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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…

Solidarity, sit-ins, and samosa packets: one artist activist’s journey

Sofia Karim (Photo by Lylah Sanderson) My activism began in August 2018, when my uncle was arrested and disappeared by the Bangladeshi police. We got a phone call saying, ‘Your uncle has been taken. We don’t know where he is.’ From that point, I began campaigning and campaigning. My uncle is Shahidul Alam, the Bangladeshi photographer. He was…

Building feminist cities

(Credit: Gobierno de la Ciudad de México) In London, cases of femicide in public spaces such as streets, squares and parks, perpetrated by strangers, including in one instance by a serving police officer, have dramatically illustrated that women and girls are not free to exercise even the most basic rights of citizenship. Such rights must include the…

A poet, a composer and an unlikely Greek protest song

‘Denial’ is not an obviously political song. The reasons it took political dimensions are complex – both socio-political and aesthetic. It brings two worlds together, that of the measured diplomat Seferis, and the fiery, larger-than-life Theodorakis. So why is it that this particular song, mild and ambiguous in its meaning, has become such a potent…

The Trojan Horse Affair highlights Prevent’s flaws

Park View School, now Rockwood Academy, was at the heart of the so-called trojan horse affair. The recent, gripping New York Times podcast on the trojan horse affair has re-opened the injustice dealt to a poor, mainly Muslim, community in Birmingham, its schools, and the educators who worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for their children. The…

The tech fightback: An Interview with United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW)

Credit: Phil Wrigglesworth Liam Kennedy: Could you tell me a bit about how the UTAW branch came to be? Why the Communications Workers Union (CWU), for instance? John Chadfield: The idea for UTAW, or a tech worker union led by tech workers, started in 2019 and eventually came from a working group of Tech Workers’ Coalition London. It was clear that…

Why we need to unite for peace and human rights across the old divides

Russians demonstrate in 2014 against military intervention in Ukraine. Image: Dhārmikatva / Wikimedia Commons  One early initiative in the ‘no war’ movement of Russian citizens, now filling the squares of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities and facing brutal repression, was this public statement by Rights in Russia opposing military action…

Egypt at 100

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser waiving to a crowd in Mansoura, 1960 In 1919, a peasant-led revolt broke out in Egypt demanding an end to British occupation. In the aftermath of this widespread mobilisation, the country gained a nominal independence from 28 February 1922. While technically recognising Egyptian independence, the new arrangement…

Fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in China

Qiuyan Chen outside the Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing in 2015. Photo credit: Qiuyan Chen On 16 July 2021, 18 LGBTQ+ public accounts run by the members of ‘underground’ student rainbow societies were shut down by WeChat. These accounts now only appear on the app as ‘unnamed’. When supporters voiced their anger about the closure on…

Revitalising artistic activism in the age of art-wash

The Stop Shopping Choir perform for ‘Joe’s Pub’ at the Public Theatre in New York. Photo: John Quilty Maybe we don’t need more artworks about icebergs. Or, more specifically, maybe we don’t need more fragmented blocks of ice left to melt poignantly in our city centres. As the impacts of climate change intensify, perhaps it’s time for us…

Revitalising artistic activisism in the age of art-wash

The Stop Shopping Choir perform for ‘Joe’s Pub’ at the Public Theatre in New York. Photo: John Quilty Maybe we don’t need more artworks about icebergs. Or, more specifically, maybe we don’t need more fragmented blocks of ice left to melt poignantly in our city centres. As the impacts of climate change intensify, perhaps it’s time for us…

Education for an alternative

Photo credit: Alarichall Students and academics across the UK are preparing for a new round of strikes. They come at a time when university staff face extra difficulties with the cost of living crisis after a 20% real-term pay cut since 2010, postgraduate staff lack appropriate working conditions, students face punishing loan conditions amidst grim…

Compulsory voting: the debate

A map on which the countries marked in red have enforced compulsory voting. By SPQRobin (licensed under Creative Commons) Australia’s electoral mandate Should citizens be compelled to vote? Most of the world’s democracies say no, but a few compel electors to turn up at the ballot box, even if leaving them free to deface their ballot or leave it…

Can Boric’s government end Chile’s Mapuche conflict?

Protesters wave the Mapuche flag on the streets of Chile. Photo by Pablo Bell (Instagram: @_pablobell) On 21 January, Chile’s new president Gabriel Boric unveiled his much anticipated cabinet of ministers. To the delight of Chile’s strong contingent of feminist activists, over half of his appointments went to women. Emblematic doctor-turned-politician…

Shareholder democracy has failed

Stock market trading figures Margaret Thatcher claimed that shareholder democracy would give ordinary people the chance to have a greater stake in the economy and the companies they work for. At the same time, she demolished Britain’s post-war settlement and privatised the nation’s industries, taking power away from the state and handing it to shareholders…

Israeli apartheid: an international consensus

Credit: Montecruz Foto The landmark report released by Amnesty International last week can be condensed into a single, stark sentence: ‘whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.’ Amnesty lays out four…

Fighting workplace surveillance

A cartoon from the February 1927 issue of US magazine Labor Age, depicting how systems of surveillance like Taylorism were intended to shape workers’ behaviour. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, forcing many changes at work. One of the most regularly discussed has been the shift to remote working. For many workers who have long…

Rejecting the new cold war

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen (USAF) At a time of heightened US-China geopolitical tensions, it is right to be wary. Concerns are valid that we are hurtling toward conflict between the two superpowers, articulated on the left as a ‘new cold war’ in some circles. Though there are limits to this comparison – the US and Soviet Union were…


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