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The Scramble for Africa
Thomas Pakenham, Abacus 1992
‘It wasn’t all bad, we did give you the railways!’ – this is the get-out clause of many empires.
Scramble for Africa manages to explain the psychology of those who now stand as statues all over Europe. Whether it’s Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill or Leopold across the sea, nationalistic intellectual commentators love to masturbate over the merits of these leaders – or worse, want their contributions to be part of the education system, indoctrinating the young in their misguided morality and views about the human race.
It was not long ago that the most vicious of empires slaughtered millions in Africa without any remorse. This book explains the competitive, evil nature of European leaders whose blood-drenched greed and capitalism went to such indecent levels.
The Travels of Ibn Battuta
Travellers in general have been the servants of rulers with ulterior motives but here was one that genuinely consumed himself in the actual surroundings and an interest in people.
Armed with simplicity, Ibn Battuta crossed many continents, and his observations are full of curiosity and intrigue. A well-travelled person should be able to elevate himself from his ignorant opinions and explain not only the common, sometimes annoying, traits of humanity, but break down what bonds people together and how they bond.
Messages to the World: the statements of Osama Bin Laden
Bruce Lawrence (ed), Verso 2005
This is an encyclopedia of letters addressed to the leaders in the Arab world, from the man and the organisation that has changed our world this century. In them, he pleads for a change of direction away from subservience to the colonial and imperial powers.
The tragedy of 9/11 in all its epic proportions is not a far cry from the despair of not only the Muslim world but of many other corners of the world at the military and economic terrorism carried out by the West, in all its unquestioned acceptability. If nothing justifies the position of Osama Bin Laden, then the same rule must apply to states across the globe. This book shows that state terrorism is the catalyst for resistance, however uncomfortable that might be.
The telephone directory of Bradford, 1960 and 2009
The best way to study the changing face of Britain. Check out the phenomenon of white flight, not just in run-down areas but the more affluent areas.
We loved Mr and Mrs Wright and thought we would get married to Jane and Susan, their daughters, but now they live in Eccleshill and that’s a no-go area for us – we sent many invites for many years, but no response. Love you Susan, still!
While There is Light
Tariq Mehmood, Carcanet 2003
Tariq Mehmood chooses a crap title for a great semi-biography, as from his birthplace of Pakistan to Bradford, he is thrown into a world of insecurity and conflicts. This is essentially the story of Britain’s second generation Asians in the late 60s and early 70s, against a backdrop of racism and white rules. The regularity of physical attacks on Asians was too much to bear and the famous Bradford 12 took the law into their own hands, and rightly so. If the system was not going to stop the attacks then they were going to prepare the petrol bombs for the National Front. This is a fascinating story of a bunch of Asian anarchists who fought the law and won.
A Mirror to the Blind
Abdul Sattar Edhi, 1996
Together with his wife, Balquis, Abdul Sattar Edhi started the Edhi Charity foundation in Pakistan, which has since grown into a huge free health service. This book is full of the conviction of a person who stands absolute in the philosophy of charity, a duty not a plea. This man has seen it all yet keeps his focus on what is righteous.
The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins, Bantam 2006
The great hope of atheism fails miserably in attempting to convince us believers that we’ve got it all wrong. Mystics far greater than Dawkins, and less patronising, pondered these questions and died without finding the absolute answer. His Holiness Dawkins offers little but cheap attacks and absurd, fantasised egotistical assumptions. I think he wants to be God.
Many talk about it, insult it, burn it, flush it down toilets (Guantanamo), misrepresent it (Wilders), attempt to re-write it, abuse it, but they never READ IT for themselves. The Qur’an is not just for Muslims; it clearly throws down a gauntlet – so challenge the writings intellectually.
A portion of the sales from purchases made through Red Pepper/Eclector’s book store contribute money to Red Pepper. Not all titles are available.
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Nick Dowson looks at the new wave of co-ops and community groups where people are building their own truly affordable homes
Hsiao-Hung Pai meets people affected by the fire, and finds sadness and suffering mixed with a continuing wariness of the official investigations
Chris Williamson MP, winner of the election's tightest marginal, Derby North, and recently reappointed shadow minister for fire services, talks to Ashish Ghadiali about Jeremy Corbyn, the housing crisis and winning from the left
The Corbyn-supporting group is preparing for another election at any moment, writes Adam Peggs – and now has the potential to create powerful training initiatives, union links and party reform efforts
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi
Tory Glastonbury? Money can’t buy you cultural relevance
Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun
Essay: After neoliberalism, what next?
There are economically-viable, socially-desirable alternatives to the failed neoliberal economic model, writes Jayati Ghosh
With the new nuclear ban treaty, it’s time to scrap Trident – and spend the money on our NHS
As a doctor, I want to see money spent on healthcare not warfare, writes David McCoy - Britain should join the growing international movement for disarmament
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India, by Shashi Tharoor, reviewed by Ian Sinclair
A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour
A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder, by Grace A Musila, reviewed by Allen Oarbrook
‘We remembered that convictions can inspire and motivate people’: interview with Lisa Nandy MP
The general election changed the rules, but there are still tricky issues for Labour to face, Lisa Nandy tells Ashish Ghadiali
Everything you know about Ebola is wrong
Vicky Crowcroft reviews Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic, by Paul Richards
Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for an online editor
Closing date for applications: 1 September.
Theresa May’s new porn law is ridiculous – but dangerous
The law is almost impossible to enforce, argues Lily Sheehan, but it could still set a bad precedent
Interview: Queer British Art
James O'Nions talks to author Alex Pilcher about the Tate’s Queer British Art exhibition and her book A Queer Little History of Art
Cable the enabler: new Lib Dem leader shows a party in crisis
Vince Cable's stale politics and collusion with the Conservatives belong in the dustbin of history, writes Adam Peggs
Anti-Corbyn groupthink and the media: how pundits called the election so wrong
Reporting based on the current consensus will always vastly underestimate the possibility of change, argues James Fox
Michael Cashman: Commander of the Blairite Empire
Lord Cashman, a candidate in Labour’s internal elections, claims to stand for Labour’s grassroots members. He is a phony, writes Cathy Cole
Contribute to Conter – the new cross-party platform linking Scottish socialists
Jonathan Rimmer, editor of Conter, says it’s time for a new non-sectarian space for Scottish anti-capitalists and invites you to take part
Editorial: Empire will eat itself
Ashish Ghadiali introduces the June/July issue of Red Pepper
Eddie Chambers: Black artists and the DIY aesthetic
Eddie Chambers, artist and art historian, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali about the cultural strategies that he, as founder of the Black Art Group, helped to define in the 1980s
Despite Erdogan, Turkey is still alive
With this year's referendum consolidating President Erdogan’s autocracy in Turkey, Nazim A argues that the way forward for democrats lies in a more radical approach
Red Pepper Race Section: open editorial meeting – 11 August in Leeds
The next open editorial meeting of the Red Pepper Race Section will take place between 3.30-5.30pm, Friday 11th August in Leeds.
Mogg-mentum? Thatcherite die-hard Jacob Rees-Mogg is no man of the people
Adam Peggs says Rees-Mogg is no joke – he is a living embodiment of Britain's repulsive ruling elite