Unsurprisingly there have been two kinds of responses to the agenda published by the New Generation Network.
1) That we simply to install ourselves as alternative “community leaders” or push someone else in place. And that we don’t want minority groups to be organised. This completely misses the central points made in the manifesto. We don’t want to see anyone claiming to represent vast swathes of people without a democratic mandate. If we started saying we represent other people, or that we want someone else to be in their place – then it would be hypocritical. We have stated clearly we want to see organisations designated and treated as lobby groups not “representatives”.
In addition to the obvious point that they cannot hope to represent contradictory points of view, we have also laid out why this system serves only to help the government in politicising race and religion, and in shifting responsibility. And yet, Inayat Bunglawala and Salma Yaqoob have studiously avoided those points.
2) Gary Younge says we should not be attacking “our own” when the priority should be white racists. Again, I believe this is a fatal flaw in the present day anti-racist movement. How can you hope to demand equality and social justice and bring community cohesion when you are allying yourself with people who don’t have that agenda?
The BNP, insitutional racism and soft racism are absolutely a major issue. But the platform is anti-racism, anti-bigotry and anti-prejudice. That cannot be shared with those who do not espouse those values completely. Otherwise you lose your direction and fail miserably.
Lastly, I also intend to respond to Frank Fisher’s article later on the difference between race and religion. That is an interesting discussion in itself.
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Filed in: Race politics