Exploitation

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‘Maybe this time Starmer will understand covering up criminality is unacceptable’ – Cohen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 2:07am in

Whistleblower who turned down £150k gagging clause and was ignored by Starmer says she will seek judicial review and take civil action after ‘perverse’ award for wrongful dismissal

Whistleblower Elaina Cohen has said she will seek a judicial review and civil action, after a tribunal judge awarded her only a net sum of £10,423 for being wrongfully dismissed by right-wing Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.

Cohen went public with allegations that Mahmood’s lover, who worked and still works for him, was using a ‘charity’ (now defunct) for domestic violence victims to exploit and abuse vulnerable Muslim victims. She received a total award of £11,729.99, but the tribunal judge reduced the payout under the Employment Protection (Recoupment of Benefits) Regulations 1996.

During the case, one of the victims told the tribunal – in evidence that neither Mahmood nor his legal team tried to challenge – that Mahmood’s staffer:

  • blackmailed domestic violence victims into shoplifting and giving her their social security benefits
  • made victims take speeding points on their licence that they did not incur
  • sadistically abused victims
  • made the chief executive of the charity suicidal by blackmailing her and taunting her
  • targeted the victim on social media
  • revealed details of the charity’s vulnerable ‘service users’ to others
  • used her and other women from the now-defunct charity ‘for the private entertainment of important people’
  • introduced one victim to a male friend who hurt the woman, ‘but she didn’t care’
  • berated two victims for stealing the wrong jacket from a local department store
  • made victims fund meals for local Labour politicians
  • made victims ‘stalk’ Mahmood and report back on him

Cohen repeatedly informed Keir Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans of what was happening, but the pair took no action, part of a pattern of cover-ups that saw Starmer shelter at least two alleged sex pests on his front bench – and one confirmed sex pest in a senior job – while claiming to be a ‘champion’ of women facing domestic violence.

In an email after the judgment today, copied to the West Midlands Chief Constable and to Labour general secretary Evans, Cohen told employment lawyer Julie-Rose Helling that she was ‘furious’ with the outcome and planning to appeal. to lodge a formal complaint with the judiciary and to legal action against the force and the Labour party:

As you can imagine I am furious at the judgment which I believe was personal  .

I turned down £150k which would have shackled me with an NDA.  

I am appealing the award .

However I also intend to make a formal complaint to the judiciary at the conduct  of Judge Adkin which has been biased towards me from the onset.

I am being advised and considering and likely to now pursue civil action  against the Respondent , West Midlands Police Simon Foster and Sir Keir Starmer.

I will not rest until justice has been served. This was a whistleblowing case of heinous crimes against vulnerable women which has been ignored .

“The police admitted to me that things had been covered up”

However, Cohen subsequently told Skwawkbox that she is planning to seek a full retrial, as well as threatening legal action against the local police that she says confirmed there had been a cover-up:

I will be seeking a full retrial to overturn this judgment which I have been legally told is perverse. The judge had already been found to have concluded that I was not threatened with dismissal for blowing the whistle when it was already in evidence before the tribunal. Maybe this time Keir Starmer will understand that covering up crime is unacceptable – and I don’t believe this is an isolated incident in Birmingham and elsewhere.

I turned down offers of £150,000 and then £110,000 to settle the case because they would have meant signing a non-disclosure agreement. I’m not letting this go.

The police admitted to me that things had been covered up, this is the equivalent of finding Trump innocent of 34 counts. If the West Midlands Police don’t take action, I’m going to start a civil action against them.

Ms Cohen recently resigned from the Labour party in protest at the repeated cover-ups and Starmer’s ‘protection of abusers and racists’.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Labour’s new Barking candidate confirmed bully who tried ‘undue influence’ on scrutiny chair

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/06/2024 - 9:00am in

Nesil Caliskan bullied a fellow councillor and tried to manipulate chair of Enfield council scrutiny committee – and more…

Nesil Caliskan, front right

Labour has announced that Enfield council leader Nesil Caliskan is imposed as the party’s candidate in Barking, the seat that has been vacated by right-winger Margaret Hodge’s retirement.

In 2019, Caliskan was found guilty of bullying a female fellow councillor – a decision upheld on appeal. Her claims that the allegations were racially-motivated smears was rejected. She was also found, in the same month, to have breached standards by attempting to unduly influence the chair of the council’s scrutiny committee, responsible for independent scrutiny of the council’s activities.

Those two, major issues, are far from the end of the issues surrounding Caliskan’s selection. She was the subject of a series of complaints and protests by local Labour members and councillors, as well as of action by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit (GLU), following a series of revelations by the SKWAWKBOX – which were picked up, without credit, by ‘mainstream’ media.

Caliskan was Labour’s local campaign forum (LCF) secretary when she oversaw an array of ‘irregular‘ selections of her allies, who promptly elected her leader of the council after last year’s local elections. The process also saw every BAME councillor in the borough deselected, to the outrage of local community groups.

As a result, half of Enfield’s cabinet demanded an investigation, while all the female Labour group officers resigned except for Caliskan herself in protest at bullying and intimidation.

The subsequent disciplinary process saw the Enfield Labour group placed into special measures – and the election process for a new cabinet delayed after Caliskan was rebuked for ignoring binding instructions issued by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). When the election finally went ahead, many of the council’s cabinet members refused to stand, saying they could not work with her.

Caliskan – whose family is close to former right-wing Labour hardliner Joan Ryan and who refuses to take queries from the SKWAWKBOX – has responded by alleging that she is the subject of a racially-motivated smear campaign. She also claimed that Labour’s ‘special measures‘ were to protect her – a claim subsequently shown to be false – and originally told members that the party’s investigation into her had been abandoned, which was also untrue.

Now she has been imposed at the last minute by Labour’s national executive for a safe Labour seat – like her fellow national executive member Luke Akehurst, who has been forced on Labour members in North Durham despite his support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza and his blocking of a Jewish would-be candidate because she had blown the whistle to protect vulnerable domestic violence victims from ‘sadistic’ abuse and exploitation by a Labour right-winger’s lover.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Akehurst banned Jewish candidate for blowing whistle on sexual abuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 8:45am in

Jewish would-be candidate says Starmer’s imposed Israel-fanatic candidate for North Durham used NEC position to tell her she couldn’t stand because she would ‘bring Labour into disrepute’ because she blew the whistle on ‘sadistic and criminal’ abuse of domestic violence victims

Luke Akehurst – the fanatically pro-Israel ‘parachute’ candidate imposed by Labour’s national executive (NEC) as the party’s candidate in North Durham – told a Jewish woman last year that she couldn’t stand for the party because she blew the whistle to protect vulnerable domestic violence victims, according to whistleblower Elaina Cohen. Skwawkbox contacted Akehurst for comment on the allegations at the time, but he did not respond.

Elaina Cohen was wrongfully dismissed by right-wing MP Khalid Mahmood after she made ‘protected disclosures’ about abuse and exploitation by Mahmood’s lover of Muslim women fleeing domestic violence. One of the victims gave evidence at Cohen’s industrial tribunal about the ‘sadistic’ and ‘criminal’ abuse she had suffered at the hands of the woman, who also worked for Mahmood. Neither Mahmood nor his lawyers contested the victim’s evidence. As part of her testimony, she said:

Whilst befriending them [the lover] would find out their weaknesses and secrets and then would blackmail and exploit them for her own benefit and amusement and that of others.

She told the court via her unchallenged statement that Mahmood’s female staffer, with whom he was said to be in a relationship:

  • used a domestic violence charity she ran to blackmail domestic violence victims into shoplifting and giving her their social security benefits
  • made victims take speeding points on their licence that they did not incur
  • sadistically abused victims
  • made the chief executive of the charity suicidal by blackmailing her and taunting her
  • targeted Victim A on social media
  • revealed details of the charity’s vulnerable ‘service users’ to others
  • used her and other women from the now-defunct charity ‘for the private entertainment of important people’
  • introduced one victim to a male friend who hurt the woman, ‘but she didn’t care’
  • berated two victims for stealing the wrong jacket from a local department store
  • made victims fund meals for local Labour politicians
  • made victims ‘stalk’ Mahmood and report back on him

Cohen also repeatedly informed Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans of what was being done to the women, but the pair took no action, part of a pattern of cover-ups that saw Starmer shelter at least two alleged sex pests on his front bench – and one confirmed sex pest in a senior job – while claiming to be a ‘champion’ of women facing domestic violence.

Akehurst’s deranged – and paid – support for Israel even in the midst of the genocide it is committing against the Palestinian people in Gaza is well known, but it is far from the only issue with him being allowed anywhere near a parliamentary seat. And his boss, who is cut from the same cloth, has no business being anywhere near power.

Khalid Mahmood has also been re-selected to stand in Birmingham Perry Barr, despite Cohen’s revelations about the victims and also her allegations of theft and taking cash from Kuwait, which he denied. Labour says it selects ‘quality candidates’.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Exclusive: Jewish whistleblower quits Labour over Starmer’s ‘protection of abusers and racists’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/05/2024 - 6:45pm in

Elaina Cohen says she cannot bear to remain in party that suspends Abbott but protects wrongdoers and she will campaign against Starmer’s Labour

Jewish whistleblower Elaina Cohen, as long expected, has quit her Labour membership and will campaign against Keir Starmer’s party over Starmer’s cover-up of abuse and exploitation she says she discovered of domestic violence victims by the alleged lover of right-wing MP Khalid Mahmood.

Ms Cohen has accused Starmer of ‘brutal disregard for women’ after she informed him several times about the ‘sadistic’ mistreatment of vulnerable Muslim women.

Elaina Cohen’s ‘pinned’ tweet

Emails proved that Ms Cohen made Keir Starmer repeatedly aware of her allegations that one of his front-benchers was protecting a staff member who was involved in the abuse of domestic violence victims she exploited through a now-defunct domestic violence ‘charity’ – yet he did nothing, leaving Khalid Mahmood on his front bench until Mahmood eventually decided to step down over political differences.

During her wrongful dismissal case against right-winger Mahmood, the MP and his legal team accepted ‘Victim A’s sworn statement about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Mahmood’s office manager and lover into evidence as truth without challenge.

The victim told the tribunal that she and others had suffered ‘sadistic’ abuse, threat and blackmail as Mahmood’s paramour tried to force her into theft and fraud and used domestic violence victims as entertainment for the rich and powerful – and the party also ignored Cohen’s formal complaint against Starmer and his sidekick David Evans for the cover-up.

The moment that evidence was accepted as fact, without challenge, in a legal proceedings Keir Starmer should have been forced by media coverage and a storm of public outrage into resigning. Yet the ‘mainstream’ media have almost entirely ignored the revelations – and actively misreported the unfolding of the case.

Her resignation email reads:

It is with regret I am resigning from the Labour Party . I cannot be in a party that condones heinous  abuse of vulnerable women .

The MP you selected was aware that his staff member took sadistic pleasure as a DV outreach worker in criminally exploiting multiple vulnerable women including victims of different faiths members of the LGBT community.

Her particular pleasure in  blackmailing mothers with children condoned by Keir Starmer is unconscionable for every decent person.

How can Keir Starmer claim he will smash human trafficking into our country when he backs a Labour member carrying out acts of organised crime exploiting desperate and vulnerable women.

I cannot as a person of conscience after four years of Keir Starmer  doing everything possible to cover up crimes in the membership  stay within it.

It is now my suspicion   that allegations of historic cover up of wrong-doing lead to Keir  Starmers door and that his sincerity and reliance upon on a legal and institutional career can  no longer be relied upon.

I have worked hard in Perry Barr and I still have a platform with supporters to raise my concerns.

Whatever the outcome of the judgment at least I am on the right side of justice for the most vulnerable in society.

The Labour party decision makers reap what they sow .

Starmer’s appalling record toward women includes sheltering two alleged sex pests in his Shadow Cabinet – and taking no action against disgraced MP Chris Matheson after he was placed under investigation and ultimately found guilty by Parliament of sexual harassment. Matheson instead resigned after the finding.

Starmer also welcomed Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle back into the party last year, despite Parliament finding Coyle guilty of at least one count of sexual harassment and of making racist remarks.

Ms Cohen told Skwawkbox:

The hypocrisy of keeping Diane Abbott suspended when she is clearly not antisemitic, while Keir Starmer covers up for abusers and racists, is absolutely appalling. I have resigned my membership so that I can campaign against Labour and will be doing so vigorously. He is unfit for office.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/05/2024 - 6:18pm in

In Code DependentMadhumita Murgia considers the impact of AI, and technology more broadly, on marginalised groups. Though its case studies are compelling, Marie Oldfield finds the book lacking in rigorous analysis and a clear methodology, inhibiting its ability to grapple with the concerns around technology it raises.

Madhumita Murgia spoke at an LSE event, What it means to be human in a world changed by AI, in March 2024 – watch it back on YouTube.

Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI. Madhumita Murgia. Picador. 2024.

Code Dependent Book coverCode Dependent is a collection of case studies about people from marginalised groups in society who both work in and are negatively affected by technology. However, the book’s arguments pertain to subjects such as worker and refugee rights and global economies rather than the artificial intelligence (AI) of its title. It lacks a unifying thread and the initial chapters do not set up the purpose or main theme of the book. A clearer view is eventually provided on page 267, ie, “the pattern that has emerged for me is the extent of the impact of AI on society’s marginalised and excluded groups; refugees migrants, precarious workers, socioeconomic and racial minorities and women”.

Beyond algorithms, aggregated data and interconnected databases are one of the most concerning and problematic ways to use data.

Beyond algorithms, aggregated data and interconnected databases are one of the most concerning and problematic ways to use data. This suggests that unfit for purpose predictive analytics may be used for incorrect policing and manipulation of the public. We see social media manipulation of the public openly stated in manifestos from governments to world organisations and defence bodies under the auspices of “keeping people safe” or “protecting resources”. The author touches on this in the chapter “Your Rights”, which discusses nefarious uses of facial recognition software and how Meta was sued for their social media algorithm potentially facilitating murders in Ethiopia. The case study illustrates the dark side of technology, showing how technology can easily be used for oppression. However, this chapter, like many of the others, feels light in detail and analysis when its subject matter could easily warrant its own book.

The book contains a number of fundamental flaws that detract from the compelling nature of its case studies. The lack of a clear methodology, justifications for the choice of subjects examined and an outline of the book’s purpose immediately limit the reader’s ability to access the material effectively. There is a lack of prerequisite knowledge of philosophical and technical principles inherent in AI development that inhibits the author’s capacity to grasp the human experiences discussed or connect them to AI in a meaningful way. Some of the more concerning failings were several statements about technology that are either incorrect or unexplained, as well as strong contradictions within the material itself. For example, the concept of “algorithm” is never defined, despite being key to the text and the term “clean data set” is misinterpreted. The description of machine learning models (9) is technically incorrect, displaying unfamiliarity with the nature of models and algorithms. Poor data is not necessarily a driver of algorithmic bias, as Murgia suggests.

The book also lacks balance and a solid research grounding. There is a seeming intention to guide readers to specific, strong views, supported by cherry-picked research and stories that are not all suitably justified. This has the potential to be misleading. The positioning of this book in a small ecosystem of media-friendly personalities in AI leads to a myopic view of the industry and omits more robust research recent issues and developments in AI, such as dehumanisation, funding, technical development, lack of education around algorithms and risk and studies of weaknesses in AI implementation. The author admits to sourcing references by browsing papers from a few media-friendly AI personalities. This absence of a rigorous research methodology casts doubt on the credibility of the conclusions drawn from the case studies.

Disciplines such as philosophy, sociology and psychology are commented on, but without in-depth research and discussion on their relevance to AI, such as in the context of anthropomorphism, morality, human thought and decision making. Thus, the topic of algorithms “hiring and firing” workers lacks a deeper discussion around why this is different to a human performing the same action. The description of “data labelling facilities” (19) to refer to data warehouses of thousands of people sifting images for low pay is confusing to the reader, especially when these workers are referred to as “slaves” with little choice over their own exploitation (30). The wages are discussed as being low, but not contextualised. Murgia cites vast warehouses full of non-technical people classifying images to then be fed into an algorithm, a description which reveals the author’s lack of knowledge of the algorithmic design process. A possible reason for this apparent level of “data labelling” could be that we cannot represent human experience in an algorithm.

The author avoids a nuanced discussion of the simultaneous positive and negative aspects of technologies.

The author avoids a nuanced discussion of the simultaneous positive and negative aspects of technologies. In the chapter on health, the technology taking and using your x-ray data is acceptable (no mention of consent) but in the facial recognition case it is an invasion of privacy. Aside from informed consent, this ignores the key questions of motivation, purpose and ethics. The book overlooks both the potential nefarious uses of technology via optimism bias, ie uses within health that take data without consent or for profit and the positive uses of the technology used for deepfake pornography, which is used to make avatars and animated films. This latter issue around pornography is certainly a concerning, but Murgia refrains from presenting any of the remedies and current work in this area. There is a much deeper discussion to be had here. The issues are not always black and white; they are conceptually complex and require unpacking.

If Murgia had limited the book’s scope to case studies on the extent of the impact of technology and AI on marginalised and excluded groups [] or even on data transparency it would be far more coherent.

If Murgia had limited the book’s scope to case studies on the extent of the impact of technology and AI on marginalised and excluded groups – refugees, migrants, precarious workers, socioeconomic and racial minorities and women – or even on data transparency it would be far more coherent. As it is, the book is a long, meandering read that weaves through complex concepts and issues as if they are already understood by the reader. In order to position the book under the banner of AI, it tries to accomplish too much with too little rigorous, in-depth research, ultimately limiting its capacity to engage with pressing concerns posed by the rapid technological development of our times.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: whiteMocca on Shutterstock

 

From Sylhet to Spitalfields: Bengali Squatters in 1970s East London – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/04/2024 - 8:41pm in

In From Sylhet to Spitalfields, Shabna Begum examines the Bengali community’s struggle for housing and belonging in the face of systemic racism in 1970s East London. According to Md Naibur Rahman and Ruhun Wasata, Begum’s rich combination of ethnographic work and historical analysis reveals how, through squatting, activism and community organising, Bangladeshi migrants successfully demanded their right to housing.

From Sylhet to Spitalfields: Bengali Squatters in 1970s East London. Shabna Begum. Lawrence Wishart. 2023.

Someone with a rumbling stomach taking a stroll around Tower Hamlets in London, famous for its Bangladeshi community and cuisine, might be focused on finding a place to eat. Once satiated, attention can be focused on questions of how this diasporic community who were once colonised made it to the land of the coloniser and eventually called it home. In From Sylhet to Spitalfields, Shabna Begum undertakes an academic journey to examine the experiences of the Bangladeshi community as they faced systemic and targeted racism in their struggle to find literal and figurative homes in East London.

The book examines the Bangladeshi Squatter movement in the 1970s [. . .] to ensure the minimum basic rights of finding tenancy agreements in places that could keep them safe from targeted and street racism.

The book examines the Bangladeshi Squatter movement in the 1970s, a united effort against institutionalised racism of the Greater London Council (GLC) and Tower Hamlets Council (TLC) to ensure the minimum basic rights of finding tenancy agreements in places that could keep them safe from targeted and street racism. Begam’s robust ethnographic research both documents the suffering and struggles of the Bangladeshi community in London and records their resilience and resistance in the face of adversity.

The book begins with a historical account of the migration pattern of people from Sylhet, the North Eastern region of Bangladesh, to East London. Dating back to the boat building and sailing traditions of Sylheti people found in Ibn Battuta’s record in 1346 and Robert Lindsay’s observation in 1777, Sylheti men were initially employed as ship workers by the East India Company under British rule. Lindsay, the revenue collector deployed in Sylhet, extracted all trading opportunities for limestone, elephant trading (at least 6000), tea plantation and ship building. This typical practice of colonial-era property acquisition and exploitation of natural resources led him to purchase Balcarres House in Fife, Scotland from his older brother, Earl Alexander. This is a glaring example of how Sylhet and Sylheti seafarers contributed to the growth of the economic and political power of British colonisers in the 18th century.

The book observes this migratory pattern as part of the legacy of imperialism, epitomised in Sivanandan’s phrase, ‘We are here because you were there’.

The exploitation continued with an administrative strategy of annexing Sylhet to Assam, the neighbouring district, whose tea plantations became a cash cow. This layout and arrangement made Sylheti people owners of their land, unlike in other districts, which were governed by a few elite landlords and the majority of tenants. With the growing population, Sylheti people gravitated towards the merchant shipping industry to ease the pressure on the land-based economy. As part of an invitation to new commonwealth citizens in the post-war period Sylheti people started migrating from Bangladesh to East London in the 1960s and 1970s in search of opportunity, finding work in the garment, catering and hospitality sectors. The book observes this migratory pattern as part of the legacy of imperialism, epitomised in Sivanandan’s phrase, “We are here because you were there.”

The book stands out for highlighting the significance of the role of women in the squatter movement. In the mid-1970s, Sylheti men were concerned that, due to the racialist restriction on Commonwealth migration, they wouldn’t be able to bring their wives and children to the UK in the future as family reunification migrants, who would then morph into economic migrants. Their families were eventually allowed to join them, and their temporary, unstructured and compromised accommodation setups were no longer adequate. The lack of suitable accommodation led to Sylhetis wrangling with the GLC and THC powered with residency qualification and fifty-two weeks continuous residency policy for endorsing their discriminatory allocation. Eventually, the only option left was squatting. In these squats, women became the frontline defenders against discriminatory attacks since men were largely away at work outside the home. From protecting the home to protesting on the streets, Sylheti women played a key role in the movement, requiring resilience and defiance.

With no facilities for private bathing, broken windows and doors and interrupted utility supplies, the squatters adjusted to squalid living conditions.

Through the heart-wrenching lived experiences of its interviewees, the book evidences the poor conditions of the squats: dilapidated, leftover houses where no one else would agree to live. With no facilities for private bathing, broken windows and doors and interrupted utility supplies, the squatters adjusted to squalid living conditions. Beyond the this, squatters experienced smashed doors and windows, targeted racist harassment and elected politicians’ committing to expel the Bengali people from the area. In one rare instance where a Bengali family was allocated a council tenancy, the targeted violence they were subject to from the local community meant prevented them from moving in.

The formation of the Bengali Housing Action Group (BHAG) in the spring of 1976 paved a new way to coordinate the efforts and demands of squatters that were conveyed to the councils. The book highlights how this organisation not only established a game-changing platform but also emerged as a united force to resist violence. The formalised voice and force of the organisation proved crucial in gaining support, respect and acceptance from different groups.

The book presents a thorough account of BHAG activities which led to broader amnesty for squatters, enabling them to register and receive GLC tenancy in June 1978. From desperate attempts of squatting to 3000-strong demonstrations of Bangladeshis to finally being able to meet with GLC Councillors, the BHAG representation gave momentum and organisational force to the movements. In 1977, it was agreed by the GLC that their request to be housed in the E1 area would be honoured. BHAG activists made it clear that white or mixed-race people were also welcome as long as the majority of Bangladeshi people are housed in the same area.

The friendship, love and sacrifice of non-Bangladeshi BHAG activists like Terry Fitzpatrick, Mala Sen and Farrukh Dhondy demonstrated the power of multiculturalism and solidarity that London enables.

The Squatter movement and formulation of BHAG fomented lifelong friendships and connections that went beyond shared trauma and suffering. The friendship, love and sacrifice of non-Bangladeshi BHAG activists like Terry Fitzpatrick, Mala Sen and Farrukh Dhondy demonstrated the power of multiculturalism and solidarity that London enables. While some tried to protect Bangladeshis through their vigilante patrolling in Ford Zafire every night for a year, others voiced their frustrations, sufferings and demands on behalf of the Bangladeshi women. In addition, the support from the Socialist Worker Party, the Anti-Nazi League, and Race Today brought more attention and visibility. This movement worked as a foundation stone for many subsequent achievements in the housing cooperation, direct representations in councils and recognition of Bangladeshi culture. From forming housing cooperatives such as Shahjalal and Mitali Housing Co-Op to having representation with a Labour Councillor in 1985, the community established their presence in East London and beyond. British Bangladeshis’ continued political awareness and engagement led to the election of their first Member of Parliament (MP) in 2010, followed by three others in 2010, 2015 and 2019, respectively. The overall emergence of Bangladeshi community in almost every sector has often been credited to their commitment to education, which resonated through many interviewees’ responses – “because we put a graduate in every family”.

The book takes the reader on both an academic and an emotional journey, balancing robust historical research with human stories of resilience in the face of adversity.

Begum’s book does a commendable job of weaving the impacts of political events in Bangladesh with the nature of protests in East London. Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, the famine of 1974, and the assassination of the Founding Fathers of the Nation sedimented the resilience, resistance and courage, demonstrated by Bangladeshis who stood for their rights in Spitalfields, East London. Although many Sylheti people moved to Britain with the full intention of returning to Bangladesh, the struggles and achievements in East London gave them a sense of double belonging. The book effectively employs an oral ethnographic approach, making it a significant historical record of the Bangladeshi community in East London. The book takes the reader on both an academic and an emotional journey, balancing robust historical research with human stories of resilience in the face of adversity. From historians and geographers to anthropologists, sociologists to gender studies specialists, this book will appeal to many as a means to better understand the experiences of immigrants in Britain.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: Olivier Guiberteau on Shutterstock.