[Liz Fekete Discusses the Institute of Race Relations]
LIZ FEKETE: I'm Liz Fekete.And I'm the Director of the Institute of Race Relations.[What Does the Institute of Race Relations Do?]The Institute for Race Relations is an educational charity.So we educate for racial justice.We're like an anti-racist publishing house as well.We work on a number of levels.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We work here in the UK.We have a domestic research program.And we tackle subjects like deathsof black and minority ethnic peoplein the custody of the police, prisons and the immigrationremoval centers.We look at racial violence in the UK.And we look at issues such as the far right and the impact
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: that the far right have on communities.So we have a research program in the UK.And we also have an alternative news service.And the idea of that news serviceis to bring to people stories to do with race and racism thatdon't normally get into the newspapersor into the general media.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We have a European program.And I've been doing the work on Europe for the last 20odd years.So we have a European research program.And similarly, we look at issues to dowith racism and fascism, the treatment of refugeesaround Europe, far right.Those kind of issues, for Roma a particularly important issue
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: at the moment-- anti-Roma racism.We have an international journal, called Race and Class,which is a journal on racism, and power and globalization.And that's published by Sage.[What is your Role?]The first thing to say is the Institutemight sound old fashioned.So we're actually a collective.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I'm the director.So I manage the collective.And in a sense, I'm first amongst equals.But I also head the European Research Programme.So my role, obviously, is to overseethe whole of the Institute, make sure everything's ticking alongin terms of the international, the European and the domestic.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: But in terms of Europe, I have a particular functionas a researcher.So just to give you a little idea,we started this European research programme about 20 oddyears ago.When it started out, it was an information portal.When we started out, it was a timewhen groups like the Front National in France,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the Freedom Party in Austria, were really becoming embeddedin the electoral process.Then we began to see that the kind of things that theywere saying began to be being saidby all the political parties.So we began to study asylum policy, migration policy.And we became more than an information portal.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We became a research program, producing briefing paperson aspect of racism across Europe.More recently, I would say that the European researchprogram of the Institute of Race Relationshas become a hub for people, if you like,at the center of theory and practice.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We try to align the two.So today, I'm working with a number of organizations--NGOs, civil society actors, lawyers, human rightscampaigners, who are working at the cutting edge of researchand activism around Europe around issues
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: like the terrible crisis at our borders,the humanitarian crisis at our borders,around issues of what is it like if you'reliving in a minority community.You're under siege from neo-Nazis,from anti-immigration movements like PEGIDA in Germany, workingwith lawyers in Germany, Hungary, groups in Spain,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Northern Ireland, Greece, who are worried not justabout the extreme violence of groups like Golden Dawn,Anti-System Front in Spain, National SocialistUnderground in Germany-- not justworking around their extreme violencebut actually showing that there arepatterns, disturbing alarming patterns of collusion
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: between state actors, like the police,and the military with the growth of the far right.And that's the center of my research at the moment.But the research is also practical.It's working with groups who are at the receiving endand who have the knowledge of these things,but the knowledge that comes from experience.And I think that's one thing that's very important.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I think for students to know that knowledgecomes from a variety of sources-- academic knowledge isvery important.But there also is the knowledge thatcomes from ordinary people and the knowledge thatcomes from actors in civil society, which may not
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: be formal academic knowledge but has a depth, whichif we can bring it all together and we can providea voice for groups that are normally voicelessin society to bring their knowledge into academia,into theory, we actually enrich academia.And we make academia more relevant to ordinary people.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: [What's the Current Situation in Europe Regarding Far RightGroups?]It's very difficult to talk about the far right as onemass.We actually have a number of formations.We have groups who are specificallyneo-Nazi, who come from a tradition of national socialism
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: or fascism, who may be active on social media,quite often involved in what they would consider fomentingrace wars, involved in underground activities,small little terrorist cells.So you have that on the one hand.Then you have what is probably best
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: to characterize as the extreme right, whichis a number of parties that have actually become embeddedin the electoral process, who fall short of advocatingviolence but who use a rhetoric which is veryhateful against minority groups, specifically
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: in much of Eastern Europe and central Europe, the Roma.In much of Western and Northern Europe,Islamophobia, and the Muslim communityare the most affected.So you can see that although thereare two different schools, there'sa symbiosis between the kind of rhetoric, on the one hand,and the hateful activities on the other.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So in the extreme right, you would see groupslike the Front National, Marine Le Pen in France,Freedom Party in Austria, Northern League in Italy,what was the Alianza Nacional, which is now partof the governing center right.Then you would have another school,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: which are very, very powerful but don'thave their roots in the history of fascism in Europe or evenauthoritarianism.And that's the anti-immigration movements,which are more locally based perhaps in some cases,like PEGIDA.PEGIDA in Germany is something people have probably
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: read about in the newspapers.It stands for Patriotic EuropeansAgainst the Islamicization of the Occident.But this whole notion that it's a party against Islamis actually a bit of a myth.It's a classical anti-immigration movementwhich is mobilizing around refugee centers, asylum
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: accommodation centers in Germany.You have the most successful anti-immigration parties,like the Danish People's Party, whatwas the True Finns in Finland whonow call themselves the Finns.You have a party called the Sweden Democrats in Sweden--
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: very successful electoral party, actually roots in fascismbut now claim to have moved into a traditional anti-immigrationparty.So you have all these different schools, some of whom,when they are moved into respectabilityand into the mainstream, jettison someof their obvious links with anti-Semitism, fascism,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: don't advocate violence.And then you have these neo-Nazi organizations and these moremodern evolutions within fascism,like third positionism, CasaPoundin Italy, a revolutionary far right group.So it's is really a very complex mixture.[Can You Talk About the Work You Do Researching Extreme Right
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and Anti-Immigration Groups?]The way that we go about things at the Instituteis very much based on gathering together cases and casestudies.So we don't come from the top down.I mean, you see in a lot of more academic literatureabout the far right-- it's always trying to show you
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: what different schools of thoughtthere are on the far right.Well actually, I suppose where we have somethingto add is what we say is actually,you understand the extreme right by what it does.So the people who are at the receivingend of the racism, of the violence, of the hate, often
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: have a knowledge in terms of whathappens to them, which can actuallyincrease the depth of our understandingof these movements.So our formula, if you like, has alwaysbeen to look at case studies.So give you an example.At the moment in Europe, there's a massive upsurge
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: of attacks on asylum accommodation centers.So the way that I work on a day to day levelis I will be receiving informationabout these attacks.And I will be collating that information.The information will be coming from a variety of sources.We'll be studying newspaper.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Mostly, we were looking at the media reporting.And then there'll be people in different countrieswho are volunteers for me, who will send me informationfrom their own right.There'll be anti-racist organizationsin there countries that monitor them.So we'll be bringing all those cases together.And we'll see what's the pattern and we'llbe looking at the patterns.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And it's actually amazing that you bring a greater depthto the study if you don't just look at it in one country.If you look at it on a pan-European level,you can begin to really see a pattern.And you can see trends.And you can also alert people to the human cost.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: That's very important to us.This is the human cost of what happenswhen we let the far right grow.I mean, I'll give you another example of our work,but not in terms of the extreme right.We do a lot of work around looking at the human costof asylum policies.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And recently, we brought out a briefing paperwhich collated information on 160 asylum and immigrationrelated deaths in Europe, mostly in the EU countries,over the last three or so years.And what we tried to do with this little report, which againwas based on case studies, is to broaden
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: people's understanding of the humanitarian catastrophewe face.Because I'm sure most people willhave been seeing the images from Greece, from Italy,from Lampedusa, from Malta, about the boatssinking and the loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea,which has become a huge graveyard.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: But what we're trying to show is that borders are alsointernal to Europe.There's a process where borders havebecome like this sharp knife for people who haveto experience border crossings.But within Europe, in the asylum accommodation centers,in the detention centers, in the reception centers,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: there's also this avalanche of suffering.So these deaths that we've collated inside Europe, notat the borders, involve people who'vedied in a detention center because their basic healthneeds haven't been met.I mean, in a lot of detention centers in Europe,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: there might be one doctor for hundredsof people who might just be on call or come one day a week.People talk about the paracetamol culturein detention centers.You just give paracetamol for everything.You'd be amazed how many young men under 40are dying of heart attacks in detention centers.There's an epidemic of suicide, of absolute despair.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So many of these cases are suicides.I mean, just to give you an example-- until very recently,in the UK there was a policy for prisonswhere there was a suicide preventionpolicy in our prisons.But that policy didn't extend to immigration removal centers.So there's no policy to prevent suicide.So those are the kind of things we're drawing attention to.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We're also drawing attention to the fact thatin terms of people who become destitute and homeless, again,a problem of suicide and health problems.So this was another example of howwe would bring the cases together and almost letthe facts speak for themselves.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We needed a minimum of an analysis in that kind of work.Because you can just let the facts speak for themselves.[What's your Particular Approach to Research?]We have a specific history in the Institutethat goes back to the founders of the Institute,that we rejected policy-oriented research in favor
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: of independent research to give a voice to the voiceless.So when I say that we've rejectedpolicy-oriented research, of coursewe want to change policy.And we want to make it better for people.But we're not actually doing our researchin terms of here's a piece of work, boom, boom, boom,here's six recommendations what the government can do.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Or we're trying to go to Parliamentand get a law passed.There are other people.We're happy if people take up our work.And they do that.But the purpose of our work is to put it outthere so that it can be a tool for people themselvesto actually take things forward and actually use this tool
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: to broaden responses in their countries et cetera.To give you a specific example with the workthat we're doing at the moment in termsof the military and the police collusion--
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: doesn't have to be direct.It can be indirect collusion with growth of the far right--our research will be there, feeding a network.So there would be a network of groups which might nothave started as a network.There will be groups in particular countrieswho are working around the specific thing.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: But they don't know that there's another groupin another country working around it.But because we're bringing it all togetherin a pan European level-- the research--we're brokering a system where those groupsget in touch with each other and therefore broadentheir campaign around the issues in their country.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So to make that practical for you,the outcome of that would be some way tryingto help those groups come together sothat they can adopt policies or principles whichwill be of use on a European, or even an international, level.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: For instance, at the moment with the groups workingin the countries that I mentionedwho are seeing that there's a pattern where the police havefailed to prevent the growth of the far right,have aided it in some way, the ideaof being able to link with groups in other countriesmeans that we can come together to actually make
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: a call for an international standard around the policingof the far right.And the research that we've producedcan become the tool of a resource for those callsfor an international standard.To make that real for you, to give you an example,there's a terrible case in Germany
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: which involves a neo-Nazi terror cell, called the NationalSocialist Underground.Over a period of a number of years,they killed randomly 11 people, mostly Turkish men whothey just executed, shot through the head.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: This cell had been on the run for 10 years, a decade to say,when the police had discovered a bomb making equipmentin their garage.Now what happened was that during this time-- allthese murders-- the police were investigatingall these mad things.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Because of their prejudices-- let's say,their institutionalized racism-- theythought that the murderers were in the Turkish community.They thought this was foreign crime.They didn't think that this could be a neo-Nazi murderspree.And to make it even more culpable,the intelligence services were operating a paid informer
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: scheme within the main neo-Nazi party of Germany,the National Democratic Party of Germany.Germany's a federal system, whichmeans that there were 16 states with their own paid informerschemes in the military and the police.They didn't pass any of the informationon to the police investigating this.It's a massive scandal.I mean, the trial of the sole surviving murderer is ongoing.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Because the two neo-Nazis were actuallydiscovered doing an armed robbery.And they committed suicide during the police chase.So the trial is ongoing.There was a parliamentary inquiryinto the failure of 16 federal states, police forcesand intelligence services to actually stop this Nazi cell.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And that inquiry had the power to subpoena the intelligenceservices to give them any document about their informerscheme in the neo-Nazi scene.On the eve of that inquiry, they came backand said they're very sorry, but they shredded the documentsthat the inquiry wanted to subpoena.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Now that sounds shocking.But if I tell you that there are similar incidentsin another number of countries, thisallows us to say when the government comes back and saysall of this was a terrible mistake, the factthat the police investigated familiesin the Turkish community-- it was justa misunderstanding and a mistake.The fact that the documents were shredded-- it was unfortunate,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: but it was just a mistake.But when you actually see that thisis happening in a number of jurisdictions,you see that something very, very dangerousis going on in terms of state practices, which goes backto my original point, that if you look at thison a pan-European level, you begin to see that there is
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: a narrative here which is about destroying the paper trail,plausible deniability.And because we have the research and webroker the discussion between the groupsin the different countries, we cancreate an alliance that is more powerful in termsfor calling for international law
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: to investigate these scandals.[How Do You Get Evidence in Cases Like These?]First of all, there's media reporting.Actually in Germany, the media reporting of the casehas been rather good.I think the journalists feel a sense of moral responsibility.Because they didn't investigate.All the times the murders were happening,they didn't investigate.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So there's good reporting.Actually, there's good reporting in English, which helps.So we don't have to have it translated.The second thing is that we would work with activists.There's a group called NSU Watch,which have their own website.There's a very strong anti-fascist documentation
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: movement within Germany.The anti-fascist movement, the NGOs,are very, very strong in Germany.So they've come together to form a group called NSU Watch.And they go to the trial every single day.The trial's been going on in Munich for a year now.Could go on for another year.And they're there every day.They document the trial.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We've also become very close to the lawyers.I was invited to Munich to be an observer at the trialand to speak at a public meeting for NSU Watch.Because then you have the work of the Instituteof Race Relations.So there's a kind of cumulative effect, where there, theyknow us.They know that we're helpful and we want to work with them.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So they invited me over.I went over and then formed a very strong relationshipwith two of the lawyers.Because in the German system, the victimsare represented in court.And they have the families have lawyers.So formed a good relationship with them.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And through that relationship, the work also spiraled.Because working with the lawyers meant that they invitedme to go to Hungary in another case that I'm afraidwill shock you enormously, to investigatethe case of the Roma serial killers,who were a small group who went around terrorizing Roma
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: in the small villages of Hungary wherethey live in desperate conditions in Hungary.And these people killed five Roma.I mean, one incident was particularly shocking.They fired shots at a house, a small little house,where this Roma family were living.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Sorry, I correct myself.They threw Molotov cocktails at the house.And as the father ran out with his five-year-old boy,they were snipers.And they shot them dead.And unbelievably, when the police came to investigate,they didn't seal off the murder.They took the view oh, it's just Roma poor electricity.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And they didn't actually secure the forensic siteand do a proper investigation.Again, this all came to light years afterwards, a scandal.One of the neo-Nazis-- there were four of them.One of them had been in the military.One of them had been an informer for the military.So through the contacts with NSU Watch
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and then with the German lawyers,I was invited by the lawyers to go to Hungaryto do a fact finding mission about this specific case, whichagain, I had been monitoring overthe years through the newspapers, alsofor groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Watch.Those sorts of bodies also provide an excellent evidencebase for further research.[Why is this Work so Important?]The fact that just reciting these stories becomes shockingproves two things.First of all, it proves the importance
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: of telling stories and collating those storiesand making those stories are told.Because it's a very, very powerful and graphic wayof explaining the level of secrecythere is in our European societies that is growing.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: But the second thing I think it showsis the importance of the Institute's perspectiveas a whole and the fact that we have our alternative newsservice.We have our alternative publication programof getting our briefing papers out.We have Race and Class, which is a more scholarly journal,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: if you like.We don't see race and class as a straightforward academicjournal.We see it more as a scholar activist journal.But it's got that level of depth.It shows you the importance of having a center like ours thatcan throw a kind of search light on the state,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: on the state institutions, law enforcement, police, military,intelligence services.And one thing that's often said to me by groups around Europewhen I go around Europe is oh, wewish we had a center like yours in our country,which is something that we purposely set out to do,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: is to encourage new shoots to grow.There can be a tendency within civil society actorswithin NGOs to almost become proprietalaround your knowledge, your research and your information.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Because it's a cut and thrust world out there.We're all searching for money to keep going.We can't do this work if people don't finance us.At the same time, we want to be independent.We want to do research, which meansthat strings are not attached.If we take money from government--
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and the Institute of Race Relations has a policy.We don't take money from government.Because our research can't be independent of government.We can't criticize government.So we're all searching for funding.And that means that groups can become very proprietal.And [INAUDIBLE] forces is very much to say no,we want other things to grow.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We want to be the rainmakers, if you like.We want to encourage the roots to flourish inall these countries and groups to take on the kind of burdenof the work that we're doing.And I think anybody in our field--we shouldn't feel that we're indispensable.If we're indispensable, we're doing something wrong.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We're there to encourage there to encouragemore scholarship, more movement, more NGOs, more scholaractivism.And we shouldn't become selfish in our aims and goals.[Explain the Term 'Migration']What is migration?That's a very big question.And we have to contextualize that in the current moment.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So if we're looking at Europe, if we'relooking at the United Kingdom, we'relooking at a number of questions.We're looking at, on one level, the question of asylumand refugee movement, which is different to the question
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: of migration.So we're very concerned about the waythat it's become much harder in Europe for peopleto seek asylum and to get asylum status in Europe.Then you have the question of free movement, EU movement,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the whole question of the right for EU, people within the EUto seek work in different European countries, whichagain has become an explosive issue in the UK.Because you've got people like Nigel Farage and the UnitedKingdom Independence Party, who are whipping up people's
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: fears about people's jobs being taken by migrant workersfrom other European Union countries.And then you have the whole question of peoplefrom other parts of the world coming to Europe, maybeto try and get immigration status, to migrate here
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: for immigration status, which has become very much harder.There's been an introduction of much harder procedures and lawsfor a person to come here and actually settle.And that's even really affecting peoplewho want to marry somebody from another part of the world
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: if it isn't the European Union-- all sorts of stringent teststo actually be able to migrate for marriage or for familyreunion.[What Are You Looking at in Relation to Migration?]It goes back to the very first principles,the very first things I said about the Institute of Race
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Relations.There's lots of groups out there working on issues of migration,working on issues of justice.But what we really focus on is the hard edged stuff,the cutting edge stuff.[INAUDIBLE] Force is to give a voice to the voiceless.So we're looking at the really harsh things, the human rights
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: abuses, the very, very worst things thatcan happen, if an immigration system or an asylum systemis so restrictive, so unfair that people cease to becomehuman beings, if you like.So when it comes to the whole question of refugees,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: our research has been over 20 years.Refugees used to be seen as part of humanitarian law.But increasingly, people talk about asylum seekersand refugees as just numbers, not as people,each with a different story.So we look at the commodification of people.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: When Tony Blair was prime minister,he came up with this formula, that hewanted the number of removals to exceed the number of arrivals.That was his policy.So basically, that was a fundamental rewritingof humanitarian law.Because humanitarian law is not based on numbers.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: It's based on need.I mean, Blair wasn't alone.His speech came at a time when countries were actuallytalking about target-driven deportation policies.So they would set a target for the number of removalsof failed asylum seekers.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And at this point, we began to look at deportation deaths.When we first started this target-driven policy,you saw that people were actually dyingin the deportation process.Because once you create a system whichsays a person must be removed at any cost to meet a target,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: you are creating a system where an excessive use of forceis going to be used against that personto actually create a removal.Because the system becomes such thatthe person becomes a commodity to be removedrather than a human being.The first deportation death that we recorded was in the UK,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: was of a Jamaican woman, called Joy Gardner.She wasn't actually a failed asylum seeker.She'd overstayed her visa.She lived in Tottenham.Her mother lived here.She'd come to visit her mother.She had a five-year-old child.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And the immigration police came to remove her.And they actually bound her.They bound her.They shackled her arms and her legs.And they bound her with 50 foot of tapein front of her five-year-old child.And that was the first deportation deaththat we actually recorded at the Institute of Race Relations,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: which goes back to the importance of recordingthe stories and the human rights abuses.And that's a story that everybodyremembers in this country.People know about Mark Duggan, that Mark Duggandied in Tottenham.But the people of Tottenham know that there
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: were three deaths in Tottenham within a very short radius--Joy Gardner, Mark Duggan.There was a third death in police custody.And those names are known in those communities.But the rest of us in the UK, we don't know that.So we just think when we see a riot or an uprisinghappening in Tottenham, we forget
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the history of that area and the deaths that have happened.But the local people don't forget.[How Has the Role of Institute of Race Relations Changed Overthe Years?]When it was set up in 1958, it was a very, very poshan establishment organization.And it was really at a time when Britain had colonies.It needed workers from the former colonies
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: after the Second World War to rebuild the country.So communities were arriving from Africa, Asia,Afro-Carribean legally.Because this was mother country.So, of course, immigration was viewedwithin a completely different framework within 1958.Then during the 70s, when the Institute changed direction,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: it was because the old Institute were actuallyinterested in race relations in termsof what was happening in the former colonies, and investmentand all that.And at the same time, there were terrible thingshappening in this country.Because the whole narrative might have been thatthis is the mother country with all these great values.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And you are welcome.But the reality was that they werefacing the most extreme forms of institutionalized racismand discrimination.We've all seen the signs, the old footage of signswhen people tried to get a house-- no coloreds,no Irish, no dogs.That was the climate which the so-called people,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the welcomed people from the former colonies, had to suffer.So during the '68, '70s, those timeswas an area of a lot of struggle against racism in this country.And I should say that the Institute of Race Relationsactually is also a source of memory and archivalon those experiences and on those struggles.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We have our own black history collectionin an archive within the Institute.So it kind of went from looking at immigration,then looking at settlement in the '70s and '80s.But that changed in the 1990s when the refugee issuecame to the fore.We had our own asylum issue, our own refugee crisis,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: within Europe, in terms of what happenedin the former Yugoslavia-- the war, what happened there.But then we had the increasing displacementof people from all over the world.So you had new communities formingin the UK, refugee communities, which are nowsettled communities, which are actually
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: having to fight again for settlementand to make their conditions better.So I think we went from looking at immigrationin the post-war period, to looking at settlementand struggles against racism, to lookingat the formation of new communitiesthrough refugee movements and displaced people so
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the situation today, which is reallywhen we're looking at migration, we'relooking at almost a zero tolerancepolicy towards any immigration from non-EU countries.We're looking at a very, very harsh climate towards asylumseeking and refugee communities.And one thing that we're beginning to look at,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: in terms of our UK research and our UK domestic researchprogram-- and this is very, very new-- is with austerity coming,we're looking at the impact of austerity on the poor,in general, but within the poor on black and minority ethnic
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and refugee communities.Just to give you one example, a little bit of datathat was just in the newspapers a few days agoaround the whole question of the capping on benefits--I think there was a statistic from the Instituteof Fiscal Studies that says that 37% of the people affected
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: by the benefit cap will be from BME communities.So we're going to look at austerity in terms of raceand in terms of class.And if we look at this great city,London, where people are saying that austerityis leading to the social cleansing of London,because the poor are being driven out.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Look at the kind of rents that peopleare expected to pay in London.And if you have a benefit cap and a housing cap,they're going to be driven out of London.But I think the question that we'reasking ourself is is this social cleansing of London alsoan ethnic cleansing?So we're going to start bringing the stories,going back to the stories, bringing the cases,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: looking at the data, and hopefullybe able to provide a case story-based narrative thatcan really show people what's going on in terms of austerity.[How Have Attitudes Towards Migration Changed?]Last year, there was the British social attitudes survey,which actually said for the first time,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I think, in five years that attitudestowards race relations, towards minorities, towards migrantswere going backwards.And more people were expressing opinions hostile to minoritiesand towards migration.That's really, really worrying.I think what happened was we had a kind of high
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: after the Stephen Lawrence case.Because there was so much sympathy for Doreen and NevilleLawrence.There was with them at first, an inquiry.There was a recognition of what the black communities werefacing in terms of institutionalized racism.So I think there was a high.And there was a progressive moment.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: And that progressive moment has been lost,and that we're going backwards.So that's not so much just in terms of migration.That's in terms of our attitudes towards race,towards minorities in the countries.The majority is becoming more entrenched and more prejudiced.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: In terms of migration, attitudes towards migrationare clearly becoming very, very hostile.To understand that, we have to understand the world we'reliving in, this globalized world where unfortunately
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: the globalization of markets, the globalization of capital,is leading to a very fraught situation internationally.We have more wars, wars that we are involved with.Wars displace people.Wars create refugees.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: A myth is developing that Europe and the UKis taking on the world's refugees.It's a myth.Most displaced people live in campsnear their regions of origin-- Turkey, Jordan--they're taking on far more.Poor countries-- Pakistan-- have more of a displaced peoplethan we are.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I think the thing that is very unfortunate about the world welive in today is our political leadership.So we face a situation where the ordinary person is seeingall these images of crisis all over the world, imagesof boat people arriving in the Mediterranean.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: They're seeing these images.And their being fed a paranoia by the likes of Nigel Farage.But the rest of the politicians aren't taking it on.They're not educating people about the nature of the worldthey live in.So I think the hostility towards migration and towards migrants
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: is because people's lack of educationabout the world they're living isbeing fed by a political class who is just concernedabout the immediate, staying in power,and are not prepared to stand up for principle, to stand up
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: for the things that are right, to say that is notright to actually blame the migrantsor the migrant worker for the problemsthat are being created by this globalized market.So I think that's the main problem.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I have a great belief in ordinary people.I really do not believe this kind of myth,that the ordinary person is a person who is racist whowants to attack their neighbor.I have a great belief in the goodness of ordinary people.But the politicians now need to tap that goodness,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: not tap the xenophobia, not tap the hostility.And that's where we're being failed at the moment.[What Are your Priorities in Relation to Migration?]The priority at the IRR on migration at the moment-- Iwould answer that at two levels.At the level of the research, it's
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: got to be to shine a spotlight on the awful things thatare happening in the detention centers,whether it's here in UK or around Europe.At the end of the day, one death is to a death too many.That's an aphorism, actually, of our founder, A. Sivanandan,who's a very respected black intellectual in this country.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: One death is a death too many.And if people are dying in detention centers, whichare meant to be places of safety,then we have to expose that.I think on the level of race and class,the role that we can play is giving our pages overto some of the best scholar activists around the world
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: to actually look at migration in the context of globalizationand the destruction that markets are playingall around the world and displacing peopleso we can have a more theoretical in-depth discussion
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: around migration and globalizationthat can perhaps open people's minds upto a more international approach to these issues.Because at the end of the day, it's an international issue.The things that are happening in the UK in detention centersare happening in the United States.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: The things that are happening in the United Statesare happening in Australia.And what we find is that states often learn across each other.So the awful policies in detention centers in Australiaare being brought to Europe and the UK.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: The states learn across each other.The private companies who operate these centerslearn across each other.Too often, we fail within the civil society,within the NGO movement.Even within academia, we fail to learn across each other.And I think that's the specific role of race and class.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: [What Does the Term 'Multiculturalism' Mean?]That's such a good question.Because there's so much confusion about it.First of all, I would say multiculturalism--it's not a meaning.It's a reality.It is a description of the world we live in.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We live in a multicultural world.We live in a multicultural society,in the sense that we live in a pluralist society,a society where people come together in one society.But they may have different cultural backgrounds.That's just a reality.But multiculturalism is often confused
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: with a particular policy approachto integration and living together, if you like.So some people-- and this is somethingthat's happened very recently-- multiculturalismhas become a dirty word.There's been a shift around Europe, a very harsh shift,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: against policies based on integrationinto a multicultural community, whichmeans that we live in one societywith the rule of law and democratic standards.And as long as people obey the rule of lawand don't undermine democracy, they can do what they like
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and have their own cultural practices.But multiculturalism has come to be understood at a policy levelas allowing almost like a kind of post-modernist liberalfree for all where anything goes.So the kind of narrative is that the multiculturalism society
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: means that anybody can practice allthe crimes-- female genital mutilation,et cetera, et cetera.So we've had a policy shift throughout Europeaway from the idea of integrationvia the attack on multiculturalism,which has come to be understood as anythinggoes, people can do the most awful things,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: towards assimilation.Assimilation is totally different to integrationat a policy level.Because assimilation means the subsumption of the minorityunder the majority, which basicallymeans if you have an assimilation policy rather
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: than an integration policy, it basicallymeans that minorities don't have any rights unless they justbecome like the majority.And that's a real problem around Europe.This shift is a real problem.And it has come via the attack on multiculturalismand the misunderstanding of what multiculturalism means.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Multiculturalism doesn't mean that people are freedto commit human rights abuses.It just means in a sensible societythat people should be free to practicetheir culture, their religion, their political views,as long as they are within the democratic framework
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and within the rule of law.The other confusion comes because therewas a kind of a policy approach, which actuallycame from the conservatives in this country after 1981and the uprisings in 1981 where Mrs. Thatcher actuallypromoted multiculturalism.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: So the idea after 1981 and the uprisingsin Brixton and Tottenham, all around the country,was that these uprisings happened not because peoplewere fed up of being treated like second class citizensand having to experience the racism of the policeand discrimination.The idea was that we would ease the situation
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: by allowing small businesses to flourishto allow cultural programs.So the Tories actually-- and again, thiswas very much something that we wrote about in Raceand Class, Sivanandan's writing, had a cultural policy,which meant that they didn't dismantleinstitutionalized racism.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: They didn't actually fight discrimination.What they actually do was allow a kind of cultural separativedevelopment.And the irony is that all these years later, the Toriesare the people, or the conservativeswere the people, followed by the social democratsall around Europe, who led the attack on culturalismbut in the form of attacking multiculturalism.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: I mean, if we don't live in a multicultural society,what sort of society do we live in?A monocultural society.What is a monocultural society?Do you take a monocultural societyto its extreme lengths and it's national socialism.We're all a mixture.And thank God for that[How Is 'Multiculturlism' Under Threat?] I go back to the idea
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: of multiculturalism as a reality,not in terms of a policy.I think our multicultural community is under threatthrough the hostile rhetoric of the politicians,of the political class, against minorities.In the UK at the moment, I think the Muslim community are really
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: experiencing the greatest hostility.And once you have a political class thatare stigmatizing a particular communityor making them feel that because of their faith they are aliens,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: they're not quite proper citizens,you're creating enormous problems for a society.Just think about the impact for a young childwho has grown up-- or a teenager or an older child, even,who has grown up in this society since 9/11.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: All they've known is a general political culturewhere the finger has been pointed at them.Put this in the Eastern European context.Think of a Roma, stigmatized.I mean, the Roma went through a Holocaust.They went through a Holocaust too.They were decimated during the Holocaust.But they've always been stigmatized.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: The finger has always pointed at the Roma child.You're a beggar.You're a criminal.You're no good.You're a black.That's what they say in Eastern Europe.And in the UK, of course, gypsiesand travellers experiencing exactly the same hostility.Once you have a situation like that, where the majority arepointing the finger at the minority,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: your community cohesion begins to break down.Not only that.You start to live in a society basedon the tyranny of the majority where the minority feelsthat the only way that they can fit inis by denying who they are.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: Think about a child growing up in that climate.And you can imagine the kinds of dangersto the community cohesion that you will face.So this is a human problem that hasto be told by human stories.But it also needs to be told by the academics,
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: by the theoreticians, who are actuallydefending multiculturalism as a reality in the universities,in the schools, the teachers in the schools.Because if the child or teenager is growing upin that climate, at least they cango to the school, or the university
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: or the other civil society havensand find that there is another reality wherethey are living in.And of course, that's all around us.There are so many examples all around usevery day of living together in a multicultural societyin a pluralist society that work.And that's also what we have to bring into academia--
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: not just the negative, but bring in the stories thatshow the positive as well.Definitely what motivates all of usis an outrage about injustice.It's hard to live in this world and see all these injustices
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: being inflicted on people.I think you just can't pass by and not notice.To pass by not notice makes you less of a human being.And I think we all feel like that.And I think another strong motivation
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: for us is the collectivity, working in a collective, whichis a real genuine collective that'snot a hierarchical organization where we're all specialistsand sit behind desks and don't talk together.That's really important for us.It's part of our ethos.We come together every day.We eat together at lunch.
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: We share all our work together.But that collectivity that we get from working togethergives us a sense of solidarity.And that sense of solidarity spreadsthrough the kinds of movements, the scholars, the lawyers,the human rights activists that we work with.So it's an outrage against injustice
LIZ FEKETE [continued]: and a human need to live in the world based on solidarity.