Dave Sewell

White Working Class Voices

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The words “white working class” should set alarm bells ringing for most socialists. Rarely has a seemingly descriptive term become so loaded. As Harris Beider laments, it’s become as if the only way class can be acknowledged in the media is when it’s made about race. We’re all middle class now unless we’re white and we’re victims — left behind, crowded out or swamped by multiculturalism. We don’t need political representation, unless it’s racist UKIP or the fascist BNP. It’s a noxious, racist trope and Beider rightly takes aim at it.

France: Paralysis and danger

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Hollande

The sudden purge of France’s cabinet was neither the beginning nor the end of the crisis that has gripped French politics under Socialist Party president François Hollande.

In prime minister Manuel Valls’s new team, former banker and architect of austerity Emmanuel Macron is in and critics of Hollande's austerity programme are out. But those who were pushed out or jumped were hardly the left wing radicals portrayed in the press.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society

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Internet entrepreneur Adam Dell set up Shared Earth in 2010, a web service for connecting would-be gardeners to unused plots of land. Jeremy Rifkin enthuses about the start-up's rapid expansion.

When Dell says, "We have no business model", Rifkin corrects, "Shared Earth does have a business model: it's called the commons." He sees it as one of many harbingers of a new collaborative and technological society that will one day make capitalism obsolete.

Austerity

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Mark Blyth, Oxford University Press £14.99

Blyth is against austerity for the best of reasons - he's concerned about the devastation that cuts will wreak on working class people. But his arguments take it on from a different direction.

In this book he tries to prove that it is a self-defeating policy for capitalism, and that the interests of workers, governments and businesses alike would be best served by ditching it. In reality these groups have fundamentally opposing interests. The strongest sections of the book are where Blyth demolishes the myths used to justify austerity today.

A Generation in Revolt

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For years we have been told that today's students are apathetic. Dave Sewell argues that the "Day X" demonstrations marked the birth of a new student movement.


Image: Loki English

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven."

So the poet Wordsworth hailed the French Revolution of 1789. In 1968 Paris activist Daniel Cohn-Bendit said of 10 May, the night of the barricades:

Kraken

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China Miéville, Macmillan, £17.99

"There are many millions of Londoners, and the very great majority know nothing of the other mapland, the city of knacks and heresies. Those people's millions of everydays are no more everyday than those of the magicians. The scale of the visible city dwarfs that of the mostly-unseen, and that unseen is not the only place where there are amazing things. At that moment, however, the drama was in the less-travelled metropolis..."

Educating Peter

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First secretary. Business secretary. Comeback kid. Prince of Darkness. There aren't enough titles to fully encapsulate the role played by Peter Mandelson.

From receiving one of the few standing ovations at a limp Labour party conference, to his role as government attack dog on the postal workers, he is increasingly the man to whom the ruling class turn to do what Gordon Brown can only mumble about.

Mandelson's new department is the result of a merger between Innovation, Universities and Skills and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Its role would be "to build Britain's capabilities to compete in the global economy". Or, as a BBC headline put it, "Universities merged into business".

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