Reviews

Lovers and Strangers

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In today’s fight for the right of free movement, countering racist myths is at the heart of our task. We need to know the history of migration and this well written, easy to read book can help. It is ambitious, aiming to capture the experience of those who came here in the years 1945 to 1968, in particular up to 1962 before when entrance to Britain by Commonwealth citizens was still officially unrestricted.

Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

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2017 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Volume 1 of Capital and David Harvey rightly wants to commemorate this with a reassertion of the importance of Marx’s writings on political economy and the insights they can provide in understanding the world in which we live. The title (taken from Marx) is apposite in foregrounding the economic madness of a world in which problems of hunger and shelter could be solved, but where property is about making money and the Earth’s environment is being destroyed.

Isaac and I: A Life In Poetry

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This is an autobiography of Chris Searle, who was inspired by poetry, especially by the East End (of London) poet Isaac Rosenberg. More than that, he inspired children, teenagers and working class men and women to write and recite them.

His secondary schooling didn’t start smoothly because he needed several attempts to get into grammar school. He was encouraged by his English teacher, whose choice of exciting class readers like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and plays, including Shakespeare, “opened up the heart of language within me that I had to dive into!”

Struggle or Starve

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The dominant narrative in Northern Irish politics from both imperialist and nationalist perspectives is the existence of two tribes with separate and incompatible interests. We have argued that unity between Protestant and Catholic workers was not only possible in the North of Ireland, but had been realised, albeit too briefly, in the dock labourers’ strike of 1907, the engineers’ strike of 1919 and the unemployed workers’ strike and riots in 1932. It is the last of these that Seán Mitchell’s marvellous new book bears witness to.

Interview: A story of human liberation

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Writer and campaigner Alan Gibbons spoke to Socialist Review about his latest novel, Winds of October

Why did you decide to write a novel about the Russian Revolution?

In the run up to the one hundred years anniversary I fully expected that there would be a rash of books about the revolution. As it approached however it was clear that apart from China Mieville’s Book, October, the book by Dave Sherry and a book by Neil Faulkner there was very little coming out and no fiction so I very quickly wrote the first part of this trilogy in ten days followed by the second one and all being well I’ll write the final part.

Reading 'Capital' Today

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The editors of this collection describe reading Marx’s Capital as a political process and certainly Marx intended that his work would become a weapon in the hands of the working class. Reading ‘Capital’ Today does not obviously emerge from any political practice, but rather from readings by authors mostly better known for their academic contributions than their activism.

Urban Revolt

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Read this to be inspired by stories of city-based resistance in some of the most difficult conditions possible.

The editors want to confront the idea that capitalism is triumphant everywhere and instead look at examples where “the hegemony of ruling classes is being directly challenged by mass organisations”. Their examples range from Africa to Asia to Latin America.

The End of Policing

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Alex Vitale condemns the politics of austerity for creating the circumstances in which heavy-handed policing becomes the accepted means of controlling a poor, marginalised majority in a system which exists to serve the 1%.

It surprised me how far the US police and criminal justice system have been militarised. Local forces hold extensive, state-funded, stores of military hardware and the training of officers is undertaken by private companies who routinely train foreign militia and the military.

Rock in a Hard Place

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Metal as a genre of contemporary music is still derided across the world, despite being one of the most commercially successful styles of popular music since its birth in the late 1960s.

Orlando Crowcroft details what this most demeaned style of music continues to mean to fans in six of the most war-ravaged and hostile countries: Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine, and Syria.

Big Capital

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Big Capital is a neatly packaged explication of London’s housing crisis with an emphasis on those who most suffer from it.

The main campaigns against social cleansing are examined, and the kleptocratic property industry is exposed. Along the way there are some startling revelations, like the out of work actor who got paid to pretend he was a resident in order to support a controversial development, or the treatment of single mothers and their children who were shipped out of London to Boundary House, a squalid ex-student residence in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

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