EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Race and Racism In 70's Britain
First Published in 1982. The Empire Strikes Back examines the place of 'race' and racism in the political transformation of Britain at the end of the seventies, and argues that Britain has entered a longterm political and economic crisis which has brought new urgency to the politics of race and nation. The authors explore the elements of a new, culturally focused racism which, in representations of black families, stresses their alienness and the supposed criminal inclinations of the black population. They argue that the British state is very far from its popular image as a liberal democracy, and that all our notions of culture, nation and class are based on deeply racist structures. Key areas of state intervention such as schooling, policing and policy-oriented 'race relations' research are analysed to demonstrate that a definition of the growing crisis in the economy and social services is emerging, which shifts the focus of blame on to black people. The authors argue that existing race relations theory has significantly failed to deal adequately with the British situation. In particular, the experience of black women and the political organization of young black people raises major problems for race-blind feminism and Eurocentric Marxism alike. In conclusion, the book assesses the political relation of race to class, and suggests that any long-term struggle against racism must begin by recognizing the autonomy of black struggles at all levels of British society.
Preface 1 The organic crisis of British capitalism and race: the experience of the Seventies 2 Just plain common sense: the ‘roots’ of racism 3 In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty: sociology and black ‘pathology’ 4 Police and thieves 5 Schooling in Babylon 6 White woman listen! Black feminism and the boundaries of sisterhood 7 Gender, race and class: Asian women in resistance 8 Steppin’ out of Babylon—race, class and autonomy.
`... well worth reading. It is disturbing, engenders a sense of shame, gives numerous examples to support its thesis and is well argued.' - Times Educational Supplement