Race and class: the colour of struggle

Race and class: the colour of struggle

Press Release

Written by: IRR News Team

The latest issue of Race & Class is devoted to black political struggle in the UK 1950s-1980s.

Race and class: the colour of struggle, 1950s-1980s, edited by Jenny Bourne, brings together the voices of unsung political heroes of the time, groundbreaking new research, and campaigning material from the archives, providing readers with key resources on Britain’s history of black anti-racist activism – especially relating to policing, racial violence, workers exploitation and immigration controls. Those who speak from its pages – mothers, workers, students, exiles – testify to the common experience of colonialism and racism which made Black the colour of their fight.

Stephen Ashe, Satnam Virdee and Lawrence Browne reveal hitherto untold histories of militant self-defence by East End Pakistanis in the late 1970s, and the solidarity they found in the Black Power movement (free to download for the rest of the month). The impact of black politics on wider political culture is reiterated in Mike Higgs’ analysis of anti-fascism in the 1970s. The influence of Black struggle on anti-fascism, its insistence that the fight against fascism would do little to change the bedrock of British racism without a fight against the violence of the state, has been little recognised in dominant accounts of British anti-fascism.

Interviews with Martha Osamor, Ansel Wong, A. Sivanandan and Vishnu Sharma reveal the work that went into building black communities and self-help organisations in the face of state racism. Sadar Ali Malik and Micky Fenn, the former a Ford’s worker in Canning Town, the latter a Docker resisting the groundswell of support amongst fellow workers for Enoch, speak to movements against racism in the  workplace and the unions.

The telling of this densely woven grassroots history of movements for racial justice is in its infancy. Race and class: the colour of struggle is our latest contribution to opening up that space.

You can buy a copy of the latest issue of Race & Class for £5 here.


Editorial by Jenny Bourne

The struggle for a radical Black political culture: an interview with A. Sivanandan by Kwesi Owusu

Student politics, teaching politics, black politics: an interview with Ansel Wong by Rob Waters

Striking back against racist violence in the East End of London, 1968-1970 by Stephen Ashe, Satnam Virdee and Laurence Brown

Dockers Against Racism: an interview with Micky Fenn by Liz Fekete

The case for self-defence by A. Sivanandan and Jenny Bourne

From the street to the state: making anti-fascism anti-racist in 1970s Britain by Michael Higgs

It has to change: an interview with Martha Osamor by Harmit Athwal and Jenny Bourne

Black People Against State Harassment (BASH) campaign – a report by Colin Prescod

The need for unity: an interview with Vishnu Sharma by Harsh Punja

Our blood in the British economy: an interview with Sadar Ali Malik by Liz Fekete

Butler’s colour-bar bill mocks Commonwealth by Claudia Jones

When Black was a political colour: a guide to the literature by Jenny Bourne

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

One thought on “Race and class: the colour of struggle

  1. I recognise the South Asian male in the photo – Asian Youth Novement – he inspired me back in Sheffield during the 1980s – I cannot remember his name – who is he?

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