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Narendra Makanji and why the fight for inclusion goes on

03 May, 2019

Narendra Makanji at an anti-apartheid protest

• IT’S a shame that the issue of Black Sections within the Labour Party has raised its head on the back of the passing of an iconic figure, former councillor Narendra Makanji. But the issue of identity politics is sensitive today, rarely discussed openly.

It cannot be denied that the arrival in Westminster in the 1980s of MPs of colour such as Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz and the now Lord Boateng was immeas­urably ground­breaking.

In the early 80s, there were people calling for a Black Trade Union Congress in Britain, not unity or inclusion of black Britons in the existing Labour movement. Some of those vocifer­ously calling for it wanted to be its leaders. I was one of those who opposed Black Sections.

Again we are facing a heightened, intoler­ant, xenophobic ex­clusion of immigrants.

I feel strongly that, irrespective of race, faith, age, sexuality or gender, a person should be treated equally. I argue forcefully for inclusion.



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