Book review: “Black Star – Britain’s Asian Youth Movements”

October 28, 2013 in Gus talks, Reviews by Gus John

“Civil liberties, from a working class point of view, are about having the space in which to engage in political struggle – to organise alternative bases of power which can lead to the transformation of society, to record the struggle as it progresses and to express, in theory and in practice, an independent class position. This space is always contested and the occupation of any part of it carries no security of tenure…” (Ian Macdonald QC)

This extract from a review of E P Thompson’s ‘Writing by Candlelight’ (1980) by the internationally renowned immigration and human rights lawyer, Ian Macdonald QC, captures in every detail the historical significance of the Asian Youth Movements (AYMs) in Britain which helped to define and reconfigure the ‘political culture’ in Britain in the 1970s through to the late 1980s.

Anandi Ramamurthy has ensured, through her study of the AYMs, that the politics they made and their dismantling of the settlement the state and the Labour Party thought they had reached with Britain’s South Asian population would not be written out of the history of post-war Britain and of the growth of South Asian communities in the UK. Read the rest of this entry →

Book review: Remaking the Niger Delta

October 16, 2012 in Blog, Reviews by Gus John

At the launch of his latest book – “Remaking the Niger Delta: Challenges and Opportunities” - in the Nigeria city of Lagos, Kingsley Kuku thanked Professor Gus John for editing the manuscript and helping to get it ready for printing.  Prof John delivered the following public review of the book:

Your Excellency Mr Vice President, Your Royal Highnesses, other distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, I greet you in Peace and with Hope.  I say ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and not the usual ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ because some of us men are not so gentle and some women not so ladylike.  Be that as it may, we nevertheless remain ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and in this audience particularly I feel much more comfortable with that.

Let me begin by reminding us that the problems in the Niger Delta are man-made.  They are not the product of natural disasters.  Typhoons and tidal waves did not despoil the once lush environment and mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta, bringing crippling poverty from one generation to another in their wake.  No! So, if those problems which have acquired a stubborn permanence were made by man, they could be remedied by man.

The renowned scientist and philosopher, Albert Einstein, once famously said: “The problems we have created cannot be solved by the same thinking that gave rise to them“.

Kingsley Kuku is calling for a new mindset in the Niger Delta and Nigeria to address in a sustainable way the problems of the Niger Delta that have been 60 years in the making. Read the rest of this entry →