Dear IRR News subscriber,
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