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The invisible assumptions of charity driven development: reading Bill and Melinda Gates's 2014 letter

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released their annual letter for 2014 a few months ago. It was devoted to dispelling three common myths, which they argue, block progress for the poor.

1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
2. Foreign aid is a waste.
3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

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Reading the Manifesto for Social Materialist Psychology

A little while after my Ossington Circle interview with author Paul Moloney, I was sent (by Paul) the Midlands Psychology Group Manifesto for a Social-Materialist Psychology of Distress. It's an unadorned, long, well-written text that is full of important insights.

Ali Mustafa

I met Ali Mustafa a long time ago, when he was one of the younger activists in Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). I was not so old as I am now but Ali's energy and anger made me feel my age then.

Ali was no single-issue activist. He spent a summer working (as an intern I think) with the Movimento Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil, a movement of landless peasants. That was how he did things. He wanted to go, be in it.

He was no hotel journalist. When he went to Palestine and Egypt and to Syria, he lived with the people, shared their risks, faced whatever they faced.

A short course on development in "Post-conflict" Congo. A Radical Teacher article.

Podur, J. (2014). A Short Course on Development in “Post-conflict” Congo. Radical Teacher, 98, 52-57. doi:10.5195/rt.2014.70

This article, published in the journal Radical Teacher, is about higher education in the eastern DR Congo, based on my experience teaching a course at the Universite Evangelique en Afrique (UEA) in Bukavu in 2011.

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Haiti: plans for a 2010 coup - CEPR interview with Seitenfus

With an attempted coup underway in Venezuela, those of us who studied the 2004 Haiti coup are looking back at Haiti 10 years ago and being reminded of the parallels. Actually, I wrote about the Venezuela coup of 2002, which followed a similar playbook to the coup attempt currently underway.

Egypt's dictatorship for the digital age

Egypt was ruled by the Mubarak dictatorship for 30 years before the people managed to overthrow him in 2011.

Public action and a lifeline for rural workers: an interview with Jean Dreze

Jean Dreze is an economist and activist who teaches at Allahabad University's Department of Economics. He has written on famines with Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics for work on the issue. I met him in India earlier this year and interviewed him over email.

Justin Podur (JP): I think perhaps you are best known for your work with Amartya Sen on famines and hunger. Can you talk a bit about that, how that work came about, and your findings?

Free, Tarek and John

by Justin Podur and Dan Freeman-Maloy

Note: this is a rather long article. If you prefer a PDF version, it is linked here.

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Touchwood PR

As the emergency contact for Tarek and John, I was happy to field media calls and requests. Now the emergency is over, and media are being handled by the most excellent and wonderful Touchwood PR. If you wish to schedule an interview with Tarek and John, pleaes contact Touchwood at press@touchwoodpr.com.

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tarekandjohn.com

When Tarek and John were arrested on August 16, we were taken by surprise. We used whatever tools we had to hand to get the message out. As their emergency contact, I used my own blog and my own twitter handle, and became one of their official spokespeople. In the intervening 50 days, we set up a change.org petition, and a dedicated website, tarekandjohn.com. The plan was always to make the transfer so that tarekandjohn.com was the only place to go for news about them, but events kept moving quickly and we did not have a moment to pause to make the transition.

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