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Through the following five years, youth movements began to be formed in different towns and cities such as Bradford, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leicester, Luton, Bolton and Dewsbury. Anandi : There was no official age limit to the organisations and some groups had youth as young as 15 and as old as people in their late 20s joining and struggling against racism.

Anandi : In the late s, South Asians and other Black migrants experienced racism in all walks of life. In the work place, white workers were often privileged for promotion or given preferable shifts and would jump the queue even for clocking in. Trade Unions did not always support the concerns of migrant workers, so they were forced to organise themselves. At school, children were often bussed out of their areas, traveling long journeys because it had been decided that individual schools should not have too many migrant children in one class.

Kids — even those that could speak English — were often dumped in immigrant classes where they were excluded from the wider curriculum. The economic downturn definitely played a part in exacerbating racism at the time, but Britain has a long history of racism which was used to legitimise the colonisation of lands in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, so we cannot simply link racism to the need for a scapegoat, although the need for a scapegoat fuelled racism.

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Anandi : Many of the young people involved in the youth movements had grown up in Britain and they did not feel that they would return to their countries of origin. If they were going to live in Britain, they wanted to do so with dignity and have the same rights as others. The youth were involved in defending both themselves and their communities.


  • Black Star: Britain's Asian Youth Movements - Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive.
  • Black Star: Britain's Asian Youth Movements.
  • Anandi Ramamurthy: Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements?
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They were involved in protecting the rights of Asian workers supporting strikes such as the Imperial Typewriters Strike and the Grunwick Strike. They also campaigned against the increasingly stringent immigration laws that were brought in by both the labour and Conservative parties.

For example, they were instrumental in the Anwar Ditta Defence Campaign which struggled to reunite Anwar with her children. In campaigning for Anwar they also highlighted the racism of the immigration laws which were designed to keep black people out of the country. One particularly high profile case was that of the Bradford 12, where twelve young Asian men from different backgrounds were arrested and charged with conspiracy to make explosives and endanger lives after they made petrol bombs that they never used to defend Manningham against the rumour of a fascist attack.

The case exposed police racism as well as enshrining in law the right of a community to organise in self-defence. In organising to defend their communities, the youth were outward looking and built solidarity links with a wide range of African, Caribbean and migrant organisations as well as with socialist and communist organisations and national liberation organistions.

Black Star: Britain's Asian Youth Movements

It was their ability to build solidarity that enabled them to win campagins and is a lesson for all justice loving people today. Anandi : Yes, I have experienced racism in Britain in many forms — both overt and covert. It is the covert forms of racism that are the hardest to deal with and can be so undermining, but I always remember never to internalise these problems as being my problem or inadequacy but to remember that racism is about power, the power to exert discrimination on marginalised groups.

At school, children were often bussed out of their areas, traveling long journeys because it had been decided that individual schools should not have too many migrant children in one class. Kids — even those that could speak English — were often dumped in immigrant classes where they were excluded from the wider curriculum.

The economic downturn definitely played a part in exacerbating racism at the time, but Britain has a long history of racism which was used to legitimise the colonisation of lands in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, so we cannot simply link racism to the need for a scapegoat, although the need for a scapegoat fuelled racism. Anandi : Many of the young people involved in the youth movements had grown up in Britain and they did not feel that they would return to their countries of origin.

BLACK STAR BRITAIN’S ASIAN YOUTH MOVEMENTS

If they were going to live in Britain, they wanted to do so with dignity and have the same rights as others. The youth were involved in defending both themselves and their communities. They were involved in protecting the rights of Asian workers supporting strikes such as the Imperial Typewriters Strike and the Grunwick Strike. They also campaigned against the increasingly stringent immigration laws that were brought in by both the labour and Conservative parties. For example, they were instrumental in the Anwar Ditta Defence Campaign which struggled to reunite Anwar with her children.

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In campaigning for Anwar they also highlighted the racism of the immigration laws which were designed to keep black people out of the country. One particularly high profile case was that of the Bradford 12, where twelve young Asian men from different backgrounds were arrested and charged with conspiracy to make explosives and endanger lives after they made petrol bombs that they never used to defend Manningham against the rumour of a fascist attack.

The case exposed police racism as well as enshrining in law the right of a community to organise in self-defence. In organising to defend their communities, the youth were outward looking and built solidarity links with a wide range of African, Caribbean and migrant organisations as well as with socialist and communist organisations and national liberation organistions. It was their ability to build solidarity that enabled them to win campagins and is a lesson for all justice loving people today.

Anandi : Yes, I have experienced racism in Britain in many forms — both overt and covert.

It is the covert forms of racism that are the hardest to deal with and can be so undermining, but I always remember never to internalise these problems as being my problem or inadequacy but to remember that racism is about power, the power to exert discrimination on marginalised groups. We already tend to be constructed as being bound by unchanging traditions rather than political values and I wanted to make an intervention to challenge that. I felt that the way Asians were being discussed bore no reality to me and many others of my generation. I was involved with the anti-racist movement in the late s and met many people at that time that had been involved in the AYMs during the late s and early s.

I wanted to preserve a history where we were defined by our politics and not by our faith or tradition. Anandi : Racism is based on the exercise of power. The support was not just national but international, including a poem written by Bobby Sands for Anwar. From the late s this broad-based black identity based on class and anti-imperialist perspectives changed to a more softly focussed identity and cultural politics.

This fragmented the previous socialist voice that found expression in organisations such as the Asian youth movements.

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Black star : Britain's Asian youth movements / Anandi Ramamurthy - Details - Trove

In writing this book Ramamurthy feels that there are many lessons that present-day campaigns have learnt from the Bradford 12 case, including the Stephen Lawrence campaign and climate campaign activists. Black Star is an important book in reminding us that the Asian community has played an notable role in the history of the left in Britain and the principles of solidarity and self-determination are key to creating organisations that will undermine the sense of hopelessness that is endemic in society today.

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