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By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#366673
This looks very interesting - I'm guessing it would be of particular interest to David Kynaston fans.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1848548818/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Judging by the one Amazon review so far the author's hatred of the Tories permeates the entire text, which to my mind can only be a good thing.
#366697
A book that exposes an evil man

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-For-The-C ... 1849546444" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yes I know it's written by Simon Danczuk but that shouldn't put people off
 
By youngian
Membership Days Posts
#366699
Littlejohn's brain wrote:A book that exposes an evil man

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-For-The-C ... 1849546444" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yes I know it's written by Simon Danczuk but that shouldn't put people off
I think I posted this on some other thread about the Despatches programme that covers the same ground as Danczuk's book. A sordid shameful story in which David Steel in particular doesn't come out very well by dismissing Smith's nastiness as comparable with Tory boarding school antics. Really depressing stuff that a revolitng man like him was protected for the sake of political realpolitik. And that's just about the most reasonable explanation for wanting to cover up this sordid episode.
#366700
youngian wrote:
Littlejohn's brain wrote:A book that exposes an evil man

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-For-The-C ... 1849546444" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yes I know it's written by Simon Danczuk but that shouldn't put people off
I think I posted this on some other thread about the Despatches programme that covers the same ground as Danczuk's book. A sordid shameful story in which David Steel in particular doesn't come out very well by dismissing Smith's nastiness as comparable with Tory boarding school antics. Really depressing stuff that a revolitng man like him was protected for the sake of political realpolitik. And that's just about the most reasonable explanation for wanting to cover up this sordid episode.
So you going to buy it?
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#367333
I see Kynaston has reviewed the Selina Todd book I mentioned earlier in the thread. He seems to like it.
The timing is apt for Selina Todd's examination of what she calls "the rise and fall" of the working class. Inequality of outcome remains gapingly wide, Ukip palpably feed off "left behind" working-class disenchantment with the established political elite, and the head of policy at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission wants working-class children to behave more like middle-class children in order to increase their currently slender chances of getting into the best universities.

There is a longer shadow, though, lurking behind this book: EP Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class. Published in 1963, and demanding an end to "the enormous condescension of posterity" towards the working class, it became an almost instant classic and over the next two decades exercised huge sway over younger historians. But then things changed. Just as the defeat of the miners in 1985 conclusively crushed the politics of class, leaving the Labour party without a clear purpose, so historians turned increasingly to the more individualistic politics of identity, above all those of gender and ethnicity – to the despair of at least one historian, Tony Judt, trained in the old progressive verities. Suddenly class seemed irrelevant, sociology and economic history departments struggled to attract students, and cultural studies boomed.

Put another way, The People is a book we badly need. It is also a book the author badly needed to write. The 2000s saw two notable if smaller-scale histories-cum-memoirs by working-class writers – The Likes of Us by Michael Collins and Estates by Lynsey Hanley – and now in 2014 this is similarly fuelled by a personal working-class background. "I looked in vain for my family's story when I went to university to read history," relates Todd (born in 1975), "and continued to search for it fruitlessly throughout the next decade. Eventually I realised that I would have to write this history myself."

To a large extent she succeeds. The People offers a clear, compelling, broadly persuasive narrative of a century of British history as seen through working-class eyes and from a working-class perspective. Todd avoids hectoring, but by the end one is left suitably angry: the people have been screwed.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/a ... rewed-todd" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This also looks interesting - counterfactual history is a bit of a bugbear of mine.
Counterfactuals are the byproduct of a paranoid nostalgia specific to the right, where "greatness" is forever being sabotaged by leftists, liberals or whoever. If you subscribe to the notion of Britain as an intrinsically unrevolutionary country, you must write Cromwell's victory in the English civil war out of existence; if you long for the British empire, you must prove, as Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts endeavour to do, that staying out of the first world war or a separate peace with Hitler might have saved it. Evans's critique of these "parlour games" is strong, and particularly so for taking the likes of Ferguson a lot more seriously than perhaps they deserve. Evans notes the lack of counterfactuals on the left, though notes the tendency of otherwise systematic left-leaning historians – he names EH Carr – to slip into the counterfactual of "if Lenin had lived", something he ascribes to Carr's belief that, at least economically, the Soviet Union was "progressive".

Carr himself was sharply dismissive of the way his fellow Soviet historian Stephen F Cohen resorted to counterfactuals in narrating the stories of Bukharin or Gorbachev as a way of arguing that the disasters of Stalin or Yeltsin were not inevitable. How different is Evans's rigorous, unromantic statement about past events that "there was no alternative" and the common statement about the present that "there is no alternative"? Evans implicitly points to the way in which "history from below", such as EP Thompson's Making of the English Working Class and Eric Hobsbawm's Primitive Rebels, resurrects lost "alternatives" without needing to resort to falsification; a conservative version of this impulse might be Norman Davies's recent exhuming of various picturesque Vanished Kingdoms.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/a ... ory-review" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#367941
Interesting Prospect interview with David Harvey here. Finished reading his new book the other week - it's very good.
Let’s turn to the notion of “contradiction”, which is the central analytical category in the book. You make a distinction between the external shocks that a capitalist economy might undergo (wars, for example) and contradictions in your sense. So, by definition, contradictions are internal to the capitalist system?

Yes. If you want to redesign the mode of production, then you have to answer the questions posed by internal contradictions.

You identify three classes of contradiction, which you call the “foundational”, the “moving” and the “dangerous”. Let’s start with the first category: what makes foundational contradictions foundational?

No matter where you encounter capitalism, and the capitalist mode of production, you will find these contradictions at work. So in any economy—whether we’re looking at contemporary China, Chile or the US—the question of use value and exchange value, for example, is always going to be there. There are certain contradictions that are permanent features of how the economic engine is set up. And then there are some which are constantly changing over time. So I wanted to distinguish those which are relatively permanent and those which are much more dynamic.
https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/derb ... id-harvey/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

More Harvey here.
But will information be enough or is there a “need”, if that is the right word, for the population to be pushed further before a movement is formed?
– “There are certain necessary conditions for a movement to emerge. One necessary condition, which I think is not being met by the leadership on the left, is some vision of the alternative. A lot of people will say “where’s the alternative?” and “what kind of vision do you have?”. And it’s not there. Now, providing an vision of some kind is an important prerequisite for any movement, but that doesn’t guarantee a movement.”

– “My view of the processes of social change is that you need simultaneous changes in many dimensions, including in our mental conceptions of the world. And our mental conceptions of the world have been corralled by the way in which oppositional activity has been structured. If you want to claim discrimination you have to show individual harm and individual intent. Victimization politics is not good solidarity politics. Victims come forward and maybe some of them can tell a sufficient hard luck story to earn compensation or some remedee. But there’s nothing done about the mass population. So the hard luck story becomes the main form of politics or the remedee of some ill.”

– “What the left, I think, doesn’t understand is that it’s being corralled into this kind of opposition. Which in fact renders it rather powerless when it comes to solidarious mass movements. So there’s a struggle to find ways to express mass opposition to a system which has constructed a possibility of politics which only lies in this victimhood kind of politics, which is not going to lead to any radical change. Once we understand the sophistication of neoliberal corralling of politics in this way we have got to learn ways to transcend it, but I don’t think we have learned that at this moment.”
http://eng.lundagard.se/2014/04/22/inde ... t-protest/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#368577
This looks very interesting.
The book begins with a critical appraisal of how useful the Frankfurt School’s crisis theories from the 1960s and 1970s still are for explaining today’s crises. While their works are by no means invalidated, Streeck contends that yesteryear’s crisis theorists could scarcely imagine how long capitalist societies would be able to “buy time with money” and thereby continually escape the contradictions and tensions diagnosed by their theories of late capitalism. He explains the developments in Western capitalism since the 1970s as “a revolt by capital against the mixed economy of the postwar era”; the disembedding of the economy being a prolonged act of

successful resistance by the owners and managers of capital – the “profit-dependent” class – against the conditions which capitalism had had to accept after 1945 in order to remain politically acceptable in a rivalry of economic systems. (p. 26)*

By the 1970s, Streeck argues, capitalism had encountered severe problems of legitimacy, but less among the masses (as Adorno and Horkheimer had expected) than among the capitalist class. Referring to Kalecki, he suggests that theories of crises have to refocus on the side of capital, understanding modern economic crises as capital “going on strike” by denying society its powers of investment and growth-generation. The 1970s crisis, and the pathways that led out of it, thus were the result of capital’s unwillingness to become a mere beast of burden for the production process – which many Frankfurt theorists had tacitly assumed would happen. Capital’s reaction to its impending domestication set in motion a process of “de-democratising capitalism by de-economising democracy” (Entdemokratisierung des Kapitalismus vermittels Entökonomisierung der Demokratie). This ultimately brought about the specific and novel form of today’s crisis and its pseudo-remedies.
http://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/2 ... nning-out/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Streeck wrote this excellent NLR article a few years back which appears to cover much of the same ground as the book.

http://newleftreview.org/II/71/wolfgang ... capitalism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#369884
This sounds like it might be worth reading. Decent English-language books on North Korea appear to be in short supply.
On the ridicule front came a recent news item (from a US-funded anti-Pyongyang radio station) about Kim Jong-un, the country's 31-year-old leader who represents the third generation of the dynasty that has run North Korea since the second world war. The word was that he had ordered all male students to wear their hair like his, shaved bare at back and sides but thick and unparted on top. The fact that the flimsily sourced story was never confirmed officially, and visitors to Pyongyang campuses saw no evidence to support it, did not prevent it from being widely published around the world. Anything, however disgusting or outlandish, looks credible in what the media often call the "hermit kingdom".

It is refreshing then to find an author who is willing to approach the country soberly, analysing its tumultuous history, regional context and difficult relations with its allies. Living and working in Shanghai, Paul French has studied and written about North Korea for many years. He pulls no punches on the country's ruthless politics or the grim lives its people are forced to endure. There are titbits here that seem to reinforce the more ridiculous stories. Smoking while driving is banned, though for safety rather than health reasons: smoking would prevent drivers from smelling that something is wrong with their car.

But French is primarily concerned with North Korea's economy. This, he argues, is central to understanding the policy shifts and the leadership's motives over the last 60 years. The country is not the world's last communist state, but it is the only one that has never seriously experimented with private entrepreneurship, let alone oligarchs and crony capitalism. The army leadership lives well, with privileged access to food supplies and scarce consumer goods, but there is no "deep state" that permits the military to run large economic enterprises as in Cuba or various non-communist states such as Turkey and Egypt. North Korea has a command economy par excellence, and in French's account the ruling elite has virtually given up on fundamentally changing it, even though it occasionally talks of reform.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/m ... aul-french" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#376487
Pre-ordered Douglas Newton's book on WWI and it's supposed to be arriving today so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it.

http://theworldismycountry.info/choosing-war/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Verso has some more good stuff coming up from Ralph Miliband, Eric Hobsbawm, Domenico Losurdo, Allyson Pollock and others:

http://www.versobooks.com/books/1788-cl ... her-essays" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1585-captain-swing" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1790-the-end-of-the-nhs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1707-a- ... revolution" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1786-war-and-revolution" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1714-in ... -and-the-1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.versobooks.com/books/1731-private-island" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
By mattomac
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#402195
I bought two books recently.... Sex, Lies and the Ballot box which is all about polling very interesting if some chapters are dry and one I'm about to read is Good Times Bad Times The welfare myth of them and us by John Hills

Seems to debauk the myth that welfare is just for the few I am seriously looking forward to it

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Times-Bad- ... 1447320034" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And for some light reading I just finished inverting the pyramid by Jonathan Wilson was told by most reviews that it was dry and dull yet it's very interesting if your into the changes and dynamics of football on the pitch.
By Agnes
Membership Days Posts
#402246
Do either of those have references/footnotes/endnotes, mattomac? Because they sound like just the sort of thing I could use for a literature review. (NB 'for' rather than 'in,' i.e. as a combination basic introduction/search-engine like Wikipedia. I'm hoping to start a PhD in a few months' time and I'll have to do a lot more reading-around than for my Masters.)
By mattomac
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#402320
Agnes wrote:Do either of those have references/footnotes/endnotes, mattomac? Because they sound like just the sort of thing I could use for a literature review. (NB 'for' rather than 'in,' i.e. as a combination basic introduction/search-engine like Wikipedia. I'm hoping to start a PhD in a few months' time and I'll have to do a lot more reading-around than for my Masters.)
Each chapter in the Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box are written by individual writers and they include further reading, the other does have footnotes and so forth.
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