Estelle Cooch

Israel in isolation

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Israel's attack on Gaza has rightly caused outrage. But Israel's murder of Palestinians isn't the result of a failed peace process or a few bad Israeli leaders - it springs from the very nature of the Israeli state. Estelle Cooch explains how the recent attack fits into the history of apartheid in Palestine

There's a well known adage, often attributed to Albert Einstein, that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results". With that in mind, why did Israel launch yet another attack on Gaza last month - one that seems to have ended with a strengthened Hamas and a more isolated Israel? Did they expect a different result?

Palestine: youth in revolt

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Saba Shiraz and Estelle Cooch spoke to economist and East Jerusalem activist Ibrahim Shikaki about the recent protests in the West Bank and the impact of the Arab Spring on Palestine

What were the origins of the protests in September in the West Bank?

I think initially it started because of economics. The main reason people protested was because of increasing costs. But it was when the trade unions acted, the most important of which were the public transport unions, that people really felt the impact of what was going on. On top of that you had youth groups, political parties and others becoming involved alongside a shift from the initially economic goals to political ones as well.

Squeezing Iran

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During the culmination of the American presidential debates the world bore witness to a bizarre, but revealing, foreign policy battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Who would befriend Israel more? Who would better defeat "the terrorists"? Who would impose the most crippling sanctions on Iran? Writing in the Guardian the following day, Gary Younge perceptibly broke it to the international community that, "Obama's just not that into you".

Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran

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Edited by Tara Povey and Elaheh Rostami-Povey

Since 2003 there have been a growing number of books seeking to explain the "real Iran". From investigations of the Revolutionary Guards to studies of the Ayatollahs, such books have been sometimes helpful, often crude and occasionally ridiculous. One book I read even threatened to reveal to the reader "Ahmadinejad exposed".

The People Speak

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Anthony Arnove and David Horspool are co-editors of a new book of speeches and writings by British rebels and radicals from 1066 to the present. They spoke to Rebecca Short and Estelle Cooch


Tell us a bit about the project.


Anthony Arnove: It really began in 1980 with the book that Howard Zinn wrote called A People's History of the United States. That book really changed the way that people in the US think about history and the way history is taught.

An interesting moment happened in 1997 when Matt Damon, who grew up next to Howard Zinn in Boston, wrote a scene into the film Good Will Hunting where he mentions the book.

The end of Hollande's honeymoon

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"There's a growing anger, a feeling of powerlessness." These were the words of one volunteer for the French charity Solidarity following dawn raids and forced evacuations of Roma camps across France. The raids left hundreds homeless and many more instantly deported.

In the same week in mid-August riots broke out in the northern city of Amiens, the first major civil unrest since François Hollande won the presidency in May, the first Socialist Party candidate to do so since 1995.

Sex and Punishment

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Eric Berkowitz

If you're one of those people who gets annoyed when someone next to you on public transport starts reading over your shoulder, then this book is not for you. Sections entitled The Thrust of Athenian Sex Law, Miss Muff and Inspector Foucault, and Groping toward Modernity prove Eric Berkowitz to be quite the cunning linguist. At no point does the author (for want of another phrase) beat around the bush.

Buzz off Beecroft

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Adrian Beecroft seems to have all the answers. Unemployment presently blights the lives of millions of Britons and looks set to increase as Britain sinks further into recession.

So, in this time of economic woe, what's Beecroft's key recommendation to the government in his much anticipated report? Make it easier to sack workers. Brilliant.
When Business Secretary Vince Cable criticised the proposal, Beecroft once again displayed his penchant for thinking outside the box by branding Cable a "socialist".

Why competition breeds monopolies

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Economy Class

When I was at university friends who studied economics were told that not only is the boom and slump cycle entirely natural, but that it was also a good thing. One professor said "the economy is like a drunk throwing up the morning after the night before". A slump may not be pleasant, but it was necessary to cleanse the system.

Trouble brewing in China

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Estelle Cooch and Jack Farmer spoke to Geoffrey Crothall from the China Labour Bulletin about workers' resistance in China.

What are the main reasons behind the upsurge of strikes in China recently?
There are lots of different reasons. The most fundamental is that workers don't really have any other option if they want to pursue their economic interests or defend their legal rights. There is no established system of dialogue workers can use to express their grievances with employers. The only way they can get their voices heard is basically to go on strike.

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