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Power Handbook against Racism in Daily Life

In Interfem’s power handbook, anti-racist feminists share their best tools for fighting sexism and racism. A Finnish edition is underway within the framework of a Nordic cooperation project, and more books may be in the pipeline.
‘When the racists organise themselves, we have to do the same thing,’ says Kristin Tran.

NIKK spade symbol

Kristin Tran is active in the Swedish organisation Interfem and is also coordinating the work with the organisation’s handbook for young feminists who want to work against racism and sexism. In the book, anti-racist feminists talk about their strategies and give concrete advice on how to respond to domination techniques.
‘The methods are pretty straightforward, which makes them very useful.’

Why is Nordic cooperation on anti-racist feminism important?
‘We see a great urgency in our countries, and we also see how much we have in common. There is a lot of useful knowledge in different organisations and I believe we can do a lot together. Right now we’re in the middle of establishing contacts with activists in the Nordic countries and Estonia. In June we’re having a network meeting in Skåne. It’s a summer camp for racialised adolescents who want to work against racism and sexism.’

Can you tell us more about the power handbook?
‘It’s unique in the sense that it is written by people who are experiencing racism themselves. It focuses on the obstacles and discrimination people face in clubs and voluntary organisations, but the advice can also be applied for example in working life and politics. The book describes typical everyday experiences of racism and can help readers put their own experiences into words.’

Illustration: Emma Hanquist
 Illustration: Emma Hanquist

Why is it important to put experiences of racism into words?
‘It is important in order not to put the problems on ourselves. Sometimes it might feel like you’re the one who hasn’t been able to communicate what you want to say, but the racism is built into the structures and affects all aspects of society. Only when we organise ourselves will we be in a position to push the anti-racist agenda and achieve change.’

You are working on a Finnish edition of the power handbook. How come?
‘A group of Finnish activists read the book and invited us to come and talk about it. We soon realised that there is so much we could work on together. I wouldn’t say that racism is a bigger problem in Finland than in Sweden, but there is a great need for this type of book, not least in feminist circles. For the feminist movement to break through at the broad political level, it needs to bring attention to the anti-racist agenda.‘


How will the Finnish book differ from the Swedish?
‘Finnish activists will write their own story and present their feminist and anti-racist role models. Finland and Sweden are experiencing – just like other Nordic countries – a similar development in the political arena, with the Finns Party and the Sweden Democrats. But the targets of racist sentiments tend to differ. For example, people of Russian or Estonian descent are often targeted in Finland in a way you don’t see as much in Sweden. It is important to consider the different contexts at the same time as we must see how racism is a European and global problem.’

This is an article about one of the projects granted funding through the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.

Updated 2 October 2020