Books

Marx Returns

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It’s 1849 and Karl Marx is living in London, having fled Prussia and been expelled from France following the 1848 revolutions. Poverty stricken, he is trying to complete his manuscript Capital, A critique of Political Economy while cramped in two rooms with his wife Jenny, housekeeper Helene Demuth, three children plus a fourth on the way. Marx, active in the Communist League, defends his revolutionary ideas to workers against anarchist detractors and conspiracy theorists.

The Murderer of Warren Street

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The French Blanquist revolutionary, Emmanuel Barthelemy, was hanged for the Warren Street murders on 22 January 1855. He had been sentenced to death, even though the jury that found him guilty had recommended clemency. It was a public execution, watched by perhaps as many as 10,000 people, apparently a disappointing crowd for the time.

How had a dedicated and uncompromising French revolutionary, a veteran of the 1848 barricades, come to die on the scaffold in London?

Rise Like Lions: Poetry for the Many

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Any anthology of poetry that takes part of its title from the great revolutionary poet Shelley’s cry of anger and call to arms in response to the Peterloo Massacre, The Mask of Anarchy, and reprints the poem in full, is going to be worth reading.
Add to this the works of Milton, Blake, Brecht and Langston Hughes (to name but a few) and it becomes an even more attractive proposition.

Doughnut Economics

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Kate Raworth’s “doughnut” refers to the dilemma currently facing capitalism and has, she claims, become an “iconic image” in the world of global development economics. The dough provides a “safe and just space for humanity”. The hole in its centre represents “critical human deprivation” while “critical planetary degradation” lies in the space beyond the outer crust. The dilemma is how to eradicate the former without exacerbating the latter.

Social Reproduction Theory

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How is women’s oppression connected to capitalism? Is Marxism too focused on economics at the expense of wider struggles? These questions have been at the heart of debates around Marxism and feminism since the 1970s.

New activists are discussing them in the wake of the women’s marches against Donald Trump, the #MeToo campaign and the fantastic vote for abortion rights in Ireland.

Kids: Child Protection in Britain

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There are hard facts that have to be appreciated to understand the real lives of too many children in Britain today. Our children are the unhappiest children in Europe, mental distress among the young is a pandemic, foodbanks and child poverty are rampant and child on child violence and deaths blight cities like London.

Nobody knows the reality behind these facts better than Camilla Batmanghelidjh the founder of Kids Company. From its inception in 1996 its aim was to provide support to deprived inner city children.

May Made Me: an oral history of the 1968 uprising in France

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Among the many books published in the 50th anniversary of the May ’68 revolt, this one stands out for its ability to hear from those directly involved. Through dozens of interviews with participants, Mitchell Abidor lets us feel the transformative power of mass struggle on individuals and society.

Students fighting the police on the barricades and 10 million workers on general strike made what had seemed impossible capable of being realised. And people found courage and new strengths.

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