Jack Robertson

Robert Fisk (1946-2020): Historian of the Present

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His fearless reporting of the struggle from Ireland to Afghanistan was defined as ‘speaking truth to power’. Jack Robertson pays tribute to a journalist who changed the mind of a generation.

R obert Fisk, who died of a stroke at the end of October in his adopted home of Dublin, was one of the most outstanding journalists of our times. What marked him out from so many of his contemporaries was that he refused to comply with the mainstream notion that the role of a journalist was to provide a ‘balanced view’. Calling this 50-50 journalism, Fisk’s attitude was that a reporter should be neutral and unbiased — but on the side of those who suffer, to monitor power and not succumb to it.

“Pushkin’s radicalism tends to be denied”

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Lifelong socialist, trade union militant and anti-racist activist Jack Robertson talked to Socialist Review about his new book The Man Who Shook His Fist at the Tsar. It’s about the life of the great Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, and his place in the tradition of Russian radicalism.

The majority of the book takes the form of a narrative history, looking at episodes in Pushkin’s biography and in Russian history, but you start with a new verse translation of Pushkin’s epic poem The Bronze Horseman. Why have you chosen to spotlight that?

Occupy! A Short History of Workers' Occupations

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Dave Sherry, Bookmarks, £6.99

The tactic of taking control of a factory and expelling the management until the demands of the workforce are met is one of the most effective forms of collective action workers can take. The first few months of 2009 were punctuated by a series of workers' occupations in Britain. In each case the intervention of active socialists played a key role not only in convincing the workers involved that it was right to fight but also in showing the best way to go about it.

Think Tank?

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Review of "Challenge to Democracy", Ronald McIntosh, Politico's £25

In the New Labour era the media discourse on virtually all major political issues of substance has become almost entirely restricted to the confines of the Westminster Village. While the views of the major trade unions which fund the Labour Party are cheerfully ignored, those of big business are taken care of through the channels of privileged access and lobby groups, the awarding of major privatisation contracts and cash for peerages.

Screwball Success

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Review of 'Hail the Conquering Hero', director Preston Sturges

An anthology of the best films made by American director Preston Sturges will be released for the first time on DVD over the next few months. None of these movies are very well known outside the film world and that is not entirely surprising since most of them were made over a very short period between 1940 and 1945.

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