Judy Cox

Who the Hell is Karl Marx? And What Are His Theories All About?

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Do we need another book on Marx? Many recently published books deal with Marx’s approach to history, to economics, to ecology and to the family in innovative and exciting ways. Having read this book, the answer is a definite yes.

We need books that present Marx and his ideas to new readers, and which remind all readers of the depth of the tradition in which we stand and its capacity to explain and contest the challenges we face.

Andrew: parasite and pariah

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The exposure of Prince Andrew as an unapologetic ally of sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein should serve as a reminder that the royals and their establishment friends treat people as commodities, writes Judy Cox.

Prince Andrew’s spectacular fall from “playboy prince” to international pariah means that all his hideous, arrogant bullying has been exposed. Skeletons are being pulled daily from his stuffed closet.

Social reproduction theory

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Social Reproduction Theory, edited by Tithi Bhattacharya, has much more to offer than Sue Caldwell suggests in her review (July/August SR).

The essays provide a serious and rigorous attempt to extend a fundamental Marxist concept, the role of labour in creating value, to areas of life which have been neglected by many Marxist theoreticians, centrally the role of unpaid domestic labour in the reproduction of labour power.

Blake's Jerusalem

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Jerusalem, the song based on a poem by William Blake, is now the unofficial national anthem.

For Danny Boyle, on the left, Jerusalem created the opportunity to include industrial workers in the Olympic opening ceremony. For David Cameron, on the right, Jerusalem is an expression of distinctively English nationhood. For many ordinary people Jerusalem offers a welcome alternative to the depressing, jingoist dirge of God Save the Queen.

Jerusalem is open to many interpretations. William Blake was a complex character and his works can be difficult to read - but one thing Blake was not was a nationalist of any kind. He was a revolutionary.

Fresh Production

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Review of "Marx's Das Kapital", Francis Wheen, Atlantic Books £9.99

Francis Wheen's "biography" of Karl Marx's Capital is amusing and provocative, fascinating and at times infuriating. It covers a lot of ground for a book of only 130 pages.

Wheen's central theme is that Capital should be read not merely as an economic treatise but as a great work of Victorian gothic with Marx as a "poet of the dialectic". This idea appears to have originated in some insights developed by the Marxist philosopher Marshall Berman who argued that Marx should be considered as one of the great tortured giants of the 19th century.

A Novel Detective

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Review of 'An Easy Thing', Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Friction £7.99

An Easy Thing is the first book to be published by Friction, a new publishing enterprise launched by Respect MP George Galloway and his colleague Ron McKay. The aim of Friction is to bring to British audiences works of fiction and non-fiction from around the world which will appeal to radical and left wing audiences. At a packed launch in a restaurant on Brick Lane, George said that he hoped the Friction imprint will publish 'books that burn, books that cause controversy and get people talking'.

Independents' Day

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Judy Cox meets the others.

One sign of disillusion with the major parties is the growth of Respect. Another is the number of people standing as independent candidates. The most powerful example is the three high-profile anti-war campaigners challenging arch-warmongers in the general election. Rose Gentle and Reg Keys are backed by Military Families Against the War. Rose's son, Gordon, was killed in Iraq last summer. She is attracting wide support for her challenge to armed forces minister Adam Ingram in East Kilbride.

The Minnesotan Candidate

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Review of 'The Plot Against America', Philip Roth, Jonathan Cape £16.99

America - the world's policeman, safeguarding democracy. If you don't buy that image of George Bush's US this novel will speak to you. Although it is set in the 1940s, Philip Roth's hugely successful book addresses the growing power of the US right and the impact of their increasingly vicious 'war on terror'. The novel demonstrates that US democracy is vulnerable - not to Al Qaida, but to the far right in the US itself. The Plot Against America is not hatched by Islamic terrorists but by homegrown fascists.

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