Dear IRR News subscriber,
2017, with the prospect, in this Brexit/Trump era, of entrenched nativism and nationalism, needs all the progressives it can muster. It was therefore with great sadness that the staff at IRR and on Race & Class learnt of the death of John Berger – a unique internationalist voice speaking for and from the dispossessed and marginalised. To mark his passing, Race & Class Editor Jenny Bourne pays tribute to his remarkable role as a truly organic intellectual and defender of the oppressed. Contributions by John Berger to Race & Class over the years and appreciations in the journal on his work are being made freely accessible to all readers until the end of May.
One of the projects John helped set up – some forty-three years ago – was the Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, which was to become famous for its series ‘For Beginners’. With him in this democratising endeavour was a young militant teacher Chris Searle. He like John never lost his radicalism, and on IRR News we publish ‘Xeno-racism and the scourge of school exclusion’, a speech he just gave to educationalists in Birmingham, in which he deplores the systematic exclusion of Slovak Roma children from Sheffield’s schools in the context of the racism that immigrant children have faced since the 1950s.
The January 2017 issue of Race & Class leads with IRR Director Liz Fekete’s timely piece, in the light of the Brexit vote, ‘Flying the flag for neoliberalism’. How, it asks, does ultra-nationalism plays out in different parts of the EU at a time of retrenchment, austerity, terrorism and insecurity – to fortify conservatism as well as neoliberal forms of governance based on new forms of surveillance.
Finally, our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, is available here.
IRR News team