Dear IRR News subscriber,
These are dark days for Europe – but, nonetheless, not without pathways into light.
As France grieves its dead and more emergency measures are discussed, the IRR’s Liz Fekete analyses the events of the last week, warning that monoculturalism poses a huge obstacle to a rational approach to countering extremism. Our calendar on racism and resistance encompasses events in Germany (as well as Sweden) where strong counter-mobilisations against far-right extremism are emerging. We see signs of hope in the tens of thousands of people who rallied against the far-right Pegida, declaring that the Germany they want is one that looks outwards, values multiculturalism, and welcomes refugees from Syria. But, as ever, the light is tempered by darkness, such is the nature of our polarised world. Even prior to the as yet unexplained killing of Eritrean refugee, Khaled Idris, on the very day 20,000 Pegida supporters marched through Dresden, refugees across Germany were barricading themselves into their asylum centres, too terrified to walk the streets.
In news from the UK, we focus on issues past and present. Many of the proposals being put forward in the Counter-Security and Terrorism Bill are a positively chilling threat to freedom of speech, warns Frances Webber in a wide-ranging and forensic examination of what the legislation will mean for the Muslim community. But Jenny Bourne, in a piece that looks back at the New Right’s attack on freedom of expression in the shape of the educational work of the IRR in the 1980s, again, gives us cause for hope. Against the backcloth of inner city rebellion, anti-racists were seen in the 1980s as a dangerous fifth column, destroying Britishness. If we emerged from that onslaught strengthened, we can doubtless do so again.
The latest issue of Race & Class has been published, entitled ‘Crime and Punishment‘, it focuses on poverty, ‘race’ and criminal justice.
Finally, we were also very sad to hear of the death of Mike Marqusee: ‘a writer who never missed the meaning of an experience’.
IRR News Team