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No book has had a greater impact on me as the Quran. For Muslims, it is literally the word of God, and it acts as a guide in all aspects of life’s journey. Like all religious texts, its messages are contested and often used both by those who seek to oppress and those who seek liberation from oppression.
For me, the passage ‘stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kindred, and whether it be against rich or poor’, is unambiguous, and a constant source of strength.
My children’s photo albums
I have three boys, Hamza (aged 13), Mikael (12) and Aslan (7). They are the centre of my world: they are challenging, bright and funny. I love being around them.
Since 9/11 it feels like all of us have embarked on a new journey together. They too are now veterans of the anti-war movement and have taken part in numerous demos and rallies.
Indeed, my youngest, Aslan, nearly made his mark on the movement in a way that neither of us would have wanted. I was heavily pregnant with him during the 28 September 2002 demo and started getting labour pains just before I spoke on the platform. I remember distinctly praying, ‘please God, not now, not in front of a million people…’
The bond between mother and child is uniquely special, and I love looking at photographs of my children as they grow and develop.
I trained as a psychotherapist and psychology is my first love. One of the costs of political activism has been the lack of time to devote to it.
I am particularly interested in psychological models that are holistic and incorporate both spiritual and societal perspectives. I am also intrigued by psychoanalytical models, with their emphasis on the dynamics within the individual and how we are shaped by our developmental experiences.
However, I am not entirely dismissive of the self-help genre, even though it is often looked down upon by ‘professionals’, and indeed I would recommend some to patients.
Of all the writers in the genre, Susan Jeffers comes out tops for my money. This book is one of her bestsellers and gets the mix of readability, practical guidance and cheesiness just right.
First published 1950
Although this is a fantasy novel for children, I love it. One of the consequences of the recent cold spell has been the way our landscape has been transformed by the snow. The fragile beauty of it evoked images of the magical land of Narnia for me.
The theme of good fighting evil is certainly not new, but this book manages to combine the thrill of an adventure story, the complexities of moral challenges, and enchanting characters who resonate in the imagination for a long time. Certainly long enough for me to name my youngest after the lion in the book, Aslan.
I don’t accept that political models that result in thousands of children dying of hunger each day represent either the height of human ingenuity or the natural order of things.
Naomi Klein’s critique of the dominant economic model is approached with an intellectual rigour that gives both clarity and a formidable weapon to activists. This book is a masterpiece in exposing the fundamental brutality that drives the capitalist system. It is an exposé of how free market fundamentalism leads to ruin and chaos, and a reminder of the ruthlessness of the global elite, whose interests are irreconcilable with those of the vast bulk of humanity.
Rebuilding the Left
We need real, living political alternatives to capture the public imagination that another world really is possible. Developments in recent years in South America are hugely significant in that regard.
This short book is written by a Chilean activist forced into exile after the1973 military coup. Since then she has clocked up decades of activism, first in Cuba and now in Venezuela, engaged in revolutionary processes to build socialist alternatives.
Her book is teeming with wisdom and relevance to those seeking to build broad parties of the radical left here in Britain.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
As an Asian woman Arundhati Roy is simply an inspiration and role model to me. She knows no fear and speaks the truth, however unpalatable it is to those in power, either in her homeland of India or globally. She is on the side of, and a voice for, those most downtrodden by gender, caste or class.
Her recent writings on the oppression in Kashmir are a further testimony to her fierce compassion. Her courage astounds, and through it she articulates a global perspective with a humanity that uplifts and gives courage to the rest of us.
As well as her personal integrity she is an extremely talented writer, in both fiction and non-fiction. In this short book, she articulates an impassioned critique of the war on terror, which is made even more powerful by her particular eloquent and poetic style.
Salma Yaqoob is the leader of the Respect party and its general election candidate for Birmingham Sparkbrook. Donations to her general election campaign can be sent, payable to Respect Birmingham, to 51 Portman Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B13 0SH. Her selections can be purchased here.
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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to witness devastating political violence, but the world refuses to act. Ishiaba Kasonga and Serge Egola Angbakodolo ask why?
When fire safety has become a privilege for the rich, it’s time to stop austerity and fund emergency mass works to raise standards immediately, writes Jane Shallice
The election result has irreversibly changed political discourse in the UK, writes James Fox
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Bernie Grant's election to parliament, Ayo Wallace explores the life and legacy of his radical representation of Tottenham's black communities.
Across Britain, hundreds of thousands of people have now taken part in mass rallies for Corbyn's Labour. Eli Regan soaks up the atmosphere in Warrington
The under-30s could be decisive in the general election. Frances Grahl meets young people hit by Tory austerity and looks at what's driving their support for Labour
“To them it’s just another number, someone else being sent back. But when you’ve got three children being left without their dad … it’s quite major,” writes Rebecca Omonira-Okeykanmi.
Hundreds of people surrounded the fences this weekend. Hera Lorandos spoke to women who have suffered inside.
Grassroots posters giving an alternative take on the general election
Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
Contagion: how the crisis spread
Following on from his essay, How Empire Struck Back, Walden Bello speaks to TNI's Nick Buxton about how the financial crisis spread from the USA to Europe
How empire struck back
Walden Bello dissects the failure of Barack Obama's 'technocratic Keynesianism' and explains why this led to Donald Trump winning the US presidency
Empire en vogue
Nadine El-Enany examines the imperial pretensions of Britain's post-Brexit foreign affairs and trade strategy
Grenfell Tower residents evicted from hotel with just hours’ notice
An urgent call for support from the Radical Housing Network
Jeremy Corbyn is no longer the leader of the opposition – he has become the People’s Prime Minister
While Theresa May hides away, Corbyn stands with the people in our hours of need, writes Tom Walker
In the aftermath of this disaster, we must fight to restore respect and democracy for council tenants
Glyn Robbins says it's time to put residents, not private firms, back at the centre of decision-making over their housing
After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections
Under cover of 'cutting red tape', the government has been slashing safety standards. It's time for it to stop, writes Christine Berry
Why the Grenfell Tower fire means everything must change
The fire was a man-made atrocity, says Faiza Shaheen – we must redesign our economic system so it can never happen again
Forcing MPs to take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy undermines democracy
As long as being an MP means pledging loyalty to an unelected head of state, our parliamentary system will remain undemocratic, writes Kate Flood
7 reasons why Labour can win the next election
From the rise of Grime for Corbyn to the reduced power of the tabloids, Will Murray looks at the reasons to be optimistic for Labour's chances next time
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 25 June
On June 25th, the fourth of Red Pepper Race Section's Open Editorial Meetings will celebrate the launch of our new black writers' issue - Empire Will Eat Itself.
After two years of attacks on Corbyn supporters, where are the apologies?
In the aftermath of this spectacular election result, some issues in the Labour Party need addressing, argues Seema Chandwani
If Corbyn’s Labour wins, it will be Attlee v Churchill all over again
Jack Witek argues that a Labour victory is no longer unthinkable – and it would mean the biggest shake-up since 1945
On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist
Hilary Wainwright pays tribute to the life and legacy of Robin Murray, one of the key figures of the New Left whose vision of a modern socialism lies at the heart of the Labour manifesto.
Letter from the US: Dear rest of the world, I’m just as confused as you are
Kate Harveston apologises for the rise of Trump, but promises to make it up to us somehow
The myth of ‘stability’ with Theresa May
Settit Beyene looks at the truth behind the prime minister's favourite soundbite
Civic strike paralyses Colombia’s principle pacific port
An alliance of community organisations are fighting ’to live with dignity’ in the face of military repression. Patrick Kane and Seb Ordoñez report.
Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports
On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.
Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns
Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for a political organiser
Closing date for applications: postponed, see below
The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally