about the videotaped killing of George Floyd, people have flooded the streets and taken the fight…

1 December 2019Feature

An XR act of gratitude to Brixton police officers was painful and racist

My work as coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) has kept me busy for some months now supporting the rights of Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaigners to exercise their freedom of assembly.

XR activists have been out on the streets since 7 October and over 1,400 have been arrested so far. Now the police have abandoned any pretence at facilitating their rights and have imposed a blanket ban on XR protests covering the whole of London.

As well as…

1 October 2019Feature

A poster for Black history month

Remember Saro-Wiwa by Emily Johns. Linocut, 2005.

On 10 November 2019, it will be 24 years since the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni colleagues were hanged by the military government for campaigning nonviolently against the oil company Shell. It is over 60 years since Shell started drilling oil in the Niger Delta. Home to 20 million people and 40 different…

1 June 2019Review

Lawrence & Wishart, 2018; 226pp; £18

In August 1976, women employed at the Grunwick photo processing plant in north west London walked out on strike. 30 years later, in 2006, women employees at Gate Gourmet, a factory that prepared in-flight meals for British Airways, also walked out.

This book describes how these two groups of women were led to take industrial action – and their subsequent betrayal by the trade unions. Their stories are set against an academic account of migrant settlement, work and family life in…

11 December 2018Blog entry

Speakers at a London book launch describe some of the many challenges we face around race and racism and connections with other oppressions.

Over 50 people gathered in London on Saturday 10 November to celebrate the launch of a new book, The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence.  The event was a welcome mix of hearing from different authors (people of colour and also white) about the work they had contributed, followed by a thoughtful Q and A and discussion, refreshments and more incisive observations by the rapper Lowkey and…

1 December 2018Comment

In the years ahead, British activists are going to have to become better at building cross-class, multi-racial movements for change.

GarciaLopezLuisGaspar [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

As I write, Britain is in the middle of the most extraordinary political uncertainty as it tries to leave the European Union (EU). As we pointed out before the referendum, Brexit…

1 December 2018News in Brief

Not a single national newspaper reported the National Unity Demonstration Against Racism and Fascism in central London on 17 November (though many did cover the Extinction Rebellion civil disobedience that day).

60,000 people gathered from around the country, particularly trade union branches and local Labour parties.

Speakers included Labour MP Catherine West, Labour MEP Claude Moraes, Len McCluskey of Unite the Union, and Mark Serwotka, the new president of the Trades…

26 October 2018Blog entry

An important new book on anti-racism in the age of Trump and Brexit is coming soon.

A new book, The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence, published by Zed Books is being launched on Saturday 10 November in London. Peace News contributor Marc Hudson conducted an email interview with one of the book's three editors, Remi Joseph-Salisbury, presidential fellow…

1 June 2018Review

PM Press, 2018; 128pp; $14

PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series continues with this showcase for the writing of the legendary science fiction (SF) writer and memoirist Samuel R. Delany, featuring the title novella, Delany’s famous 1998 essay ‘Racism in Science Fiction’, and an interview with Delany by series editor Terry Bisson.

Clocking-in at seventy-two pages, The Atheist in the Attic centres on the famous November 1676 meeting between the philosophers Leibniz and Spinoza (the latter the atheist…

1 April 2018Review

Verso, 2017; 224pp; £14.99

This book grapples with the puzzling, and seemingly sudden, political trend that has seen much of mainstream European politics shift firmly into the right (and arguably further).

Fekete offers a multifaceted approach to understanding the rise of far-right politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France and outcomes such as Brexit – developments which have baffled the left – as well as the racism underlying these currents.

She rigorously argues that governments across the…

1 February 2018Feature

Photographer Devin Allen aims to inspire love, respect & community action

PHOTO: Devin Allen

In April 2015, the US city of Baltimore erupted in mass protests after the brutal murder by police of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man. African-American photographer Devin Allen, born and raised in Baltimore, documented the uprising without judgement. In the book of his photographs, A Beautiful Ghetto (Haymarket Books, 2017),…

1 October 2017Feature

Wadsworth Jarrell's portrait of Angela Davis and a review of Tate Modern's Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Wadsworth Jarrell, Revolutionary, 1972. Courtesy Lusenhop Fine Art.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
12 July – 22 October 2017; Tate Modern; 10am – 6pm daily; £15, £13.10 concessions, under-12s free.

Mark Godfrey & Zoe Whitley
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Gallery Publishing, 2017; 240pp; £29.99

‘The…

1 December 2016Comment

Those threatened by Trump's regime - not the man himself - should be the focus for campaigners, argues Milan Rai

How should we respond here in the UK to the Trump presidency? For a number of reasons, we should not focus on Trump himself – on boycotts of outlets that carry Trump-branded goods, for example.

Following Erika Thorne’s wise words elsewhere in this issue, we can focus instead on those leadership can help us turn back the dangers that confront us, those who are most threatened by Trump’s rise.

There are some inspiring things happening in the US.

I was moved…

1 December 2016Review

Guardian Faber Publishing, 2016; 320pp; £16.99

Last year, excluding suicides, over 13,000 people in the US – including roughly 2,500 children and teenagers – were killed by firearms. In 2012 – the most recent year for which comparable statistics are available – the number of gun murders per capita in the US was nearly 30 times that in the UK.

Yet, though ‘each individual death is experienced as a family tragedy that ripples through a community,’ notes Gary Younge ‘the sum total barely earns a national shrug’. Indeed, with the…