the foundations of oppression can't be plucked up without the anger of a multitude

Posts Tagged ‘black struggles

Reflections on A Sivanandan’s ‘All that Melts into the Air is Solid’

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I have recently started up Hotchpotch again, as part of the Extra Pages project. It’s ‘an intellectual night for non-academics’ – a participatory evening of discussion, debate, bring-and-share readings, presentation from an activist/community group and also a lecture by a layperson on a text that they have found interesting. Last Monday I did the first one, on A. Sivanandan’s 1990 essay. I had picked up ‘Communities of Resistance: Writings on Black Struggles’ in an English language bookshop in Budapest. I have found it fascinating. Siv, born into a Tamil family in Northern Sri Lanka (Ceylon as it then was), left for Britain after the inter-ethnic riots between Sinhalese and Tamil and “walked straight into the ‘riots’ in Notting Hill”. In England “I knew then I was black. I could no longer stand on the sidelines; race was a problem that affected me directly. … I had to find a way of making some sort of contribution to the improvement of scoiety, to bring about a society where human beings could be human.” (The Heart is Where the Battle is; Verso, 1990) Starting as a tea boy in a public library, he qualified as a librarian, going on to work in the library of the Institute of Race Relations, which he and other members took over, with Siv becoming director. From an Establishment body, “controlled and in part financed by big business [which] spoke to government concerns”, Siv and the others made it “a think-in-order-to-do tank, for black and Third World Peoples.”A Sivanandan Read the rest of this entry »

Written by angrysampoetry

February 1, 2015 at 11:56 am