UK: racism and the state 2007

In this special edition of Race & Class, leading black and anti-racist activists, campaigners and scholars chart the new parameters of state racism in the UK today.

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On 16 September 2006, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) held a unqiue conference in London on ‘Racism, Liberty and the War on Terror’, attended by over 250 participants, including human rights activists, community workers, lawyers, students, radical academics and solidarity groups. The April 2007 edition of the IRR journal Race & Class features extracts from the pioneering conference, including speeches and talks by Gareth Peirce, A. Sivanandan, Salma Yaqoob, Tony Bunyan, David Rose, Victoria Brittain and Herman Ouseley. Together with a range of other contributors from community organisations around the UK, they dissect the recent media attacks on multiculturalism and document the impact of the ‘war on terror’, both on local communities and internationally.

Sectarianism and racism in Northern Ireland

Also in this edition of Race & Class, Robbie McVeigh and Bill Rolston present a striking new analysis of the sectarianism and racism that has emerged in Northern Ireland in the shadow of the Good Friday Agreement. They debunk the gathering support for the notion that Northern Ireland is somehow ‘post-sectarian’ – finding instead a state formation that hides its incapacity to address rising racism and sectarianism under the fig leaf of ‘good relations’.

Integrationism: the politics of anti-Muslim racism

Arun Kundnani shows how cultural diversity has been attacked vigorously by liberals and by those on the centre left, especially since 2001. The new conventional wisdom is that a national story of Britishness must be promoted in order to bind the nation together around a set of core values, to which minorities must assimilate. This integrationism draws on a wider anti-Muslim political culture associated with the ‘war on terror’, in which the focus is on ‘self-segregation’, alien values and forced assimilation, rather than on institutional racism.

Bristol: ‘civilising’ the inner city

Matt Clement describes how the legacy of Bristol’s leading role in the slave trade, the institutional racism that led to the St Paul’s riot in 1980 and, most recently, the domestic Islamophobia accompanying the ‘war on terror’ have left a legacy of distrust in the city’s inner districts, which current plans for urban regeneration fail to address.

Driven to despair: asylum deaths in the UK

Harmit Athwal and Jenny Bourne examine the deaths of over 200 asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, who have lost their lives trying to reach the UK, or in work related accidents, as result of racial attacks and, most often, as a result of self-harm, especially in detention centres.

Race & Class is published quarterly, in January, April, July and October, by Sage Publications for the Institute of Race Relations; individual subscriptions are £27/$47, for four issues, with an introductory rate of £20/$35 for new subscribers.

Related links

Race & Class: a journal on racism, empire and globalisation

Plus reviews. A5, 120pp., ISBN 1-4129-4545-3. Race & Class, Vol. 48, no. 4, April-June 2007.