Racism and Brexit: notes towards an antiracist populism

Pitcher, B. 2019. Racism and Brexit: notes towards an antiracist populism. Ethnic and Racial Studies.

TitleRacism and Brexit: notes towards an antiracist populism
TypeJournal article
AuthorsPitcher, B.
Abstract

This article takes Brexit and Nigel Farage’s right-wing populism as a starting point to consider the populist politics of racism and antiracism. I demonstrate how two key figures of right-wing populist discourse – the “white working class” and the “liberal elite” – have come to describe a political grammar with a widespread influence and explanatory resonance across the political spectrum, and which have as a result formed a racial common sense in Brexit Britain. Rather than accept the terms of a debate that has been set by the populist right, I draw on Ernesto Laclau to describe a rival politics of antiracist populism. Although it is far from straightforward to navigate, engagement on the terrain of the popular is not optional if we are to counter a fatalistic tendency to conceive of antiracism as a minority or elite concern.

KeywordsRacism, antiracism, Brexit, populism, Laclau, elites
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
ISSN0141-9870
Year2019
PublisherTaylor & Francis

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Accepted author manuscript
Under embargo until 21 Nov 2020

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