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May 23 17 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
NatCon UK🧵

What does this week's UK National Conservativism conference reveal about global trends amongst the international Right?`

Follow this THREAD for a collection of Race & Class and @IRR_News resources on the so-called 'war on woke' Image
NatCon 2023 brought together a number of conservative politicians, academics and commentators who decry 'woke dogma' as an existential threat to society. Many of them feature in this crucial new article, 'An anatomy of the British war on woke' journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/03… Image
As @huwcdavies and @wsi2016 show, motifs such as 'cultural marxism', 'critical race theory' and 'woke ideology' are framed as pseudo-religions that pose a threat to 'western civilisation', generating a modern moral panic about perceived leftwing cultural hegemony. Image
After US BLM protests in 2020, Critical Race Theory became a favoured bogeyman for Donald Trump and the Right, with nine states passing legislation that bans CRT from being taught in schools.

Anti-CRT rhetoric has also made its way across the Atlantic bylinetimes.com/2020/10/22/kem…
UK schools are not immune from the culture wars, with govt guidance (bit.ly/3BQd2IN) telling teachers to 'not under any circumstances’ work with groups or use resources from organisations that take anti-capitalist or ‘extreme political stances’ irr.org.uk/article/clippi…
Higher Education is a key battleground, with the now passed 'Freedom of Speech' Act enabling the Office for Students to impose sanctions on Universities & Students Unions for barring speakers whose positions they fear oppose racial justice or LGBT+ rights bylinetimes.com/2021/08/19/the…
Where did this bill come from?

One key influence was a 2020 Policy Exchange report on Academic Freedom and the need to 'protect viewpoint diversity'.

Several recommendations made their way into the bill, with report author and NatCon speaker Eric Kaufmann giving evidence to MPs ImageImage
Legal experts told @timeshighered the Act could see groups & individuals take legal action against Universities or Students Unions for failing to protect 'free expression'.

The Free Speech Union, whose founder spoke at NatCon, confirmed they would consider supporting a test case Image
Defending 'Free Speech' on campuses is another well-worn tactic of the Right in America, as discussed in Liz Fekete's interview with @isaac_kamola and Ralph Wilson, authors of 'Free Speech and Koch Money: manufacturing a campus culture war' journals.sagepub.com/share/JYTTDCMI… Image
One educator who continually leans into the culture wars is 'Britain's strictest headteacher' Katharine Birbalsingh, who told NatCon attendees to pull their children out of 'woke schools'.

The government made her Social Mobility Commission Chair in 2021 irr.org.uk/article/social…
Birbalsingh has since resigned, but two Social Mobility Commissioners, Matthew Goodwin & David Goodhart spoke at NatCon

Goodwin is a fellow of the Legatum Institute which in 2018-19 received $154,000 from the Koch Foundation. He also gave evidence for the Freedom of Speech bill. Image
Former teacher and now Tory MP Miriam Cates has warned of the dangers of 'gender ideology' in schools.

But Cates' main fear at NatCon was declining birthrates - a key vector in the 'traditionalist' Right's civilisational fixation on 'demographic change'
journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.11… Image
Right-wing leaders across Europe have said that declining birthrates are a threat to the family and ‘Christian culture’, whilst Orban’s Hungary and Meloni’s Italy pursue ‘natalist’ policies to incentivise 'desirable' citizens to have more babies
Cates has argued that sex education in schools is causing a 'social contagion...driving pupils to identify as trans'.

Siddiqui has shown how reproductive racism often involves attacks on the trans community and anyone placed outside the nuclear family irr.org.uk/article/femini…
Anti-LGBT+ and racialised demographic scaremongering was heard regularly at NatCon. Home Secretary Suella Braverman declared '100% of women do not have a penis' and 'biological sex is vitally fundamentally important'. thepinknews.com/2023/05/15/sue…
Danny Kruger MP went further, arguing that the 'normative family...a mother and father' were the 'only possible basis for a safe and successful society'.
Such Christian conservative values reflect NatCon organisers Edmund Burke Foundation's restoration narrative: for nation-states to return to 'religious tradition', restrict immigration, reject individualism and 'foster stable family & congregational life' nationalconservatism.org/national-conse…

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More from @Race_Class

Feb 24
NEW &🔓for 30 days

Civilisational racism, ethnonationalism and the clash of imperialisms in Ukraine🇺🇦

As calls for a peace process to end the conflict grow, Liz Fekete analyses the consequences of the war from an anti-racist, internationalist viewpoint🧵
A leading expert on European racism, Fekete pinpoints the need to examine how new geopolitics, changing imperialisms and the entrenching of a racism built on a 19th century-style civilisational hierarchy and revanchist nationalisms are emerging in the fall-out of the war.
Fekete believes that while civilisational frameworks have reached fever pitch in Russia, these hierarchies are also becoming entrenched in European policy circles. 'Civilisational racism' denotes the arrangement of nations ranked according to their adherence to western values.
Read 12 tweets
Nov 23, 2022
‘The half I give away will change the half I keep’

Today marks 50 years since John Berger won the Booker prize for his novel G. In his speech at Café Royal, he shared half the prize money with the British Black panthers and the other half funded his research on migrant workers.
Martyn Hudson reflects on its implications of that speech for anti-racist struggles in the 70s & the present day in our latest issue of Race & Class.

The half he kept was used for a study of migrant workers in Europe which became A Seventh Man: journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.11…
The same year as Berger's @TheBookerPrizes speech, the IRR was radically transformed by staff and members who overthrew the management. Notably the IRR chair was Booker Brothers head Michael Caine, whose family had made their fortune through plantations in British Guyana.
Read 8 tweets
Jun 18, 2020

‘The argument is not so much about facts as about interpretation’ – Colin Prescod (Archives, race, class and rage)


A selection of articles exploring the way we ‘do’ history - history is not etched in stone, but curated. How can we challenge this?
What is reparatory history? What does it mean to do it in Britain?

Catherine Hall argues that debates on reparation need to include questions about the historical narratives on ‘race’ and empire that have been and are being produced:

‘Until the lions have their historians, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunters’

IRR Chair Colin Prescod’s keynote discusses the importance of not just including Black experiences but to allow Black agency in making the historical record.

journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.117… No Colour Bar March in UK
Read 10 tweets
Jun 16, 2020

Essential reading on policing and deaths in custody in the UK- free to access

‘The silence of the custodial system is compounded by the silences of racism. We have chosen to break that silence’
-A. Sivanandan, intro of IRR report Deadly Silence

‘There is no justice, there is just us’ - Stafford Scott in the IRR report Dying for Justice. 1/2

cc: @npolicemonitor
A discussion with families of Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, Roger Sylvester and Mark Duggan, who live in a 3 mile radius in Tottenham/Haringey and each lost loved ones at the hands of the police. 2/2

Read here:
Read 13 tweets
Jun 12, 2020

How does the carceral state operate in the US?

As the world wakes up to racism and police brutality, these articles reveal the implications of the carceral state for black communities in the US.

Feat. Angela Davis, Micol Seigel & Colleen E Mills
📺Framing Ferguson

In 2014 a police officer shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, sparking protests around the world. Protests in Ferguson were met by intense law enforcement.

This piece analyses Fox News coverage, arguing it perpetuated racist discourses
Violence work: policing and power by Micol Seigel

‘We see that police work is the work of the state, and the work of the state is violence, racialised in the interests of capital.’
Read 12 tweets
May 7, 2020
‘We starved, but we shared.’

📖 Free Bank Holiday Reading!

As these principles become more crucial during the pandemic, we publish an Editors selection of R&C articles on the black tradition of mutual aid, self-help and solidarity.

Free to download⬇️
In post-war Britain, racialised and working-class communities organised to meet vital needs that were either neglected by a racist state, or engendered by it, whilst also pushing for a more radical ‘normal’.

This history has been overlooked, with numerous unsung heroes...
The collection begins with a tribute to ‘Brother’ Herman Edwards who set up Harambee in 1969, providing holistic care for young people inc. prison visiting, educational programmes and bail accommodation encouraging them to gain practical tools to help themselves and each other.
Read 14 tweets

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