Against a Rising Tide
Racism, Europe & 1992

By Mel Read & Alan Simpson
December 1991
ISBN: 0-85124-525-0
100 pages, Illustrated, 5 1/2" x 8 ½"
$47.50 hardcover

1992 will bring enormous upheavals. The façade euphoria is beginning to crack and crumble. Deep divisions are already apparent - not just between different regions and Member States, but between rich and poor, black and white, citizens and migrants. How will this affect Britain?

More specifically, how will it affect black people in Britain and their aspirations to share in the "new era of opportunity" that 1992 is supposed to herald? This book considers how racism and xenophobia form increasingly prominent threads in the tapestry of European economies and societies.

At one level, the authors argue, little has changed. European industry has always required cheap labour, and has usually drawn it from former colonies and the Third World. And domestic racism has helped keep this labour mainly poor and forever foreign (irrespective of what it says on your passport or birth certificate). But 1992 will bring contradictions of its own.

"Freedom of Movement" will not apply equally throughout the Community. It will depend on citizenship status. Clandestine meetings of foreign ministers are tightening immigration rules and procedures, specifically in relation to Third World Countries. Business has found a new source of cheap labour in Easter Europe. And the extreme Right has found new converts to old prejudices in the crevices of faltering European economies.

The authors explore ways in which those with a different vision - that of a "people's" Europe - might work to move beyond the divisions of prejudice, discrimination, exploitation, and intimidation. Pooling their experience of anti-racist work at local, national, and international levels, and taking Nottingham as an example, they offer practical ways in which local authorities and local people can combat racism, setting this work in a European context. Perhaps most significantly, they challenge us to look at racism in a less fragmented way - seeing citizenship rights, economic exploitation, and the threat of physical attack as inter-related aspects of the new European racism.


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