Reviews

The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People

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This digest of 114 articles by 67 contributors from the US magazine In These Times (ITT) covers the years since its inception in 1976. David Graeber describes the massive increase in fortified borders that result when so-called free trade agreements simultaneously destroy traditional jobs in the global south and outsourced jobs in the north. Arundhati Roy’s opening paragraphs dismember the brutalities of neoliberalism with razor-sharp precision. In “Failed Prophet” (2009) Bernie Sanders rails against Chicago University’s neoliberal Milton Friedman Institute.

The Communist and the Communist's Daughter

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I really wanted to like this book. Jane Lazarre looks back on her father’s life as a Communist Party (CP) organiser in the US, at her own relationship with him and the influence that he and his politics had on her. Plus she is a wonderfully skilful writer. Unfortunately the book has a fatal flaw. It does not really get to grips with the history of American communism. This is not uncommon, and not just as regards the American CP.

How I Lost by Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton never thought her wealth, political elitism, corruption, contempt for working class people, opposition to public health care, Wall Street connections and military backing for jihadists in Libya and Syria — triggering the worst refugee crisis in living memory — would get in the way of her inexorable journey to the White House.

Endorsed by Obama, she assumed she could sweep aside socialist nomination contender Bernie Sanders. She was confident because she thought that the truth about her operations would never get out.

Skintown

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The spotlight is on the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland once more as Theresa May seeks to shore up her shoddy election performance by allying the ailing Tories to the Democratic Unionist Party.

Ciaran McMenamin’s drug-fuelled joy-ride Skintown is a wild and fantastic odyssey that’s not to be missed.

A Blaze in a Desert

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A Blaze in a Desert is a slim volume of selected poems by Victor Serge. Serge was a revolutionary and writer who witnessed many of the great political highs and terrible lows in the first half of the 20th century.

He was inspired by the revolution and arrived in Russia in January 1919, shortly afterwards joining the Bolshevik Party. He consistently opposed Stalin and was exiled.

The Shock of the Anthropocene

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This book provides a very detailed history of the Anthropocene — the current geological era in which human activity has become the main driver of climate change — and makes some interesting points about how we should view it.

However, it is let down by its failure to provide any real solutions. This is particularly striking as they start the book by, rightly, reminding us how severe the crisis is.

Lenin for Today

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Dismissed and derided for decades, socialism is back.

From Jeremy Corbyn to Bernie Sanders, the forces fuelling its comeback are associated with movements against austerity, racism and war. But their main focus for pushing through social change is still parliamentary reform.

So if reformist socialists who focus on parliament are making headway, why should the revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s ideas matter today? John Molyneux’s Lenin for Today argues that “Lenin is relevant because the Russian Revolution is relevant”.

October

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What’s not to love about the most exciting and inspiring story of modern history being retold by one of the most exciting and inspiring writers of the day?

China Miéville’s account of the nine pivotal months of the Russian Revolution is based on extensive research. Every detail he includes is reported by people who were there. When this accuracy is united with his dazzling verbal dexterity, the intoxicating events of these days that shook the world are totally brought to life.

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