Reviews

Hesitant Comrades

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Given that Ireland was officially part of the UK until 1922 and that many British unions organised in Ireland, not to mention that large numbers of Irish workers lived in Britain, you might assume that the struggle for independence was a major issue for the British labour movement of the day. In fact, as this book brings out, it was an embarrassment for the leaders of both the Labour Party and the trade unions.

The Ways of the World

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David Harvey is a Marxist geographer whose writing has spanned five decades. The Ways of the World is intended to be a lightning tour of this work, comprising a series of articles written by Harvey from the 1970s up to the present. Along the way it takes in everything from the nature of crises under capitalism to environmental degradation, via car plant strikes in Oxford and the novels of Raymond Williams.

Joe Hill

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The mythic status of union organiser, songwriter and class warrior Joe Hill has tended to obscure the truth about the man himself and the times in which he lived. It is to the great credit of the author Franklin Rosemont, sadly now deceased, that he mounted this definitive account of the life and achievements of Hill.

The Rent Trap

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There are 11 million private renters in the UK. Staggeringly high rents, low interest rates and historically low social housing provision mean that vast numbers of working class people are unable to afford secure homes. On average private renters now spend 47 percent of their take home pay on rent, rising to 72 percent in London. In response to this a reenergised housing movement is attempting to take on the powerful private landlord lobby and the lack of affordable homes provided by the state.

Burning Country

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“Revolutionary Syrians often describe their first protest as an ecstatic event, a kind of rebirth,” explain authors Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami in Burning Country. “At first I was scared to join in. But one day there was a very big demonstration, which came from two directions. When I heard the chanting and the singing, I started crying. Suddenly I was filled with courage, and I picked myself up and walked out to join in. My mother tried to stop me but I went anyway. It was a beautiful experience.

Don't Mention the Children

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Don’t Mention the Children is only the second anthology of poems Michael Rosen has written for adults.

In his introduction he explains that the poems arise out of three different kinds of impulses: “Wanting to unpick and contradict the ways in which the world is described to us by those in power; to investigate the things that happened to me, my parents and their relatives; to experiment with the world I meet — I see what might happen if I shift some of the personal and circumstances from the real to the unreal.”

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