Friday, 11 April 2014

Win tickets for the 'Critique, Influence, Change' debate at HowtheLightGetsIn!

Courtesy of our friends at the wonderful HowTheLightGetsInthe world’s biggest philosophy and music festival, we have a pair of tickets to the Critique, Influence, Change debate, which takes place at the festival on Monday 26 May. To be in with a chance of winning just answer the following question:

Which Dutch-American sociologist will be joining Pnina Werbner and Robert Wade to debate the future of capitalism at this year's HowTheLightGetsIn?

Send your answers via an email titled 'CIC Competition’ to before Monday 21st April to be in with a chance to win. The winners will be chosen at random from all correct entries. Good luck!

For a flavor of what to expect at the debate you can watch highlights from the London launch of Critique, Influence, Change with Ha-Joon Chang, Ellie Mae O'Hagan and Duncan Green:

Friday, 4 April 2014

The night we re-built the left (or made a start anyway...): video highlights of the Critique, Influence, Change launch

In March we were very excited to be joined by world-renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang, Guardian journalist Ellie Mae O'Hagan and Oxfam's Duncan Green, to launch the Critique, Influence, Change series at London's Free Word Centre.

Ellie Mae O'Hagan set a challenge at the beginning of the evening: 'Seal the doors - we aren't leaving until we've re-built the left'. We might not have fully achieved that, but the discussion was fascinating, refreshing and provided a great starting point for future activism and debate.

The debate on social change will continue at How the Light Gets In, the world's biggest philosophy and music festival, where we are excited to be sponsoring a Critique, Influence, Change panel. Series contributors Robert Wade and Pnina Werbner will join Saskia Sassen and Pippa Malmgren to debate 'The End of Capitalism' on Monday 26 May, 12pm in the Globe Hall. 

In the meantime, you can watch highlights from the London launch in the rather nice video below: 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Growth for who, George?

On UK Budget day 2014 Lorenzo Fioramonti, author of Gross Domestic Problem and How Numbers Rule the World, argues that GDP is a failed yardstick which needs to be dumped – and replaced with measurements that truly account for social wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

No doubt GDP is the world’s best-known ‘number’ and an extremely powerful political tool. Over the course of the past century, it has dominated not only in capitalist countries but also in socialist societies. In spite of its apparent neutrality, GDP has come to represent a model of society, thereby influencing not only economic, but also political and cultural processes.

GDP was invented in the US exactly 80 years ago, in 1934, with a view to jump-starting the economy out of the Great Depression and maximizing production in what was soon to become a wartime economy. An economist of Russian descent, Simon Kuznets, then working at the National Bureau for Economic Research, was tasked with the job of condensing all production by businesses and expenses by government into a single number, which should rise in good times and fall in bad. This number was initially called National Income Produced and then Gross National Product (GNP) and included market-based transactions, but left out non-market activities, such as voluntary work, household services and natural capital.

In 1942, Kuznets went to work for the War Production Board and his numbers proved that the Roosevelt’s Victory Program was badly designed: he was convinced that the country was capable of a greater effort without curtailing internal consumption. The president’s political advisors, argued for the country’s seizure of industries and corporations. In the end, the economists prevailed and the government revised its approach. As expected, the US economy boomed and the country’s capacity to sustain military exposure appeared almost unlimited. By 1944, the US could afford to wage the war simultaneously on two fronts while domestic consumption was at an all-time high. By contrast, Hitler’s military targets were disconnected from the overall performance of the German economy, a deficiency caused by the lack of GDP accounts. For Kuznets’ former boss, Wesley Mitchell, there is no way to describe how much GDP “facilitated the World War II effort.” Economists nowadays agree that the invention of GDP was as important to win the war as that of the nuclear bomb.

To guarantee GDP growth after the war, the government pushed private consumption on a massive scale and increased its defence budget. While military conflict had marked the success of GDP as a political instrument, the postwar system of mass consumption sealed its grip on society as a tool of economic hegemony: “Our young men had marched off to war,” once wrote economic analyst Colb and his colleagues. “Now Americans were marching off to the malls that eventually covered the land.” And this intimate relationship between war and consumption did not fade away in times of peace. Between 1948 and 1989, American economic growth was largely dependent upon military spending. Kuznets did not like these developments and argued for a ‘peacetime concept’ of GDP, with the exclusion of military expenses.

The GDP mantra has also resulted in the increasing importance of economists in policy making. Before the war, economists were rarely quoted in the media, but ever since the invention of GDP, economic experts have become essential players in public debate. Conformity among mainstream economists has been pervasive. The fact that GDP neglects some of the most important factors in a society, such as the informal economy, social relations, the value of natural resources and – perhaps most importantly – human wellbeing, never seemed to bother them. Unlike them, Kuznets had always recognized that GDP is “affected by implicit or explicit value judgments” and “controversial criteria.”

While GDP served the interests of political and business elites for several decades, it appears to have run out of steam. Since 2007, estimates of GDP have been revised several times, with governments trying to manipulate data and results for political purposes. In Europe, the OECD and the EU promoted a new initiative by the name of ‘Beyond GDP’. British Prime Minister David Cameron called on national statisticians to complement the ever-more gloomy calculations of quarterly GDP trends with more general references to the “happiness” of Britons. The US government followed suit, sponsoring a new measure of “subjective well-being.” Even China embarked on a controversial ‘green’ GDP project. Finally, in April 2012, the UN Secretary General maintained that while GDP “has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured”, it “fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress.” He called for “a new economic paradigm” to capture social, economic and environmental wellbeing. Together, he said, these define “gross global happiness.”

The GDP war did not end in 1945. It turned into an endless conflict against social wellbeing and natural resources, in which consumers became the new foot soldiers. GDP is built on a great lie. This lies says that markets are the only producers of wealth. What is not priced, what does not involve a formal financial transaction based on money, does not count. By paraphrasing Yale professor Charles Lindblom, one may say that GDP has not only “imprisoned our thinking about politics and economics,”  but also our capacity to reinvent our social environment. However, “where there are prisons, there are also jailbreaks.” By challenging GDP, we stand a chance to regain control over our political, social and economic institutions. 

Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World's Most Powerful Number

Lorenzo Fioramonti

‘This book is long overdue. Finally, the political interests behind the GDP mantra have been unveiled, forcing us to rethink mainstream economic views and build a more just and sustainable world. It is indeed the most important struggle of our generation.’Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director

Further reading: a Zed Books economics reading list

How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics 

Lorenzo Fioramonti

Numbers dominate global politics and, as a result, our everyday lives. Credit ratings steer financial markets and can make or break the future of entire nations. GDP drives our economies. Stock market indices flood our media and national debates. Statistical calculations define how we deal with climate change, poverty and sustainability. But what is behind these numbers?

In How Numbers Rule the World, Fioramonti reveals the hidden agendas underpinning statistics and those who control them.

“Urgent and highly accessible.”  David Boyle, author of The Tyranny of Numbers

Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned?

Steve Keen

Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. Essential for anyone who has ever doubted the advice or reasoning of economists, Debunking Economics provides a signpost to a better future.

'Economics still awaits its Darwin. Keynes came close, but not close enough. Keen comes closer still. Economics, like biology used to be, remains mostly faith-based. No book poses a bigger threat to that faith than Debunking Economics.'  Real World Economics Review.

The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy

Yanis Varoufakis

In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explodes the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929. This is an essential account of the socio-economic events and hidden histories that have shaped the world as we now know it.

‘Varoufakis is a rare economist: skilled at explaining ideas and able to put his discipline in a broader context.’Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian lead economics writer

The candle-lit bunker book launch of Max Haiven's 'Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power'

Monday, 17 March 2014

Event video highlights: 'Africa's Urban Revolution' launch at Africa Research Institute

Last month we launched Africa's Urban Revolution, a new volume edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse which seeks to process and understand the startling facts of Africa's ongoing urbanisation. Those who missed out on our fantastic launch event in collaboration with Africa Research Institute need wait no longer.

In introducing his chapter – 'Urbanisation as a global historical process' – Sean Fox called into question the notion of an African 'urban revolution', arguing that urban growth across the continent is far less a result of mass migration from rural to urban areas, and more a result of decreased mortality rates and increased food security. The implications for this on development policy, he argued, are drastic.

In her contribution (4:40 onwards) Jo Beall, Director of Education & Society at the British Council, explained the thinking behind her chapter with Tom Goodfellow, 'Conflict and post-war transition in African cities'. She discussed how she sought to avoid the tendency of urban, Africa and conflict scholars to focus solely on the noir, and instead to ask what really happens to different African cities in different kinds of conflict. In doing so she touched upon a wide range of case studies, which were then picked up during the open discussion with students, policy-makers and academics that followed.

To purchase the book – which the LSE Review of Books wrote should be 'a standard textbook for students' of African-focused, developmental and other social science departments – visit the Zed Books website.

And to watch Susan Parnell, one of the book's editors, discuss in detail some of the aims behind the volume as a whole, visit Africa Research Institute's YouTube channel.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Women of the world, unite!: 10 gender bending books for International Women's Day

As radical publishers of critical books that seek to affect real change, the theme of this year's International Women's Day  'Inspiring Change is particularly close to Zed's heart.

To celebrate, here Commissioning Editor Kim Walker gives her pick of pivotal works and new classics from the Zed Books shelves.

Woman at Point Zero

Nawal El Saadawi

'All the men I did get to know, every single man of them, has filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face. But because I am a woman I have never had the courage to lift my hand. And because I am a prostitute, I hid my fear under layers of make-up'. 

This begins Firdaus' story told from her grimy Cairo prison cell, where her death sentence comes as a relief. Saadawi's classic 1975 novel is a searing indictment of society's brutal treatment of women.

'Nawal el Saadawi writes with directness and passion, transforming the systematic brutalisation of peasants and of women in to powerful allegory'  New York Times Book Review

New South Asian Feminisms
Paradoxes and Possibilities

edited by Srila Roy

South Asian Feminism is in crisis. Under constant attack from right-wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism and co-opted by 'NGO-ization' and neoliberal state agendas, once autonomous and radical forms of feminist mobilization have been ideologically fragmented and replaced.

An original that rethinks the feminist political agenda for the predicaments of the present.

'I can think of no better guide to contemporary feminisms in South Asia than this collection of uniformly first-rate essays.' - Mrinalini Sinha, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan

Feminism is Queer
The intimate connection between queer and feminist theory

Mimi Marinucci

Whilst there have been significant conceptual tensions between second wave feminism and traditional lesbian and gay studies, queer theory offers a paradigm for understanding gender, sex and sexuality that avoids the conflict in order to develop solidarity among those interested in feminist theory and those interested in lesbian and gay rights.

An essential and accessible  guide to anyone with an interest in gender or sexuality.

Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure

Edited by Susie Jolly, Andrea Cornwall and Kate Hawkins 

Gender and development has tended to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Although this has been hugely important in challenging violence against women, over-emphasizing these negative aspects has dovetailed with conservative ideologies that associate women’s sexualities with danger and fear. Meanwhile, the media, pharmaceutical industry, and pornography more broadly celebrate the pleasures of sex in ways that can be just as oppressive. This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women.

Palestinian Women
Narrative histories and gendered memory

Fatma Kassem

The realm of memory is a site of commemoration and resistance in this 'powerful and much-needed oral history of the [1948] Nabka'. (Jonathan Cook, author of Disappearing Palestine)

Palestinian Women is the first book to examine and document the experiences and the historical narrative of ordinary Palestinian women who witnessed the events of 1948 and became involuntary citizens of the State of Israel. Told in their own words, the women's experiences serve as a window for examining the complex intersections of gender, nationalism and citizenship in a situation of ongoing violent political conflict. 

Reclaiming the F Word
Feminism Today

Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune

'A positive, upbeat survey of the contemporary fight for women's rights. Feminism never went away, but right now it's more essential than ever. Give a copy of this book to every teenager in your life.'  Laurie Penny

This is a generation-defining book demanding nothing less than freedom and equality, for all. Based on a survey of over a thousand feminists, Reclaiming the F Word reveals the what, why and how of today's feminism, from cosmetic surgery to celebrity culture, from sex to singleness and now, in this new edition, the gendered effects of possibly the worst economic crisis ever.


Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva

Is there a relationship between patriarchal oppression and the destruction of nature in the name of profit and progress? How can women counter the violence inherent in these processes? Should they look to a link between the women's movement and other social movements?

This groundbreaking work remains as relevant today as when it was when first published in 1993. 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.

Sex Work Matters
Exploring Money, Power, and Intimacy in the Sex Industry

Edited by Melissa Hope Ditmore, Antonia Levy, and Alys Willman

'Sex Work Matters is destined to become a classic in its field, offering fresh new perspectives on romantic and economic taboos in the lives of sex workers.'  Tracy Quan, Guardian columnist and author, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl

A vital and original contribution to sex-worker rights that explores the topic in its cultural, economic and political dimensions, from insights by sex workers on how they handle money, intimate relationships and daily harassment by the police, to the experience of male and transgender sex work.

Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

Laura María Agustín

This groundbreaking book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest.

'This book questions some of our most cherished modern assumptions, and shows that a different ethics of concern is possible.'  Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina 

Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

The New Maids
Transnational Women and the Care Economy

Helma Lutz

A pioneering book, grounded on rich, empirical evidence, which examines the relationship between globalization, transnationalism, gender and the care economy. Expertly addressing the thorny questions that surround the increasing number of migrant domestic workers and cleaners, child-carers and caregivers who maintain modern Western households, the author argues that domestic work plays the defining role in global ethnic and gender hierarchies.

Helma Lutz 'shares poignant narratives that reveal the paradoxical lives of today's maids as one of simultaneous professionalism and personalism at work, distance and proximity in the family, and the unrecognized dependency on their labor by the state.'  Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California

And coming next month...

'Leftover' Women
The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Leta Hong Fincher

A century ago, Chinese feminists fighting for the emancipation of women helped spark the republican revolution, which overthrew the Qing empire. In the early years of the People's Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives. Yet those gains are now being eroded in China's post-socialist era. Contrary to many claims made in the mainstream media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of many rights and gains relative to men.

This crucial book debunks the popular myth that women have fared well as a result of post-socialist China's economic reforms and breakneck growth.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

'How Numbers Rule the World' by Lorenzo Fioramonti: reviews, interviews and author articles

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde noted how 'people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.' Over a century on, and moreso now than ever, we continue to obsess over numbers in all aspects of life - often losing sight of what really matters in the process.

As the world begins to wake up to the idea that, 80 years on, GDP is not and never was a credible yardstick for measuring economic strength, Lorenzo Fioramonti's new book How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics has been garnering attention from across the media.

To celebrate, here we bring you a selection of reviews, interviews and author articles from the last four weeks. Consider this your reading list to a more enlightened view of how numbers rule the world . . .

For another chance to hear Fioramonti discussing the ruling elite's obsession with numbers on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed, visit the Radio 4 website.

* * *

Writing in Open Democracy, Fioramonti examines 'The politics of numbers in the age of austerity'.

Most politicians are fond of dishing out data as they are fully aware that the sense of neutrality these numbers provide makes people more willing to accept welfare cuts. Indeed, governance by numbers de-politicizes decisions. The appearance and design of such statistics are structured around the notion of evidence. When we see a number, we perceive certainty. Factual information. Numbers are not like words, which require interpretation. Numbers are a source of authority in so far as they reveal truth. And truth cannot be disputed. But have you ever wondered what these numbers actually mean?
Read the full article here.

* * *

'Africa Rising? Think Again': Fioramonti writing in Perspectives journal.
GDP tells us nothing about the health of an economy, let alone its sustainability and the overall impact on human welfare. GDP is simply a measure of market consumption, which has been improperly adopted to assess economic performance. Rebuilding Libya after the civil war has been a blessing for its GDP. But does that mean that Libya is on an enviable growth path?
Read the full article in the February issue of Perspectives.

* * *

Fioramonti on why the BRICs' pursuit of GDP growth with little or no investment in human, social and natural capital does not bode well for the future of the world economy: The BRICS of collapse?

* * *

Alice Bell (@AliceBell) of the New Left Project met with Fioramonti to ask him about the forces that lead us to rely on numbers.
Numbers are fundamental. I don't think human beings can progress without measuring. We measure every day. Carpenters need measurements to make furniture, doctors need thermometers to measure our fever. Measurement is part and parcel of our understanding of reality. 

What is happening, however, in contemporary governance is that we live through a phase where our political decisions are surreptitiously anchored to measurements that are extremely controversial and yet presented as neutral. As a consequence, our political debate is minimised because the numbers we use to make decisions are already forgone conclusions. These selective measurements provide us with a very narrow range of options, thus limiting our real freedom. For instance, no government or society is really able to think of progress outside of GDP. So it's not about numbers per se, it's about how these numbers are being made and integrated into policy making.
Read the full interview here.

* * *

Writing in the LSE Review of Books, ex government statistician Dr Stuart Astill says that How Numbers Rule the World is valuable to those studying all aspects of power and politics:
The whole is well written, blending together knowledge from different fields into a coherent and readable flow with a good number of ‘light bulb’ moments. . . We must embrace a qualitative depth even in the most apparently quantitative pursuits [and] Professor Fioramonti has shown in a passionate and convincing way the global importance of this aspiration. His unarguable clarion call is for clarity, transparency and widespread, gentle and constructive scepticism.
Read the full review here.

* * *

And finally, in this the 80th birthday of the world's most powerful numbers, Fioramonti looks at the rise and rise of GDP - and why its time for it to retire.

Much more than a number, GDP has since come to represent a model of society, thereby influencing not only economic, but also political and cultural processes. Our geography, our cities, our lifestyles are defined by the GDP circle of production and consumption. GDP has also colonized the lexicon of governance and the distribution of power at the global level.  International clubs such as the G8, or the G20 have been defined according to their members’ contribution to the world’s gross output. The concepts of ‘emerging markets’ and ‘emerging powers’ refer to a nation’s current and projected GDP growth, as well as the ‘ambivalent’ distinction between the developed and the under-developed (or developing) world.

Read the full article here.

* * *

Further reading

Lorenzo Fioramonti is at the forefront of a growing movement against global GDP worship.

Time to leave GDP behindNature

Is GDP a satisfactory measure of growth?OECD Observer

Global Economy Growing But May Leave Well-being Behind, Worldwatch Institute

A high price for ignoring the risks of catastrophe, Financial Times - follow what experts, politicians, activists and people are doing around the world to get rid of GDP.

Lorenzo Fioramonti blogs at and tweets @globalrebootJoin the debate by tweeting #GoodbyeGDP

* * *

Lorenzo Fioramonti is associate professor and Jean Monnet chair in regional integration and governance studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation. He is also senior fellow at the Centre for Social Investment of the University of Heidelberg and at the Hertie School of Governance, Germany, as well as associate fellow at the United Nations University. He is the author of several books about development policies, global and regional governance, alternative economies and social progress indicators, including Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World's Most Powerful Number (Zed Books, 2013).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Critique Influence Change launch competition: 'Independent Media for Real Solidarity'

Mainstream media. When it's not staging dubious 'debates' chaired by Richard Bacon (Channel 4's Benefits Britain: The Live Debate), it's recommending that you holiday in fresh killing fields ('Catch it Now: Sri Lanka'). Perhaps at its worst, it keeps schtum altogether.

Here, in his submission to our Critique Influence Change launch competition, Joris Leverink argues that through independent publications (such as ROAR Magazine, the website that he edits) media that truly reflects the voices of dissent on the world's streets is essential to strengthening global political struggles and affecting change.

A demonstrator kisses a Turkish flag in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 2013. Crowds had gathered to celebrate the reversal of a fare hike on public transportation following a week of mass protests.
(AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

It was one of the most inspiring images arising from the arena of resistance in the summer of 2013: a Brazilian man in São Paulo surrounded by fellow protestors, passionately pressing his lips to a bright-red Turkish flag. It was a symbolic gesture, an act of solidarity, an expression of love and support. But most of all it was a clear sign of global connectivity.

A mere two weeks after the Turks had risen up in their millions in an unprecedented wave of popular resistance against the increasingly authoritarian rule of the country's Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its radical urban development programmes inspired by neoliberal policies, the Brazilians took inspiration from their Turkish comrades and also took to the streets, shaking their country on its very foundations. As millions marched across the globe, the people on the streets realized something that their leaders and the corporate media did not: there existed a connection between the defiant Turks and the angry Brazilians. A connection that was forged in the fires of oppression, kindled in the smithies of global capitalism and which had finally come to light now that the flames which were fed by exorbitant profits, urban redevelopment schemes, marginalization of the socio-economic underclasses and increasing authoritarian rule by supposedly democratically elected leaders had started to flicker.

This idea of global connectivity has painstakingly been kept out of the reports of these individual protests produced by the corporate media. The last thing their elitist puppet masters want the general public to know is that it is not alone in its suffering, and that in fact there are billions of others out there, struggling on a daily basis, fighting against greater or lesser evils. Regardless of their specific manifestations, all these evils have their roots in the same oppressive, hierarchical, elite-centred and -controlled global financial system which is founded upon exploitation, virtual enslavement, numbing of the minds and the silencing of voices of dissent.

So what did make this man on the streets of São Paulo realize that he had something in common with the Turkish Çapulers? The answer is the power of independent citizen media. With the rise and spread of the internet, control over the flows of information has been taken out of the hands of the centralized global and national propaganda apparatuses and brought within the sphere of the public arena. Knowledge and information has become accessible to all who are willing to look for it. Slowly but surely this is undermining the power of centre, and report by report, video by video, photo by photo, this is bringing truth, knowledge and awareness to those who have been deprived of it for so long.

The members of the independent media collective ROAR Magazine have been at the front lines of this global wave of popular uprisings which has spread across the globe like wildfire ever since that young Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi made the desperate decision to set himself on fire in early 2011. Through first-hand reports, critical analyses, thorough research and revolutionary reflections ROAR has kept a global audience of tens of thousands of concerned and involved readers informed on the latest events in the context of the global revolution. ROAR tries not only to bring the latest news, but more importantly it attempts to reflect critically on these events while they are still going on. Informed reports relying on an extensive body of academic research as well as activists' experiences are written while the barricades are still burning, the streets are still covered in clouds of tear gas and the anti-establishment slogans still resonate across the squares.

2014 is going to be a crucial year. The alarm bells of the global financial markets are ringing once more as emerging markets like Argentina, Turkey, Thailand and Mexico are now starting to suffer from the economic crisis, which has simply been relocated from the centre to the so-called periphery. This global socio-economic and political crisis is by no means over and as the most recent events in Bosnia-Herzegovina bear witness, it is only a matter of time before yet another country implodes as a consequence of rising popular anger and civil frustration. ROAR Magazine intends to hold the line and aspires to keep reporting from the front lines of the global revolution. Moreover, in 2014 ROAR will build a brand new website in order to intensify its reporting and diversify its base of contributors. It has already received support from hundreds of funders, contributors, documentary makers, citizen journalists, established academics and seasoned activists across the globe and it intends to canalize this widespread support into the formation of a global collective whose combined efforts will serve the universal struggle for real democracy. As the global revolution enters its fourth year, so does ROAR. And by professionalizing its web-presence it sends a clear message to the top of the pyramid: just like the global revolt, we are here to stay and we will not back down until we got what we came for.

Joris Leverink
Editor, ROAR Magazine

Critique Influence Change brings together pivotal texts by notable academics and activists from Zed Books’ publishing of the last thirty-five years. Paradigm-changing when first published, these books have retained and often grown in their relevance.

To attend the Critique Influence Change launch event featuring leading heterodox economist Ha-Joon Changthe Guardian's Ellie Mae O’Hagan and Oxfam's Duncan Green, visit the Free Word Centre website.

And to explore titles in the series so far click on the covers below:

Thursday, 13 February 2014

February: new from Zed Books

February sees the arrival of five new Zed titles.

As well as continuing our new series of seminal and pertinent texts from Zed’s archives, Critique Influence Change, we have new titles on the role of African figures and leaders of African descent in global peacekeeping, a myth-busting text on land grabbing, and a critique on the role that capitalism has played in the Arab Spring.

Add to that our launch event for Africa’s Urban Revolution on 20 February at Africa Research Institute, London, and it’s shaping up to be a very busy month at Zed Books.

Africa’s Peacemakers

Edited by Adekeye Adebajo

A unique volume of 15 biographical essays published to commemorate fifty years of post-independence Pan-Africanism. From Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai and others, right up to Barack Obama, Africa's Peacemakers reveals how this remarkable collection of individuals have changed the world – for better or worse.

‘A superbly documented and elegantly written book full of rich nuggets and profound insights into the lives, motivations, accomplishments, and disappointments of African Nobel Peace Laureates.’
– Ibrahim Gambari, Former UN Special Representative to Angola and Darfur

Elleke Boehmer's chapter from Africa's Peacemakers is also Zed Book’s first e-short: Nelson Mandela: The Black Pimpernel, available here.

Capitalism in the Age of Globalization

by Samir Amin
with a foreword by John Bellamy Foster

Samir Amin remains one of the world's most influential thinkers about North-South relations in the development of contemporary capitalism. In this highly prescient 1997 text, reissued here as part of our Critique Influence Change series, he provides a powerful analysis of the new unilateral capitalist era following the collapse of the Soviet model, and the apparent triumph of the market and globalization.

‘Amin shows the an alternative to the plunder and pillage of the last five centuries of capitalism and war mongering imperialism. A must read for anyone who is interested in a better world.'
– Issa Shivji, University of Dar es Salaam

by Mark Duffield
with a foreword by Antonio Donini

In this hugely influential book, originally published in 2001 but just as – if not more – relevant today, Mark Duffield shows how war has become an integral component of development discourse. Aid agencies have become increasingly involved in humanitarian assistance, conflict resolution and the social reconstruction of war-torn societies. Duffield explores the consequences of this growing merger of development and security, unravelling the nature of the new wars and the response of the international community. An essential work, reissued as part of our Critique Influence Change series.

A ‘breathtaking tour-de-force from one of the leading thinkers in this field.’
                                                – David Keen, LSE

Edited by Mayke Kaag and Annelies Zoomers

A comprehensive and much-needed intervention on one of the most hotly contested but little-understood issues facing countries of the South today.

'When the dust settles, and the sensationalists and opportunists have moved on, we will still have to grasp the nature, the dimensions and the consequences of 'land grabbing'. This collection provides a serious analytical contribution to our understanding of a phenomenon which is deeply rooted in the past.’
– Professor Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen

by Richard Javad Heydarian
with a foreword by Walden Bello

In this ‘intellectually and morally courageous analysis’ (Alamin Mazrui, Rutgers University), Heydarian shows how years of economic mismanagement, political autocracy and corruption have encouraged people to revolt, and how the initial optimism of the uprisings is now giving way to bitter power struggles and continued economic stagnation.