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“Natives: race and class in the ruins of Empire” by Akala

Our second reading of 2019 will be on Wednesday 20th February, 7.30-9.30pm at Black Book Cafe at the bottom of Nelson St: “Natives: race and class in the ruins of Empire” by Akala. We ask for a donation of £1-3 to cover the costs of the venue, and – though anyone is welcome to listen – we request that the discussion is focused on and mainly involves those who have read the text.

The reading forms a part of our mini-series: “Britain: Class, Race and Gender in past, present and future”.

In Natives, Akala takes his own experiences – with education, the police, identity and everything in between – and uses them to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today. From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers; race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook.

We will focus on Chapters 5 and 6 (“Empire and Slavery in the British Memory (pdf)” and “Scotland and Jamaica (pdf)”, pages 123-168) of this best-selling book by BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur Akala.

A PDF of the full text of Natives can be read and downloaded online.

Facebook event page: Natives by Akala.

There is a wealth of material from Akala online, including his music and a number of lectures, in the video below, Akala presents Natives at the Edinburgh International Book Festival:

Britannia Unchained?

The first sessions of Stroud Radical Reading Group in 2019 will form a mini-series: “Britain: Class, Race and Gender in past, present and future.” We’ll meet at the Black Book Cafe at the bottom of Nelson St (next to the Laundrette), 7.30-9.30pm, usually the third Wednesday of the month.

Our first session will focus on “Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity”, written by several British Conservative Party right-wing MPs (Chris Skidmore, Kwasi Kwarteng, Dominic Raab, and Priti Patel). It was released in September 2012, arguing that Britain should adopt a different and radical approach to business and economics or risk “an inevitable slide into mediocrity”. We will focus on the title chapter “Britannia Unchained” and the conclusion, pages 100-116.

To offer insight and alternative perspectives, we have also selected
* Molly Scott Cato’s BadBoysOfBrexit website, and
* Paul Kingsnorth’s “Brexit & the culture of Progress”.

Readers may elect to focus on one of the three, or dip into each.

Additional notes:

Molly Scott Cato is Green Party MEP for the South West (including Stroud). Readers may also like to browse the section of Molly’s website devoted to Brexit.

Paul Kingsnorth’s views were also covered in “The lie of the land: does environmentalism have a future in the age of Trump?” published in the Guardian in March 2017.

The following events in the series – Britain: Class, Race and Gender in past, present and future are:

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala – 20th February
Why I’m No Longer Talking (To White People) About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge – 20th March
“Me And White Supremacy Workbook” – Layla Saad – 17th April

Welcome to Stroud Radical Reading Group!

Beginning in January 2016, a group of people living in Stroud have been meeting up once a month to discuss a ‘radical’ text.

We don’t stick to books or essays – as well as academic journal articles on complex concepts like the Anthropocene, Capitolocene, Governmentality, Social reproduction and Liberation Ecology, we’ve also looked at historical trade union badges, Chartist poems, and political Haiku. Those who attend make suggestions and decide which texts we’ll read, and we take it in turns to ‘introduce’ each session.

You can find out more about past and future events here, find links to the texts we’re reading and have read, and get in touch with us with recommendations or other enquiries. A piece about the group and some of the texts we read in our first year was published by Good on Paper.

Picture of several books on a shelf, with Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher, Capital by Karl Marx, Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross, and No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein clearly visible
Some of the titles we read in 2017/18