Many readers of Socialist Review will be familiar with Mike Davis’s work. His books have always been innovate, whether looking at the massive growth of urban areas in Planet of Slums, or the horrific havoc caused by the imposition of the market on Britain’s colonies in Late Victorian Holocausts.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
As well as being one of the most significant literary figures on the left in the 20th century George Orwell was also a broadcaster, a columnist, a poet, an essayist, a war correspondent — and a Republican fighter in the Spanish Civil War.
His two most influential books, Homage to Catalonia (based on his experience fighting Franco’s army in Spain) and Nineteen Eighty Four (a nightmare vision of life in a totalitarian society), continue to be relevant today 70 years after they were first published.
In his monumental work, Weimar in Exile, Jean-Michel Palmier powerfully evokes the huge sense of loss, displacement and trauma that artists, writers and intellectuals faced when they were forced into exile from Nazi Germany as the fascist regime tightened its grip and control of the German state during the 1930s and then across Europe with the onset of war and occupation.
Ever had the feeling that a shifting, hidden force is stealing your lifeforce in order to make millions (while you work ever harder just to make ends meet)? Aeron Davis confirms not only that this is true but shows how much worse things are under the surface. Drawing on decades of interviews with prominent politicians and businessmen, he reveals the sardonic grin behind “the elites’” robbery of money and power and how this has spread to include a new bunch of opportunists with even sharper teeth.
The 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth has produced plenty of articles and books discussing his legacy. Few of these have had any real clarity on Marx’s actual ideas. So it is refreshing to read Michael Roberts’ short, but detailed, discussion on the relevance of Marx’s economic ideas.