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  • “Liberal elitists who ignore the context of power and privilege”

    by Leon
    30th November, 2006 at 1:15 pm    

    The NGN manifesto’s critics and responses continue. While they’ve been varied in both tone and maturity they’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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    Filed in: Current affairs,Race politics,Religion

    28 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Clive Davis

      HOT AIR …

      Somehow, I managed to read all the way through A. Sivanandan’s Guardian attack on the new ethnic manifesto launched by Pickled Politics blogger Sunny Hundal. Do I get a prize? Sivanandan, head of the far-Left Institute of Race Relations, has…

    1. faizal — on 30th November, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

      I think Cameron hit the nail on the head by saying “….{Ken} problem is that the critique of multiculturalism is coming from a growing number of intelligent and thoughtful young people – who are themselves from ethnic minority backgrounds”

      Sivanandan is from the old skool of race politics. We need to move forwards!

    2. Douglas Clark — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

      Leon, what I think is more interesting is the comments attached to the authors piece. He gets almost no support at all.

    3. Leon — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

      Good point Doug, I’ve slighted changed the opener to reflect that.

    4. Jagdeep — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

      This really is a very poor article, which has been comprehensively dismembered by people on the comments thread (particularly Dave Hill, who refutes the major points he makes regarding the ‘lack of criticism of the government — which is out and out false. And conorfoley makes good points too)

      The most interesting thing is that Sivanandan totally misrepresents the precepts of the manifesto, in order to make his point, which shows that he either:

      (a) Wilfully distorts to slander

      (b) Is of the old school dinosaur race relations barnyard, and has nothing much to offer other than the paranoid reflexology that this particular species of Jurrasic era ideologues possess

      (c) ‘b’ could actually lead to ‘a’, in which case it’s not a case of wilfully distorting, just that he knows no better.

      Comedy moment of this particular screed was the attempt to use ‘liberal secularist’ as a slur. And the increasingly preposterous Julaybib (the white man who tells Asians and black people they are racist) showing his supprt in an intermittent fart is further proof of Sivanadan’s failure and the NGN’s righteousness.

    5. Chairwoman — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

      Jagdeep - Julaybib is what my husband would have called an enthusiast.

    6. Jagdeep — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

      That’s one word for him, Chairwoman

    7. sonia — on 30th November, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

      Liberal elitist eh?

    8. Sid — on 30th November, 2006 at 3:24 pm  

      Anyone who uses the term “religionist” and knows the dangers thereof is being disengenuous.

    9. Chairwoman — on 30th November, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

      It usually had a prefix :-)

    10. zahed — on 30th November, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

      Pleased to see that the best arguments for the NGN are being catalysed by some of its opponents….

    11. Anas — on 30th November, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

      the white man who tells Asians and black people they are racist

      Isn’t one of the central aims of the NGN movement to foster recognition of the fact that racism is a problem not only amongst white Brits, but British Asians and Blacks too?

    12. Chairwoman — on 30th November, 2006 at 6:38 pm  

      And if it isn’t, shouldn’t it be? Racism seems to be endemic in every group, regardless of ethnicity.

    13. Don — on 30th November, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

      Totally off topic, Tasneem Khalil’s blog has vanished. He’s a decent bloke but sometimes may have sailed a little close to the wind for local conditions. Anyone know anything?

    14. Jagdeep — on 30th November, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

      uh yeah Anas that’s got nothing to do with the preposterous histrionics of this particular ‘enthusiast’ — the white Englishman so addled and head-constipated with anti-racist theory and tracts he places Asians and black people into a narrative of ‘racist collusion’, simply for subscribing to a manifesto he disagrees with. What farcical contortions some people make.

      I might write something on how this manifesto seems to have caused malfunction and hysteria amongst some people, and the reasons for the deliberate misreading that may actually be a condition of paranoia due to hardwired ideology and a projection of phantom enemies from inside their minds when they ascribe motives and reasons for the NGN stance (publicity seekers! Neo-cons! Racists! Uncle Toms! Blah Blah Blah) — something traceable across many of the critics coming from differing individual positions…….Sivanandan through to Bunglawala (even making things up and misrepresenting the precepts of the manifesto — in fact this has been the most fascinating thing of the whole tamasha so far — and comic at times too!)

    15. El Cid — on 30th November, 2006 at 11:16 pm  

      Fucking hell, am I encouraged by the responses to this dross. Old skool? Faizal you’re spot on. Liberal elitist? Exactly Sonia. What tosh. Straight from the off, this fellah — is it a fellah? Excuse my igorance — he gives the game away by contriving to reduce the whole question of race-based stupidity into a discussion about post 9/11 foreign policy. I don’t deny that FP hasn’t helped, but racism existed long before 9/11. Stop this frigging sophistry.

    16. William — on 1st December, 2006 at 12:02 am  

      “the white man who tells Asians and black people they are racist

      Isn’t one of the central aims of the NGN movement to foster recognition of the fact that racism is a problem not only amongst white Brits, but British Asians and Blacks too?”

      I agree that other ethnic groups can be racist but I have seen one or two instances one in particular where a white person accused someone of another race of being racist when it was obvious, to me anyway, that they were themselves being racist. Don’t know how much this could apply to other races as well as whites. It is more disheartening when
      people complicate issues. Things can easily spiral to no escape mulitple paranoias.

    17. El Cid — on 1st December, 2006 at 12:26 am  

      william, why don’t you go one step further and specify the instance you have in mind so that we understand your point fully.

    18. William — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:15 am  


      Travelling home on bus route. I was sitting at the back. Couple get on, man and woman. There seems to be some disagreement between the man and the driver over change. I did not hear the words but that’s what it seemed like. The man and woman sit near back and I hear him make a definite racist remark. Later the couple get off. Just as they are about to get off the man several times call the driver a racist. The driver was a Sikh who didn’t even reply and just drove off. The first remark by the man was not that the driver was racist but was a definite racist remark but I don’t remember the exact words. The second remarks were that the driver was racist.

      I would like to say that I have not necessarily seen a lot of racism but that might be partly due to particular company I keep.

    19. William — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:25 am  

      on another point

      Also on same bus route at a different time. This people may find strange but it is true. West Midlands buses had recently put no smoking signs upstairs on buses. Once a black man lit up a cigarette. Someone asked him to put it out. The black man got angry and pointed to one of the signs saying ‘you know what that means, that means no smoking for black people’

      Although the above is absurd. Could we not more easily understand the above in that discrimination, persecution could easily push human beings to paranioa. Of course not all black people are paraniod. However all groups have people who may be more susceptible to paranioa. Is it not conceivable that those more susceptible could be easily pushed further. It is worth remembering that black people are by far over represented within the mental health services.

    20. Sunny — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

      I’m sorry, was a certain someone trying to derail the thread again? I didn’t think so.

      Anyway, I thought Sivandan’s article was so hilariously bad that it may actually make us look good. So I’m quite glad the Guardian printed it. I’m not even sure I’ll bother with a full reply.

    21. Leon — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

      I’m sorry, was a certain someone trying to derail the thread again? I didn’t think so.

      Heh a correction in The Matrix has transpired I see…;)

    22. bananabrain — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

      did someone remove my heads-up post, too? or am i being considered a troll now as well?



    23. Sunny — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

      You’re not considered a troll, I just deleted all related posts, sorry.

      Leon - heh.

    24. Sid — on 1st December, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

      Sivanandan fancies himself to be an old Naxalite. Unfortunately for him, without any of the commonsense or compelling context.

    25. Chairwoman — on 1st December, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      If I’m a troll, fol-de-rol,
      Then I will eat you for supper.

    26. bananabrain — on 1st December, 2006 at 2:36 pm  

      oh ok then. consider me bananabillygoat gruff. so i’ll just trit-trot along then.



    27. Sad Bob — on 15th December, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

      “transferred the blame and the onus of change on to the minorities”

      The responsibility belongs to both the majority and the minorities. Rights, rights, rights? Responsibilities, responsibilities, responsibilities!

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