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Review: Public Sociology: Between Utopia and Anti-Utopia

Michal Burawoy’s Public Sociology cover art It is unusual to read a book written by someone who was your close neighbour when growing up. Michael Burawoy was our ‘next door but one’ neighbour in a lower middle-class street in south Manchester. Later, doing maths at Cambridge, he faced much of the alienation common to grammar-school boys entering…

Sutton Community Farm and the politics of community agriculture

Photo provided by Sutton Community Farm The UK farming sector is in the middle of an existential crisis. As a consequence of leaving the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the Conservative government has had to draft a new agricultural support scheme to either match or replace the direct payments received by UK farmers from the EU. What will replace…

Power in unions

Emergency Workplace Organising Committee graphic (Credit: EWOC) At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, tens of millions of US workers were confronted with more dangerous conditions at work. They were called essential but in many cases were treated as expendable. Unions had the ability to negotiate new protections for their members but non-union workers…

After Holden, how many more kids will Britain send to war?

For Irish unity march, London 1979. Photo credit: Gillfoto David Holden didn’t intend to kill Aidan McAnespie, but he did fantasise about doing it. While fondling a general-purpose machine gun, aiming it at McAnespie and pulling the trigger, Holden fantasised about killing McAnespie. Holden didn’t, however, know the machine gun was cocked. When…

Christmas gift subscriptions – on sale now!

Not sure what to get that special lefty in your life this festive season? Want to support independent media? Look no further! The Red Pepper Christmas gift bundle includes… our latest issue, ‘Deluge and Drought’ an annual subscription for 2023 (four more issues!) the optional added extras of an ever-useful Verso Radical Diary 2023 and/or the…

Can’t pay, don’t pay

Photo: EE Image Database (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) This article first appeared in Issue #237, ‘Power in Unions’, published September 2022. Subscribe today to read more articles and support independent media. The energy price hikes we’re all facing aren’t inevitable. What is being presented to us as an energy and cost-of-living ‘crisis’…

Resistance in Leicester’s garment district

A mural outside of Highfields Community Centre. Photo credit: Bal Sokhi-Bulley The South Indian thali we had for lunch that day was exceptional. It had been one of the first sunny, bright blue sky days of the year and as we drove through Evington and Highfields even the ‘dark factories’ glistened. Along East Park Road, Vaisakhi decorations wove…

Never give up: remembering Anwar Ditta

Sketch and poster of Anwar Ditta by Mukhtar Dar Anwar Ditta was a British-Pakistani woman who fought – and won – a case against the Home Office after it refused entry to her three children, leaving them stuck without her in Pakistan. Her treatment at the hands of the state drove her to campaign not just for her own family but to build a coalition…

Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green by Henry Sanderson – Review

A lithium mine in Chile. Lithium is a vital component of many ostensibly ‘green’ technologies About two-thirds of the way through Volt Rush, Henry Sanderson interrupts his description of the pack of corporate scavengers picking over central Africa’s copper belt to quote the first lines of V S Naipaul’s unremittingly bleak novel of post-colonial…

Cinema on the move

The Order of Things (2017) At the London Migration Film Festival (LMFF), we have found that people most commonly associate the term ‘migration’ with politics and tragedy. For example, when we approached a new venue with the hopes of holding screenings there during the second LMFF, we were told ‘a policy of political neutrality’ meant they ‘could…

A new Italian era

Giorgia Meloni speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference The greatest tragedy of the far-right’s victory in the Italian general election was its inevitability. Italian electoral law favours coalitions of parties. More than a third of Parliament is elected through a first-past-the-post electoral system and parties can coalesce around…

Tunisia’s struggle for energy democracy

A wind turbine farm in Tunisia (Credit: Dana Smillie) Since the 2011 revolution Tunisian governments have consistently failed to implement progressive public sector reforms and succumbed instead to the demands of global institutions such as the IMF. The Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz (STEG, Tunisia’s national electricity and gas…

Key words: Magical voluntarism

Image: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash Around a decade ago, Mark Fisher invoked the psychologist David Smail’s term ‘magical voluntarism’ to describe the trajectory of mental health discourse. This concept draws on the individualistic notion that we are all masters of our destiny – meaning we can and should become masters of our mental health too…

#EndSARS: Two years since the massacre

EndSARS protestors in 2020. Photo credit: TobiJamesCandids On 4 October 2020, footage surfaced on social media  showing officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) dragging two unarmed men from a hotel  in Ughelli Delta state and shooting one dead  outside. That very day, a 2017 hashtag #EndSARS was revived and began trending on social media…

10 years after ‘the squares’

‘Democracia Real YA’ demonstration in Madrid on May 15, 2011. Photo by Olmo Calvo (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0) Giorgos Venizelos: More than 10 years have passed since the so-called movements of the squares were first observed. Their proliferation in the southern European periphery, the northern coast of Africa and the United States…

Red Valkyries: Feminist Lessons from Five Revolutionary Women by Kristen Ghodsee – Review

From left to right: Alexandra Kollontai, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Lyudmila Pavlichenko If the names Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Alexandra Kollontai, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Inessa Armand and Elena Lagadinova are unfamiliar to you, Kristen Ghodsee’s new book will provide an illuminating and long-overdue corrective. Accessibly written and extensively researched, Red…

Latin America’s new ‘Pink Tide’

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaking to supporters following his victory in the 2022 Brazilian general election (Credit: Ricardo Stuckert) References to a Latin American left should come accompanied with an asterisk, as left-wing governments and movements attempting to transcend neoliberal capitalism – and in some cases capitalism itself…

Hungary’s illiberal education

Viktor Orbán speaking at the 2012 European People’s Party Congress in Bucharest (Credit: European People’s Party) Red Pepper has launched a vital Crowdfunder to lay the foundations for our future. Donate today. Students in England understand very well the impact of neoliberal reforms in higher education, aiming to transform universities into institutions…

Review – Daring to Hope: My Life in the 1970s

Sheila Rowbotham helped start the women’s liberation movement in Britain and is now known internationally for her writings on the history of feminism and social justice campaigns. In her latest memoir, she invites us to witness the birth of women’s liberation, as it happened, giving us a very intimate and detailed account of her life, her loves…

An update from till two

Social distancing at Tesco supermarket in Haslemere at the start of the pandemic (Credit: Simon Burchell) At the beginning of the pandemic, I think we all felt the same sense of fear and panic about Covid as anyone else. We expected the next person we interacted with would pass the virus on to us. Senior management was slow to get PPE to us. We cleaned…

Molly-Mae Hague and the Toxic Culture of Manifestation

Earlier this year, an excerpt from the Diary of a CEO podcast went viral. The clip was from an interview with Molly-Mae Hague – Love Island alum, social influencer and Creative Director at fashion brand PrettyLittleThing – in which she made comments about poverty, success and hard work, arguing that ‘we all have the same 24 hours in a day’ and…

Laboratories of the extreme

Mapping of Indonesian forest fires by Forensic Architecture in collaboration with FIBGAR, 2017. Credit: Forensic Architecture, 2018 Eyal Weizman is a professor of spatial and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he started the Centre for Research Architecture, and in 2010 founded the research agency Forensic Architecture. Weizman…

Revolutionary threads in feminist art

Photographic print by Pavel Valenzuela at the Dis/Locating Cultures of Equality exhibition Last October, I curated an art exhibition featuring work from the Global Gender and Cultures of Equality (GlobalGRACE) project, a four-year research project based in Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and the UK. In each location, academics…

Building peaceful solidarities

Bruce Kent and Kate Hudson outside the Russian Embassy, Spring 2022. Photo by Pádraig McCarrick This is Part Two in a two-part interview between Hilary Wainwright and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) activists Kate Hudson and Bruce Kent, which took place as they were delivering a letter to the Russian Embassy. Read Part One here. Hilary Wainwright…

Putin, NATO, and the nuclear threat

 From left: Bruce Kent and Kate Hudson outside the Russian Embassy, Spring 2022; Bruce Kent at the budget day protest, 2012. Photos by Pádraig McCarrick / CND Bruce Kent led the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1980s, when the peace movement successfully campaigned, along with the women of Greenham Common, to remove US Cruise Missiles…


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