Books

Corbynism: a Critical Approach

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I was looking forward to a serious and objective critique of “Corbynism”, as this book promised. I was to be disappointed. The overriding message is that “Corbynism” promotes a “truncated” analysis of class society and, in doing so, simplifies the relationship between labour and value, and consequently the relationship of the capitalists and the workers.

The authors highlight two defining elements of Corbynism as problematic; the first being the “nationalist” nature of Corbyn’s manifesto — invest in British business, nationalisation of utilities and rail.

The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs to Know

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The alt-right has attracted a lot of attention over the last couple of years, propelled into prominence by the Trump phenomenon in the US. It is best seen as part of the general resurgence of the far right in the US, across Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, but whereas much that has crawled out into the light of day is familiar, the alt-right is apparently something new.

In the Shadow of Enoch Powell

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Enoch Powell made his notorious Rivers of Blood speech in the Midland Hotel in Birmingham on 20 April, 1968. At the time he was the Conservative MP for the constituency of Wolverhampton South West. In her book In the Shadow of Enoch Powell Shirin Hirsch examines the impact of Powell’s speech in the Wolverhampton of 1968 and analyses its significance 50 years later. Hirsch draws on archival material as well as her own contemporary interviews.

A People’s History of the Portuguese Revolution

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This is an important and long-overdue book which I recommend strongly. The extraordinary events in Portugal in 1974-5 have been one of the great unreported stories of my lifetime. In that time there have been a smattering of hard-to-find specialist books on Portugal and an excellent chapter in the late Colin Barker’s “Revolutionary Rehearsals” but this book is a game-changer.

An Inconvenient Death

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The US and British invasion of Iraq in March 2003 killed millions and entrenched a cycle of violence and Islamophobia which continues to shape events.

The war was justified by Iraq’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction” though none were ever found. Two million marched in London in protest in February 2003.

Latinx

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“Latinx — A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative).” Latinx is a book that covers the expansive history of Latin America identity post-colonisation, giving an in-depth analysis of the representation of Lantix people in the US and their position in a continually polarising society. It also highlights the differences between North and South America when it comes to the representation and understanding of race from past to present.

The Realm of the Punisher

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I read this book hoping to learn about the Philippines, a country of which I have only a smattering of knowledge. I finished it with a slightly larger smattering: about Spanish and US imperial domination and Japan’s invasion during the Second World War; Rodrigo Duterte’s upbringing and his brutal reign as mayor of Davao, and his payment-by-results “war on drugs” as president that is causing thousands of state-sponsored murders.

October Song

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Paul Le Blanc adds to a rich tradition of historical analysis that shows a clear discontinuity between the Russian Revolution of 1917, as well as some bright periods of pluralism and worker self-organisation, and the later Stalinist dictatorship.

Le Blanc, in a simply-written, concise book, depicts all phases from pre-revolutionary Russia, to the period after the overthrow of Tsarism, the mixed economy, the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the Stalinist years.

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