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A note on Le Guin and Fanon, and Carl Schmitt

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/11/2021 - 1:05am in

"You are the same species, race, people, exactly the same in every way, with a slight selection towards color. If you brought up an asset child as an owner it would be an owner in every respect, and vice versa. So you spend your lives keeping up this tremendous division that doesn't exist. What I don't understand is how you can fail to see how appallingly wasteful it is. I don't mean economically!"

"In the war," he said, and then there was a very long pause; though Solly had a lot more to say, she waited, curious. "I was on Yeowe," he said, "you know, in the civil war."

That's where you got all those scars and dents, she thought; for however scrupulously she averted her eyes, it was impossible not to be familiar with his spare, onyx body by now, and she knew that in aiji he had to favor his left arm, which had a considerable chunk out of it just above the bicep.

“The slaves of the Colonies revolted, you know, some of them at first, then all of them. Nearly all. So we Army men there were all owners. We couldn’t send asset soldiers, they might defect. We were all veots and volunteers. Owners fighting assets. I was fighting my equals. I learned that pretty soon. Later on I learned I was fighting my superiors. They defeated us.”

“But that—” Solly said, and stopped; she did not know what to say.

“They defeated us from beginning to end,” he said. “Partly because my government didn’t understand that they could. That they fought better and harder and more intelligently and more bravely than we did.”

“Because they were fighting for their freedom!”

“Maybe so,” he said in his polite way.

"So ..."

"I wanted to tell you that I respect the people I fought."--Ursula K Le Guin (1994) "Forgiveness Day" in The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin, p. 287.

Because I am about to teach The Dispossessed (recall) again, I am trying to read all the books in the so-called Hainish cycle. "Forgiveness Day" is part of a series of interlocking stories (also collected in Four Ways to Forgiveness) about two planets, Werel and Yeowe. As the quoted passage suggests, Werel is a slave-owning society that treated Yeowe as a colony. In fact, Werel is an extremely patriarchical society, too, which treats its women in the way Athens treats theirs. 

The nameless 'he' is Rega Teyeo, a scion of a rural soldiering elite; conservative and stoic in his ways. He discovers that after the lost war on Yeowe his own people, who are modernizing and shifting toward commerce, have little use for him. So, he ends up a bodyguard to Solly, the alien (female) ambassador to his planet. In many ways it's a humiliating end to his public service. 

The quoted exchange takes place in the turning point in the relationship between Rega and Solly, which itself occurs when they think they are in mortal danger. I am not a big fan of "Forgiveness Day" because the writing is relatively clunky and the characters are relatively stereotypical. Because it's Le Guin, there is still plenty of food for thought about the nature of patriarchy and the interlocking forms of oppression and resistance it generates.

The quoted passage illustrates my complaint about the writing in the novella; that Teyeo respects the people he fought is already abundantly clear before Le Guin makes it explicit ("I wanted to tell you that I respect the people I fought."). 

Having said that, the passage did remind me (no surprise we are in the ambit of Hegel's master-slave dialectic) of a kind of symmetrical point in the famous first chapter of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth that in the Manichean world colonialism, "At the individual level, violence is a cleansing force. It rids the colonized of their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude. It emboldens them, and restores their self-confidence." (p. 51)

Le Guin invites us into thinking that when you have been defeated on the battle-field it is difficult to deny the fundamental equality of your victor. She published "Forgiveness Day" when the Vietnam war was living memory. As Le Guin's novella shows, that individual experience on the battle-field need not transform wider social attitudes toward those thought inferior if that society can insulate itself, to some respect, from the military defeat. As a cursory glance at history shows, for every Rega Teyeo whose attitudes are transformed, there may be a lance corporal who prefers a dagger-stab legend. And in her story Le Guin, who is not naïve about such matters, suggests that individual character matters a lot to when a potentially existential experience becomes transformative.

Earlier in the story, after Rega has requested a discharge from his duty to protect Solly, his request is declined by his (and her) employer as follows:

"Love of god and country is like fire, a wonderful friend, a terrible enemy; only children play with fire. I don't like the situation. There's nobody here I can replace either of you with. Will you hang on a while longer?"

What's striking about the response is that it is couched in terms familiar from Schmitt (with its friend-enemy distinction) [recall here and here mediated via Popper]. This is interesting because the employer I have just quoted represents in Le Guin's story, and in the wider Hainish cycle, the Kantian federative ideal of the aspiration toward perpetual peace founded in human equality. And what Le Guin recognizes is that one can accept that in some circumstances the friend-enemy distinction is empirically adequate of people's ('childish') behavior even though one is oneself committed to a different ideal that is supposed to abolish or overcome it.

Now, in light of "Forgiveness Day" it is tempting to suggest that the friend-enemy distinction itself rests, if not conceptually then at least on the battle-field, in a kind of symmetry between the two foes. And this symmetry is itself ground in a kind of equality or mutual recognition. And so, one may be tempted to see in this observation a refutation of Schmitt.

As an aside, this is why 'wars' on cancer, drugs, and on poverty are such strange ways of speaking. (This is extended to the "courageous battle" one wages against a fatal disease.) They do not have the latent possibility of such mutual recognition. Norman MacDonald (who died of cancer) makes the point in a sketch here. His punchline is that, if you die, the cancer dies at exactly the same time in your body. “That, to me, is not a loss. That’s a draw.”

Be that as it may, of course, Schmitt anticipates the point and suggests that the political distinction is orthogonal to any moral interpretation of such mutual symmetry.  It is entirely compatible with his view that one can find one's enemies moral, even beautiful. (I doubt he would grant that they are superior, but it seems logically consistent.)

Now, it is important to Schmitt's analysis that these judgments involve collectivities not individuals (as it is in Le Guin and Fanon). And so there is an important sense that Schmitt can accommodate the point about symmetry or the transformative experience of the battle-field, as long as (and I find this ironic) it is understood in, and limited to, individual terms. 

And, in fact, one of the psychological, perhaps, social conditions for Rega's judgment, or maybe it's an effect of it, is his disenchantment with his own society. And while this turns out to be a pre-condition for his political understanding (he starts to see through slogans) it also leads him to withdraw from it emotionally, politically, and eventually physically. Part of the closing line of the story with him going into a kind of exile is (also) explicit about this: "he had lost his world." And so, while one can read the Hainish cycle as resting on a kind of faith that Schmittianism can be overcome, Le Guin recognizes that there are circumstances in which its logic is impeccable. 




For Whom the Bell Curves: Advisor to Johnson’s Levelling Up Ally Hosts Race Science Extremist

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/11/2021 - 1:20am in

For Whom the Bell CurvesAdvisor to Johnson’s Levelling Up Ally Hosts Race Science Extremist

Nafeez Ahmed reveals how a pioneer of scientific racism was hosted at British universities by a charity with close Conservative Party and Government ties


A Ministry of Justice appointee – who advises a ‘close ally’ of the Prime Minister behind the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda – has hosted one of the world’s foremost pioneers of scientific racism at an event organised by a charity which works with the Government.

The event, involving a white nationalist extremist who has amplified research funded by a notorious Nazi eugenics foundation, was also supported by a former senior Conservative Party MP and Cabinet Minister. 

It was organised by Dr James Orr, a Cambridge University academic and advisor to Toby Young’s Free Speech Union. 

The event was hosted by Trinity Forum Europe – a self-described Christian charity that runs events at Oxbridge universities, as well as at Whitehall for Government civil servants. 

It thus raises urgent concerns about the UK Government and the ideological views of those being given Government appointments.

The Bell Curve

The event organised by Dr James Orr featured white nationalist academic Charles Murray – the author of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.

This was a hugely influential book among white supremacist circles, published in 1994, which claimed that black people tend to have lower IQs – not just due to environmental factors, but to genetics.

The bulk of the claims made in the book came from pseudoscientific research funded by the Pioneer Fund – a Nazi eugenics foundation with links to the notorious Nazi SS officer Josef Mengele. Murray has praised Pioneer Fund researchers and directors including antisemites.

The online event took place on 12 November, as part of a series of talks by the Trinity Forum Europe – a registered charity that hosts events at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and St Andrews. The online event programme – led by Dr Orr – attempts “to unite the different university campuses” on a weekly basis, according to the charity’s website, and the charity has also “branched out to host events at Whitehall for Christians within the senior Civil Service.”

Murray was in conversation at the event with Rob Henderson, a PhD candidate at Cambridge University. He did not respond to Byline Times‘ request for comment.

Trinity Forum Europe has close ties to the Conservative Party. Its executive director is Jonathan Aitken – a former Cabinet Minister and Conservative MP for 23 years. His political career ended when he pleaded guilty to charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and he served 18 months in prison, during which he rediscovered his Christian faith. He went on to become ordained in the Church of England. 

Despite the fact that he is no longer officially involved in politics, the Conservative Party has provided Aitken with parliamentary access.

In September 2020, it was revealed that he had held a parliamentary pass continuously since at least December 2015, awarded to him by then-Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow – despite former MPs who had received a prison sentence for a year or more being ineligible. More recently, Aitken has spoken out in the wake of Conservative Party corruption revelations to say that there are “too many rules” for MPs and that people probably have to just “trust MPs”.

In 2019, Aitken’s charity launched the Trinity Forum Whitehall. Since then, it has held two events with the Government at Admiralty House involving senior civil servants.

Neither Jonathan Aitken nor Trinity Forum Europe responded to Byline Times‘ requests for comment. Instead, the charity’s website was suddenly taken down.

‘The Academic KKK’

The Trinity Forum Europe event listing for Charles Murray’s talk described him as “one of the most accomplished social scientists alive today” and “the author of numerous important and penetrating diagnoses of contemporary America” – including mentioning The Bell Curve, which Murray co-authored with Richard Herrnstein. 

According to an academic at Cambridge University who spoke to Byline Times on condition of anonymity, Trinity Forum Europe events are regularly advertised to staff and students at the university. 

“Charles Murray is basically the academic KKK,” said the scholar.

According to the Washington DC-based Southern Poverty Law Centre – the leading civil rights law firm that tracks extremist groups in America – Charles Murray is a white nationalist extremist who uses “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor”.

His book The Bell Curve was widely critiqued by geneticists, biologists and other experts for being “scientifically flawed” at the time of its publication and ever since

In May 2020, The Bell Curve was noticed in photographs of Michael Gove’s bookshelf released by his wife Sarah Vine. Just three months earlier, Boris Johnson aide Andrew Sabisky had resigned over revelations that he was a vocal supporter of scientific racism after his past statements about race and IQ came under public scrutiny.

Gove, who is currently Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, refused to comment at the time, and did not respond to questions from this newspaper about whether he agrees or disagrees with Charles Murray’s claims.

Alt-Right PseudoscienceThe Free Speech Union and Scientific Racism
Nafeez Ahmed

Murray’s pseudoscience argues that black people, women, the poor and Latinos are overall genetically inferior – and that the rise in their birth rate therefore explains the rise in inequality between racial groups.

One passage in the book reads: “The professional consensus is that the United States has experienced dysgenic pressures throughout either most of the century (the optimists) or all of the century (the pessimists).”

‘Dysgenics’ refers to the study of how defective or disadvantaged traits emerge in a population or species due to a changing gene pool. The book continues: “Women of all races and ethnic groups follow this pattern in similar fashion. There is some evidence that blacks and Latinos are experiencing even more severe dysgenic pressures than whites, which could lead to further divergence between whites and other groups in future generations.”

An Ideology Borne of Nazism

The Southern Poverty Law Centre points out that 13 scholars on which The Bell Curve relies to substantiate its claims received funding from the Pioneer Fund. In fact, nearly all of the research cited in the book for its central claims about race and IQ were funded by this group. 

The Pioneer Fund is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which highlights how the organisation was founded by Nazi sympathisers with the purpose of promoting “racial betterment” and was originally set up to promote the “repatriation” of black Americans to Africa. 

Writing in the American Behavioural Scientist journal, Hampton University sociology professor Steven J Rosenthal described it as a “Nazi endowment specialising in production of justifications for eugenics since 1937”.

The Pioneer Fund’s relationship with Nazism is not trivial, but fundamental.

Henry Laughlin, who served as its president from its founding until 1941, opposed efforts to allow Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany entry into the US. He had testified in Congress that 83% of Jewish immigrants from eastern and southern Europe are feeble-minded and once claimed that the US and the Third Reich “shared a common understanding of… the practical application” of eugenic principles to “racial endowments and… racial health”.

Throughout the 1930s, Laughlin published articles in Eugenical News promoting Nazism and approving its antisemitic laws. In The Bell Curve, Murray praises Laughlin as “a biologist who was especially concerned about keeping up the American level of intelligence by suitable immigration policies”.

Wickliffe Preston Draper – the Pioneer Fund’s main founder who served on its board of directors until 1972 – had been inspired by a 1935 visit to Nazi Germany. Ironically, he learned that the Third Reich’s leading eugenicists were writing the racist and antisemitic Nuremberg Laws on the basis of inspiration from the American eugenics movement.

One of the organisations the Pioneer Fund bankrolls is the Ulster Institute for Social Research. A former founding board member of its journal – Mankind Quarterly – is Otmar von Verschuer.

During Germany’s Nazi regime, Verschuer was director of the Institute for Genetic Biology and Racial Hygiene until 1942, when he became the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. Verschuer taught and mentored Josef Mengele – the notorious Nazi SS officer known as the ‘Angel of Death’ for performing medical experiments on prisoners at the Auschwitz death camps.  

Today, the Pioneer Fund’s main grantee is the white supremacist think tank, American Renaissance, which hosts neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan activists.

Influencing the Government

Sources at Cambridge University confirmed that the event’s main coordinator was Dr James Orr – a lecturer in philosophy of religion at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Divinity. 

Dr Orr and Cambridge University did not respond to Byline Times‘ multiple requests for comment.

Dr Orr is the convener director of Trinity Forum Europe. He also sits on the board of advisors at the Free Speech Union – the organisation founded and directed by Toby Young. Byline Times has previously revealed how Young has publicly defended scientific racism funded by the Pioneer Fund. 



Help to expose the big scandals of our era.

In July, Dr Orr was appointed by the Government to join the Ministry of Justice’s advisory assessment panel to select a new chair for the National Mental Capacity Forum, which will feed into Government reforms of how the Mental Capacity Act is implemented.

One of the top issues for reform are racial disparities in the implementation of the Act, as black people are more than four times more likely than white people to be detained, and more than 10 times more likely to be discharged under a community treatment order requiring conditions on their lives. Critics of the Government’s proposals say that they fail to address systemic racism and therefore will simply change the forms of discrimination rather than reduce it. 

Dr Orr is also an advisor to Conservative MP Danny Kruger, who sits on the advisory board of Kruger’s New Social Covenant Unit – set up to promote the ideas in his influential 2020 ‘levelling up’ report commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Orr’s colleague, Professor Nigel Biggar, a theologian at Oxford University who chairs Toby Young’s FSU, is also an advisor to Kruger’s project.

In May, under Dr Orr’s direction, Trinity Forum Europe hosted Danny Kruger – widely recognised as a close ally of Johnson – to discuss the levelling up agenda. Danny Kruger and the Conservative Party did not respond to Byline Times‘ requests for comment.

The hosting of a white nationalist extremist at top British universities by a charity with close ties to both the Conservative Party and the Government raises urgent questions. 

It reveals how some calls for ‘free speech’ on campus are legitimising toxic ideologies that can be traced back directly to the Nazi Holocaust and pre-war anti-black racism. It also shows how Government ‘reform’ agendas around mental health and levelling up are vulnerable to being influenced by individuals who are actively mainstreaming scientific racism. 

The Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office, and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities were contacted for comment.




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The post For Whom the Bell Curves: Advisor to Johnson’s Levelling Up Ally Hosts Race Science Extremist appeared first on Byline Times.

Police Corruption: A Half-Century Wait for Justice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/11/2021 - 3:17am in

Police CorruptionA Half-Century Wait for Justice

Duncan Campbell reports on another victim of a corrupt police sergeant who framed young black men in the 1970s


Nearly 50 years after he was wrongly convicted of assault with intent to rob on the London underground, a 67-year-old man had his conviction quashed today by the Court of Appeal.

Texo Johnson, one of the so-called ‘Stockwell Six’, is the latest victim of the spectacularly corrupt British Transport Police (BTP) sergeant, Derek Ridgewell, who specialised in framing young black men, to be cleared.

The court expressed its regret that it had taken so long for the conviction to be overturned and questions are still being asked as to why there was such a delay when Ridgewell’s dishonesty was widely known about by his colleagues and the courts at the time. 

Johnson, then aged 17, was with friends Courtney Harriot, Cleveland Davidson, Paul Green, Ronald De’Souza and Everett Mullins travelling on the underground from Stockwell tube station in south London in February 1972. DS Ridgewell, head of a BTP’s ‘anti-mugging squad’, claimed that the group attempted to rob him at knife-point and all six were arrested by other undercover officers who – by extraordinary coincidence – happened to be close by. The young men were then subjected to violence and had false statements attributed to them.

One of the six, Everett Mullins, was acquitted at the Old Bailey trial after it was shown that his reading and English were not good enough for him to have read his signed confession. The other five were convicted and received jail sentences. Green and Johnson were sent to Borstal because of their age. The convictions of Harriot, Davidson and Green were quashed in July this year. Attempts are now being made to trace De’Souza, whose conviction would also be automatically overturned.  

“While the result of today is great, it does not take away the pain and suffering of that awful night,” said Texo Johnson, who now lives in the US.

His case was referred to the Court of Appeal after his sister learned of the successful appeals of his friends and contacted the Criminal Cases Review Commission. 

‘Met Police Response to itsInstitutional Corruption is aForm of Institutional Corruption’
Hardeep Matharu

‘Too Little and Too Late’

Despite the many claims made at the time of Derek Ridgewell’s corruption, he was transferred to the BTP unit in charge of mailbag security. There, he participated in a series of mailbag thefts himself and set up a Swiss bank account with the proceeds before he was arrested and jailed in 1980 for seven years for conspiracy to rob. He died of a suspected heart attack in Ford prison in 1982. 

His career is examined in detail in the book Rot at the Core by Graham Satchwell, a former BTP detective superintendent, and Winston Trew, one of the ‘Oval 4’, whose own wrongful conviction was finally quashed in 2019. 

During a brief, uncontested hearing, Judy Khan QC, representing Johnson, told Sir Julian Flaux, the Chancellor of the High Court, sitting with Lord Justice Dingemans and Lady Justice Andrews, that “this is a truly shocking case”. The court agreed and paid tribute to the work done on the case by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which had referred the case to the Court of Appeal. 

Earlier this month, the current BTP Chief Constable, Lucy D’Orsi apologised for Ridgewell’s behaviour.

She said: “We cannot undo the past, but we can learn from it. I am sincerely sorry for the trauma suffered by the British African community through the criminal actions of former police officer DS Derek Ridgewell who worked in BTP during the 1960s and 70s. In particular, it is of regret that we did not act sooner to end his criminalisation of British Africans, which led to the conviction of innocent people. This is simply inexcusable and is something that my colleagues and I are appalled by.”

But in response to the apology, Winston Trew, who attended the hearing, said: “It’s too little and too late. They knew about his corruption as long ago as 1973 and sat on their hands. The evidence was always there.” 

Speaking after today’s hearing, Texo Johnson’s lawyer Jenny Wiltshire said: “It is, of course, welcome news that my client has been cleared of all wrongdoing in this matter. But next February will mark half a century since he was falsely accused of criminality by a corrupt police officer.

“Texo has lived his entire adult life with this hanging over him, and time has not lessened his ordeal. He has said that the pain of what happened still lingers, and that it is something he will take to his grave. This didn’t need to be the case. The British Transport Police knew about DS Ridgewell’s corruption in 1973, but it took until this year for the force to undertake any review of this officer’s cases.” 

The chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Helen Pitcher OBE, said it was a further step in achieving justice but that it did not end there.

“Mr Johnson is the fourth member of the so-called ‘Stockwell Six’ to get his conviction quashed,” she said. “We believe there may be other convictions out there which are unsafe as a result of the involvement of DS Ridgewell.”




Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.




The post Police Corruption: A Half-Century Wait for Justice appeared first on Byline Times.

Statement about Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/11/2021 - 12:09pm in

Image credit: Vincenzo Lullo / Shutterstock.com Dear New School students and colleagues, I want to take a moment to respond...

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Getting an Abortion in Buffalo

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/11/2021 - 6:00am in

Women’s March and Rally for Abortion Justice in Buffalo, NY, October 2, 2021. Photo credit: Val Dunne Photography / Shutterstock.com...

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Old photographs, and the “what might have been” of the nativist imagination

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/2021 - 1:01am in

Lately, I find I’ve been spending more and more time looking at Facebook groups of old photographs of Bristol, the city where I live. I particularly enjoy the aerial photographs of the interwar period, often colorized. There are lots of reasons for this: I like photographs, I like history, I like cities. But it isn’t just Bristol, I can also spend hours on the Shorpy site, sometimes going to Google Street View for a modern take, and I own several books comparing the Parises of Marville and Atget and the New York of Berenice Abbott to the same scenes today, as well as multiple volumes of Reece Winstone’s collection of historic Bristol pictures. So what’s the attraction, indeed the compulsion? What is drawing me and others to these scenes? And does this attraction also have a problematic side to it?

One common response to the images is a sense of thwarted possibility. You see a functioning, bustling city, full of life, and full of beatiful surviving buildings, densely packed. The train is everywhere, with bridges, tracks, sidings, sheds to match. Sometimes a locomotive is in view. The rail infrastructure criss-crosses with the water, canal and harbours. Factories with their chimneys sit adjacent to medieval churches with their towers and spires. The technology often looks amazing, as with the Ashton Avenue Bridge (1905)(covered for photoblogging a while back), which in its day was a double-decker swing structure, with road on the top deck and rail running below. These days it has but one functioning level – the old rail deck is for pedestrians and cyclists – and it hasn’t swung since 1951. The “then” pictures give us the romance of industrial modernity combined with the charm of the medieval.

Since, whole districts of terraced housing have gone, churches bombed or demolished, roads cut and widened at the expense of shops and dwellings. The sense of order present in pre-war photographs is accentuated by the patriotic but pointless wartime removal of iron railings, never replaced. The pictures invite us to ask what these streets might have become without the Bristol blitz that destroyed so much in 1940 and ’41? But also, what might they have become without a postwar reconstruction in which the car was king and where “slum” areas were cleared to make way both for roads and also for “modern” housing that went rancid within a couple of decades?

In other words, there’s a kind of hypothetical utopianism in play with these pictures. We see a functioning city, physically attractive and dynamic, with citizens bustling in smart clothes, and wonder how things might have evolved differently if we started again and re-ran the tape without the Luftwaffe destroying 80,000 buildings, without planners, and without other social changes that leave people with a sense of disappointment, of melancholia. Naturally, we wonder why we can’t we have these nice things. The answer preferred by many Facebook commenters is to blame the Council, the planners, the experts, a distant “them” who are nothing to do with “us” but who, by their decisions, have imposed their ugliness upon us. We can hardly forget, even in this Remainer city, that the distant them was the target of those who wanted to “take back control”.

While many of the photographs are of buildings and infrastructure, some are of people, or include people. A surprisingly common scene has a group of children in a carless street. Although Bristol was not a completely white city in the pre-war era, it is fair to say that nearly all of those depicted are white and often they shown in streets where the population today would include a lot of black or South Asian faces. The utopian re-foundation, the hypothetical re-running of the tape, seems to include, in the minds of many commenters, the thought that of these white communities being rolled forward in the imagined preserved or reconstructed streets. To be fair, the moderators are now generally on the case, so that overtly racist comments are deleted or perhaps never made. Occasionally, though, a not-too-subtly coded remark makes it though, perhaps opining that St Pauls was a nice area “before multiculturalism”.

Pictures of the Colston statue, famously chucked in the harbour last year, also lead to fierce back-and-forth, with threads quickly closed. In these old photographs of his statue, the slave trader appears as the city’s benefactor, looking out over the all-white crowds who are presumably grateful for the bounty he bequeathed them. The details of how he and they got wealthy being by then a little-discussed memory, since the descendants of the victims of the slave traders were yet to appear on Bristol’s streets in any numbers to question the city’s indulgent complacency about itself and its patron. Under Colston’s eye, the homogeneous community prospers, with racial and indeed any social conflict invisibly out of frame.

Real Bristol wasn’t much like this, needless to say. In the private spaces behind the ordered exteriors, people were poor and often sick, leading shortened lives after exploitation in the tobacco factories, ironworks, docks and warehouses now reclaimed as places of culture and entertainments. Nor has Bristol been all that socially harmonious, with political riot being a local tradition going back centuries. Moreover the wider social system of which Bristol was a part is invisible in photographs that inevitably focus on the local. As a major port in the imperial metropolis, Bristol handled the materials produced by black and brown people in Britain’s colonial possessions, as it had earlier played its part in the triangular trade that transported the enslaved to the Caribbean. Here we only see the shiny surface with no clue to what lies behind the scenes or in the disant beyond.

So much as there is pleasure, then, at looking at these scenes, there’s also an implicit melancholic nostalgia that carries a conservative, indeed reactionary, charge. “We” see what we have been denied by “them” and notice the ugliness, the physical loss, and the replacement of the decently dressed and apparently disciplined white burghers by the motley betrackied population of today. Wasn’t it lovely? we find ourselves asking, perhaps especially if we are ourselves white and of advancing years. For some of us, politically committed, well read, highly educated, what we know about the world and history and our sentiment about other losses (the divorce from Europe, for example) is sufficient to break this photographic reverie. But it is easy to see that for others this postcard image of the past and its unrealized future has a stronger hold.

11 Players Who Have Made a Difference Off the Football Field

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/2021 - 8:30pm in

11 Players Who HaveMade a Difference Off the Football Field

As Marcus Rashford is honoured with an MBE for his work campaigning to end food poverty for children, Nathan O’Hagan selects his team of football heroes, past and present, who have influenced the world of politics


There has been much popular debate in recent months about the role of football in promoting social justice causes – prompted largely by the decision of Premier League players, and the England team, to take the knee before games in a stand against racism.

In this spirit follow 11 footballers, past and present, who have led the way in campaigning for a more just form of politics.

Goalkeeper: Neville Southall

There’s only one choice between the sticks. The Everton and Wales legend is a perfect example of what can happen when a straight, white middle-aged male opens his heart and mind to the experiences of others.

In recent years Southall has used social media to reach out to many people – the trans community in particular – to understand their experiences, moving from someone who was simply curious to a prominent advocate and ally. Since then, he has taken part in regular Twitter takeovers, allowing sex workers, mental health advocates, addiction support services and broadcast their view to his 170,00 follower-strong Twitter account.

Defender: Gary Neville

In recent months, the former Manchester United and England right back has gained headlines for more than his football punditry. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, he opened up his two Manchester hotels to be used by NHS staff free of charge, and since then has been increasingly outspoken about politics, most recently appearing on Good Morning Britain to criticise the scrapping of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift. Responding to former Conservative MP Edwina Currie, who was defending the Government, he said: “To me the language is always divisive, it’s not helpful. It’s really dangerous, we’re one team in this country, we’re one group of people.”

“Honestly,” he added, “to remove Universal Credit payments at this moment in time is brutal. Let’s be clear, it’s brutal.”

Defender: Ben Mee

The Burnley captain may not be the most high-profile figure in football’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, Mee condemned the Burnley fans who in June 2020 hired a plane to fly a banner bearing the message “White Lives Matter Burnley” over the club’s home ground. Mee said that he and his teammates felt “ashamed and embarrassed”.

Two months earlier, Mee criticised comments made by then Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s that footballers needed to “play their part” in the fight against the pandemic by accepting pay cuts; something many had already done voluntarily and without fanfare.

Writing in The Guardian, Mee said, “… as we’ve worked hard to do our part, those headlines have created a distraction, needlessly trying to make villains out of footballers, rather than praising the great work of key workers who are putting themselves at risk to help others.”

The defender was also instrumental in efforts by Premier League players to set up a fund into which players donated wages to support NHS charities.

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Defender: Tyrone Mings

The Aston Villa and England defender was present at the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and was praised for his response to Priti Patel’s, after the Home Secretary claimed to be “disgusted” by the racial abuse received by England players following their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” Mings tweeted. 

Right Wing: Pat Nevin

Nevin’s position here is right-wing, but that’s the only thing about him that is. Far from a conventional footballer (how many other former professionals have had DJ slots at an obscure music festival ?) Nevin has always worn his politics on his sleeve, not least in his role as chair of the players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association.

He risked the wrath of a certain section of his Chelsea support in the early-to-mid ‘80s by speaking out against their racial abuse of his teammates and opponents, as well as against homophobia. Nevin was an ally log before the term had even been coined.

Midfield: Jordan Henderson

As well as being a vocal figure in the England squad’s decision to take the knee, Henderson has also spoken out more than once in support of LGBTQ+ football fans. He also surprised one non-binary England fan who tweeted how “terrified” they were attending their first match. Henderson responded, “Hi Joe great to hear you enjoyed the game as you should. No one should be afraid to go and support their club or country because football is for everyone no matter what.”

Midfield: Peter Reid

The engine of the same Everton team as Southall in the ‘80s, Reid is a proud socialist who has never been afraid to express an opinion, as Boris Johnson found out when playing on a charity England XI side that Reid was managing in 2006. 

“As soon as he walked into the dressing room I went for him,’ Reid wrote in his 2017 autobiography.

“Hello Peter, Boris Johnson, pleased to meet you,” Reid recalls. “I wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries, though.

“I’ve been meaning to have a word with you, you twat; having a go at Scousers, who the fuck do you think you are?

“You could hear a pin drop and the likes of John Barnes, Richard Ashcroft, Nigel Benn and Sean Bean were all open-mouthed. I could tell he couldn’t work out whether I was pulling his leg because he was half-smirking and half-shocked but I wasn’t messing.

“You are a f**king disgrace… He s**t himself”.

The former Sunderland and Manchester City manager frequently uses Twitter and a column in The Independent to make his feelings on Brexit and the Conservative Party very clear. 

Euro 2020A New England
Adrian Goldberg

Left Wing: Marcus Rashford

What can one say about Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford? A man who decided to use his platform to take on the Government and won – to ensure millions of children living in food poverty were provided with support both during school terms and in school holidays. He forced the Government into multiple U-turns with his respectful but relentless campaigning, leading some to dub him “the real leader of the opposition”, and earning and MBE for his efforts.

Forward: Raheem Sterling

After he was racially abused by Chelsea supporters while playing for Manchester City in 2018, Sterling spoke out against the kind of media coverage he had received – which he felt had emboldened racists. Sterling had long been targeted by the right-wing press more than most, with racially-charged headlines that analysed his every act, from smoking shisha, to having a gun tattoo, to every time he spent what the papers decided was too much – or even not enough – money.

Posting on Instagram, Sterling said the coverage received by him and other black players “helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviour, so for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.”

Forward: Gary Lineker

Few footballers enrage the right to the same extent as the Match Of The Day presenter, a man for whom the tiresome riposte of “stick to football mate” could have been invented. There’s something about a wealthy man speaking out on issues like Brexit, racism and the plight of refugees that certain people seem to find particularly infuriating.

Many people have attempted to catch out Lineker. When he dares to express empathy for refugees, many ask whether he’d be willing to have one in his own home. To which England’s third top goal-scorer points out that he already has. 

Forward: Troy Deeney

When he was captain of Watford, Deeney was one of the key organisers in football’s decision to take the knee, and to replace the traditional players’ names on the back of their shirts with the Black Lives Matter slogan. While always keen to highlight the role others played in the process, particularly Leicester’s Wes Morgan, there’s no doubt how crucial Deeney himself was. He also previously fronted the Football Association’s Heads Up campaign, designed to increase awareness of men’s mental health. 




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The Normalisation of Hate Against Pakistanis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/2021 - 3:13am in

The Normalisation of HateAgainst Pakistanis

Faisal Hanif inspects the racism directed at former Yorkshire cricket player Azeem Rafiq, and what this tells us about the treatment of Pakistanis in the UK


There are several ways to interpret the reaction of Yorkshire Cricket Club to the allegations of racism made by its former player Azeem Rafiq. The club’s rather brass neck response to their own findings that he was victim of “racial harassment and bullying” have led some to label it as institutionally racist – a charge hard to argue against when seven of 43 allegations made by Rafiq were upheld including the fact that he was routinely abused with the “P” word.

All the while, politicians including senior Government ministers have called for heads to roll and for mass resignations.  Despite the cascade of condemnation from power brokers on all sides, including major global sponsors, Yorkshire’s initial defiance in describing the abuse as “good natured banter” looks to be a serious error of judgement.

Some in the Yorkshire hierarchy are said to have encouraged a pushback against Rafiq with a counter allegation that his reference to his former teammate Gary Ballance as “Zimbo” – a non-offensive abbreviation to describe the Zimbabwean born batsman – was a tit-for-tat exchange between mates.

The resignation of its chairman Roger Hutton, who took on the role 18 months after Rafiq had left the club in 2018, brings another culprit into the fray. Hutton in his leaving statement took a parting shot at the English Cricket Board, who he says were “reluctant to act” when he approached them on first hearing of Rafiq’s allegations.

To anybody familiar with the history of English cricket’s relationship with Pakistan, this may not come as much of a surprise. What has transpired at Yorkshire is not just the singular act of a county which has long seen itself as exceptional in the hierarchy of English cricket, it also fits in with the long history of English cricket’s disdain for Pakistani cricketers and their country.  

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Some of England’s past captains, its best ever player and certain officials – all backed by a virulent media – have created a narrative in which Pakistan is demonised. Pakistani players meanwhile have become synonymous with the practice of dark arts than the deserved praise for their other-worldly talents through which they have revolutionised aspects of the sport. The ex-England player and later coach of Pakistan Bob Woolmer suggested that many of these allegations had racist overtones

In this long history, some English players have become a law unto themselves in the belief that it wasn’t the skill of Pakistan but some nefarious method by which it triumphed over them. In 1956, for example, a group of touring Englishmen resorted to kidnapping a Pakistani umpire, Idrees Baig, blaming him for their impending defeat.

Thirty years later, another Pakistani umpire, Shakoor Rana, was on the end of a verbal barrage from the England captain Mike Gatting – an incident which caused a diplomatic crisis and prompted The Sun newspaper to give its readers a ‘Sun Fun Dartboard’ featuring the umpire’s face. The old cricketing maxim of the umpire’s decision being final seemed not to matter when it came to Pakistani umpires. 

Officiating aside, five years later a touring Pakistan side armed with two of the game’s finest swing bowlers humbled their hosts and won a memorable five-match test series. English players encouraged by visceral media coverage resorted to accusing the conquerors of cheating to win. Reverse swing – which Pakistani bowlers had discovered and perfected over nearly two decades – was viewed with suspicion and only became palatable to English sentiments when it helped the team to end its Ashes misery against Australia in 2005, by which time it was being hailed as an art form.  

Fuelling the Far-Right

All this may seem trivial in the face of Rafiq’s allegations, which left him on the brink of suicide. Yet Yorkshire’s insistence that he should accept the racist abuse as banter forms part of a dehumanising narrative which excuses English cricket from having to deal treat Pakistan and Pakistanis within normal rules of civility. Just last month, the English Cricket Board reneged on an agreed two match tour of Pakistan, a decision described as “cowardly” and representative of a culture of double standards “which appears to view some nations are far less important than others”.

Even England’s most famous cricketer of Pakistani descent, Moeen Ali, was treated as an exception earlier this year. The all-rounder, who was part of England’s touring team for a four-match test series in India, “chose to go home” according to the England captain and Yorkshire player Joe Root. Ali wasn’t the only player who returned home during the series and did so according to a pre-agreed schedule dictated by concerns over the mental health of players and to alleviate them from the pressures of being confined to stringent COVID-19 bubble.

Another former England captain and Yorkshire batsman Michael Vaughan, who Rafiq alleges told three Asian players, “there’s too many of you lot we need to do something about it”, tweeted after the Manchester arena bombing that Ali should identify extremists amongst Muslims.


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Apart from the fact that such a demand would not be placed upon a white player tackle the growing far right threat, what this episode also shows is the intersectionality between racism which employs the “P” word and Islamophobia. Hatred of Muslims and their beliefs retains all the features of long-standing racism against Pakistanis.

The accusation that Yorkshire players used a prayer mat to clean up bodily fluids is a grotesque example of just how debased attitudes towards Muslims has become. The grooming gangs narrative once again regurgitated in Parliament by a Conservative MP last week uses Pakistani and Muslim interchangeably and often together. As shown by the remarkably evidence-light report drummed up by Conservative councillors this week in Rotherham, it remains the most prominent method by which right-wing media outlets and politicians continue their assault against predominantly Pakistani communities.

These tropes are now the weapons of choice for far-right ideologues. In November 2018, a video showing a 15-year-old Syrian refugee in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, being physically attacked by pupils at his school went viral. The actions of the bullies were defended by far-right frontman Tommy Robinson, who spoke at rallies against Jamal Hijazi, accusing the victim of molesting white girls. Robinson has subsequently lost a libel case against Hijazi.

Hijazi meanwhile gave details of the abuse he suffered – which was eerily similar to Rafiq’s. “They always called me ‘P*ki’, they never called me by my name,” he said.  




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Austrian Government Anti-Muslim Raids Inspired by Advocate of Racist Great Replacement Theory

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/2021 - 9:55pm in

Austrian Government Anti-Muslim Raids Inspired by Advocate of Racist Great Replacement Theory

A new report reveals the influence of Lorenzo Vidino, who has repeated the far-right Great Replacement conspiracy, on anti-Muslim raids that left children traumatised


‘Experts’ sharing far-right conspiracy and with links to neoconservative groups were consulted in the run-up to traumatic raids against Muslim families in Austria a year ago, a report reveals today.

The Operation Luxor raids, which took place in the Central European country on 9 November 2020, targeted 70 homes and mobilised 930 officials including police officers and special unit agents. The raids were overseen by Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. In the intervening 12 months, no one affected by the raids has been charged for any offence. Nine of the raids have since been deemed unlawful

The raids followed a terrorist attack committed by an individual linked to ISIS. Despite attempts by MPs and the media to link the two events, there is little evidence to suggest any connection – not least because the attack was committed by ISIS and the raids were targeted against families accused of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nehammer has been accused of failing to act on warnings about the perpetrator of the attack by focusing instead on Operation Luxor. 

Counter-terrorism expert Dr Maria Norris told Byline Times: “The fact that experts with clear links to the far right were consulted in regards to a counterterrorism operation affecting Muslims is deeply concerning, but not at all surprising. Unfortunately, there is a strong overlap between right-wing Islamophobic beliefs and many of the assumptions underpinning modern counterterrorism policy across Europe.”

Far-Right Conspiracy and Symbols

The report, authored by CAGE and ACT-P, shines a light on how the Austrian state cited “experts” with links to far-right views before launching the raids. 

These included Lorenzo Vidino, who was referenced 35 times in the Luxor arrest warrants. Vidino is well-known for promoting “conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the United States” and is on record advocating the Great Replacement theory. The baseless far-right conspiracy posits that white people are being replaced in the Global North by rising, mostly Muslim, migration. 

In 2005, when asked if Europeans were witnessing “the end of Europe” by FrontPage magazine – the far-right publication of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black activist David Horowitz – Dr Vidino described how “Europe as we knew it 30 years ago is long gone. Demography doesn’t lie: in a couple of decades non-ethnic Europeans will represent the majority of the population in many European cities and a large percentage of them will be Muslim.” 

Vidino’s publications have been cited by the anti-Muslim blogger “Fjordman,” whose texts Norwegian white nationalist and mass murderer Anders Breivik copied into his manifesto. Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. 

In the ideological reasoning for the Luxor raids, the State Prosecutor relied heavily on Vidino as an “expert witness.”

Vidino is a senior policy adviser for the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), a Brussels-based think-tank that has been described as “anti-Muslim”. In a study of transatlantic Islamophobic networks and funding, the researcher Sarah Marusek listed the EFD alongside the neoconservative think-tank the Henry Jackson Society. Vidino was listed as a Policy Council Member of the society in 2012 and 2015. 

Austria’s Documentation Centre for Political Islam is also linked to Vidino. The organisation was set up to counter the loosely-defined “political Islam” and has received €0.5 million of public money under the jurisdiction of Integration Minister Susanne Raab.

The centre has set out to create an overview of problematic networks and associations in Austria that can be attributed to political Islam. This includes the Islam Map, which locates Islamic centres, mosques and even shops across Austria. The map’s publication has been linked to a rise of far-right attacks against Muslim spaces, with far-right group Die Identitären sharing the map around its networks.  

The Centre has been accused by the report’s authors of feeding “into a general suspicion of Muslim civil society actors within Austria, whereby it is widely assumed that they would pursue hidden agendas by lying to the public and society by trying to disguise its activities.”



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A History of Islamophobia

As well as Vidino, the Centre’s members Heiko Heinisch and Nina Scholz were invited and paid to write a study preparing the ideological ground for carrying out Operation Luxor. Both were hired by the Graz Public Prosecutor.

According to the report, their ‘expert’ opinion “provided the basis for the raids”. However, the authors continue, “in terms of content, the opinion was itself the outcome of an assessment of completely erroneous and false information.” This has been, they claim, “confirmed by the Higher Regional Court of Graz.”

Heinisch has received support and sponsorship from the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), which has, in turn, supported the anti-Muslim policies of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party. According to an analysis completed by the Bridge Initiative – a Georgetown University project on Islamophobia –  the ÖIF has a history of producing anti-Muslim research.

The Freedom Party is controversial for its far-right policy-making and history, as well as the recent resignation of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz over corruption allegations. former leader, Jörg Haider, was notorious for praising the Waffen SS and Hitler’s labour policies. When it first joined Austria’s governing coalition in 2000, Germany’s foreign minister, Joschka Fischer proclaimed that “this is the first time an anti-European, xenophobic party with a very dubious relationship toward the Nazi past has come into the government of a member state”. More recently, the Freedom Party’s leader Norbert Hofer said that the Quran is more dangerous than the Coronavirus.

Nina Scholz appeared on a panel alongside Raab and organised by the ÖIF, where she talked about Muslim women “calling themselves feminists” would “defend the veil as female self-empowerment” before asserting that these women “are usually close to conservative Islamic associations.”

Ahmad and Sarah, whose home was raided during the operation, told researchers that an officer’s phone had “a far-right symbol on it”. Their son returned to his bedroom to find his copy of the Quran had been torn up. 

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Perhaps the worst cost of the raids is on the children caught up in the violence, who now feel themselves to be living in a hostile country where they are afraid of the police and the institutions that should protect them. One girl, who had a heart condition and was forced to use the toilet while police officers watched, told the report authors “these raids have ruined my life.”

Report co-author Azfar Sharif told Byline Times: “Operation Luxor was the opening shot in an ongoing campaign of repressive and deeply Islamophobic measures carried out by the Austrian state, in the name of combating ‘Political Islam’.”

Measures such as the Islam Map and the Documentation Centre, Sharif added, “have suffocated Austrian Muslims’ ability to their exercise civil, social and religious freedoms, and served to scapegoat Muslims while the Government has been wracked by a series of scandals. This mutually reinforcing relationship between ‘official’ and street racism is something we have seen all too often in places like Britain and the US, and it must be confronted forcefully in Austria because it always signals a dangerous political shift to the right.”

In 2020, there were 1,402 cases of anti-Muslim racism in Austria.




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Can we teach an end to racism?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/11/2021 - 10:39am in

The three-part ABC miniseries The School That Tried to End Racism documents the journey of a class of primary school students in the multicultural suburbs of Sydney, as they embark on an experimental school program designed to identify and root out unconscious racial bias.

It’s a touching and at times confronting look at the human effects of racism, hinting at the gaping holes that exist in the school curriculum and the national consciousness at large.

The children participate in a slew of collaborative activities prompting them to think about privilege, racial and national identity, the erasure of Indigenous history, representation, and media literacy.

One heartbreaking segment features the children and their teachers listening to two Aboriginal men tell the story of how they were taken from their families and stripped of their names as part of the Stolen Generations.

The program is constantly described as being “ground-breaking” and “revolutionary” but its content is eminently sensible. Its novelty says more about the backwardness of Australia’s curriculum than the program itself.


There is one key weakness in the program, deriving from its liberal understanding of racism. The origin and primary expression of racism is understood to be behaviours between individuals. One activity shows this clearly.

The children are sent into a maze to retrieve four prize boxes. Those who succeeded were offered a ride back to school in a stretch Hummer. The winners were offered a chance to give up their place for a classmate—but none did.

This metaphor for privilege suggests that it is a zero-sum game, that marginalised people can only progress at the expense of the “privileged” group or perhaps by the privileged generously giving up their “privilege”.

There is no discussion on whether the premise of the game is valid, and who might benefit by it having been set up in this way. But we cannot identify and combat racism effectively without such an understanding.


Marx wrote that: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas.” Racism is encouraged to divide workers. It helps to bind workers of the dominant “race” to a national ruling class and creates a barrier to them fighting in common interest with minority workers, who are able to be more deeply exploited.

The majority workers might be better off but they have actually lost out on gains that all workers could have won through united struggle. While the majority workers might have advantages, the only real beneficiaries are the ruling class themselves.

Any history that correctly identifies such past and present injustices is a threat to this arrangement. Hence the Right is keen to ensure that the next generation remains as ignorant as possible about racism and its effects.

In the United States, conservatives have manufactured outrage among some parents against so-called Critical Race Theory, attempting to shut down any teaching about how racism remains deeply structured into society.

In Australia, Liberals like federal Education Minister Alan Tudge have come out swinging against modest proposed changes in a recent review of the Australian curriculum that would include recognising the colonisation of Australia as an “invasion”.

If children realise that the common prejudices in society are not just lies but have been systematically promoted by generations of ruling class bullies, it would be harder for the ruling class to use those prejudices to manipulate them as adults.


There is another question hovering in the background of the show: who would actually do the teaching if things were scaled up so that all children had access to this kind of anti-racist education?

Teachers are overworked and, if the curriculum review is anything to go by, things are set to get worse.

The review proposes a heavier focus on literacy and numeracy in primary school at the expense of arts and humanities. The old phonics and decoding approach to teaching English would be re-emphasised.

The children in the show were exempted from normal classes for three weeks and the program was taught by teachers with special training. Each child and their parents consented to taking part.

It will not be so easy to run such programs at scale and this is not lost on the designers, who include one of the narrators, Professor Fiona White from the University of Sydney.

White noted in an interview with The Education Magazine that periodic “booster programs” would be needed, “supported by positive messaging from parents, family, the media and the government”.

In practice, this would entail a sustained political campaign led by teachers against the racism of the Liberals, and to shrink class sizes and grow the teaching workforce. It would not be possible to properly run anti-racism programs otherwise.

This would be the toughest industrial struggle in the education sector in a generation. But aside from the thousands of new jobs that would be won, the miniseries shows it would all be worth it for the kids, too.


Whatever its theoretical faults, the show demonstrates something all anti-racists know to be true: children are not born racist.

Children learn prejudices and this can happen despite the best efforts of their parents, who can never totally insulate children from bigotry in wider society.

In interview segments, the children all declare themselves to be optimistic and altruistic about human nature.

During the maze activity, one student actually notes aloud that the Hummer could fit them all, coming tantalisingly close to questioning why they couldn’t all ride it back to school.

And in the closing scenes, a budding cross-cultural friendship between two of the students is shown.

As always, one finds boundless potential in children. The program armed its students with the skills to build lifelong friendships across racial boundaries. But when they then encounter the ruling minority that is the source of racism itself, it will be the task of socialists and anti-racists to teach them the skills of struggle.

By Jason Wong

The School That Tried to End Racism is available on ABC iView.

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