Sarah Ensor

Bookbriefs

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Miners' strike - Left US teaching resources - David Dabydeen - Gift ideas

This has been a very good year for socialist readers. The 20th anniversary of the Great Miners' Strike, the ESF in London and the ongoing anti-war movement have generated dozens of important books for activists. Here are a few you may have missed.

Bookbriefs

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Children's books - police corruption and racism

In major bookselling chains every child is an emerging market. With the spending power of parents who want to encourage them to read, they are meant to be passive consumers of highly marketed formulaic stories. If not actually set in exclusive schools with magic, flying polo and characters destined for greatness, these books reflect mainstream ideas as a whole. They deal with possessions, personal relationships and physical appearances, and are full of moral blacks and whites.

Bookbriefs

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Discount CD shops buy up Trotsky - Where next for anti-capitalism? - Michael Moore latest - Political cartoon books - Hardt and Negri reach a mass market

Capitalism loves a profitable trend and radical ideas are on the up, so we shouldn't be surprised at the bizarre spectacles this throws up. For instance, discount CD shops in central London that only ever stock 20 or so bestselling book titles, are now buying up huge quantities of Isaac Deutscher's three-volume biography of Trotsky that they can sell for less than it costs the independents to buy.

Double Whammy

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Review of 'Supersize Me', director Morgan Spurlock

Why watch a film about a man who eats three meals a day at McDonald's? Because the results are funny, disgusting and involve surprisingly serious questions about food, class and American society.

When in Rome

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Review of ’The Assassination of Julius Caesar‘ by Michael Parenti, New Press £14.95; and ’Rubicon‘ by Tom Holland, Little Brown £20

What is history and who gets to write it? Why is it written and for whom? Henry Kissinger said ’history is the memory of states‘. In ancient history, scarcity of sources has been used as justification for only telling the stories of those who left written records and stone buildings. For Benedetto Croce history could be the ’story of liberty‘ written from the bottom up. These are two ends of a spectrum between the organised (and armed) interests of the ruling class, and the mass of people whose lives have tended to be voiceless and unrecorded.

Equity, Diversity and Solidarity

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Review of 'Parecon', Michael Albert, Verso £16

The anti-capitalist movement is not what it was. From Seattle to Hyde Park, debate has ranged from the neoliberal agenda and all its implications to imperialist wars. In a global day of anti-war protest we have had an inkling of its potential strength. Now many people are arguing that all this energy and organisation must press on for alternatives to privatisation, for social justice and peace. We are not satisfied that 'the only alternative to the market was something worse - Stalinism'. This book reflects a profound shift in the expectations of millions of people.

Not So Gentle

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Review of 'Get Your War On', David Rees, Soft Skull £7.99

David Rees's clip art cartoon strips first appeared just a month after the attack on the Twin Towers. In this world US office workers phone each other to laugh at Operation Enduring Freedom, the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, corporate condolence adverts and hysteria over suspected terrorists. Nothing escapes their notice--Bush, Ashcroft, Cheney, Enron, Sharon and Palestine. All the political hypocrisy that makes us retch is skewered here.

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