Reviews

The spikes of austerity

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 11:58 Author: Matt Cooper
stop precarious work

Pay volatility is much greater than has previously been assumed, with the vast majority of workers in stable jobs experiencing significant month-to-month changes in pay.

Low pay comes with spikes.

A recent report by the Resolution Foundation looks at month-to-month changes for workers in stable employment. Previous research has only looked at how workers’ pay varies year-to-year.

Climate resistance must be built from below

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 11:04 Author: Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski
system change

In his new book Burning Up, A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto Press), Simon Pirani notes that the world economy tripled in size between 1945 and 1973. And the world began to burn as much fossil fuel, every three years, as in the whole of the nineteenth century.

Creativity in the face of cruelty and oppression

Submitted by AWL on 24 October, 2018 - 11:30 Author: Matt Kinsella

Shortlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize, Washington Black is the story of George Washington Black, a child slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados.

The book continues the theme of author Esi Edugyan’s previous novel, Half Blood Blues, which features Hiero, a black musician sent to Sachsenhausen. Both stories centre on how human creativity persists in the face of cruelty and oppression.

Fighting capital or just a greedy few?

Submitted by AWL on 17 October, 2018 - 9:11 Author: Dale Street
corbynism

Published at the close of September, Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts’ Corbynism — A Critical Approach is not always an easy read. Bolton and Pitts go well beyond the argument that Corbyn does not understand antisemitism, does not really like the European Union, is a bit of a populist, and has a history (and present) of hanging out with some dubious characters. Rather, their book attempts to “elucidate the essential characteristics of Corbynism as a political orientation (and) outline and critique the general worldview which motivates such a platform”.

No party like the Bolshevik party

Submitted by AWL on 17 October, 2018 - 9:06 Author: Paul Cooper

In Defence of Bolshevism, the new book from Workers' Liberty, had its launch at a lively meeting in central London on 12 October. Edited by Sean Matgamna, the collection of texts by American Trotskyist Max Shachtman represents one of the greatest polemics in the Marxist tradition. It is the defence of a revolutionary socialist consciousness being developed in the working class as the irreplaceable pre-condition for the self- emancipation of the working class.

Under the Banner of Marxism

Submitted by AWL on 10 October, 2018 - 11:45 Author: Paul Vernadsky
In Defence of Bolshevism

The AWL’s new book, In Defence of Bolshevism, will upset many people on the left – and is warmly welcomed for doing so.

The bulk of the book consists of texts by the foremost Heterodox Trotskyist, Max Shachtman. In 1949, Shachtman published Under the Banner of Marxism, originally written as an answer to Ernest Erber, a former Third Camp comrade who had just deserted.

In this review, however, I want to pay attention to the book’s introduction by Sean Matgamna, tying in the texts with today.

How Marx transcended "the rule of law"

Submitted by AWL on 4 October, 2018 - 3:11 Author: Eduardo Tovar
police arrest striking miner

With the passing of Robert Fine on 9 June 2018, the British left lost a truly exceptional figure. A respected sociologist at the University of Warwick, Fine was a long-time sympathiser of Workers’ Liberty. Though he was less involved in frontline activism towards the end of his life, he never lost his commitment to working-class struggle. In short, Fine never became a stereotypical “Marxist academic”.

“He was also for something. He was for socialism”

Submitted by SJW on 19 September, 2018 - 1:03 Author: Michael Johnson
The James Connolly Reader by Shaun Harkin (Haymarket).

Shaun Harkin has produced a timely and useful addition to the profuse and growing literature on James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary Marxist and socialist republican leader.

Published in May 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of Connolly’s birth in dire poverty to working-class Irish parents in Edinburgh, the book begins with a long introduction by Harkin, which sets out the context in which Connolly operated, how his politics were shaped by both his lifelong attachment to his class and his serious commitment to Marxist ideas. 

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In defence of Bolshevism

Submitted by SJW on 19 September, 2018 - 12:57 Author: Martin Thomas
In defence of Bolshevism front cover

Shachtman’s polemic against Ernest Erber, which Workers’ Liberty have reprinted, is one of the Marxist movement, like Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy or Engels’ Anti-Dühring.

Erber considered himself a socialist of sorts until his death, quite recently, at the age of 96. Mostly he gave his energies to the career he made after quitting, as a town planner, and to domestic life. He wrote occasionally for the reform-socialist journal Dissent.

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The professor and the helicopter

Submitted by SJW on 19 September, 2018 - 12:44 Author: Colin Foster
Stop the war protest with the flag of the Syrian government

People tried to construct flying machines for thousands of years before the first planes were built in the early 20th century, and the first regularly-produced helicopters from the 1930s.

Suppose a historian were to study all the documents she or he could find about that effort, prior to say 1900, but without registering that the purpose was to find a flying machine.

Maybe the historian would imagine that the purpose was just to find some way of getting from place to place, and would comment: why didn’t they just walk?

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