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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.
The police spend little of their time making arrests, and most crimes are not solved, writes Alex Vitale – their real purpose is social control
Many important things happened on conference floor, reports Alex Nunns – but you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers
Radhika Desai says Capital by Karl Marx is still an essential read on the 150th anniversary of its publication
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Universal credit isn’t about saving money – it’s about disciplining unemployed people
The scheme has cost a fortune and done nothing but cause suffering. So why does it exist at all? Tom Walker digs into universal credit’s origins in Tory ideology
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes
Naomi Klein: the Corbyn movement is part of a global phenomenon
What radical writer Naomi Klein said in her guest speech to Labour Party conference
Waiting for the future to begin: refugees’ everyday lives in Greece
Solidarity volunteer Karolina Partyga on what she has learned from refugees in Thessaloniki
Don’t let Uber take you for a ride
Uber is no friend of passengers or workers, writes Lewis Norton – the firm has put riders at risk and exploited its drivers
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going