Simon Guy

Against the Troika

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Among a chorus of commentators and news reports referring to Greece as a “spoilt child who spent all of their pocket money”, Against the Troika: Crisis and Austerity in the Eurozone strikes a resonant chord with those who ask, “Why should we pay for their crisis?”

From Dictatorship to Democracy

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Gene Sharp

This is a book with a reputation far greater than it deserves. It was originally written as a handbook for tackling the difficulties posed for activists by the Burmese military junta. Having successfully delivered democracy to Burma (hmm), it has been held responsible by the Iranian government for the Green Movement and by the New York Times as contributing to the Arab Spring.

Posted on the website of the Muslim Brotherhood, this guide to non-violent organising is a must for everyone who wants to take the heart out of the struggle and leave the masses confused and defenceless.

The Story of the Iron Column

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Abel Paz

Abel Paz's The Story of the Iron Column charts the struggles of an anarchist militia trying to deal with the dramatic events of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Inspired not just by the fight against fascism but also by the idea of a truly liberated society, they had to respond to the military coup against the republic and the ensuing civil war and also to the state that was used to strangle the revolution.

The Iron Column, which emerged in Valencia, was one of the most famous units in the Spanish Civil War and comprised anarchists and ex-prisoners.

Akan Drum

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British Museum, until 10 October

Aside from being unimpressed at first, I did enjoy this.

Through writings, visuals and music the Akan drum exhibition connects an old, torn, worn-out drum with well known music, while telling the story of the drum and the slaves who travelled with it. The story goes far beyond the development of drumming - it is the development of rhythm.

Erasing David

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Directors: David Bond and Melinda McDougall

"Thank you, but also, fuck off," is how David Bond feels after receiving reams of data which are held on him and his daughter. He is especially distraught when he learns that on a certain date two years ago it was recorded that he "seemed angry".

Naked greed

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If you thought short selling was crazy enough now check out "naked short selling". (The value of money, Socialist Review, November 2008). Short selling was blamed for the crisis for a while. The practice was to borrow shares, sell them, and then buy them back as they got cheaper.

This business of trading in "fictitious capital" is ridiculous. Moves by the Australian government last month to ban "naked" short selling showed something even more stupid. This is where "funds sell shares they neither own nor have borrowed in the hope of buying them back quickly at a lower price". How can you buy back something you do not own, and have not borrowed?

Simon Guy, Bristol

On the march

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The anti-Nazi march in June was a great start to building resistance to the British National Party (BNP) (Feature, Socialist Review, June 2008).

There was a good mood on the coach we brought from Bristol. We came with a call centre worker, the head of English from a local comprehensive school, an old Labour trade union officer and many other trade unionists and students.

We also had banners from Unite Health, the National Union of Teachers and the Fire Brigades Union.

These links are a good start to the campaign, but in order to smash the BNP we will need to redouble our efforts to broaden its base.

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