Books

How can we undercut Islamists?

Author: 

Clive Bradley

Two books about Islamism, Ed Husain’s The Islamist and Maajid Nawaz’s Radical, have an obvious relevance after Charlie Hebdo.

There’s some crossover: the two writers knew each other in Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) (indeed Nawaz, who’s a bit younger, was Husain’s protege), and then, a decade later, set up the Quilliam Foundation together. Interestingly, at the time Husain wrote The Islamist, Nawaz was yet to leave HT, and he figures in the book as a possibly-dissident yet still-loyal member.

Two books about Islamism, Ed Husain’s The Islamist and Maajid Nawaz’s Radical, have an obvious relevance after Charlie Hebdo.

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Finance and the “other exploitation”

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Review of Costas Lapavitsas' Profiting without producing, Verso 2013

Capitalist exploitation is not just by the boss extracting from the worker, in return for a meagre more-or-less “living wage”, an expansible value-added which may be something like three times what’s paid out in wages.

It also comes from making working-class households pay interest on debts which they run up, often on disadvantageous terms, because of their relative poverty and relative lack of power in the markets.

A review of Profiting without producing by Costas Lapavitsas (Verso 2013).

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The demand for a radically different society

The second edition of Class against Class, the miners' strike 1984-5 is now available. New items include a review of “The Battle for Orgreave” by the late Rob Dawber, an account of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and retrospective analysis of the importance of the strike.

From the introduction:

Between March 1984 and March 1985, British miners fought one of the great epics of working-class history. In scope, intensity and duration their strike is unique in the history of the British labour movement.

The second edition of Class against Class, the miners' strike 1984-5 is now available. New items include a review of “The Battle for Orgreave” by the late Rob Dawber, an account of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and retrospective analysis of the importance of the strike.

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Britain's neo-liberal car boot sale

Author: 

John Cunningham

John Cunningham reviews Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else, by James Meek (Verso Press) and How To Speak To Money by John Lanchester (Faber and Faber).


Both these books perform a valuable service to those concerned with mounting a sustained critical analysis of how capitalism in its present day forms actually works. Although neither author draws any radical conclusions from his analysis, there is rich material in these pages to learn from.

Reviews of Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else, by James Meek (Verso Press) and How To Speak To Money by John Lanchester (Faber and Faber).

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Books on war and revolution

War and revolution has been a theme of 2014. Workers’ Liberty comrades were asked to recommend some books on that theme, all readily available, and ideal for reading over the holiday period.

The German Revolution 1918-23 by Pierre Broué

This book is the most in depth account of a pivotal period of the twentieth century I’ve ever read. It has huge lessons for us today on the united front, transitional demands and the concept of a workers government.

Paul Hampton

Regeneration by Pat Barker

War and revolution has been a theme of 2014. Workers’ Liberty comrades recommend some books on that theme, all readily available, and ideal for reading over the holiday period.

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How do we fight back?

Author: 

Gemma Short

Gemma short reviews everyday sexism by Laura Bates

Everyday Sexism is based on a project which collected hundreds of thousands of stories, anecdotes and testimonials from women, contributed via Twitter and the everyday sexism blog.

These make for uncomfortable reading. Many of the testimonials speak of explicit and violent sexual assault. Much of it makes you angry. It is a condensed reflection of sexism in all areas of society.

Gemma short reviews everyday sexism by Laura Bates

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Gramsci defies a “terrible world”

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Antonio Gramsci was a leader of the Italian Communist Party in its early days, when it was a real revolutionary party, and is now famous for the Prison Notebooks he wrote when jailed by Italy’s fascist regime between 1926 and just before his death in 1937.

In this new collection of his letters from between when he was 17 and living away from home in order to study for entrance to university, and his jailing in 1926, the longest section is from just six months, between December 1923 and May 1924.

A review of A Great and Terrible World: Gramsci’s pre-prison letters 1908-1926, edited by Derek Boothman.

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Is Facebook changing our brains?

Author: 

John Cunningham

Susan Greenfield is a leading neuroscientist and her book on how the new electronic media, “cybertechnology”, impacts brain development and human behaviour, makes for fascinating and alarming reading.

A review of Mind Change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains, by Susan Greenfield.

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The public face of the activist

Author: 

Martin Thomas

A review of La Lutte Des Signes: 40 Ans d’Autocollants Politiques, by Zvonimir Novak


Zvonimir Novak argues that in France, progressively over the last 40 years, the autocollant has become the “means of expression of those who do not have access to the mainstream media”.

Not just in France, but (he says) in Calcutta, in Dakar, worldwide.

I don’t know why the autocollant is still rare in Britain. Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty are now pioneering this field, producing a first range of autocollants.

A review of La Lutte Des Signes: 40 Ans d’Autocollants Politiques, by Zvonimir Novak

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The next wave of climate debate

Author: 

Paul Vernadsky

Another climate moment is upon us and Naomi Klein appears to have captured the zeitgeist again with her new book.

Klein participated in the recent New York climate demonstration, which drew over 300,000 people, alongside over two thousand solidarity events in 162 countries. She spoke to 2,000 people in London recently and her book has been sympathetically reviewed by the bourgeois press.

A review of This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate by Naomi Klein.

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