Reviews

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.

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.

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.

Opening The Gates: The Lip Affair, 1968 – 1981

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Lip began as a watchmaking workshop in 1867 in Besançon in eastern France. By the 1960s it was a well-known and successful watch manufacturer. Lip was shaken by the political eruptions of May 1968 when the factory was occupied. Although Donald Reid’s magisterial book centres on events at Lip that started in 1973 it does acknowledge the impact of the preceding period; “the movement at Lip in 1973 developed directly out of May ‘68”.

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.

Robert Indiana, 1928-2018

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The death has been announced of two of the bastions of the pop art movement, the artist Robert Indiana and the magazine Interview. Together they signal the final collapse of an art movement born from the detritus of commercial capitalism and, in some of its practitioners, a critique of capitalism using capital’s own techniques and tools. Its demise can be summed up in Robert Indiana’s own life story and how his art has been rewritten to suit the 21st century art market.

He was born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana, on

13 September 1928. After three years in the US

The Communist Manifesto (graphic novel)

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The second bestselling book ever written, The Communist Manifesto, has had an enormous impact on millions of people around the world. Pithy, powerful, packed with striking verbal images and agitational passion to back its historical and economic analysis, it is a brilliant place for anyone wanting to start not just understanding the world we live in, but also fighting to change it. And, despite being written over one long weekend, it has helped inspire and guide struggles spanning three centuries.

Making Workers: Radical Geographies of Education

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Geographer Danny Dorling quotes that in an 1879 testimony to a select committee of the British parliament one petitioner said, “Geography, sir, is ruinous in its effects on the lower classes. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are comparatively safe, but geography invariably leads to revolution.”

Katharyne Mitchell is able to use the geographer’s skill at looking at the changes in the system, both over time and spatially, and is able to draw the links between ideology, causes, and effects.

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