The New York Times is the most influential newspaper in the English-language world, not just because of its reach and leadership status within the industry, but because it defines the boundaries of acceptable debate. Being in the New York Times is a legitimizing event, one that cements ideas as not fringe, “other,” or in the realm of the dreaded, career-ending “conspiracy theory.” So it understandably upset many liberals when the Times decided to bestow upon hard-right Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens the ultimate stamp of Acceptable Opinion approval by affording him a regular op-ed column in the Times.
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.
So it turns out, the total votes cast in 2016 exceeded the number cast in 2012 and 2008. It turns out the election wasn’t “boycotted” by those who voted in the previous two presidential elections, at least no more, and somewhat less, than elections have been “boycotted” or ignored in the past.
Trump received about one million more votes than Romney received in 2012, losing the popular vote by over 2 million to Hillary Clinton, whose own vote total was about 1.5 million less than that Obama received in 2012, which in turn was 2 million less than he himself received in 2008.
The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. On Netflix October 7.
This week on CounterSpin: Alleged San Bernardino killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik did not pledge allegiance to ISIS on social media, the FBI now says, but no matter: The California killings have already added fuel to an upsurge of Islamophobia in US media and politics that in some ways is worse than that seen in the wake of September 11, 2001. One new element is the murky idea of “radicalization.” We’ll talk about that with Arun Kundnani, adjunct professor at NYU and author of, most recently, The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror.
New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak (12/9/15) recounted a startling moment in the Court’s oral arguments over the University of Texas’ affirmative action plan:
In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he added.
Intro, 26 September 2015: I wrote this thirteen years ago and on rereading it now I think it deserves a fresh airing given as how things have just gone downhill since then with the total demonisation of the Muslim/Arab in the so-called civilised world. And, it must be me that’s changed because I’m even more appalled today by the repellent racism of Kevin Toolis’s muck in the Observer than when I first read it all those years ago.
“The Bride of death?” By William Bowles
This is a kind of followup to the piece I wrote the other day “Let the reader be aware” about the way the media repeats lots of small lies to make one Big Lie, predicated on the approach that swallowing a lot of small lies is a lot easier to do than swallowing one Big One.
Nasty party’s racist policies damage the NHS By John Lister
Nurses forced to leave Britain, new charging systems being set up even for emergency care – Tory policies are damaging the NHS, writes John Lister in an article from the latest Keep Our NHS Public newsletter (download here).
The NHS is already suffering as a result of racist changes to the rules governing non-EU staff, even as desperate NHS bosses scour Africa and Asia in the quest for staff to fill growing numbers of vacancies.
Mazal Tov: a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the “Nation-State of the Jewish People” was approved by the Israeli cabinet last Sunday.
Finally Israel has acknowledged its true Jewish nature. Instead of pretending to be a ‘Jewish Democracy” – a contradiction in terms, the Jewish State admits that it is a theocracy guided by Jewish racial supremacist ideology.
In this latest assault on Gaza, Israel had by Thursday already killed 69 Palestinians including 22 children and 13 women, plus 469 wounded including 166 children and 85 women, and 70 houses destroyed. These numbers have since increased significantly.
Jeremy Clarkson is star presenter of the BBC’s Top Gear show which, tragically for anyone who cares about the climate, holds a 2013 Guinness world record for most widely watched factual programme in the world.
An activist in contact with people locked up in migrant jails reports on a week of unrest.
The UK immigration authorities and their commercial partners are trying to suppress a wave of protests sweeping British detention centres. In the past week hundreds of asylum-seekers detained at four high-security facilities have started hunger-strikes against draconian Home Office policies.