Satnam Virdee
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Anti-racism and the socialist left, 1968–79
in Against the grain
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This chapter begins by focusing on the economic, political and ideological factors that transformed the political consciousness of key elements of the working class. It considers the influential role played by socialist activists, especially those aligned to the left within the Labour Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the International Socialists/Socialist Workers Party (IS/SWP). When it comes to understanding the development of a current of working class anti-racism, crucial was the growing importance of socialist activists and stewards in the rising tide of class struggle. The first evidence of organised opposition to racism and exclusionary practices in the workplace had emerged in May 1965, when Asian and Caribbean workers went on strike at Courtauld's Red Scar Mill in Preston, Lancashire. The most visible manifestation of the working-class solidarity and the rejection of racist ideologies took place between 1976 and 1978 during the Grunwick dispute.

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Against the grain

The British far left from 1956

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