Race

1 December 2016Review

Zed Books, 2016; 384pp; £12.99

Hsiao-Hung Pai is a Taiwanese writer who has lived in London’s East End since 1991. Over three years she spent many hours interviewing far-right extremists and campaigners, often maintaining contact with them.

’Their faces on the TV screens and the front pages of newspapers show such deep anger, hatred and, above all, alienation, yet no explanation is ever given’, she writes. ‘Surely, I thought to myself, no one’s born a bigot. So what are the circumstances that have driven them…

1 October 2016Feature

The second part of our interview with Liz Fekete, director of the Institute of Race Relations

Liz Fekete speaks in the post-Brexit debate at PN Summer Camp. Photo: Roy St PIERRE

A black woman spoke up from the audience at a public meeting held earlier this year, to launch a new issue of Race and Class, the journal of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR). She was a teacher, struggling with the new legal duty on teachers to monitor and report signs of ‘nonviolent extremism’ among their students. Children were becoming frightened to express their opinions. What was she…

1 October 2016Comment

What lies behind the rise of the outsider politician?

By Gage Skidmore - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_5…, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48635435

What, if anything, links Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate in the US, and Jeremy Corbyn, just re-elected Labour party leader here in the UK?…

1 October 2016News

Black-led action sparks debates

The climate crisis is a racist crisis. That was the message of a Black Lives Matter UK protest at London City Airport on 6 September, when nine activists used a tripod and chains to close down a runway for over six hours, grounding over 130 flights.

The action sparked two debates. One was about the relevance of climate change, aviation and pollution to the anti-racist struggle.

Black Lives Matter UK (BLM) said: ‘Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly,…

17 August 2016Feature

Let’s use this upsurge of energy to root out racism and classism

One million people joined the LGBT+ Pride in London parade on 25 June. PHOTO: Katy Blackwood CC-BY-SA 4.0 via wikimedia www.katyblackwood.co.uk

Brexit hasn’t just been a shot in the arm for people on the Right, it’s kicked a lot of Greens, anarchists and socialists into positive action. The vote on 23 June to Leave the EU has energised progressive people in a lot of places around the UK to put renewed energy into tackling…

1 August 2016Feature

Resources for campaigners struggling for peace and justice in post-Brexit Britain

Women working in a maquiladora textile factory in Tehuacán, Mexico, 1 May 2007. Photo: Guldhammer via Wikimedia commons.

In this issue, we are offering some resources for campaigners struggling for peace and justice in post-Brexit Britain. Here is an excerpt from Linda Stout’s invaluable book, Bridging the Class Divide – and other lessons for grassroots organising. In this book, Linda explains how she, a white woman who grew up in poverty in rural North Carolina, founded and built up…

1 August 2016Review

Verso, 2016; 228pp; £9.99

There can’t be many books reviewed in PN that have been compared to the writings of James Joyce and also need the help of www.urbandictionary.com to explain their vocabulary. But please don’t let either of these facts put you off reading this beautifully-written coming of age story!

The book opens with a map of Baltimore in the 1980s, annotated with the contemporary version of ‘Here be Dragons’ (‘Leakin Park – body…

1 June 2016Feature

Decades of dedication, giving a voice to the voiceless

Liz Fekete (with megaphone) at a candlelit vigil for justice for Ricky Reel, New Scotland Yard, London, 21 October 2014. Photo: Peter Marshall

Liz Fekete is director of the seven-person Institute of Race Relations in central London. She is one of Europe’s leading authorities on racism, heading one of the most respected advocacy groups in the UK, a body which has published a rigorously radical journal, Race & Class, since 1974. That could sound intimidating. In person,…

1 February 2016Feature

The final part of our interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright, author of Missing Class

For some decades, Betsy Leondar-Wright has been running workshops about classism, for the last dozen years as part of Class Action, a group based in Boston, Massachussetts, in the US.

In an interview with PN, Betsy notes that many of us have a picture we’ve built up from the women’s movement and other such movements: ‘We have a template: there’s a dominant group, there’s a targeted group/an oppressed group, and in Class Action we’re using this template all the time.’…

1 February 2016Feature

How should a white anti-racist respond to racist remarks by another white person?

Betsy Leondar-Wright. Photo: Rodgerrodger via Wikimedia

How should a white anti-racist respond to racist remarks by another white person? How does it change things if the anti-racist is middle-class, and is reacting to the prejudice of someone who is working-class?

In her book Class Matters, long-time activist and trainer Betsy Leondar-Wright tells an arresting story that turns the conventional wisdom on its head. Betsy, who is white and middle-class, was the…

1 October 2015Feature

Remembering Saro-Wiwa

Graphic: Emily Johns

On 10 November 2015, it will be 20 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 will be nearly 60 years since Shell started…

1 August 2015Comment

Matthew Armstead reflects on the Charleston church massacre

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Photo: Cal Sr from Newport, NC, USA.

I woke up this morning to nine people being killed: Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, the honorable reverend Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, reverend Daniel Simmons Sr, reverend Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

I am dragged down and hurt, and I can barely feel the full pain that reading those names…

1 August 2015Review

Verso, 2015; 282pp; £11.99

Once upon a time (not very long ago), most white feminists didn’t think about how stereotypes of white womanhood helped to maintain racist ideologies. But though the word ‘intersectional’ may not have been coined until 1989 (by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw), black feminists have long been writing about – and at – the intersections of race, class and gender.

Vron Ware’s groundbreaking book discusses these ideas in a critical look at the historical interactions between feminists…

1 June 2015Review

Verso 2015; 416pp; £16.99

In 1936, the Indian scholar BR Ambedkar was invited to give a speech to the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal (Forum for Break-up of Caste), a group of high-caste Hindus. The controversial speech was never delivered, and the conference was cancelled, but Ambedkar published the speech himself, together with the letters and records of the ensuing debate.

In her book-length introduction, ‘The Doctor and the Saint’, Arundhati Roy draws out the significance of this speech (‘Annihilation of Caste’)…

25 November 2014Feature

The US anti-racist collective, Catalyst Project, recently circulated this text with the subject heading ‘What do you mean by anti-racism?’

Catalyst Project works to consciously create a culture that helps white people take strategic and effective anti-racist action as a part of multiracial movements.

We think that white anti-racist organising requires that we move away from competitive, individualist thinking, and instead support as many people as we can to be effective change agents, working in accountable relationships with people of colour-led organisations. These shifts in organising culture help create more…