Reviews

The Robbery of Nature: Capitalism and the Ecological Rift John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark Monthly Review Press £25

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The Robbery of Nature draws on and develops the theories of Marx and Engels to understand why capitalism has such a destructive influence on the natural world. Central to Fosters and Clark’s argument is that, under capitalism, human beings and the natural environment are the original sources of wealth, but it is only the labour of workers that generates value. Workers are exploited in that they sell their labour power to produce goods and services and receive wages that represent less than the value of what they produce.

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine; Rashid Khalidi

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For a century, Palestine has suffered through colonial rule, territorial conquest, occupation after occupation and an apartheid regime oppressing Palestinians in their land. The 100 Years’ War on Palestine explores this complex history, with Rashid Khalidi delving deep into the painful and heart-rendering timeline of how Palestine came to be the occupied land it is today. With sharp detail surrounding the many declarations of war and mandates set out to conquer and control Palestinians, he reveals the beauty of their continual resistance.

Culture in Crisis: The Arts, Defunded

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There are three things to say about the government announcement of £1.8 billion for the Culture, Arts and Heritage sector announced in early July. First, for those who work in a sector of the economy that employs about 270,000 people this is potentially a lifeline. Second, compared to the funding provided by other (mostly European) governments for the same purpose, it is a pittance. Third, one of the effects of this money is that it will deepen the inequalities that already scar the different forms that make up the creative industries.

Watch Out For

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Online Exhibitions: Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
Browse the online adaptations of National Portrait Gallery exhibitions and collection highlights with Google Arts & Culture. Winold Reiss & the Harlem Renaissance is realy worth checking out. Reiss, who was born in Germany, challenged the convention of racial stereotyping by portraying African American, Native American, and Asian American subjects as dignified individuals. In 1924, Reiss was commissioned to make portraits of major figures of the Harlem Renaissance.

Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power, Lola Olufemi, Pluto Press £9.99

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The Black Lives Matter movement led by young people is rapidly shifting the discussion around racism. At the same time, the scale and energy of the movement is bringing people together, black and white, in solidarity and unity. In this climate, Lola Olufemi’s book Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power, while only recently published, already feels years behind.

Many Mouths: the Politics of Food in Britain from the Workhouse to the Welfare State, Nadja Durbach, Cambridge University Press £34.99

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Many Mouths is “a study of the material and the symbolic importance of feeding programmes initiated by the British government for particular target populations from the 1830s through the 1960s”. Focusing on the nation state and its relationship with food programme ‘recipients’, the book uses case studies — paupers, prisoners, famine victims, prisoners of war, schoolchildren, wartime civilians on the home front, and pregnant women, infants, and toddlers — to discuss the role of food in political relations between government and the governed.

Searching for Socialism: the Project of the Labour New Left from Benn to Corbyn, Colin Leys and Leo Panitch, Verso £8.99

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Searching for Socialism is a history of the Labour Party from the 1970s until 2019. Its authors, the Canadian academic Leo Panitch and British author Colin Leys, have condensed their 2000 book, The End of Parliamentary Socialism, to form the first five chapters. The rest of the book consists of new material on Labour under Blair, Brown, Miliband and Corbyn.

Hiding in Plain Sight: the Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America, Sarah Kendzior, Flatiron £22

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If you only read one journalistic account of Donald Trump’s America make sure it is Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight. It is certainly one of the most devastating indictments not only of the Crooked President himself but of the corrupt system that put him in power. Kendzior first came to notice with the publication of a collection of her journalism, The View from Flyover Country, which provides a powerful account of post-2008 America from the point of view of the blue and white collar working class.

Sway: the Science of Unconscious Bias by Pragya Argawal

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This book represents what has largely become mainstream thinking on race, gender, sex and sexuality. Argawal argues that a large body of human behaviour, especially oppression, prejudice and discrimination, results from irrational decisions governed by our implicit or unconscious bias towards people who are different to us.

She combines her experiences as a single parent from India with her academic research in behavioural science.

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