We asked a few leading campaigners and performers from the left what books have inspired them over the last twelve months
To End All Wars
A masterful journey into the lives of those who have been conveniently written out of the history books. He examines the lives of those who refused to kill in the face of immense societal pressure and legal repression. Some of the most prominent voices of the time are focused on and drawing upon their private correspondence Hochschild delves into the challenges they faced. One such character is Keir Hardie, resistance to the war rendered him an outcast with Emmeline Pankhurst labelling him a German spy taunting him as Keir “Von” Hardie. The leader of the Labour party being smeared as a foreign agent merely for taking a principled stand against war, sounds familiar right?
What is Islamophobia? Racism, Social Movements and the State
Edited by Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills and David Miller
Blasts open assumptions about the phenomenon which posit the state as a neutral or benign arbiter. Through contributions from academics and activists in the field, the symbiotic relationship between billionaire neo-cons, think tanks, Britain’s right wing tabloids and policy makers in the government is revealed. The war on terror has continued longer than WW1 and WW2 put together and this book is essential reading all those still living through and searching for ways to resist.
The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions
A fantastic book which charts the history behind today’s global inequality. Brilliant at busting the myth that poverty is on the decrease, this meticulously researched book uncovers the sordid truth behind ‘development’ by correcting the distorted mainstream narrative. Eye-opening and powerful in equal measure, this is an essential read.
The Memory That We Could Be: Overcoming Fear To Create Our Ecological Future
Daniel Macmillan Voskoboynik
This beautifully written book joins the dots between the ecological and political problems that we face today. By detailing the history of colonialism and imperialism, readers gain a deep understanding of the violent past that has led us to the brink of climate chaos. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the deeply complex roots of our environmental crisis.
Joshua Freeman (WW Norton)
A marvellous history of the factory in the modern world. It stretches from the industrial revolution in England in the 18th century through to China today and tells you the development of the factory system. Two things stand out: that people have always been coerced into working in factories - from the enclosures and poor law in England to the repression of the huge factory complexes in modern China. Taylorism and Fordism in the 20th century were part of this coercion. But there has always been resistance - especially from women who are a big part of the story here.
Verso’s decision to republish Yvonne Kapp’s biography of Eleanor Marx should be welcomed by socialists everywhere. A story which tells you about a remarkable socialist woman and trade union organiser, has a wonderful understanding of Marx’s politics and of the Great Unrest unionisation at the end of the 1880s, to which Eleanor was central. It is a detailed and gripping story written by a Communist who was also fashion editor of Vogue and its commitment shines through every page, and its moving finale describing her tragic suicide is compelling.