considering the workers’ affairs the union knows no nationality’, low rates of Portuguese membership at Beira were attributed to the fundamental temperamental differences between ‘men of British stock and those of “Latin races”. The former are phlegmatic; the latter volatile and passionate’. This supposed Latin passion was seen as anathema to the rationality of trade unionism. 51
Although Afrikaners were an important part of the settler colonial project in Rhodesia, in the first half of the twentieth century the ‘race question’ in southern Africa most readily referred to
other migrant groups in post-war Britain, which revealed more
clearly than ever before the fact that behind the façade of a
universal British national identity lay competing communities of
Britishness, reflective of separate spheres of nationality. This chapter
explores these different communities and suggests that their coming to
the surface was a direct consequence of the end of empire.
In June 1948
Irish and the English were seen as two separate
nationalities. This, combined with the presence of Scottish settlers on
the north coast of Ireland, 16
created a complex melée of cultures in Ulster. It was this mixture of
cultural identities that would create so many problems over the coming
centuries as different nationalities sought supremacy, especially in
areas such as County Armagh. This turbulent
claim to particular identities by constructing and performing ‘white’ work, which was contrasted with the work (or its perceived absence) of racialised and gendered others.
Under capitalism, workers are also pitted against one another on the labour market as sellers of their labour power in ways that reproduce and strengthen race. Workers are encouraged to organise on the basis of existing ties (whether gender, race, nationality, skill) to defend themselves against weaker sections of the working class. 9 White British men variously rallied against Africans, non
essentialist notions of race and nationality. Paul Gilroy has argued that the lived experience of anxiety in an increasingly austere and precarious world in which cultures are ossified and race and national borders are fetishised and objectified as transhistorical entities, has provided fertile ground for the rise of xenophobia, nationalism, racism and neo-fascism. 6 Internationally, the insidious effects of race and nationalism increasingly appear with egregious intensity: the militarisation of state borders proceeds apace while thousands of people die every year trying to
. The style that emerged here, originally labelled ‘African Rococo’ by Mark Hinchman, had an influence over Saint-Louis, too. The Creole-colonial environment of Gorée was signified by Europeans and Africans, including people of mixed race, free blacks, and slaves, who ‘lived in the same houses, in the same rooms, and sometimes slept in the same beds’.
Such a flexible architecture on the island, Hinchman argues, created ‘a society where gender, race, and nationality were not categories that always denied people
drivers exam and being married to a ‘Rhodesian girl’. RALE scoffed at the Salisbury recruiting office who had turned down his application because ‘he was too tall’. Instead, RALE reasoned, the administration appeared to prefer hiring Africans as stokers and, after a short period, would promote them to enginemen. 46
Sakie Du Beer was defended as a white man against African incursion. His wife’s nationality gave his claim further legitimacy; she was not described as Afrikaner or British, but as a ‘Rhodesian’. Luise White has argued that in the late 1960s, ‘the workings
Afrikaner, issue. 33 Other non-British nationalities were noted as harbouring predispositions to poor whiteism. Many non-British whites were deliberately hired by employers in the lesser-skilled occupations and therefore commanded lower wages. The 1914 Immigrants Regulation Ordinance had reference to particular undesirable ethnic groups: Levantines, Europeans from eastern Europe, Europeans from south-eastern Europe, low-class Greeks, low-class Italians and ‘Jews of low type and mixed origin and other persons of mixed origin and continental birth’. 34 In these typologies
myth of British superiority was willingly accepted by many white workers who believed that their own work was of a higher quality to that performed by other nationalities and ethnicities. Xenophobia, nationalism and the confusion created by the racial interdeterminancy posed by these social groups combined with material concerns of undercutting on a racially stratified labour market.
Hostility towards non-British groups generally intensified during the war period. There was suspicion of Afrikaners harbouring pro-German attitudes despite the absence of overtly pro
self-love … first puts the centre in motion, and then extends itself
in progressive circles of beneficence to the extremities’. 65 In this
construction charity should begin at home. Nationality and race
created a prior claim on the pity and purse of the philanthropic
British citizenry. Despite their misery and corruption, the
metropolitan poor belonged to the nation and held the potential to