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Ashok Kumar: we must fight the new racism

Ashok Kumar, student activist and ex LSE sabbatical officer, wil be speaking at Anticapitalism 2011 on the new racism

“The whites have now become black”, historian David Starky’s comment on BBC’s Newsnight following the riots may have been for shock value, but the words bring into view not only the mad ramblings of an old racist but three decades of race relations in Britain coming full circle.  So-called “new racism” highlighting “culture” rather than “color” as their primary motivator looks a lot like the old form of class-induced white supremacy.
The riots were convoluted and multilayered.  Sikh and Turkish petite bourgeoisie protected their property from working class youth, many of them black.  Black communities burned to the ground, while in other parts the EDL swarmed in to exploit the reactionary sentiment of communities shaken.
This complexity poses some real challenges to those who want to over-throw the existing white power structure.   We can no longer simply point and sneer at the boogie-men of the EDL and BNP, but must attack the endemic forms of racism that lie just beneath the surface, ready to erupt at the slightest alarm.  From the police, to schools, to welfare provisions and gentrification, racism manifests itself throughout.  Even now, a racist Met, bent on seeking the maximum penalties with the flimsiest evidence, is terrorizing the young and black on council estates in Hackney, Tottenham and across the city.
As the smoke clears, radicals must now assess and construct a new strategy to combat a resurfaced “old/new racism” as well as the structural white supremacy that continues to subjugate black people and allows white privilege to thrive unabated.  Counteracting it may require revolutionaries to go on the offense.  Questions abound. What is the best way to resist?  Is resistance enough?  How does this resistance look? Is it exclusive self-organization of black people? Or does it require a wider coalition?  Wait, I’ve seen this movie, don’t these wider coalitions become so watered-down so as to become irrelevant?  And what’s the role of white allies? These (and others) are questions that will be addressed at Anti-Capitalism 2011.

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