Thursday, 27 November 2014

Assata: An Autobiography and the Ferguson Verdict


“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
Assata: An Autobiography

Assata: An Autobiography is perhaps the most important book we can read in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury verdict announced on Monday 25th November.

Following the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting and consequent death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, protests and riots have broken out in Ferguson and are spreading across the States and worldwide.

The decision has brought to the forefront the ever present racial divide in America and other countries.  This divide still rings true for Assata Shakur, ex member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA).  In 1973, Assata was involved in a shoot out and accused of, among other crimes, killing a New Jersey State Trooper.  She was incarcerated in various prisons throughout the 70's until she escaped in 1979 and was given political asylum in Cuba.

In 2013, Assata was moved to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, with a $2 million reward for assistance in her capture.


Assata and the Ferguson verdict both remind us of how strongly the civil rights era resonates with us still today and expose the white patriarchal criminal system which remains in America, "All you have to do is ask yourselves, who controls the government?  And who are the victims of that control?"




Thursday, 13 November 2014

Zed Book Banned in Thailand as a threat to "stability, order and good morality"








Andrew MacGregor Marshall's A Kingdom in Crisis has been banned in Thailand and carries with it a potential jail sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 60,000 baht (£1,160).  Thailand's National Police General Somyot Poompanmoug, commented that the book contains anti-monarchist sentiments and that it "will affect the kingdom's stability, order or the good morality of the people."

The book gives a comprehensive analysis of the current crisis in Thailand, noting that Freedom of Speech is routinely denied, democracy is looking increasingly distant, and many Thais fear that the death of current King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, will unleash even greater instability.

A Kingdom in Crisis was launched 12th November at London's Frontline Club. The panel consisted of author Andrew MacGregor Marshall along with two academics, Eugénie Mérieau and Claudio Soppranzetti, and labour rights activist Junya 'Lek' Yimptasert.  Mérieau argued that he is not committed to the survival of the institution, whilst Soppranzetti noted that A Kingdom in Crisis is "saying out loud what we are all thinking."  Yimprasert, who joined the panel via Skype also argued that 'the monarch contradicts with democracy.'  Watch and listen to more of the discussion below:







Wednesday, 15 October 2014

BOOK LAUNCH 28/10/14: Bread, Freedom and Social Justice | Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London




Anne Alexander and Mostafa Bassiouny launch their new book, Bread, Freedom, Social Justice, with guests Prof. Gilbert Achcar and journalist Alain Gresh. 

Tuesday 28 October, 7pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS 

This is a free event but you must register to secure your place here

Bread, Freedom and Social Justice, accounts of the Arab Spring often focus on the role of youth coalitions, the use of social media, and the tactics of the Tahrir Square occupation. This authoritative and original book argues that collective action by organised workers played a fundamental role in the Egyptian revolution, which erupted after years of strikes and social protests. Drawing on the authors' decade-long experience of reporting on and researching the Egyptian labour movement, the book provides the first in-depth account of the emergence of independent trade unions and workers' militancy during Mubarak's last years in power, and and their destabilising impact on the post-revolutionary regimes. 

Rabab El Mahdi of The American University in Cairo praised the work as "'one of the best accounts on the Egyptian revolution, its underlying causes and its aftermath." 

Dr Anne Alexander is a research fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge. She has published widely on Middle Eastern politics, social movements and digital media, and is the author of a biography of Gamal Abdel-Nasser (Haus, 2005).

Mostafa Bassiouny has more than a decade's experience as a reporter and editor in the Egyptian and regional press. He was industrial correspondent for Al-Dustour newspaper between 2005 and 2010, reporting on the mass strikes by textile workers in Mahalla al-Kubra in 2006 and 2007, and the uprising which rocked the town in 2008. He reported on the overthrow of Ben Ali in Tunisia in January 2011 before returning to Egypt to participate in the uprising against Mubarak. Between 2011 and 2014 he was Head of News for liberal daily Al-Tahrir, overseeing the front-page publication of shocking pictures of army officers dragging a woman protester through Tahrir Square in December 2011.

Event details:

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, 
Thornhaugh St, 
Russell Square, 
WC1H 0XG
020 7898 4915



Wednesday, 8 October 2014

WATCH: Assata launch event at Black Cultural Archives


The Assata: An Autobiography book launch not only a beautiful evening of music, readings and spoken word, but opened up a powerful debate between  Zena Edwards, Daniel Maitlin and Esther Stanford-Xosei in a panel chaired by Akala. They passionately voiced their opinions on black struggle, the undesirability of being a revolutionary, concepts of democracy and on physical resistance. 

One of the poignant questions asked by the panel regarding Assata's influence was "how many of us are willing to sacrifice our lives for something we believe in?"

Writer and poet, Zena Edwards commented on the unification of different struggles saying, "we have realise that black and white are constructs. At the end of the day we are all part of a diaspora of some sort." 

On the question of whether physical confrontation is the best action,n artist, Akala pleaded that although he was "not against physical resistance as a last resort", he felt that  "people in comfortable positions" and who "advocate that kind of behaviour" should be very careful to advocate it towards "young people who don't have the same political education" as they will react to what we're saying and will "suffer for it". 

Reparationist and advocate, Stanford-Xosei encouraged "us to not just read the book but be involved. Get involved with the movement for reparations; get involved with the campaigns to free all political prisoners. It's because of her why we're here."

Topically, she made a call for an end to the sanitisation of black history. She questioned "why is it in Black History Month we don''t have her as one of the key 'sheroes' that gets put up there as someone to emulate, and this is the example we should never let die."

Overall, the audience and panel all contributed to an enlightening evening, that would have made our "warrior queen", Assata Shakur very proud. 




Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A DIFFERENT CLASS: The Alt-Reading List for Undergraduates





"The world has changed, the syllabus hasn't - is it time to something about it?"

The tagline of the Post-Crash Economics Society - disillusioned Economics students at the University of Manchester who believe that "the content of the economics syllabus and teaching methods could and should be seriously rethought". They recently published a 57-page report and look to revolutionise economics education.

And in that spirit, we present our Alt-Reading List for undergraduates of the humanities, social sciences, politics, and of course, economics. 

The seven different topics included are: Development, Africa, Gender Studies, Asia, Latin America, Economics and Environment. 

Development

Culture, Development and Social Theory places culture back at the centre of debates in development studies. It introduces new ways of conceptualizing culture in relation to development by linking development studies to cultural studies, studies of social movements, religion and the notion of 'social suffering'.  Any conception of post-capitalist society, he argues, requires cultural, as well as economic and political, dimensions.

The History of Development by Gilbert Rist
A classic development text, which has both defined and changed its field. Gilbert Rist provides a complete and powerful overview of what the idea of development has meant throughout history. He traces it from its origins in the Western view of history, through the early stages of the world system, the rise of US hegemony, and the supposed triumph of Third-Worldism, through to new concerns about the environment and globalization.

Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith
This essential volume explores intersections of imperialism and research - specifically, the ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and tradition as 'regimes of truth.' Concepts such as 'discovery' and 'claiming' are discussed and an argument presented on how the decolonization of research methods will help to reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Thinking about Development by Bjorn Hettne
This book is a concise and accessible introduction to development thinking, contemporary development theory and practice and - a critical analysis of the values that lie behind them.

The Development Dictionary ed. by Wolfgang Sachs
In this classic collection, some of the world's most eminent critics of development review the key concepts of the development discourse. Each essay examines one concept from a historical and anthropological point of view, highlights its particular bias, and exposes its historical obsolescence and intellectual sterility. The combined result forms a must-read invitation to experts, grassroots movements and students of development to recognize the tainted glasses they put on whenever they participate in the development discourse.


Africa

Africa’s Urban Revolution ed. by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse
By 2030 African cities will have grown by more than 350 million people and over half the continent's population will be urban. Yet in the minds of many, Africa remains a quintessentially rural place.  Africa's Urban Revolution provides a comprehensive insight into the key issues - demographic, cultural, political, technical, environmental and economic - surrounding African urbanisation.

Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? by Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern
All too often in conflict situations, rape is referred to as a 'weapon of war', a term presented as self-explanatory through its implied storyline of gender and warring. In this provocative but much-needed book, Eriksson Baaz and Stern challenge the dominant understandings of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings.

The Trouble with Aid by Jonathan Glennie
Africa is poor. If we send it money it will be less poor. It seems perfectly simple, doesn't it? But it isn't. In this book, Jonathan Glennie argues that, along with its many benefits, government aid to Africa has often caused more poverty and damage. Rather than doubling aid to Africa, it is time to reduce aid dependency. Through an honest assessment of both the positive and negative consequences of aid, this book will show you why. 

China in Africa by Chris Alden
Nowhere in the world is China’s rapid rise to power more evident than in Africa. This book investigates the emerging relationship between China and Africa to determine whether this engagement will be that of a development partner, economic competitor or new hegemony.

Britain in Africa by Tom Porteous
In Britain in Africa Tom Porteous seeks to answer numerous questions about Britain's role in Africa since 1997, highlighting the key players, the policies they constructed and the future of Britain's engagement with the continent. This book sets out the balance sheet of what Britain has achieved, and where and why it failed in Africa.  A compelling read, whose importance for international politics reaches far beyond Britain or Africa.

Gender Studies

Ecofeminism by Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva
This groundbreaking work remains as relevant today as when it was when first published in the early 90s. Two of Zed's best-known authors argue that ecological destruction and industrial catastrophes constitute a direct threat to everyday life, the maintenance of which has been made the particular responsibility of women.

Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale by Maria Mies
First published in 1986, Maria Mies's progressive book was hailed as a major paradigm shift for feminist theory, and it remains a major contribution to development theory and practice today. Tracing the social origins of the sexual division of labour, it offers a history of the related processes of colonization and 'housewifization' and extends this analysis to the contemporary new international division of labour.

Changing Narratives of Sexuality ed. by Charmaine Pereira
Changing Narratives of Sexuality examines the tensions and contradictions in constructions of gender, sexuality and women's empowerment in the various narrations of sexuality told by and about women. The authors analyse what scope exists for women to subvert repressive norms and conceptions of heterosexuality, interweaving rich, contextual detail with theoretical concerns.

Feminism is Queer by Mimi Marinucci
Feminism is Queer is an introduction to the intimately related disciplines of gender and queer theory. An essential guide to anyone with an interest in gender or sexuality, this accessible and comprehensive textbook carefully explains nuanced theoretical terminology and provides extensive suggested further reading to provide the reader with full and thorough understanding of both disciplines.

Sexuality in Muslim Contexts ed. by Anissa Hélie and Homa Hoodfar
This groundbreaking book explores resistance against the harsh policing of sexuality in some Muslim societies. Many Muslim majority countries still use religious discourse to enforce stigmatization and repression of those, especially women, who do not conform to sexual norms promoted either by the state or by non-state actors. In this context, Islam is often stigmatized in Western discourse for being intrinsically restrictive with respect to women's rights and sexuality.

Asia

Leftover Women by Leta Hong Fincher
After the 1949 revolution in China, Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that "women hold up half the sky." In the early years of the People’s Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives. Yet those gains are being eroded in China’s post-socialist era. A provocative exposé about how state-perpetuated myths about 'leftover' women are part of the Chinese government's efforts to promote marriage and social stability in the midst of widespread discontent.

North Korea by Paul French
North Korea continues to make headlines, arousing curiosity and fear in equal measure. As an already unstable country grows ever more unpredictable, antagonizing enemies and allies alike, North Korea: State of Paranoia delivers a provocative and frightening account of a potentially explosive nuclear tripwire.

China’s Urban Billion by Tom Miller
By 2030, China's cities will be home to 1 billion people - one in every eight people on earth. What kind of lives will China's urban billion lead? And what will China's cities be like? Combining on-the-ground reportage and up-to-date research, this pivotal book explains why China has failed to reap many of the economic and social benefits of urbanization, and suggests how these problems can be resolved.

Spoiling Tibet by Gabriel Lafitte
China's plans to expand exponentially its exploitation of Tibet's natural resources will have terrifying consequences for land and people. This book is an entirely unique, authoritative guide through the torrent of online posts, official propaganda and exile speculation.

Ballot Box China by Kerry Brown
This book looks at the recent history of local government elections in China, how they arose, what they have achieved and where they might be going, exploring the specific experience of elections by those who have taken part in them - the villagers in some of the most deprived areas of China.

Latin America

Land and Freedom by Leandro Vergara-Camus
The Zapatistas of Chiapas and the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) of Brazil are often celebrated as shining examples in the global struggle against neoliberalism. But what have these movements achieved for their members in more than two decades of resistance and can any of these achievements realistically contribute to the rise of a viable alternative?

Leadership in the Cuban Revolution by Antoni Kapcia
Most conventional readings of the Cuban Revolution have seemed mesmerised by the personality and role of Fidel Castro, often missing a deeper political understanding. In this ground-breaking work, Antoni Kapcia focuses instead on a wider cast of characters. Essential reading for anyone interested in Cuba's history and its future.

Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions by Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Latin America's Turbulent Transitions investigates the recent rise of radical left governments in many Latin American countries, exploring why this profound shift has taken place and how this new, so-called 'Twenty-First Century Socialism' actually manifests itself.

Civil Society and the State in Left-led Latin America by Barry Cannon and Peadar Kirby
Featuring a broad range of case studies from across the region, this timely and innovative volume provides a critical examination of the role of civil society and its relation to the state throughout left-led Latin America, and the extent to which these new initiatives are redefining state-civil society relations.

Latin America in the 21st Century by Gian Luca Gardini
In this fascinating and insightful analysis, Gardini looks at contemporary developments in Latin America at the state, regional and global level, arguing that despite the numerous challenges to be faced, the region is now more wealthy, autonomous and better-placed in global geopolitics than at any time in its recent history.

Economics

Europe on the Brink ed. by Tony Phillips
Europe is suffering from a bipolar economic disorder. Financial journalists divide the continent into two groups of nations - centre and periphery - not by geography but by credit rating. Europe on the Brink is a critical investigation of the root causes of this sovereign debt crisis, and the often misguided policy choices made to resolve it.

Debunking Economics by Steve Keen
In this radically updated and greatly expanded new edition of Debunking Economics, Keen builds on his scathing critique of conventional economic theory whilst explaining what mainstream economists cannot: why the crisis occurred, why it is proving to be intractable, and what needs to be done to end it.

The Economics Anti-Textbook by Rod Hill and Tony Myatt
Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science free from value judgements. This is a myth - one which is not only dangerously misleading but also bland and boring. The Economics Anti-Textbook is the students' guide to decoding the textbooks and shows how real economics is much more interesting than most economists are willing to let on.

Gross Domestic Problem by Lorenzo Fioramonti
In this startling insight into the politics of a number that has come to dominate our everyday lives, Lorenzo Fioramonti takes apart the 'content' of GDP - what it measures, what it doesn't and why - and reveals the powerful political interests that have allowed it to dominate today's economies, while also demonstrating how GDP has little relevance to moral principles such as equity, social justice and redistribution.

How Capitalism Failed the Arab World by Richard Javad Heydarian
Economic liberalization has failed in the Arab world. In How Capitalism Failed the Arab World, Richard Javad Heydarian shows how years of economic mismanagement, political autocracy and corruption have encouraged people to revolt. A unique and provocative analysis of some of the key social and political events of the last decade.

Environment

Introducing Just Sustainabilities by Julian Agyeman
Introducing Just Sustainabilities discusses key topics, such as food justice, sovereignty and urban agriculture; community, space,; the democratization of our streets and public spaces; how to create culturally inclusive spaces;; and alternative economic models, such as co-production. This unique and insightful text offers an exploration of the origins and subsequent development of the concept of just sustainability.

The Environmental Responsibility Reader ed. by Martin Reynolds, Chris Blackmore and Mark J. Smith
A collection of works on the field of environmental responsibility. It is suitable for those involved with managing environmental decisions making. It promotes various ways of understanding and taking responsibility for actions in the context of our 'natural' world through a selection of edited readings accompanied with an editorial narrative.

Soil Not Oil by Vandana Shiva
In Soil Not Oil, bestselling author Vandana Shiva connects the food crisis, peak oil, and climate change to show that a world beyond a dependence on fossil fuel and globalization is both possible and necessary. Bold and visionary, Shiva reveals how three crises are inherently linked and that any attempt to solve one without addressing the others will get us nowhere.

Energy Justice in a Changing Climate ed. by Karen Bickerstaff, Gordon Walker, Harriet Bulkeley
This is an essential new work for anyone with a focus on the human dimensions of energy transitions and policy, climate change and sustainable development.  It offers new thinking on how interactions between climate change, energy policy and equity and social justice can be understood.

Negotiating Climate Change by Amanda Machin
Climate change is the greatest challenge of the age, and yet fierce disagreement still exists over the best way to tackle the problem - if at all. Amanda Machin draws on radical democratic theory to show that such disagreement does not have to hinder collective action; rather, democratic differences are necessary if we are to have any hope of acting against climate change. This is an important read for researchers, students, policy makers and anyone concerned about the current (lack of) politics in climate change.



Thursday, 11 September 2014

TEASER TRAILER: Europe On The Brink; Debt Crisis and Dissent in the European Periphery

We are happy to present a short promotional video for Europe On The Brink; Debt Crisis and Dissent in the European Periphery edited by Tony Phillips.  The book brings together world renowned economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Roberto Lavagna, to expose the misguided neoliberal policies which underpin the economic and democratic flaws of the EU.

This video is a teaser for a forthcoming documentary of the same name, also produced by Tony Phillips. More information will be available soon on:  http://europeonthebrink.com/. The footage was filmed in several locations featured in the book, and during various presentations at Amsterdam and Lisbon, as well in London at Zed’s own premises. Watch the trailer below, or on YouTube here.

Europe On The Brink is a vital and much-needed work, offering a heterodox economic perspective on the causes, symptoms and solutions of the biggest economic issue currently facing Europe. To find out more about the work, please visit the book page here.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ASSATA: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY - Launch event round-up!

The launch event for Assata: An Autobiography was a huge success. Hosted at the newly opened Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, the evening was a passionate and provocative celebration of Assata Shakur’s life and work.

Hosted by Akala, and featuring contributions from performance poet Zena Edwards, lecturer Daniel Matlin and broadcaster Esther Stanford-Xosei, the event saw hundreds of people gather to listen to, and discuss, the extraordinary story of the FBI’S Most Wanted Woman.

We’d like to thank everyone who came along for making the evening so exciting and successful, and a special thank you to the BCA for all their work, and for being wonderful hosts.

Here is a collection of photographs from the event, a roundup of the glowing press coverage the book has been receiving, and a summation of the event – as tweeted by those who were there!  



 Crowds gather in front of imagery from Assata's life, and from black revolutionary history.

Wonderful drumming and a touching libation kicks off proceedings. 

Esther Stanford-Xosei speaks on legality and revolution. 

 The event was projected high above Brixton's Windrush Square.

Akala comperes an important and energised Q&A.

Crowds gather to discuss and debate Assata.





To read more about Assata's life, and the new edition of her book, here are a selection of the overwhelming positive pieces that have been written since publication:

Assata Shakur: from civil rights activist to FBI's most-wanted: The Guardian's G2 cover story by Bim Adewunmi.

Today's activists should heed the story of Assata Shakur: Kwesi Shaddai writes for The Guardian Comment is Free. 

Why you should read Assata Shakur in times of Ferguson: Minna Salami writes in MSAFROPOLITAN.

Why is the FBI still chasing Black Panther Assata Shakur?Tshepo Mokoena writes for Vice. Tshepo also spoke brilliantly on BBC Women's Hour on Assata's life and work.

Assata Shakur: Black militant, fugitive cop killer, terrorist threat... or escaped slave?: Tim Walker writes in The Independent

Revolutionary from a different time,  a different struggle: Book review in The Independent Books.



Assata: An Autobiography is available now from our website!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

COMPETITION - win a limited edition Assata Tee and a copy of 'Assata: An Autobiography'!

We have 5 beautiful, limited edition Assata Shakur Tees to give away, alongside copies of Assata: An Autobiography, the extraordinary story of the FBI's most wanted woman, recently re-published by Zed Books with forewords from Angela Davis and Lennox Hinds.

The tees come courtesy of BU Clothing, a community-based and politically conscious company in New York City. They write of the Assata Tee:
The flowers symbolize her feminism and the place where she now resides in exile; Cuba. We made her image dark to play along with her black pride/black beauty and the idea that you don't know who's on the shirt till you're up close and eye to eye. 



To enter, name the song in which the following lyrics appear:


Assata Shakur / they tried to execute her
I went to Cuba to see her / we should free her

Send your answer to: marketing@zedbooks.net. 5 winners will receive an Assata Tee in their size, a copy of Assata: An Autobiography and other Zed goodies which we feel like throwing in. The competition closes at 5pm Friday 22nd August. 5 winners will be picked at random.


'Assata speaks to all of us' - Angela Davis, from the Foreword




Friday, 25 July 2014

WATCH: The End of Capitalism: Robert Wade, Pippa Malmgren and Pnina Werbner debate

Fredric Jameson claimed it was easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Was he right? Can new alternatives to the current paradigm emerge to conquer the world, or is capitalism the only realistic economic system?

In this video debate on The End of Capitalism, political theorist Robert Wade, economic advisor to President Bush Pippa Malmgren, and anthropologist Pnina Werbner pitch their alternatives at this year's How The Light Gets In festival, curated by The Institute of Art and Ideas (@iai_tv).

The End of Capitalism was hosted by Zed Books to coincide with the launch of our new critique influence change series, which brings together pivotal texts from the past thirty-five years of Zed Books. Paradigm-changing when first published, these books have retained and grown in their relevance.

To explore titles already available in the series click on the covers below: