Geoff Brown

Lovers and Strangers

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In today’s fight for the right of free movement, countering racist myths is at the heart of our task. We need to know the history of migration and this well written, easy to read book can help. It is ambitious, aiming to capture the experience of those who came here in the years 1945 to 1968, in particular up to 1962 before when entrance to Britain by Commonwealth citizens was still officially unrestricted.

The People

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Selina Todd has assembled a rich narrative based on research and interviews showing how over the last century the condition of the working class has risen and fallen according to its collective strength.

Starting with the militancy of the Great Unrest in the years before 1914 — which destroyed the perception of the working class as “the poor” — she shows how by 1945 with full employment and the recognition of working class organisation, “the workers” had now become “the people” and the force that had won the “People’s War”.

The State of Islam

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Saadia Toor

As the political, military, economic and climate chaos of Pakistan continues to worsen, so does the need to understand what is happening. This book covers many of the political and cultural battles since Britain's "divide and rule" led to the partition of India and creation of Pakistan in 1947.

Pakistan under water

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The recent floods have caused devastation in Pakistan, leading to an estimated 20 million people losing their homes and livelihoods. Karachi socialist Sartaj Khan tells Geoff Brown about the scandalous government response to a disaster that was anything but natural.

Before and after. Photo: Nasa

The monsoon happens every year. Why are these floods so disastrous?

There has been a change in the pattern of rainfall. In the last two decades we have seen a repeated cycle of acute shortage of rainfall for two or three years and then a flood like this. Last winter we saw heavy snowfalls. In many areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (the former North West Frontier Province) people experienced the first snow in 40 years.

Pakistan's new catastrophe

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Recent attacks on the Swat region of Pakistan have caused a deep political crisis in the country. Geoff Brown looks at the situation and talks with Asim Jaan, a socialist based in Karachi, about the impact of the offensive and how the left is responding

Since early May the new frontline in Barack Obama's so-called Afpak war has been Swat - a large hilly area with a population of just 1.5 million. Only a few hours drive from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, it has been called "the Switzerland of Pakistan" because of its beautiful mountains - though its only ski resort was closed two years ago because of worsening security. Beautiful as it is, the reality for most of its inhabitants has been that life is hard, dominated by landlords whose corruption knows no limits.

Pakistan on the brink

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As the protest movement in Pakistan scores a victory, the Afghanistan war threatens increasing instability along the countries' shared border. Geoff Brown assesses this key faultline of US imperialism

It is hard to exaggerate the mood in Pakistan when it was announced that the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, was returning to office. The protest movement, led by lawyers, which threatened to overwhelm President Asif Zardari, won a real victory. People were dancing in the street.

The Spy Who Came Out Against the War

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Review of "Absolute Friends", John Le Carré, Hodder £18.99

A new Le Carré novel is always worth paying attention to. Considered by many to be the unrivalled master of the spy thriller, Le Carré is, by his own account, a writer of 'political novels'. Over the years he has questioned why anyone should be loyal to a vain, snobbery-ridden, declining imperial power such as Britain. Is there not something admirable in the idealism of Kim Philby and the other Cambridge spies who betrayed their country because they thought by doing so they could help bring about a better world?

The Complete Works of Isaac Babel

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Review of 'The Complete Works of Isaac Babel', ed. Nathalie Babel, Picador £30.00

As one of the greatest writers of the early Soviet period in Russia, the first single volume edition of the works of Isaac Babel is an event. In the epoch of war and revolution Babel is an author of the first rank.

Born in the busy Russian port of Odessa on the Black Sea in 1894, Babel grew up in a shtetl, a Jewish village. The son of a small businessman of mixed fortunes, he grew up amid cultural riches and material poverty, assailed by racism from all sides.

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