30 October 2019 — Institute of Race Relations
Weekly digest – Against Racism, for Social Justice
Last week crowds stood in silent vigil outside the Home Office and Belfast City Hall for the 39 undocumented migrants, believed to be Vietnamese nationals, who were found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry. We know that UK government policies which make it impossible to enter the country using safe means contributed to these deaths in large part. The home secretary Priti Patel’s promise of ‘tougher penalties’ will only lead to further draconian policies that will push migrants and asylum-seekers into ever more dangerous journeys.
Two weeks ago, the same Home Office that oversees our borders and drives fears about illegal immigration published its 2018/2019 statistics on hate crimes. This week, Liz Fekete draws attention to the lack of media interest in the 78,911 offences registered last year as racially motivated. She questions the methodology of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s new report on racial harassment in universities which equates anti-white prejudice with systemic racism against black students. As New Right commentators treat the notion of hate crimes as a form of political correctness, it is vital, she argues, that we do more to highlight the violent impact of racial harassment on individuals and communities. The theme of racial violence and far-right attacks is one that we return to in our calendar on racism and resistance, bringing shocking news of the targeting of Jewish and Muslim religious and community centres in Hungary and France.
In these tumultuous times, recalling the UK’s radical anti-racist history can be a source of strength. This week, we republish a talk given by Jasbir Singh, an unsung campaigner and activist, on the seminal work of the 1970-80’s Asian Youth Movements, as part of an intergenerational project, ‘Activating Newham’ (for which an exhibition will be launched this Saturday). He explores how the Asian Youth Movements emerged in response to racist attacks, deportations, wrongful police arrests and murder and he traces the resistance led by young people across the country.
And finally, IRR’s Sophia Siddiqui looks at the creative ways new generations are responding to urgent issues today through DIY cultures and grassroots feminist publishing, which, she argues, are a form of activism: ‘For publishing to be a form of activism, as well as making historical connections, it must challenge state power, actively seek out justice and resist racialised stereotypes, whilst amplifying grassroots resistance.’
IRR News Team
Racist violence – ‘It’s become normalised’
Racist violence involving public order offences, physical attack and criminal damage has increased, but the Home Office and the media are in denial as to the real causes.
Recollections on the Asian Youth Movements that emerged in the 1970s
On the launch of the young people’s oral history project exhibition ‘Activating Newham Community & Activism 1980-1991’, Jasbir Singh writes about his experiences and the seminal work of the Asian Youth Movements in the 1970s and 80s.
Publishing as anti-racist feminist activism
In a republished speech given at a Feminist & Women’s Studies Association event, IRR’s Sophia Siddiqui asks if publishing can be a form of resistance.
Calendar of racism and resistance (16 – 30 October 2019)
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
Social movement unionism and the global uprising against poverty wages
Join us to hear Annelise Orleck present and discuss her new book We are all fast food workers now, tracing the new global movement against low pay, through the stories of workers in the fast-food and garment industries, in hotel, domestic and agricultural work.
Activating Newham exhibition
An exhibition curated by young people involved in an integenerational project exploring communties’ experiences of racism in Newham during the 1980s and now.
Remembering the Stepney School Strike
An evening of remembrance including poet and activist Chris Searle and his former students Ramona Harris and Tony Harcup, exploring the inspiration, purpose and legacy of the Stepney School Strike in 1971. 800 pupils went on strike in Stepney, demanding that their teacher, Chris Searle, be reinstated after the school fired him for publishing a book of their poetry.
Copyright © 2019 Institute of Race Relations, All rights reserved.
The Institute of Race Relations is a UK-registered charity, number 223989, and a UK-registered company, VAT registration number 238 8869 01. All correspondence to: Institute of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS, UK.
The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: the opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.