IRR News (15 – 29 January 2020)

IRR News (15 – 29 January 2020)

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team

Dear IRR News subscriber,

Remembering the liberation of Auschwitz and the impact of the Holocaust reminds us of the breadth of fascism’s victims – Jews, Roma and Sinti, lesbian and gays, Communists, the physically and mentally disabled, political and religious opponents. It provides us with a real lesson in the meaning of a powerful slogan like ‘Never Again’. For if fascism represents a fundamental attack on human dignity, we all need to come together to build unity in action around the forces that nurture its all-embracing violence.

This week on IRR News, in another reminder that anti-racism is a necessary and indivisible practice, we continue to document in our regular calendar on racism and resistance disturbing incidents of physical violence against Jewish, Muslim, Black, LGBTQ targets. Our concern is that the kind of far-right provocations, that this week resulted in Britain First activists intimidating mosque goers and Muslim taxi-drivers in Rotherham will be played out over and over again as the far Right celebrates leaving the EU on 31 January.

But if ‘Never Again’ is to have substance, our anti-racism has to go beyond fighting the rise of the far Right. It also necessitates taking a strong stand against official hypocrisy that allows politicians to say ‘Never Again’ while passing laws and policies that keep out child refugees and condemn them to destitution, ill health and death. This week on IRR News, Liz Fekete argues in Fault Lines in the struggle against racism and antisemitism that if we allow the government to redefine racism as solely prejudice and bigotry, we will be dispossessed of the collective lessons of our anti-racist history. And she asks why so many government appointees to top posts, are denying the existence of institutional racism and Islamophobia.

Liz Fekete’s piece, which also questions models for fighting racism provided by counter-extremist and hate crime ‘experts’, is part of a bigger discussion we hope to initiate at IRR on how to reclaim the fight against racism. We are inviting IRR News users to be part of an ongoing discussion of issues of ‘State racism, public health and policy harms’ and on 27 February, we will start the series with a panel discussion on ‘Psychological coercion in the hostile environment’. Register here.

And there’s more on IRR News this week on the hostile environment, this time in housing as John Grayson contributes his second piece on the scandal of asylum housing in South Yorkshire where continuing delays, disrepair and insanitary conditions has led Sheffield City Council to consider taking asylum housing back in house.

IRR News Team

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.