Books

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?

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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”

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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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A political alternative to “the one per cent”?

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Matt Cooper

The idea of “the one per cent”, the richest one per cent who take a grossly unfair share of the income and wealth in advanced capitalist society, was first popularised by the 2001 Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street declared, “We are the 99 per cent”. Danny Dorling seeks to build on this anger to stoke a mood for redressing that imbalance.

A review of Inequality and the 1% by Danny Dorling.

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Growing into socialism

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Cathy Nugent
Becoming a socialist in 1970's Cambridgeshire.

Many children have an acute sense of injustice, will feel righteous anger when they don’t get a “fair go” at an activity or when their opinion is dismissed by an adult. A child’s sense of injustice is egocentric but reasonable and it’s probably essential if the individual is to develop a wider sense of injustice in the world.

From as long as I can remember I had that wider view. The root of it is in my family history, and specifically my mother’s recollections of her childhood.

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Basic income and the 21st century working class

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John Cunningham

Until reading Guy Standing’s book A Precariat Charter I had not come across the term “precariat” although I understand that it has been in circulation for some time, as early as the 1950s. So what is it?

According to Standing, the precariat is “an emerging class characterised by chronic insecurity, detached from old norms of labour and the working class”. The precariat has few of the democratic rights associated with citizens and are, in fact, denizens — another word that had me reaching for the dictionary.

A review of A Precariat Charter by Guy Standing (Bloomsbury, 2014).

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