Books

Countering Captain Correlli

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Review of 'British Intervention and the Greek Revolution', John Newsinger, Socialist Historians Society £2.75

The Second World War was fought to make the world safe for freedom and democracy. That is the claim made today, just as it was at the beginning of 1946 when the regiment I was in was posted to Greece. The war being over, troops in the Mediterranean were expected to be sent home and demobilised. They were bemused--but not amused--to find themselves being used to keep in power a right wing government of black marketeers and Nazi collaborators. At the same time they were used in the relentless persecution of the Resistance.

Land and Freedom

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Review of 'Cutting the Wire', Sue Branford and Jan Rocha, Latin America Bureau £14.99

The opening demonstration of this year's World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, was dominated by the red flags and banners of the Landless Workers' Movement--the MST. Not all of its one million members were there; not even the 100,000-plus who attend their schools and further education classes. But what they brought to the meetings and the debates was the experience of an extraordinary and in many ways successful movement that in just over 15 years has mobilised and led thousands of land occupations, protests and marches.

Striking Back Against Empire

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Review of 'Anti-Imperialism', ed. Farah Reza, Bookmarks £10

'I used not to use the word imperialism. I thought young people wouldn't even know what it meant... Suddenly I find that everyone is using the words imperialism and anti-imperialism.' George Galloway is spot on. The war in Iraq has meant that millions of people are asking questions about imperialism, questions that this excellent and timely handbook goes a long way to answering.

The Revolution Will Not be Publicised

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Review of 'Censored 2003', ed. Peter Phillips, Seven Stories £12.99

The US media sank to new depths in the aftermath of 11 September 2001. The major networks dropped even the pretence of objectivity and neutrality in favour of naked, shameless patriotism. Dan Rather, the prominent CBS newscaster, recently admitted, 'It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.'

Dispersing the Myths about Asylum

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Review of 'No One is Illegal', Steve Cohen, Trentham Books £17.99

'Asylum Madness' is the logo the 'Sun' is running above the articles it is pumping out daily against refugees in Britain. In fact it more accurately describes the level of hysteria that the right wing press and politicians have been stirring up. Steve Cohen's book 'No One Is Illegal: Asylum and Immigration Control Past and Present' helps to debunk some of those myths around refugees.

The Clash of Globalisations

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Review of 'Power and Resistance in the New World Order', Stephen Gill, Palgrave £17.99

This is a collection of articles by an academic based in Canada who has written about both neoliberalism and the anti-capitalist movement's response. Rewriting Samuel Huntingdon, Gill refers to this battle as the 'clash of globalisations', and it is this clash which will shape the future of the 21st century.

Generation Gains

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Review of 'China's New Rulers', eds. Andrew J Nathan and Bruce Gilley, Granta £14.99

In November 2002, the 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elected China's new 'fourth generation' of leaders. Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin represented the first, second, and third generations of China's leaders respectively. The fourth generation is headed by Hu Jintao as general secretary (nominally the most powerful position in the CCP).

No Prize for Booker

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Review of 'Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921', Brian Kelly, University of Illinois Press £16.99

This book is a welcome addition to US labour history at a time when some labour historians find psychological explanations of racism fashionable. For some an emphasis on 'whiteness' is preferred to materialist explanations. In the hands of the 'whiteness' approach white supremacy has become a benefit for white workers, while the real beneficiaries--the white elite--are ignored. That racial antagonism exists between black and white Southern workers cannot be denied, but for Kelly the main instigators of racial oppression were not white workers, but the white elite.

Art for Our Sake

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Review of 'Artists on the Left', Andrew Hemingway, Yale University Press £35

In the heart of San Francisco's city district can be found the popular tourist attraction Coit Tower. Lifts take you to the top, from which you get a magnificent bird's-eye view of the bay. Once a week, for a few brief hours, the stairwell is open to the public. Inside is an Aladdin's cave full of some of the finest murals in America. Inspired by the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, artists like Clifford Wright, Bernard Zakheim and Victor Arnautoff have created a stunning series of wall paintings depicting life in the US.

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