Reviews

Art for Our Sake

Issue section: 
Author: 

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.

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Issue section: 

Review of 'Caught in the Crossfire', Alan Gibbons, Dolphin £4.99

We read about politics, we participate in demonstrations, strikes and all sorts of other activity in opposition to the system. But how different people react to it in all aspects of their daily lives is something beyond our immediate experience, except for a particular oppression we may personally suffer. But an insight into these real life experiences and emotions, which can dominate people's lives, rounds out and enriches our intellectual and political understanding. That is where novels come in.

No Prize for Booker

Issue section: 

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.

Money for Something

Issue section: 

Review of 'Labour Party Plc', David Osler, Mainstream Publishing £15.99

Which party received more million-pound donations in 2002: Labour or the Tories? Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was still a shadow cabinet minister, this would have been a strange question to ask. Now, to know for sure, you would have to wait until they both published their accounts, and then ask about all the information not contained there. While political parties have to disclose who donates more than £5,000, they don't have to disclose the total amount they raise.

Generation Gains

Issue section: 
Author: 

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).

The Clash of Globalisations

Issue section: 
Author: 

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.

Justice on Ice

Issue section: 
Author: 

The Wilderness Years'. TC Campbell and R McKay, Canongate £9.99

TC Campbell and Joe Steele were jailed for life, in the mid-1980s, for the notorious mass murder of the Doyle family.

It was alleged that the pair had firebombed the Doyles' Glasgow home in a bid to gain control of the city's lucrative ice cream runs--which were a cover for the distribution of drugs and money laundering. However, what was intended as a 'frightener', suggested the prosecution, turned into something else entirely.

The Leap Backwards

Issue section: 

Review of 'Stalinism', Ed: David L Hoffman, Blackwell £15.99

The history of the revolution in Russia in 1917 and its ultimate defeat provide important lessons for those seeking a socialist alternative to capitalism.This textbook, intended for students, is a collection of 12 essays from leading international Russian historians. The aim is to provide different interpretations for the rise of Stalin. In particular it seeks to address why the October Revolution led to a dictatorship instead of a communist utopia.

The Way We Think Now

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Review of 'British Social Attitudes', National Centre for Social Research, Sage £37.50

There are always nuggets of fascinating information in the annual British Social Attitudes surveys. What is interesting about this year's is the themes that develop through some of the studies. One is the growing liberalism expressed by the findings on race, sexuality and drugs. The other is the gap found between some of New Labour's flagship policies and popular opinion.

Resistance Was Not Futile

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Review of 'The Irish War of Independence', Michael Hopkinson, Gill and Macmillan £24.99

The 1980s and 1990s were dominated by attempts by various academics to undermine any notion of popular mobilisation against the ruling order. Nowhere did that reach such a pitch as in Ireland. Many books and newspaper columns tried to denigrate the war fought for Ireland's independence from Britain between 1919 and 1921.

Pages