Books

A record of plutocracy

Author: 

Martin Thomas

All the main storylines of Cameron’s Britain are there in this book. The food banks. The explosion of payday loans. Plunging wages for young workers, soaring rents and house prices, and almost no social house-building.

A review of Cameron’s Coup: how the Tories took Britain to the brink, by Polly Toynbee and David Walker

Publications: 

Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

A union which belongs to its members

Author: 

Gemma Short

Uetricht begins his account of the transformation of the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) and their 2012 strike by counterposing two incidents representing the opposite faces of teacher trade unionism.

A review of Strike for America: Chicago teachers against austerity by Micah Uetricht.

Publications: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Trade Unions: 

Around the world: 

The rise of “Islamic state” in Iraq and Syria

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Cockburn’s 160 pages are an introduction to the rapid rise of Islamic State (IS) across Iraq and Syria.

Recycling material from articles in the Independent and London Review of Books Cockburn charts how Islamists from various groups came to dominate the Syrian rebellion after 2012 and changed it from one of predominantly secular and democratic opposition to the ultra-conservative. In which Saudi Wahhabism and Saudi and Gulf state funding played a big role.

A review of The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution by Patrick Cockburn.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Egypt: militancy and Morsi

Author: 

Harry Glass

On 25 January 2011, an 18 day struggle began that toppled one of the Arab world’s longest-serving dictators, Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt.

Eighteen months later, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the founding party of political Islam, was elected president. After barely a year he was deposed by a military coup and the old order was restored under Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. In the space of four years, Egypt has traversed from Mubarak’s military Bonapartism through the so-called “Republic of Tahrir” to the current “Republic of Fear”.

A review of Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution (Zed Books, 2014).

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Around the world: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Publications: 

Peter Hain's dim and feeble future

Author: 

Matt Cooper

Tony Crosland’s The Future of Socialism was published in 1956. Crosland had been a Labour MP (and would be again) but had lost his seat in the 1955 general election.

Labour had won power in 1945 on a welfare state programme that included the creation of the NHS and a new system of benefits.

Their Keynesian policies aimed at full employment, limited nationalisation and the first steps to decolonisation.

A review of Peter Hain’s The Future of Socialism.

Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

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.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Publications: 

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).

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

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.

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

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).

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trade Unions: 

Culture and Reviews: 

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.

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Pages