Esme Choonara

Interview with Gary Younge: the contradictions of identity

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Identity politics have increasingly come to shape political dialogue. Gary Younge, Guardian columnist and author of a new book on the subject, spoke to Esme Choonara about immigration, racism and class.

Why did you write a book about identity?

It's an issue people talk about a lot and that has become increasingly central to our politics. But we don't often talk about it in the most informed ways.

Che Guevara

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Olivier Besancenot and Michael Lowy, Monthly Review Press; £12.95

"Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was not a saint, a superman or an infallible leader," the authors assert at the beginning of this engaging book. In this spirit they show how Che's ideas evolved throughout his short life.

As well as playing a key role in leading the guerrillas to power in the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Che was centrally involved in the debates about what to do in power - how to take the revolution forward and what sort of society should replace the toppled dictatorship.

T is for Trotsky

Issue section: 
Author: 

In a world dominated by capitalist crisis and war the life and writings of Leon Trotsky can offer socialists some pointers on the way forward.

Trotsky was central to leading two revolutions in Russia - the 1905 Revolution, which was crushed by Russia's brutal Tsar, and the victorious 1917 Revolution which ushered in for a brief time the most liberated and radical society we have yet seen. He was the key organiser of the insurrection through which the revolution took power in October 1917. He also defended the fledgling new society leading the revolutionary Red Army to victory against more than a dozen invading armies.

Zugzwang

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Ronan Bennett, Bloomsbury, £7.99

Set in 1914 in St Petersburg, Russia, the novel conjures up a city rife with plots, double-crossing and revolutionary ferment. In the background is the looming threat of the First World War. The Tsar's secret police are everywhere and anti-Semitism is rife - with Jewish people uniformly regarded by the state as potential terrorists.

When a suspected activist is found dead with a card in his pocket from psychotherapist Dr Spethmann, the doctor's quiet life is drastically disrupted as his daughter and a number of his clients are implicated in events surrounding the death.

Slavo Zizek presents Trotsky: Terrorism and Communism

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Verso, £7.99

Democracy is a central motif of our age. The anti-war movement has pressed home our lack of it, imperialists try to use it as a rallying cry to impose their military dominance around the world, and many around the globe still struggle for the basic right to choose their government in open elections.

It is a theme very much at the centre of this short book by Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. The book was written and published during the harsh years of civil war that followed the 1917 October Revolution.

Water

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Director: Deepa Mehta

It is a triumph that this film was made at all. When filming for Water started in India seven years ago, Hindu chauvinist mobs destroyed the set and threw it into the Ganges.

Due to the sheer determination of director Deepa Mehta, the film was eventually completed. It was worth her perseverance because she has made an absorbing, visually stunning and emotionally gripping film.

Mumbai Story

Issue section: 
Author: 

Review of 'Sacred Games', Vikram Chandra, Faber and Faber £17.99

Sacred Games opens with a dog being thrown out of a window in an upmarket suburb of Mumbai in India and ends with the prospect of nuclear war. In between it races through city slums, prisons, riots, dance bars and even a tangential mission in the Himalayas.

Retribution

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Review of 'The Clash of Barbarisms', Gilbert Achcar, Saqi £10.99

Gilbert Achcar's The Clash of Barbarisms was first published six months after 9/11, when attempts to explain what might have motivated the attack were denounced as anti-American or attempts to justify mass murder. Reprinted in the wake of the London bombings, with a new introduction and a chapter looking at US policy in Iraq, the book's title is a reference to the currently fashionable idea that we are living through a "clash of civilisations" between Islamic and Western values.

Nursery Nurses: The Building Blocks of Struggle

Issue section: 
Issue: 

For eight weeks over 4,000 nursery nurses have been on all-out strike across Scotland.

This is the latest action in a fight for decent pay that has been going on for over two years. Prior to the strike the top rate of pay for a nursery nurse was £13,800. Despite ever increasing responsibilities, they had not been regraded for 16 years. Crucially the strike also became a battle for national pay and conditions after the association of local authorities in Scotland (Cosla) told nursery nurses that new deals would have to be settled with individual councils.

World Social Forum: Mumbai Not for Sale

Issue section: 
Author: 

The World Social Forum (WSF) that took place last month in Mumbai (Bombay) represented another immense step forward for the anti-capitalist movement.

It is hard to imagine a better place to hold the WSF than in India, a country with some of the biggest slums in the world set next to advanced industrialisation, where the left are demoralised and disorientated by the rise of the right wing chauvinist BJP, who look set to win again in the forthcoming elections.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Esme Choonara