What is antiracism? And why it means anticapitalism

To be published March 2023

  • Pre-order the book from Verso.

This scintillating intellectual and political history provides a new understanding of racism, and a better way to fight it

Liberals have been arguing for nearly a century that racism is fundamentally an individual problem of extremist beliefs. Responding to Nazism, thinkers like gay rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld and anthropologist Ruth Benedict called for teaching people, especially poor people, to be less prejudiced. Here lies the origin of today’s liberal antiracism, from diversity training to Hollywood activism. Meanwhile, a more radical antiracism flowered in the Third World. Anticolonial revolutionaries traced racism to the broad economic and political structures of modernity. Thinkers like C.L.R. James and Frantz Fanon showed how racism was connected to colonialism and capitalism, a perspective taken up by figures like Claudia Jones and Martin Luther King.

Today, liberal antiracism has proven powerless against structural oppression. As Arun Kundnani demonstrates, white liberals can heroically confront their own whiteness all they want, yet these structures remain.

This deeply researched and swift-moving narrative history tells the story of the two antiracisms and their fates. As neoliberalism reordered the world in the last decades of the twentieth century, the case became clear: fighting racism means striking at its capitalist roots.


Capitalismo racial

  • Collection of essays translated into Spanish.
  • Order the book from Cambalache.

La raza no es solo un medio para dividir a las clases trabajadoras asalariadas –el argumento marxista ortodoxo–, sino también el medio a través del cual el capitalismo implementa y gestiona las contradicciones entre asalariados y no asalariados, poseedores y desposeídos, ciudadanos dotados de derechos liberales y poblaciones trabajadoras “no libres”, desde esclavizadas hasta indocumentadas. Esto significa que el racismo no se puede reducir a un legado del pasado, sino que se regenera continuamente, adquiriendo nuevas formas, a partir de las divisiones del trabajo dispersas por todo el mundo y de las luchas que se enfrentan a ellas.

En vez de la intersección de identidades u opresiones, la de movimientos; en vez de una jerarquía de opresiones, la apertura a otras luchas manteniendo la especificidad de la propia. Así entendido, lo que algunos todavía insisten en llamar “políticas de identidad” no fragmenta la lucha de clases sino que la radicaliza.

Detrás de las imágenes de la mujer negra dependiente de los subsidios estatales, del musulmán radical y del inmigrante violento se encuentran los temores al radicalismo negro real, al movimiento palestino real y a la politización real de las clases trabajadoras inducida por los trabajadores migrantes.

Published by Cambalanche, 2022.


The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

“Arun Kundnani is one of Britain’s best political writers, neither hectoring nor drily academic but compelling and sharply intelligent.” – Guardian

The new front in the War on Terror is the “homegrown enemy,” domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed – at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda “sympathizers,” and in another operation included almost 300 children fifteen and under among the potential extremists investigated. MI5 doubled in size in just five years.

Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disperate as Texas, New York and Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of the War on Terror at home. The new policy and policing campaigns have been backed by an industry of freshly minted experts and liberal commentators. The Muslims Are Coming! looks at the way these debates have been transformed by the embrace of a narrowly configured and ill-conceived antiextremism.

Published by Verso Books, March 2014


The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st century Britain

“Kundnani icily relates the Kafkaesque absurdities of rejected asylum cases, as well as case studies of biased policing and grossly inflammatory statements by politicians. His sarcasm is finely honed.” – Guardian

Looks behind the media hysteria to show how multicultural Britain is under attack by government policies and vitriolic press campaigns that play upon fear and encourage racism.

A new form of racism is emerging, exacerbated by the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7. It is based on a systematic failure to understand the causes of forced migration, global terrorism and social segregation. The result is a climate of hatred, especially against Muslims and asylum seekers, and the erosion of human rights. Communities are more divided than ever. Yet the government presses ahead with flawed policies and anti-terrorist legislation that creates further resentment, alienation and criminalization.

Foreword by A. Sivanandan, director of the Institute of Race Relations.

Published by Pluto Press, Sept 2007.

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