Reviews

“He was also for something. He was for socialism”
The James Connolly Reader by Shaun Harkin (Haymarket).
SJWWed, 19/09/2018 - 13:03

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
In defence of Bolshevism front cover
SJWWed, 19/09/2018 - 12:57

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
Stop the war protest with the flag of the Syrian government
SJWWed, 19/09/2018 - 12:44

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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Book Review: Miseducation - Inequality, education and the working classes

Submitted by Class Struggle on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 15:08

Diane Reay’s book Miseducation sets out to chart the working-class experience of education in Britain, making a forceful argument for reform and highlighting both historical and contemporary barriers to genuinely comprehensive education. All criticisms aside, it is an important book which can e/quip education workers and campaigners with ideas and knowledge that will be necessary to take on the governments’ failed education reforms and policies. It is a sharp critique of the way the British education system has consistently failed working class children.

REVIEW: An honest opponent of “pseudo-anti-imperialism”
Rohini Hensman's Indefensible
SJWWed, 08/08/2018 - 11:13

Rohini Hensman’s book is a welcome intervention into debates on the international socialist left.

Above all it is a damning indictment of the state of those broad sections of the left, especially in Britain, who have embraced a negative, anti-Western, anti-US, “pseudo-anti-imperialism” — a politics that is also effectively pro-imperialist (of Russia, China, Iran), anti-democratic, anti-liberatory and ultimately anti-working class.

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Understanding racism in Scotland

Submitted by SJW on 18 July, 2018 - 11:10 Author: Ann Field

No Problem Here — Understanding Racism in Scotland challenges “the conventional ‘race-blind’ narratives that Scotland and its elites have crafted over many years,” according to which “Scotland does not have a serious racism problem.”

This “now powerful myth that there is ‘no problem here’” has put down even deeper roots in recent years as a result of “the new common sense of Scottish politics, the dominant story that has been forged by the SNP and others.”

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Diversifying sexuality

Submitted by SJW on 30 May, 2018 - 11:36 Author: Elizabeth Butterworth reviews "Queer Sex" by Juno Roche
Queer Sex

This book that is simultaneously poignant, thought-provoking, ground-breaking and refreshingly honest.

Subtitled as ‘A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships,’ Queer Sex is really a first foray into the possibilities of trans sexuality, intimacy and desire. This foray dovetails with Roche’s own experiences as a trans woman seeking intimacy and fulfilling sexual relationships.

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120 bpm: a window into the AIDS crisis

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 8:29 Author: Simon Nelson
120 bpm

Based on some of the direct experience of its director Robin Campillo, 120 bpm is an affecting drama about ACT UP Paris.

ACT UP was formed in 1987 in New York but chapters spread across the US and Europe based on a militant, direct action approach to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. At the centre of this film is the relationship between two members — Sean, a founder member, HIV+, angry and militant and the new recruit Nathan, quieter, HIV- and new to the activist world.

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The myth of the “Testosterone Rex”
T-Rex
SJWTue, 22/05/2018 - 20:25

Even before I read Cordelia Fine’s 2010 book Delusions of Gender I believed gender to be a social construct. But as the parent of children of both sexes I thought I could see differences that meant something more than social contingencies.

But Fine’s book explained and demonstrated how pervasive, subtle and insidious gender conditioning is; and, vitally, how it can be challenged and undermined.

In her latest book, Testosterone Rex Fine turns her attention to the question of sex hormones with a focus on the titular beast testosterone.

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1868: a worker-socialist reviews Capital
Josef Dietzgen
SJWTue, 08/05/2018 - 15:01

Published in the ‘Demokratisches Wochenblatt’ 1st, 22nd, 29th August and 5th September 1868

If I remember rightly, it was Goethe, who, on his death bed, called for “Light, more light”. Whether a lack of earthly light moved him to this, or, as the pious would perhaps have it, the prospect of heavenly light in the hereafter, the light of knowledge, which the present work has in abundance, has the same effect on me.

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