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.
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Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
As man-made global warming gets closer to the tipping point, Andrew Simms finds reasons to be positive about averting catastrophic climate change
In this extract from his new book The Candidate, Alex Nunns tells the inside story of how Jeremy Corbyn scraped onto the Labour leadership ballot in 2015
Graham Jones proposes a framework for a diverse movement to flourish
Musician Eliane Correa reflects on the fading revolution
Trump's victory is another sign of the failure of the centre-left's narrative on climate change. A new message is needed, and new politicians to deliver it, writes Alex Randall
Siobhán McGuirk says the question we are too afraid to ask is simple - what kind of society leads to Donald Trump as President?
The battle lines are clear. Democracy is in peril and the left must take itself seriously electorally and politically. Ruth Potts speaks to Gary Younge, who was based in Muncie, Indiana, for the US election, about the implications of Donald Trump’s victory
We need a society built on openness, community and equality to truly defeat everything that trump stands for, writes Nick Dearden.
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Short story: Syrenka
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Utopia: Industrial Workers Taking the Wheel
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry – and its lessons for today
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
Utopia: Room for all
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History
Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.
A book review every day until Christmas at Red Pepper
Red Pepper will be publishing a new book review each day until Christmas
Book Review: Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics
'In spite of the odds Corbyn is still standing' - Alex Doherty reviews Seymour's analysis of the rise of Corbyn
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
'A small manifesto for black liberation through socialist revolution' - Graham Campbell reviews Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation'
The Fashion Revolution: Turn to the left
Bryony Moore profiles Stitched Up, a non-profit group reimagining the future of fashion
The abolition of Art History A-Level will exacerbate social inequality
This is a massive blow to the rights of ordinary kids to have the same opportunities as their more privileged peers. Danielle Child reports.
Mass civil disobedience in Sudan
A three-day general strike has brought Sudan to a stand still as people mobilise against the government and inequality. Jenny Nelson writes.
Mustang film review: Three fingers to Erdogan
Laura Nicholson reviews Mustang, Deniz Gamze Erguven’s unashamedly feminist film critique of Turkey’s creeping conservatism
What if the workers were in control?
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry