IRR News 10 – 23 June 2016
Institute of Race Relations weekly digest - Against Racism, for Social Justice
Dear IRR News subscriber,
‘Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.’ It is indeed tragic that it needed the violent murder of a young MP, Jo Cox, to tell the UK about the dangers in the ‘whipping up of hatred’. For over forty years, since the fear-inducing headlines in 1976, as a few Malawi Asian families sought refuge, the IRR has pointed out how racialised political rhetoric, amplified by the press, leads to racial violence on the ground. But now, in the words of A. Sivanandan, IRR’s director emeritus, ‘The EU debate has not just scraped the barrel of political filth but has thrown up the more permanent prospect of a society that, under neoliberal capitalism, substitutes value for values … The fight now is for decency against degradation.’
It could be argued that the Labour Party’s inquiry into allegations of some members’ racism and anti-Semitism is part of the fight to reclaim political decency. And we publish this week the submission compiled by IRR in which we assert the need to return to first principles of equality, justice and freedom to balance rights in the broad church of a political party. Read IRR’s submission here.
In the care-less rhetoric about ‘immigration’ that has marked the EU debate, the actual situation of those thousands of desperate people stranded on Europe’s southern shores has gone by the board. Aisha Maniar describes the false assumptions and poor interpretation during screening of new arrivals by Frontex officials in the hotspots are leading to wrong decisions with potentially fatal consequences. To help counter these problems, a number of human rights groups are asking for support in setting up a centre of legal help on the Greek Island of Lesbos.
Many students and scholars are marking the importance of Cedric Robinson, who died on 5 June, and a page for remembrances and comments has been opened on the Race & Class blog where you can now read a number of key tributes.
Our regular calendar of racism, resistance and social justice, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe, can be viewed here.
Don’t forget, Statewatch is holding a conference – Civil liberties, the state and the European Union – this weekend, with discussions on the refugee crisis; mass surveillance; the EU’s crisis of legitimacy and accountability; the policing of protest and criminalisation of communities; racism, xenophobia and the far right; strategies of resistance and the defence of civil liberties. Tickets are still available, and you can book here.
IRR News team