How apps and other online tools are challenging racist attacks

Twitter marks Black Lives Matter protests

Twitter marks Black Lives Matter protests

Justine Humphry and I have just published an article at The Conversation on our research into antiracism apps. More details about this ongoing research can be found here.

In the aftermath of Brexit in the UK and the success of Pauline Hanson in the Australian Senate elections, racism seems to be a more present threat than ever.

As First Nations people and people of colour in Australia well know, racial violence never went away. But, for others, recent events may serve as a needed reminder that racist attacks and abuses of police power also happen outside the US.

The Brexit fallout has included a sharp rise in racist attacks on people of colour and migrants, including eastern Europeans. Anti-racists in the UK have quickly responded. The iStreetWatch website now allows users to report and map racist incidents across the UK.

People are increasingly using online spaces and digital tools such as anti-racism apps to strategise, challenge racist views and strengthen anti-racist solidarity.

Read the rest of the article here

Brexit demonstrates the Left’s failure on Race issues

Mohamad Tabbaa suggested to me that it would be a good idea to write something on the problems of the white left’s reaction to #Brexit and their failure to take seriously the racism on which the leave vote very much relied. We were particularly troubled by remarks by staples of the Australian left, John Pilger and Jeff Sparrow. So, unsurprisingly perhaps, not many outlets wanted to publish us. Sajjeling did though and I’m very grateful. The article has been shared more than 1,000 on Facebook and I am particularly honoured that it was shared by Media Diversified. Read the article on Sajjeling.

I am also linking to this brave video made by Ash Sarkar for Novaramedia in which she interviewed people in the London borough of Barking about the referendum: ‘The Unbearable Whiteness of Brexit.’

In an article on race and British cultural studies, Roxy Harris noted that the field’s founders – E.P. Thompson and Raymond Williams – ignored “the place of black and brown British subjects in the national polity”. Thompson’s classic 1968 study, The Making of the English Working Class, for example, while covering “topics such as the liberty of ‘the free-born Englishman’” was silent about “the part played by the Empire, the slaves, plantations, the East India Company and so on”.

These great theorists of British society were race-blind.

But it seems that little has been learned from this partial and parochial view of British social and economic history, especially in the writings of a small but vocal group from what we will refer to as “the white Left”.

Since last Friday’s #Brexit vote, where a referendum was held in the UK to determine whether Britain would exit the European Union (EU), Australian writers John Pilger and Jeff Sparrow wrote in New Matilda and Overland respectively that the vote to leave the EU was a knife in the back of neoliberalism (Pilger) and testimony to the success of participatory democracy (Sparrow).

Austerity and war against multiculturalism

StandUpToRacsimDemo22-3-14mI wrote about sexualised race, austerity, the ‘left’ and Brexit for the Anti-Austerity and Media Activism series on OpenDemocracy.

I concluded that

It has become a problem to identify that racism has been made play a role in how austerity is framed – as a struggle between the deserving native and the undeserving, undesirable yet desiring migrant. This conveniently ignores the detrimental effects that the mobilisation of race, and sexualised race in particular, has on achieving the societies we need, in which there is enough for all.

Read the article here


On Jo Cox, fascism and racism: Interview with Indymedia

indymedia-site-header-images-topOn Monday June 20 I was interviewed by Raymond Grenfell on Indymedia on RTR FM (Perth) about the assassination of Jo Cox, the far right and racism in Britain and Australia. You can listen again here.

I tried to talk about how mainstream politics nurtures the environment in which Jo Cox was assassinated. My point about terrorism and hate crimes, however, did not come across as clearly as I would have liked. What I intended to say was that while it’s right to point out that there are double standards at play when any act of violence carried out by Muslims is immediately tagged as ‘terrorism’ and those carried out by whites is framed as a mental health issue, we should be wary of seeming to endorse anti-terrorism legislation which, for the great majority of cases is used to discriminate against and racially profile Muslims and other racialised people. A useful article by Gary Younge goes towards some of the problems I wished to articulate.

Rest in Power, Jo Cox

Picture from Another Angry Voicde

Picture from Another Angry Voice

The racism of the Brexit campaign set the scene for the murder of Jo Cox. Her brutal killing is continuous with Breivik’s Utoya massacre. Then as now the peddlers of hate, from the those who ‘bravely’ spoke of the failures of multiculturalism, to those inciting hooligans to taunt refugee children  with their 1930s style cartoons are responsible.

Breivik, like Mair, was a creation of modern Europe’s refusal to admit that race is integral to its formation, not an aberration, not a pathology. It is the logical outcome of the sustained refusal to accept the fact that Europe was not, is not and will not be a white continent but that its power structures have to change in recognition, which means engaging deeply with the legacies of race, ceding white power, and dismantling Eurocentrism.

It is on this battleground that Jo Cox died.


I Stand with Roz Ward & Houria Bouteldja

escaping-control-facebook-cover-timeline-banner-for-fbRoz Ward, academic and co-founder of the Safe Schools Programme has been suspended from her post by La Trobe University. She called the Australian flag racist in a private Facebook post.

Welcome to academia 2016.

Of course, for many Muslim people accused of ‘terrorism’ for their social media activity, or non-privileged young people, for example those jailed for 4 years for ‘inciting disorder’ for posting on Facebook during the London ‘riots’ in 2011, or again, those such as Houria Boutledja, the French-Algerian decolonial activist whose Facebook account and that of the Parti des indigenes de la republique has been repeatedly reported for ‘abuse’ by right-wing Zionist trolls during her recent successful case against the Ligue de defence Juive for a violent attack against her are well used to having their social media monitored and used as a means for discipline and punishment.

Roz Ward is being attacked because of homophobia, transphobia and racism.

Houria Bouteldja is being attacked because of racism and fascism.

I Stand With Roz and Houria.

Revisiting Fanon: Lessons for Critical Race & Decolonial Struggles – presentation

Tonight Free University of Western Sydney is hosting a screening of Concerning Violence, the Goran Olsson film which uses archival footage of anticolonial struggles to contextualise Chapter 1 of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. Omar Bensaidi and I will be chairing the discussion. Here is the presentation we have prepared with the text below.

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On making refugees work for us

ImmigrantTwo recent comments summarise the problem with responding to Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s base level Powellian dog-whistling racism with pictures of successful refugees.

Somayra Ismailjee‘s Engaging with Dutton’s Rhetoric is a Slippery Slope.

Somayra Ismailjee 19 May 2016

Somayra Ismailjee 19 May 2016

And this from Rise Refugee

RISE Refugee 20 May 2016

RISE Refugee 20 May 2016

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Revisiting Fanon: Lessons for Critical Race & Decolonial Struggles

IMG_5107On Thursday May 26 the Free University of Western Sydney will be hosting a special screening of the documentary Concerning Violence by Goran Hugo Olsson. Omar Bensaidi and I will be hosting a discussion afterwards at the Bankstown Arts Centre. All Welcome.

More details here.