“It's not race, it's class" @ Birkbeck, University of London, London [15 July]

“It's not race, it's class"

13:00 - 17:00

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Birkbeck, University of London
WC1E 7HX London, United Kingdom
To mark the release of our seventh magazine on Class & Capitalism, Consented brings you It’s not race it's class.

Within many mainstreams conversations we often see a disingenuous distinction made between class and race, pitting the two forces against each other. This is usually done to both derail attempts to build solidarity, and move attention away from Britain’s historic problems with race and racism. The discourses around Brexit were an obvious recent example of such tactics, with politicians and journalists highlighting the ways in which society must do more for the “white working class”. Yet “class” here is presented as a fixed identity, devoid of any material meaning.

What does the above mean for working class people who are not white? There has never been a distinct, ethnically homogenous working class community or culture in Britain, and it is important to remember the ways in which people of colour have historically been apart of working class resistance. Also, this depiction of class being tied to “culture” and “whiteness” ignores the plight of working class communities living in the global south. Even outside of the quote-unquote mainstream a rift often occurs between those noting the importance of race and those talking up class, with one often heralded at the expense of the other.

With all this in mind, we ask, what relationship does capitalism have with race and how do we resist recreating the logic of capitalism within our anti-racist organizing? This question is of particular importance if we consider the fact that colonialism was, in many regards, the process through which modern capitalism was forged. How can we overcome the often competing claims of race and class to understand the interconnected nature of race and capitalism to further a more coherent and united anti-capitalist politics? As Satnam Virdee has argued “if we are to ever forge a sustainable solidarity between the ethnically diverse proletariat in the imperialist core (as well as with those beyond), it is more than likely we will have to go through race, rather than around it.”

This event will explore these themes and much more, across two panels examining why we continue to ponder whether it’s class or race and further how we can articulate a broader anti-capitalist movement. Speakers include: Kojo Koram (University of Essex), Will Stronge (Autonomy), Zaq Suffee (Researcher) Gargi Bhattacharyya (UEL), Kam Sandhu (Real Media). More TBA

This event will take place on Sunday, July 15th, from 1.00 pm in room B34 of Birkbeck’s Malet Street campus. If you would like to attend but cannot afford a ticket email us at [email protected]

All money raised from this event covers the costs of running the event and contributes to the costs of printing our quarterly print magazine, as well as the cost of running our schools programme.
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