Dear IRR News subscriber,
A nationwide survey on racism tells us what we already know – that racial violence is on the rise, with racists emboldened since the Brexit vote. So how can it be that communities secretary James Brokenshire has spoken out against attempts to define Islamophobia as racism? This week on IRR News, Jenny Bourne shoots down the arguments of the free speech advocates, the police and the right-wing think tanks who all argued against the government adopting the definition of Islamophobia agreed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. She questions the bona fides of the naysayers, pointing out that they are using the same arguments that the New Right did decades ago.
Past struggles against New Right arguments is also a theme taken up by playwright David Edgar, in his discussion of media amnesia over the long and controversial history of the Conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton. Scruton was recently in the news after he was sacked from his unpaid job on a government commission, Building Better Building Beautiful, for comments he made in a New Statesman interview on, among others, Muslims and Islamophobia. Recalling Scruton’s founding of the Salisbury Review in the 1980s, Edgar describes how the magazine gave a platform to reactionary views on (for example) repatriation of Black Commonwealth immigrants.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance draws attention to the formation of the anti-Roma paramilitary vigilante National Legion in Hungary, and the arrest of two soldiers in Malta in connection with the drive-by shooting of three African migrant workers, that left Lassana Cisse dead. The collusion of Europe’s police and military with the growth of far Right vigilantism was one of the major themes of IRR director Liz Fekete’s book Europe Fault Lines which this week, we are pleased to announced, was shortlisted for the Bread and Roses award for Radical Publishing.
Finally, the IRR sends its thanks to Stephen Ashe for his thoughtful contribution to Global Society Theory, on the distinctive contribution of IRR founder A. Sivanandan to political and intellectual life in Britain.
IRR News Team