The West is Dying – of Narcissism

In his signature 2001 general election speech, Conservative party leader William Hague argued that four more years under Tony Blair would turn Britain into “a foreign land” governed from Brussels and overrun with asylum seekers. Labour “thinks Britain would be alright if only we had a different people,” he claimed. The implication was that a…

Communities of Resistance book cover

On A. Sivanandan’s Communities of Resistance

Below is the introduction to a new edition of A. Sivanandan’s classic collection of essays Communities of Resistance: Writings on Black Struggles for Socialism. A. Sivanandan was the foremost intellectual of the black working-class movement in Britain during its insurgent heyday from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The essays collected here, written between…

Recharging the Batteries of Whiteness: Trump’s New Racial Identity Politics

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…

Multiculturalism and its discontents: Left, Right and liberal

Attacks on multiculturalism from across the political spectrum reduce the complex history of settlement and interaction in the UK to a simple narrative of excessive British tolerance and increasingly disruptive immigrant communities. The liberal version of this ‘integrationist’ discourse emphasizes the Enlightenment values associated with secularism, individualism, gender equality, sexual freedom and freedom of expression…

Islamism and the roots of liberal rage

As the neoconservative idea of a clash of civilisations is increasingly challenged, a number of liberal writers — Paul Berman, Nick Cohen, Martin Amis, Andrew Anthony, Bernard Henry-Lévy and Christopher Hitchens — are rethinking the ‘war on terror’ as a cold war against Islamism, defined as a totalitarian political movement analogous to fascism or Stalinism.…

An Unholy Alliance? Racism, religion and communalism

This October 2002 paper explored the contemporary trend in which the secular term ‘Asian’ was being displaced in the UK by religiously-coded definitions of identity, a process that was linked to the emergence of new, religious political/social movements and occasionally accompanied by violence between different South Asian communities in Britain. Potential links between Hindu and Sikh nationalist…