The NGN manifestoâ€™s critics and responses continue. While theyâ€™ve been varied in both tone and maturity theyâ€™ve always been interesting to read (along with the resulting comments here and elsewhere). A Sivanandan (Director of the Institute of Race Relations) has chimed in with his thoughts:
It is absurd to think that we can speak of racism and religionism today without speaking of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the dismemberment of Palestine, the war on terror and the treatment meted out to asylum seekers and refugees – all of which have given “a certificate of respectability” to racism, anti-Muslim racism in particular, and worse, collapsed race into religion to produce a vicious cocktail of violence and mayhem.
The government’s strategy to remedy the social dislocation caused by its policies is not to admit that those may be wrong but to seal them with demands for integration and community cohesion. But integration into Britishness (as opposed to British society), together with the rejection of multiculturalism, amounts to assimilation. And community cohesion is not something that can be imposed from above. It arises in the course of a common struggle. The government’s version of community cohesion is a corollary of assimilation.
Yet the liberal elitists of the NGN are ready to go along with it, without recognising that New Labour has shifted the terms of debate from racism and deprivation to assimilation and community cohesion – and transferred the blame and the onus of change on to the minorities. [Via Comment is Free]
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