Against Hate by Carolin Emcke

The Blurb On The Back:

Racism, extremism, anti-democratic sentiment – our increasingly polarized world is dominated by a type of thinking that doubts others’ positions but never its own.

In a powerful challenge to fundamentalism in all its forms, Carolin Emcke, one of Germany’s leading intellectuals, argues that we can only preserve individual freedom and protect people’s rights by cherishing and celebrating diversity.  If we want to safeguard democracy, we must have the courage to challenge hatred and the will to fight for and defend plurality in our societies. Emcke rises to the challenge that identitarian dogmas and populist narratives pose, exposing the way in which they simplify and distort our perception of the world.

Against Hate is an impassioned call to fight intolerance and defend liberal ideals.  It will be of great interest to anyone concerned about the darkening politics of our time and searching for ways forward. 

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Future Politics by Jamie Susskind

The Blurb On The Back:

Politics in the twentieth century was dominated by a single question:

how much of our collective life should be determined by the state, and what should be left to the market and civil society?

Now the debate is different:

to what extent should our lives be directed and controlled by powerful digital systems – and on what terms?

Digital technologies – from artificial intelligence to blockchain, from robotics to virtual reality – are transforming the way we live together.  Those who control the most powerful technologies are increasingly able to control the rest of us.  As time goes on, these powerful entities – usually big tech firms and the state – will set the limit of our liberty, decreeing what may be done and what is forbidden.  Their algorithms will determine vital questions of social justice.  In their hands, democracy will flourish or decay.

A landmark work of political theory, Future Politics challenges readers to rethink what it means to be free or equal, what it means to have power or property, and what it means for a political system to be just or democratic.  In a time of rapid and relentless changes, it is a book about how we can – and must – regain control. 

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Egypt by Robert Springborg

The Blurb On The Back:

Egypt is one of the few great empires of antiquity that exists today as a nation state.  Despite its extraordinary record of national endurance, the pressures to which Egypt is currently subjected and which are bound to intensify are already straining the ties that hold its political community together, while rendering the task of governing it ever more difficult.

In this timely book, Robert Springborg explains how a country with such a long and impressive history has come to find itself in this parlous condition.  As Egyptians become steadily more divided by class, religion, region, ethnicity, gender, and contrasting views of how, by whom, and for what purposes they should be governed, so their rulers become ever more fearful, repressive, and unrepresentative. Caught in a downward spiral in which poor governance is both cause and consequence, Egypt is facing a future so uncertain that it could end up resembling neighbouring countries that have collapsed under similar loads.  The Egyptian “hot spot”, Springborg argues, is destined to become steadily hotter, with ominous implications for its peoples, the Middle East and North Africa, and the wider world. 

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The Shock Doctrine Of The Left by Graham Jones

The Blurb On The Back:

Shocks, from natural disasters to military catastrophes, have long been exploited by the state to impose privatisation, cuts and rampant free markets.  This book argues that the left can use such moments of chaos to achieve emancipation.

Graham Jones illustrates how everyone can help to exploit these shocks and bring about a new world of compassion and care.  He examines how combining mutually reinforcing strategies of ‘smashing, building, healing and taming’ can become the basis of a unified left.  His vivid personal experience underpins a compelling, practical vision for activism, from the scale of the individual body to the global social movement.

This bold book is a toolkit for revolution for activists and radical millennials everywhere. 

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The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa by Alex de Waal

The Blurb On The Back:

The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa delves into the business of politics in the turbulent, war-torn countries of north-east Africa.  It is a contemporary history of how politicians, generals and insurgents bargain over money and power, and use violence to achieve their goals.

Drawing on a thirty-year career in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, including experience as a participant in high-level peace talks, Alex de Waal provides a unique and compelling account of how these countries’ leaders run their governments, conduct their business, fight their wars and, occasionally, make peace.  De Waal shows how leaders operate on a business model, securing funds for their ‘political budgets’, which they use to rent the provisional allegiances of army officers, militia commanders, tribal chiefs and party officials at the going rate.  This political marketplace is eroding the institutions of government and reversing state building – and it is fuelled by oil exports, aid funds and western military assistance for counter-terrorism and peacekeeping.

The Real Politics Of The Horn Of Africa is a sharp and disturbing book with profound implications for international relations, development and peacemaking in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

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Directorate S: The CIA And America’s Secret Wars In Afghanistan And Pakistan, 2001 – 2016 by Steve Coll

The Blurb On The Back:

In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the CIA scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associated. The CIA had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden’s successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO’s mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire, which has now lasted many years.

At the heart of the problem lay ‘Directorate S’, a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state, which had been covertly arming and training the Taliban for years as part of a wider competition for global influence, and which assumed that the USA and its allies would soon be leaving.

This remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong. 

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A New Politics From The Left by Hilary Wainwright

The Blurb On The Back:

Millions passionately desire a viable alternative to austerity and neoliberalism, but they are sceptical of traditional leftist top-down solutions.

In this urgent polemic, Hilary Wainwright argues that this requires a new politics for the left that comes from the bottom up, based on participatory democracy and the everyday knowledge and creativity of each individual.  Political leadership should be about facilitation and partnership, not expert domination or paternalistic rule.

Wainwright uses lessons from recent movements and experiments to build a radical future vision that will be an inspiration for activists and radicals everywhere. 

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Syriza In Power by Costas Douzinas

The Blurb On The Back:

Amid the turmoil of economic crisis, Greece has become the first European experiment of left rule in a sea of neoliberalism. What happens when a government of the Left, committed to social justice and the reversal of austerity, is blackmailed into following policies it has fought against and strongly opposed? What can the experience of the Syriza government tell us about the prospects for the Left in the twenty-first century?

In this engaging and provocative book, Costas Douzinas uses his position as an ‘accidental politician’, unexpectedly propelled from academia into the world of Greek politics as a Syriza MP, to answer these urgent questions.  He examines the challenges facing Syriza since its ascent to power in 2015 and draws out the theoretical and political lessons from one of the boldest and most difficult experiments in governing from the Left in an age of neoliberalism and austerity.  

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The Ascendancy Of Finance by Joseph Vogl

The Blurb On The Back:

The global financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a system of informal decision-making in the grey zone between economics and politics.  Legitimised by a rhetoric of emergency, ad hoc bodies have usurped democratically elected governments.  In line with the neoliberal credo, the recent crisis has been used to re-align executive power with the interests of the finance industry.

In this important book, Joseph Vogl offers a longer perspective on these developments, showing how the dynamics of modern finance capitalism have always rested on a complex and constantly evolving relationship between private creditors and the state.  He argues that over the last three centuries, finance has become a ‘fourth power’, marked by the systematic interconnection of treasury and finance, of political and private economic interests.

The Ascendency Of Finance provides valuable and unsettling insight into the genesis of modern power and where it truly resides.

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