Sarah Ensor

A Redder Shade of Green

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The author describes this collection of articles as “debates, polemics and arguments because although environmentalists, scientists, and socialists share concerns about the devastation of our planet, we frequently differ on explanations and solutions”. The argument Angus repeatedly returns to is a defence of the Marxist method as he understands that, “If our political analysis doesn’t have a firm basis in the natural sciences, our efforts to change the world will be in vain.”

How fishing became a killer issue

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There has long been an argument over the EU's role in the fishing industry, exemplified by Nigel Farage's flotilla down the River Thames. But whose side should socialists take in an industry that has serious environmental consequences? Sarah Ensor explains the real economic dynamics at sea

When Nigel Farage sailed up the River Thames in a flotilla in the run-up to the EU referendum, he was tapping into a deep vein of bitterness in Britain’s fishing industry. The flotilla was part of the Fishing for Leave campaign which demanded “the restoration of our waters to national control”. They wanted to “highlight the indignities and devastation wrought to the UK fishing industry by the fatally flawed Common Fisheries Policy”.

Moonstone

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This short, beautiful novel tells the story of Máni Steinn Karlsson, a movie-obsessed teenager living with his one ancient relative in an attic in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1918. Máni Steinn, translated as Moonstone, roams the small town looking for the odd jobs available to a boy who struggles to read and planning which film he will see next in either of the two cinemas.

The Headscarf Revolutionaries

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In 1968 three trawlers from Hull, the Kingston Peridot, St Romanus and Ross Cleveland, sank within days of each other in storms off Iceland, killing 58 men.

When news of the second sinking reached Hull, Lillian Bilocca, whose husband and son worked on trawlers, began a campaign that became international news and completely overhauled safety standards on British trawlers.

This is a compelling and detailed account by local author and historian Brian Lavery of ordinary women changing history.

Massacre

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On 18 March 1871 French head of state Adolph Thiers sent troops into Paris to capture cannons from the mainly working class National Guard. In a few hours thousands of ordinary Parisians, especially women, took the streets; troops had refused to shoot, generals had been shot for murder and the working class found that it held the city. This “unexpected revolution”, known as the Paris Commune, lasted only a few weeks, finally overrun on 28 May by the regrouped troops from Versailles.

Olive Kitteridge

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Olive Kitteridge is not a happy woman. In the first two minutes of this slow-paced, bleakly humorous HBO mini-series she is preparing to shoot herself in the glorious autumn woods of Maine, northeastern US. The series is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Elizabeth Stout and directed by the acclaimed film maker Lisa Cholodenko.

Most of the rest of the series is a flashback to 25 years earlier, in the 1980s. Then she was a spiky middle-aged maths teacher in a small coastal town, living with her teenage son and her husband who she finds deeply irritating.

Unspeakable Things

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Journalist Laurie Penny’s second book, Unspeakable Things, argues that “feminism is a tool to build a better world” and that “a change of consciousness is coming that will bring sexual and social revolution”.

As with many books about the conditions of women’s lives written in the past few years, she uses the language of women’s liberation with a different meaning. Penny is not talking about “consciousness-raising” or that all women have to fight for liberation against all men.

Trotsky in Norway

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Leon Trotsky and his wife, fellow revolutionary Natalia Sedova, arrived in Norway in June 1935 after their supporters persuaded the newly-elected Norwegian Labour government to give them asylum.

They came from France where the Popular Front government and trade union leaders were trying to control the rising tide of militancy and wanted Trotsky out of the way.

New Icelandic myths

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Iceland's Tories, the Independence Party, apparently had good reason to feel satisfied with the last year as they announced a new debt relief plan.

Having presided over Iceland's spectacular financial collapse in 2008, they were returned to office in May.

Despite only receiving a slight increase in their vote, and being forced into coalition with the liberal Progressive Party, they won the finance ministry for their leader Bjarni Benediktsson.

Iceland's Tories are back

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Sarah Ensor unpicks the myth that Iceland has taken an alternative route to austerity

Iceland's Tories are back in power just five years after their spectacular disgrace. Though their vote only increased by 3 percent, the conservative Independence Party has returned to government in coalition with the liberal Progressive Party.

This is a dramatic turn of events. In 2008, as the shockwaves of the global financial crisis hit Iceland's economy, the then Tory prime minster Geir Haarde had to announce, "There is a real danger that the Icelandic economy could be sucked with the banks into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy."

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