Speaking at the 30-year celebration of the radical journal Race & Class, IRR chair Colin Prescod took stock of the past, while founder editor A. Sivanandan called for new political analysis to inform struggles against racism, empire and globalisation over the coming years.
At a celebration event hosted by Jeremy Corbyn MP at the House of Commons, on 9 September 2004, Colin Prescod, a long-time member of the Race & Class Editorial Working Committee, spoke of the accomplishments of the last 30 years, describing how the journal emerged out of a period of struggle in the late 1960s and early 1970s and went on to provide an outlet for some of the most important writing on racism and imperialism in the coming years. ‘Times change, movements move on, the sites of struggle shift’, he said. ‘And Race & Class, as ever with its ear to the ground, has to prepare itself for the next 30 years.’
It was to that prospect that A. Sivanandan, editor of the journal since its inception in 1974, turned, describing how there was a need, in the current ‘vortex of change’, for ‘an analysis immanent in which are the strategies that inform struggle’. At the centre of that analysis must be the ‘symbiosis between racism and imperialism’ that has always defined Race & Class’ work. For ‘to look at racism as an isolate without considering its relationship to globalisation and therefore imperialism, is not only to descend into culturalism and ethnicism but to overlook the state racism that embeds institutional racism and gives a fillip to popular racism in the form of laws and edicts that starve and dehumanise asylum seekers whom globalisation has displaced and thrown up on the shores of Europe.’
The celebratory event was an opportunity to introduce Race & Class to new movements and new constituencies and to invite them to contribute to the journal. ‘The only stipulation we make’, said A. Sivanandan, ‘is that the writing be simple and straightforward and jargon-free, so that everyone can understand it and use it as a tool in the struggle. The people we are writing for should be the people we are fighting for.’
Both speeches can be listened to online by clicking on the links at the top right of this page.