Striking back against racist violence in the East End of London, 1968-1970

Ashe, S., Virdee, S. and Brown, L. (2016) Striking back against racist violence in the East End of London, 1968-1970. Race and Class, 58(1), pp. 34-54. (doi: 10.1177/0306396816642997)

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This article tells the hitherto untold story of how different Pakistani organisations mobilised in response to racist violence and harassment in the east London Borough of Tower Hamlets (1968–1970). In telling this story, the authors analyse the problematic nature of official and public understandings of, and responses to, racist violence, and how it distorted the lives of racialised minorities. Drawing on original archival research carried out in 2014, this piece identifies the emergence of two distinct political repertoires from within the Pakistani community: the integrationist approach and the autonomous approach. The integrationist approach involving the Pakistani Welfare Association (PWA) and the National Federation of Pakistani Associations (NFPA) tried to address the problem through existing local state ‘race relations’ apparatuses and mainstream political channels, while at the same time re-establishing consent for the police as the agents of law and order. In contrast, a network of Black Power groups, anti-imperialists and socialists led by the Pakistani Progressive Party (PPP) and the Pakistani Workers’ Union (PWU) challenged both the local political leadership and the authority of the police in Tower Hamlets, while also undermining the stereotype of Asian people as ‘weak’ and ‘passive’. In recovering this lost episode of resistance to ‘Paki-bashing’, unleashed in the aftermath of Enoch Powell’s inflammatory speeches, this essay makes a contribution to the history of autonomous anti-racist collective action undertaken by racialised minorities in Britain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ashe, Mr Stephen and Virdee, Professor Satnam
Authors: Ashe, S., Virdee, S., and Brown, L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Race and Class
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-3125
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Institute of Race Relations
First Published:First published in Race and Class 58(1): 34-54
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
592091Understanding the changes in ethnic relations: understanding the dynamics of ethnicity, identity and inequality in the uk.Satnam VirdeeEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K002198/1SPS - SOCIOLOGY