Dear IRR News subscriber,
This week, the IRR was among a number of signatories of a letter to the Times in support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which had come under regulatory pressure and media attack in recent days. As this News Service has stressed in recent weeks (see in particular Jenny Bourne’s review of the National Coalition for Independent Action report on the voluntary sector), in an open society it is vital that civil society organisations, particularly philanthropic ones, are protected from state interference and commercial pressure.
The letter stated that ‘no body should be above reproach or regulation’, but that ‘charities and foundations’ should be free to ‘pursue their objectives within the law’. It is an important point, and one that applies equally to parliament, as to all state institutions, whether the NHS or the police, educational bodies or charities. Powerful state institutions benefit from the scrutiny that only civil society can bring.
If independent scrutiny benefits democracy, it is a lesson as true in Germany as here in the UK. In Germany, it has been lawyers, journalists and groups supporting the victims of racism, that have exposed a series of scandals involving the police and the intelligence services in the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU). This week, IRR News describes the pattern of institutional failure that continues to be revealed during the on-going NSU trial, and applies lessons learnt there to the case of the British-Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan who died in Wiesbaden, Hesse, in 2003.
In a week where new figures reveal the staggering increase in long-term unemployment of young people from BAME communities, we highlight the TUC’s call for participants in research on labour market casualisation. We also review an important book which dismantles prevalent myths around the welfare state, showing their impact and the way they deflect attention from the intensifying upward transfer of wealth in the UK.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlights key events in the UK and Europe.
Finally, on 18 April we will be hosting a celebration of the work of A. Sivanandan and the Institute of Race Relations. We now have some confirmed speakers. View further details here and to book a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRR News team