John Newsinger

Orwell and the struggle for socialism

Issue section: 
Issue: 

John Newsinger, author of a new book on George Orwell’s politics, looks at how his stance as an independent socialist led him to great radicalism and terrible betrayal.

On 8 October 1945 the BBC broadcast a talk on Jack London by George Orwell. It was part of the Corporation’s educational talks for members of the armed forces. Here Orwell praised London and in particular his novel, The Iron Heel, for his understanding of the nature of the capitalist class. London, he told his listeners, recognised that the capitalists would never give up their wealth and power without a fight not a fight on the floor of the House of Commons, but on the streets.

House of Saud: A Family at War

Issue section: 

The British ruling class has for many years made a habit of grovelling to the Saudi royal family. The reason for this is clear: huge amounts of money. The Saudis have spent billions on British weapons. This trade has been recently given a great boost by the Saudi war on Yemen.

Consequently one was entitled to expect that the BBC4 three-part series, House of Saud: A Family at War, would be very much an apology for the Saudis, celebrating the supposed huge strides that have been made in liberalising the regime in recent years.

Gordon Brown, bless him

Issue section: 
Issue: 

In his new memoir the former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown seeks to rebrand himself as a cuddly old leftie fit for the Corbyn era. John Newsinger recalls some of the evidence to the contrary.

While there were never any serious policy differences between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, the conflict between the two men and their supporters was not just about personalities, or about who should be prime minister.

1997: The Future That Never Happened

Issue section: 

The 1997 general election saw the hated Tories thrown out, indeed humiliated, and a bright New Labour government take office under an idealistic young leader, Tony Blair. There was widespread hope of change and improvement. It is useful to remember how enthusiastic much of the left was about Blair at this time with one former Communist Party intellectual actually describing New Labour as a “Gramscian project”!

Korean War: ‘Systematic and ruthless destruction’

Issue section: 

It is important that we remember the war that created the belligerent North Korean regime, writes John Newsinger, and that Britain's Labour government supported it at the time, though the public didn't.

The threat that Donald Trump made at the United Nations to “totally destroy” North Korea should not be dismissed, not least because in the early 1950s another US president, Harry Truman, actually did destroy North Korea. Moreover, the destruction of the country was carried out with the full support of the UN, indeed on behalf of the UN.

US aerial bombardment literally laid the country waste. This crime was perpetrated when there was a sensible moderate Democrat in the White House rather than a pathological right wing narcissist.

The Communist and the Communist's Daughter

Issue section: 

I really wanted to like this book. Jane Lazarre looks back on her father’s life as a Communist Party (CP) organiser in the US, at her own relationship with him and the influence that he and his politics had on her. Plus she is a wonderfully skilful writer. Unfortunately the book has a fatal flaw. It does not really get to grips with the history of American communism. This is not uncommon, and not just as regards the American CP.

The great royal con trick

Issue section: 
Issue: 

When millions of people are rejecting austerity and support the idea of taxing the rich, how does the monarchy manage to maintain a level of popularity that defies its privileged position? And why is the bigoted Prince Philip treated as a national treasure? John Newsinger investigates.

The “retirement” of Philip Mountbatten from his “public duties” led to a great outpouring of carefully orchestrated royalist propaganda right across the British media. The press carried page after page of lightweight pap covering the life of this royal nonentity. Even the Daily Mirror gave the royal parasite four pages.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - John Newsinger