Charity & social welfare

Sivanandan, Ambalavaner (9 of 10).  National Life Stories: General

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  • Recording date

    2010-08-13, 2010-08-20, 2010-08-26, 2010-10-20, 2010-11-02

  • Interviewees

    Sivanandan, Ambalavaner, 1923-2018 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 9: It became clear that they had to take account of the technological changes. Arun Kundnani came to the IRR to fulfil this. He produced a CD called the ‘History of Black Struggle in Britain.’ ‘From Resistance to Rebellion’ was written by AS. In about 1990 things were moving in Europe and AS wrote about this. Rowntree gave them money and Liz Fekete now executive director of IRR brought out the European Bulletin. More recently it became the European Race Audit. Check out EPIM. [4:56] Racism changes. The centre of gravity has moved to Europe. The IRR changed at every level. People like Victoria Brittain and David Edgar help, which is very good. It became accepted that Race Awareness Training was doing nothing. Is it racism when discrimination is meted out to white people? Is it xenophobia? What was done to European migrants in recent years is much the same as what was done to black and Asians. They have no status. The blacks and Asians mostly now take the side of the state. Details. In substance it is racism, so they have coined the term xenoracism, now an accepted word. The thing AS takes most pride in is that he has become redundant. He has had vertigo for the past year or so and can’t go in to the office anyway. Another thing that IRR is doing is ‘Prevent’. This brings the police and groups together to try to prevent Muslim radicalisation. Examples. [12:48] Jenny is now editor of ‘Race and Class’ and is company secretary, writing about fascism too. This is very important in Europe now, respectable fascism. This should be looked at with Muslim fundamentalism and feminism. The combination of race and religion has been a potent ingredient for fascism. They have a whole new group of people to fight. The liberati, the liberal literati, Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie. The agents of struggle are changing, there is a new type of sectarianism. We don’t have so much respectable fascism like Wilders in Holland, in the UK, because multiculturalism succeeded here. [18:30] We have a history of struggle against fascism. ‘Searchlight’ was brilliant against fascism. The Socialist Workers Party and others were sticking to the strict Marxist ideology. Example of the Pentonville Five. Protests. They expressed different views. They finally brought out a journal where they united with white anti-fascists. It was a monthly called CARF the Campaign against Racism and Fascism. The left wing groups were stuck in the 1930s. IRR does not accept Marxist dogma. CARF stopped in 2001 or 2, due to lack of money and usefulness and IRR started a news service instead. [24:07]AS can’t personally use a computer or mobile but foresaw its possibilities 30 years ago. He wrote ‘ New Circuits of Imperialism’. Examples in the manufacturing industries. That was important in how they made alliances, and how they fought with information in the struggle. AS did a lot of writing and lecturing on Sri Lanka and the fascist government there. [28:13] Liz Fekete has become an authority on Europe and wrote a brilliant piece on the women’s movement and how it is giving fascists a stick to beat Muslims with. This is the new racism. Europe began to set the agenda after 9/11. There is little to say about America as it is in flux. No longer are they helping us here, the lead is set by Europe. The danger is that here people are beginning to say that multiculturalism was a mistake. No. It was unique that it has succeeded here. What is a mistake is that after Scarman and Thatcher and others they have turned it into culturalism. Explanation. The problem is that Europe is exporting its view of multiculturalism which has become perverted into anti Muslim feeling. IRR says that Islam must be separated from anti Muslim racism. It is an on-going battle. [35:57] The theory and the practice are different and should be separated. They fought identity politics, positive discrimination, for a long time.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Ambalavaner Sivanandan (1923-2018), director of the Institute of Race Relations and founding editor of Race & Class.

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