Archive for the ‘‘Race’ and ‘difference’’ Category

Tame Iti and mate Jenny Shipley, the Tory prime minister of NZ at the time and a keen advocate of ‘respect for diversity’.

The article below first appeared in issue #14 of revolution magazine, dated Xmas 2000/March 2001.  The introduction to the article stated that it argued “Trendy liberal race relations nostrums are more about social control than emancipation”.  Footnotes have been added for this re-publication. 

by Philip Ferguson

From cultural safety in nursing training to the banning of vegetables from primary school play groups – use of vegetables to make, for example, potato stamps is now regarded as ‘culturally insensitive’ because ‘traditional’ Maori society didn’t use spuds for such frivolous activities – Maori culture appears to be increasingly important and respected.

Virtually everyone from the far left through to much of the National Party (with the exception of the minor-league redneck element typified by the now-retired John Banks)[1] appears to be in favour of cultural diversity and the ‘empowerment of Maori.

Yet, as has been noted in this magazine before, the cultural revival coincides with a worsening of the actual material conditions of the majority of Maori (see, in particular, revolution #7) and the collapse of old forms of collective class organisation.  It is in this situation that some Maori have retreated into idealised versions of the past.  This retreat coincides with an interest on the part of the ruling class in finding new forms through which to mediate conflicting interests and establish social control in the midst of the decay of society itself.

Changing ruling class ideology

The ruling class ideology today is clearly not the one which existed in the decades before 1984 and was reflected in commitment to the welfare state, monoculturalism and the kind of old-fashioned patriotism and nationalism epitomised by powerful right-wing groups like the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA).

Today’s ruling class, for instance, actively promotes multiculturalism, liberal pluralism and has no problem with homosexuality and other things that were taboo in the past.  A lot of formal legal inequality has been abolished as it was an obstacle to the needs of a new round of capital accumulation and the new style of managing an increasingly fragmented society.

For someone seen as right-wing economically, such as recent National Party prime minister Jenny Shipley, ‘respect for difference’ is a key principle, as she made clear when (more…)

Labour’s racist roots

A stain that won’t wash off: Labour’s racist campaign against people with ‘Chinese-sounding’ surnames

More Labour anti-Chinese racism and the left tags along behind them still

 

downloadby The Spark

Before electronic computers, and multifunctioning calculators, there were human computers. Black and white women mathematicians were tasked with turning numbers into meaningful data for NASA. Their calculations made possible many ground-breaking missions. These calculations, done by hand, with pencil and paper, often took more than a week to complete, filling six to eight notebooks with data and formulas.

Hidden Figures follows three black women “computers”: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – and their work at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia in the ‘60s.

All three of these women were brilliant mathematicians living and working in segregated and sexist Virginia. The film gives a sense of the indignities and humiliations these women endured. At one point Katherine Johnson is sent to a new department to calculate the trajectories for Alan Shepard’s space flight. The men – all white – were not (more…)

The picture below appeared on Mike Alewitz’s facebook page.  Mike is a longtime left activist and artist in the States.  It’s a great variation on – and far more inspiring than – the old Pastor Niemoller quote about they came for this group of people and then that group of people etc and no-one resisted. Mike made the following comment:

“One of the glorious aspects of the recent demonstrations is the lack of pre-printed signs and banners handed out by Democratic Party hacks and union bureaucrats.

“Instead we have seen an explosion of creative sign making – hand lettered messages that are funny, emotional, insightful and clever. These works are giving genuine expression to the aspirations of tens of thousands of workers, artists and activists.

“Here is a favorite of mine – artist and photographer unknown.

“This kind of organic art has always been around, but Donald Trump has definitely been an outstanding inspiration!

“(As both a professional sign painter and professor emeritus of street art, I heartily endorse this development).”

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10634807165_a72b062684by Tony Greenstein

When Miri Regev, a Likud member of the knesset (Israeli parliament), stated that “the Sudanese are a cancer in our body” back in 2012, she sparked off a pogrom against refugees in south Tel Aviv. Later she apologised to cancer victims, for having compared them to refugees – she also apologised for comparing the refugees to human beings!1 And today Miri Regev is Israel’s culture minister!
In fact the attitude of Regev is no different from that of her government. Refugees are called ‘infiltrators’ in order to compare them with those Palestinians who tried to return to Israel after being expelled in 1948. Not one Syrian has been given refugee status despite the country being Israel’s neighbour. As professor Gideon Kunda explained,

‘Infiltrator’ is a very loaded word, and it was not chosen by accident. It’s part of our collective memory, going back to the early period of the state, to Ma’aleh Akrabim2 and to Palestinians who tried to return to their land.”3

Large numbers of African refugees, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, began arriving in Israel in the second half of the 2000s and this has accelerated from around 2010-12. There were an estimated 60,000 refugees at one time, though the numbers today are thought to be no more than 46,000. Large numbers have been ‘persuaded’ to ‘self-deport’ via a bribe of some $3,000, combined with long periods inside the Holot detention centre in the Negev desert. As The Times of Israelreports, “Israel has recognised fewer than 1% as asylum claims and, since 2009, less than 0.15% – the lowest rate in the western world.”4 Although most refugees from Eritrea and Sudan are internationally acknowledged as refugees, in Israel virtually none are given refugee status.

In every country in Europe there is anti-refugee feeling. But in Israel it is qualitatively different, as such sentiment is (more…)

Jesse Owens, one of the greatest track athletes of all time was shunned by Hitler and Roosevelt alike

Jesse Owens, one of the greatest track athletes of all time, was shunned by Hitler and Roosevelt alike

by The Spark

The Olympic Games in Brazil are the 31st modern Olympic Games, according to the tradition that was reinvented at the end of the 19th century. If today they supposedly promote peace, equality between people, and between men and women, they are rooted in a history of racism, sexism, nationalism and cheating.

Coubertin: Racist, Colonialist, Sexist

Baron Pierre de Coubertin instigated the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. He wanted to exalt aristocratic ideals, which were exclusively male and white. Coubertin didn’t hide his sexism. In 1912, he was already opposed to the participation of women: “The only true Olympic hero is the male individual. Female Olympics are unthinkable. They would be uninteresting, unathletic and incorrect. In the Olympic Games, their role must above all be, as in the ancient tournaments, to crown the victors.”

The first Olympic Games were reserved for whites. Coubertin, “a fanatical colonialist,” according to his own words, was a racist and open anti- (more…)