IRR News (24 March – 6 April 2017)
6 April 2017 — Institute of Race Relations
Institute of Race Relations weekly digest – Against Racism, for Social Justice
It was not just Britain First and the English Defence League that tried to make political capital out of the attack in Westminster by Khalid Masood that led to the deaths of a police officer on duty, a US tourist, a South London pensioner and a teacher picking up her children from school. We’ve collected together some of the statements of UK politicians and international figures who were not slow to add their very unhelpful pennyworths to the supposed analysis of the atrocity. Predictably, the extreme Right linked the attacks to immigration, reigniting toxic debates about immigration and social change that had already been unleashed by Brexit. As a Kurdish teenage asylum seeker from Iran fights for his life, after a brutal racist attack in Croydon, we join those who call for an end to the scapegoating of migrants and refugees.
This week, IRR News delves deeper into the immigration debate. Liz Fekete in ‘Stop feeding the beast!’ examines themes thrown up by the National Theatre’s My country: a work in progress based on seventy interviews with ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’, and concludes that immigration (with the aid of the tabloids) now stands in for a set of general disillusions at the end of an era of full employment. Jenny Bourne takes issue with David Goodhart’s The Road to Somewhere: the populist revolt and the future of politics which demands a place in the sun, in the name of ‘decent populism’ for majority grievances against immigration. Grievance as a form of identity, she argues, is a very superficial way of interpreting the seismic changes being brought about by neoliberalism, the changes now presenting such a challenge to the Labour Party and trade union movement.
Returning to the Westminster attacks, Sue Conlan, takes issue with demonisation by the mass media of a whole city – Birmingham – as a convenient scapegoat for the production of supposed extremists. Finally, our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, is available here.
IRR News Team