Far Right Racism and Gang Abuse

By Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale.

Three years ago we posted an article about gang abuse of young women in Oxford. This article is of national relevance now, because the fascist and hard racist right is making hay with campaigns against Asian and Muslim abusers. Two weeks ago 15,000 people marched in central London calling for freedom for Tommy Robinson. There were 500 anti-racist counter-marchers. Things are getting serious. Continue reading

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Covering up abuse – We are all gymnasts

 

Rachel Denhollander at the trial of Larry Nasser

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale write: In the wake of metoo, collective movements are now exposing cover-ups from the top. The target is no longer just one individual, a Strauss-Kahn, a Bill Clinton or a Clarence Thomas. These movements are shouting: it’s a whole system. The class inequalities that protect abuse are being exposed. This is cause for joy, and hope.

The Larry Nasser case provides a brutal example. At Nasser’s trial last month more than 160 survivors of abuse testified about what he had done to them. Nasser was a doctor for the athletics department at Michigan State University, and for the United States national Olympic team in gymnastics. The stories the survivors told were moving, and horrific. Nasser abused thousands of girls, some as young as six, by fingering them vaginally and anally for his own pleasure, over a period of more than twenty years.

Nasser was only able to do what he did because dozens of people  covered up for him. This fits with what we have seen in the many cases the Metoo movement has begun to expose. Only a minority of men abuse. Most men do not do those things. But the men who do it, do it over and over again, so almost every woman suffers. Continue reading

Fresh Apricots – A Prison Story

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Saydnaya prison, Damascus, Syria

Nancy Lindisfarne writes:

For forty-six years the Assad regime has ruled Syria with murderous brutality. A measure of this brutality was the quelling of a popular uprising against the regime in the city of Hama in 1982. Assad (the father) bombed and killed some 20,000 Syrian citizens. Or perhaps 40,000 – the violence was so comprehensive and effective that it has never been possible to establish exactly how many perished.

The massacre in Hama and the violence of the Assads’ secret prisons served to terrify the population and kept people quiescent. Until 2011. In the Arab Spring hope was contagious. Syrians rose up to rid themselves of a tyrannical regime. Continue reading

A Poem: Good Morning Fortress Europe

By Rouba Mhaissen

My alarm woke me up
It’s 2017
Good morning Fortress Europe
Today is another day
I’ll get randomly checked
At an airport nearby.

Trying so hard to fix my turban
To hide my inherited racial and religious dysfunction:

Not too Muslim
Post-Modern from the sides
Not too Arab
Civilized color to say:
I studied at your universities
That taught me about rights
Exclusive to your peoples.

Not too Syrian
To have fitted on a boat
Not too Migrant
To be stealing your jobs
But silky enough
To have been made by dark hands
In your new-age slave factories

The reception rings: taxi here ma’am
And my bad hijab day
continues
I can’t fix it, goddammit!
It’s 6 am
Try again
And I heard the
Oppressed
Repressed
Depressed
Arab submissive woman in me say:

F* you, I’m Muslim. Continue reading

Are Syrian Men Vulnerable Too? Gendering the Syria Refugee Response

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Syrian refugees in Jordan, 2016

Lewis Turner writes about Syrian refugees in Jordan, He argues that ‘a person is not vulnerable because they are a man or a woman, but because of what being a man or a woman means in particular situations. A refugee response that automatically assumes that women and children are the most vulnerable will do a disservice to the community it seeks to serve.’ Continue reading

WTF?

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Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale write:

Trump’s win this morning has left many of us in despair. To prepare ourselves for what is to come, here are some things we need to understand about class struggle, racism and climate change.

First, this vote is a victory for the far right and for racism on a global scale. Second, it is also partly a class revolt against the consequences of neoliberalism. Trump’s appeal to class anger through racism is a tragedy and an obscenity.

Trump’s racism and sexism matter. In this respect, Clinton was the lesser of two evils. Trump’s victory will unleash a right wing backlash on abortion, and it will be a license to arrest, beat and kill unarmed black men. Government repression of every kind will follow. So will persecution of Muslims, immigrants and refugees. Things will get easier for those who would harass, rape and torture.

Trump’s victory will give heart to authoritarian governments and far right racist parties around the world. It will shift the world to the right.

Trump’s victory is also a class rebellion. Almost every bit of mainstream commentary for months has been class blind. But forty years of increasing inequality has created a very considerable economic and cultural class division in the United States. On the one hand there are those who have done well. They are women and men, black and white, gay and straight. They are the head teachers and police chiefs, the fund managers and Soccer Moms, the college educated managers and professionals. Continue reading

Technology and Inequality

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Nancy Lindisfarne writes – We live in a world mad drunk on technology and political stupidity. Bob Hughes’ new book, The Bleeding Edge: Why Technology turns Toxic in an Unequal World (Oxford: New Internationalist. 2016) says more about this poisonous combination – its causes, consequences, and possible cures – than anything I have previously read. This is an ambitious and important book. The questions Hughes addresses about the relation between equality and creativity – and the converse, why inequality is so stifling of innovation and so destructive of the environment– are extremely pressing.

And they are questions that haunt us. Thinking hard about technology is frightening. Our world is so full of things that most of us don’t understand, perhaps it is better not to look. Continue reading