Long Reads

This page allows you to download PDFs of some long reads by Nancy and Jonathan,
from 10,000 words to book length.


No one on the left, or anywhere else, writes much about the class basis of the Taliban. The exception is Nancy Lindisfarne. This is her chapter on “Exceptional Pashtuns? Class Politics, Imperialism and Historiography.” Starting from the example of the Pakistani Taliban in Swat, and working outwards, she presents some inconvenient facts. Nancy lays out evidence that the Taliban particularly on support from landless and small peasants, and that when they take control in a valley they drive out the landlords. Moreover, their leadership comes much more humble backgrounds than almost any other Islamist movement.


If you like pirates, you probably like mutineers as well. Here is Jonathan’s PhD thesis on Forecastle and Quarterdeck: Protest, Discipline and Mutiny in the Royal Navy, 1793-2014. Skip chapter 2, which is an outdated and boring survey of the literature. But the rest is full of cracking yarns.


Afghan Resistance, 1842

From 2015, this is Nancy and Jonathan’s history of Oil Empires and Resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It takes two or three hours to read, but it will give you solid background to the ongoing wars today. We say at the start:

“This article is about three intersecting wars in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It will help the reader to know from the outset where we stand. We want the mass resistance to the Assad regime in Syria to win, and the Russian armed forces and their allies to leave. And we want the Americans and their foreign allies to leave Afghanistan, now, completely.”


Judith Widdecombe, abortion pioneer in MIssouri

Here is a grassroots history from below of Abortion Politics in the United States from 1964 to 2018 by Nancy and Jonathan. The focus is the lessons learned at each stage in the struggle. These are valuable lessons and we can use them to preserve abortion rights in the future. We make two central points. First, abortion rights were won by a mass movement, not the supreme court. Second, the abortion wars continue because abortion has come to stand for women’s equality, sexual freedom and desire.