Anti-Racism

On the Howard Beckett / Priti Patel controversy

Unite the Union’s assistant general secretary, and candidate for general secretary, Howard Beckett, has landed in hot water after tweeting – in the context of denouncing the Tories’ anti-migrant policies and supporting the magnificent resistance to them in Glasgow – that home secretary “Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees”. Beckett said: “She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.” When it was pointed out by many on the left that, regardless of Patel’s appalling politics, suggesting the deportation of a high-profile women of colour, the...

Three hundred anti-voting laws tabled in US

Part of the US Republican Party’s shift to more radical and authoritarian right-wing politics is its drive to suppress the number of Americans voting — particularly Americans with dark skin. Following Donald Trump’s campaign against the “stealing” of the presidential election, Republicans have introduced bills in many state legislatures to make it harder to vote. The former President’s evidence-free claim of major voter fraud in the US is now mainstream in the Republican Party. Republican politicians typically proclaim that making it harder to vote is a matter of restoring “election integrity”...

Minneapolis: awaiting the verdict

As we go to press on the evening of 20 April, thousands of National Guard soldiers have been deployed in Minneapolis in preparation for the jury’s verdict in the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd – and large numbers in major cities across the US. The police and the National Guard are on the back foot, but protesters may well face repression, particularly if expressing outrage at an acquittal or semi-acquittal. In a country where police killings have run at a hundred a month since Floyd’s death, it is not to be ruled out that police may kill an African...

US police killings still at 100 per month

Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd last May opened on 8 March. Even after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, and with all the attention focused on the police, the number of killings they commit has remained very high. According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, 1,127 people were killed by US police in 2020. In the first two and half months of 2021, the figure was 207. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — but has pleaded not guilty to all. Three other police officers will face...

“Kick the racist out!” Rebellion at Pimlico Academy

On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons.

The students were protesting a racist school uniform policy, which instructed students with afro...

Class inequality and racism: the travesty of the Sewell report

The government-commissioned Sewell report into “race and ethnic disparities” (which can be read at bit.ly/sewellreport) has been widely panned as minimising the reality of racism and racial disadvantage in the UK, and rightly so. I don’t know to what extent the report reflects the honestly held views of the Sewell commission’s members, and to what extent they were just keen to ingratiate themselves with the Tory hierarchy and get ahead. Though overwhelmingly black or Asian, they are a privileged and conservative bunch even by the standards of such things, including six holders of MBE or CBE...

Haffkine and Saklatvala: epidemics, vaccines and revolutionaries

Workers' Liberty recently published a pamphlet about Indian socialist and anti-imperialist, and 1920s UK MP, Shapurji Saklatvala. (You can buy it here.) The pamphlet explains: His youngest daughter and biographer Sehri speculated that the seeds of revolutionary politics were planted in Saklatvala's mind when he volunteered to help Ukrainian Jewish bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine combat the plague which killed hundreds of Bombay's people every week for years at the turn of the century. Haffkine was a former populist-socialist and political refugee from Czarism. As Saklatvala would later...

Labour's shadow equalities minister promotes anti-traveller leaflet

A Labour Party leaflet distributed in Orford, Cheshire, for the 2021 local government election campaign promises that a Labour council would “deal with traveller incursions”. (Pictured below.) For many opportunist Labour politicians, calling for harsh crackdowns on travellers can be seen as an easy – and still-respectable – means of getting votes from bigoted constituents. In 2019, another Labour front-bencher, Toby Perkins, published election leaflets that said that “Travellers were extorting thousands of pounds for leaving illegal settlements,” and that he was “disgusted” by this. What is...

"Kick the racist out!" Rebellion at Pimlico Academy

Republished from our school workers' blog Class Struggle On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons. The students were protesting a racist school uniform policy, which instructed students with afro hairstyles to cut their hair and students wearing hijabs to cover all of their hair; miserly and “humiliating” free school meal provision; the failure to support students that have been sexually assaulted at school; a whitewashed history curriculum...

Siyanda Mngaza appeal opens

Siyanda Mngaza’s hearing in the Court of Appeal opens on 23 March. In May 2019 Siyanda, on a bank holiday outing in the Brecon Beacons, was attacked by three people. Defending herself with a glass in her hand, she cut one of the attackers. She was convicted of “Grievous Bodily Harm” in March 2020, and is now serving a jail sentence of four and a half years. The third and last online meeting of a “Free Siyanda tour” will be on Saturday 27 March, 4-6 pm here.

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