Today, the petition to rescind President Trump’s state visit to Britain signed by 1.8 million people will be debated in Parliament. Stop Trump demonstrations are planned for this evening across the country and are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to stand together in solidarity with migrants and against racism and Islamophobia.
Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant politics are the same driving forces as those behind the Brexit vote to leave the EU. In the context of the rise of reactionary and xenophobic politics worldwide, the Stop Trump programme of opposition is a joint effort with the One Day Without Us movement, staging its first day of action today. Tens of thousands of migrants and their supporters are staging a walkout from workplaces and places of education to celebrate the contribution migrant workers make to British society. In particular, the action aims to highlight their importance to the British economy: withdrawing their labour for a day would cost the UK £328m – 4% of the country’s GDP.
The British government is not just complicit with Trump's agenda: Theresa May has been a trailblazer in ramping up anti-migrant measures for years before her ascent to the premiership in her role as Home Secretary when she notoriously brought in 'go home' vans. While it debates the terms of Brexit, the government continues to run a brutal and inhumane detention system; demonise and deport migrants; refuse refugees, and extend the border regime deeper into British society, into our hospitals, schools and workplaces.
Verso presents a reading list of books that challenge and expose right-wing narratives about migrant workers and refugees by contextualising crises rooted in the violence of capitalism, legacies of colonialism and war waged by the West. This selection includes books that provide us with histories of resistance from which we can draw strength and inspiration for the fightback ahead.
This piece first appeared in Truthout.
The US intellectual class has failed to understand the racism at the core of Trump's political project. The discussion is focused on two questions: Are Trump voters decent, salt-of-the-earth workers protesting their economic insecurity, or hate-filled Archie Bunkers? Are his transition appointments hateful bigots or mainstream conservatives?
What both questions obscure is that white supremacy is a social and political system, not simply a matter of individual attitudes. It is sustained not by barroom bigots but by millions of daily acts of complicity on the part of ordinary people — in New York City and San Francisco as much as in Alabama, and among wealthy elites as much as the rural poor. As Frantz Fanon wrote: "A given society is racist, or it is not." Questioning whether one region or class is more racist than another is the product of people "incapable of straight thinking."
"Historically, only a small number of police officers have been armed in Britain but we’re moving towards a police force that is increasingly armed... The uprising and grassroots response to Mark Duggan’s death sprang from people’s repeated experience of racist violence from the police" — Arun Kundnani
With contributions from #BlackLivesMatter & Ferguson activists, as well as leading writers and experts, Policing the Planet: Why The Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter traces the global spread of the broken-windows policing strategy — first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton, who was later brought to London as an advisor following the police killing of Mark Duggan, who was shot by a police marksman 5 years ago, on 6th August 2011, sparking riots in London and across the UK.
In this interview, Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heathertonspeak to Arun Kundnani about the killing of Mark Duggan and the export of US policing practices to the UK, the aggressive racialized surveillance of Muslims in the UK and US, and the need to fight against policing and surveillance as part of a larger struggle against racial capitalism.
CAGE — a UK non-profit that advocates on behalf on communities affected by the War on Terror — has released a new report examining the classified study that underpins Prevent and Channel, two of the British government's "anti-radicalisation' counter-terror programmes. Reviewed by 18 academics from a variety of disciplines, The 'Science' of Pre-Crime challenges the evidence base and methodology used to develop Extremist Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+), the assessment tool designed to help public sector workers identify those vulnerable to Islamic 'radicalisation'.
For our latest Five Book Plan — posted in conjunction with the publication of Edwy Plenel's For the Muslims — we invited Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, to contribute a list of her top five books on anti-Muslim racism. Kumar is regularly cited as one of the world's leading experts on Islamophobia and imperialism.
Let me begin by confessing that it was difficult to select only five books on Islamophobia. There are so many excellent works on the topic that it was hard to choose just five. The question I asked myself when whittling down the list was: what are some of the foundational texts that can help offer clarity on this pernicious form of racism at this moment of heightened Islamophobia? I kept in mind both the person who is just starting to grapple with the topic as well as those who are further along. Here then is my list, with apologies to many friends and colleagues whose work I respect but could not include.