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Books

THE NEW LEFT BOOK CLUB

CALL FOR PAPERS

The New Left Book Club invites unpublished essays that address aspects of leftism, internationally and interpersonally. We welcome all submissions from undergraduates and postgraduates, and are particularly interested in the following themes:

* Leftism and Islam

* Socialism in Practice (housing cooperatives, etc)

* Gender and the Left

* Post-capitalist policy

* The Economics of Austerity

* Leftism in the Eurozone

* Critical theory and the UK general election 2015

* Health politics

SUBMISSION OF PAPERS

We are accepting long form essays of up to 5000 words. Prospective authors are invited to submit an abstract or outline of ideas to newleftbookclub@gmail.com

Authors will be invited to discuss their work and ideas at New Left Book Club events following publication.

WHAT WAS THE LEFT BOOK CLUB?

The Left Book Club was founded in 1936 by Cripps, Strachey, and Gollancz with the aim of creating a well informed and dynamic left in Britain. The Club grew explosively, and within a few years had some 57000 members and 1500 monthly discussion groups. The Club was hugely influential in the Labour victory of 1945 and the great socialist efforts that followed.

WHAT IS THE NEW LEFT BOOK CLUB?

We aim to recreate this phenomenon, publishing volumes of essays covering the entire spectrum of leftist thought. It’s not 1945 but we believe there is still a role for a print book club to play in generating progressive discussion, particularly amongst those who feel marginalised or voiceless with respect to the current state of leftist publications.

WHY WE EXIST

1. We want to replicate the achievements of the original Left Book Club, namely a unified group of people reading and discussing leftist ideology in preparation for a period of social change.

2. We want to provide a platform for leftist thought and discussion outside of the mainstream publications.

3. We want to create an editorially transparent publication, exposing readers to ideology and perspectives they might not otherwise encounter.

4. We welcome radical and experimental thought from anyone – not only those with formal academic training

5. We want to create a culture antithetical to the immediate response / counter-response whirlwind of Twitter and other online channels.

6. We want to provide a place for discussion of pure ideology and analysis, free from the potentially off-putting nature of leftist political action groups.

7. We want to hold events where leftists can meet up and share their thoughts. To this end we will be holding bi-monthly events in Manchester and London (initially).

**END**

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THE GLOBALISATION OF SURVEILLANCE

The Origin of the Securitarian Order
Armand Mattelart
Translated by Susan Gruenheck Taponier and James A. Cohen

Globalization

Video surveillance, public records, fingerprints, hidden microphones, radio frequency chips: in contemporary societies the use of intrusive techniques of surveillance in daily life has increased dramatically. The ‘war against terror’ has only exacerbated this trend, creating a world that is closer than one might imagine to the one envisaged by George Orwell in 1984.

How did we reach this point? Why have democratic societies allowed their rights and freedoms to be taken away, little by little, through increasingly sophisticated surveillance mechanisms?

From the anthropometry of the nineteenth century to the Patriot Act, via an analysis of military theory and the Echelon project, Armand Mattelart constructs a genealogy of this new power of control and examines its globalizing dynamic.

This book provides an essential wake-up call at a time when democratic societies are becoming less and less vigilant against the dangers of proliferating systems of surveillance.

A tightly packed and critical history of the global rise of security, surveillance and suspicion.’— David Lyon, Queens University

This book cuts through the clutter of post-9/11 political rhetoric to reveal the contours of a global capitalist surveillance economy in which the logics of policing and marketing converge. Mattelart counters the urgent injunction to ignore history in the face of the contemporary threat (because “everything has changed”) by exploring the long marriage between capitalism and surveillance. The book shows us how the mobilization of the promise of security has been used to undermine freedom, and suggests what it might mean to think the two together. This is an indispensable work that explores the sometimes invisible atmosphere in which we move: that of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking, and targeting – and the interests which these serve.’— Mark Andrejevic, University of Iowa

Printed in Great Britain, August 2010

Polity Books: http://www.politybooks.com

 

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Ho Chi Minh

IN THE CROSSFIRE: ADVENTURES OF A VIETNAMESE REVOLUTIONARY

Just out:

Ngo Van’s
IN THE CROSSFIRE: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary

Translated by Ken Knabb, Hélène Fleury, Naomi Sager & Hilary Horrocks
Published by AK Press
296 pages, 70 illustrations. $19.95

Although the Vietnam War is still well known, few people are aware of the decades of struggles against the French colonial regime that preceded it, many of which had no connection with the Stalinists (Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Party). The Stalinists were ultimately victorious, but only after they systematically destroyed all the other oppositional currents.

This book is the story of those other movements and revolts, caught in the crossfire between the French and the Stalinists, told by one of the few survivors.

Ngo Van’s IN THE CROSSFIRE is one of those rare books like Voline’s “The Unknown Revolution” or Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” that almost single-handedly unveil moments of hidden history — sublime moments when people break through the bounds of the “possible” and strive to create a life worthy of their deepest dreams and aspirations.

For more information on the book, including online excerpts, see: http://www.bopsecrets.org/vietnam/index.htm

To order the book, see: http://www.akpress.org/2010/items/inthecrossfire?affiliate_id=2573

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STAFF AND STUDENTS RECLAIM KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

Last Tuesday’s (30 March) strike in defence of education at King’s exceeded all expectations. More than 250 people joined loud and vibrant picket lines on all four King’s campuses. Security guards at one campus indicated that numbers entering their building were as much as 75% down. At the main building on the Strand only a small trickle of students and staff went in.

Support for the strike was boosted after the latest hapless intervention by senior management, who refused to allow non-UCU staff to take annual leave yesterday. This prompted more than sixty of those obliged to work on the Strand to sign a card expressing solidarity with the pickets. Members of other unions on all sites brought refreshments out to colleagues on strike and stood with them during breaks. Local cafes displayed UCU material explaining our reasons for striking. Students brought cakes for pickets, played musical instruments, set up stalls and hung a huge banner over the entrance to the Strand: ‘Education massacre: do not enter.’

Messages of support have flooded in from King’s alumni, students and non-UCU staff, as well as from universities and colleges across the country. Colleagues brought solidarity greetings and donations in person from UCL, Westminster, QMW, London Metropolitan University, the Institute of Education, Southwark College, City and Islington College, Tower Hamlets College, the University of the Arts and the London Nautical School. Supporters also came along from local workplaces, including the National Theatre and the National Gallery, and from other unions, including the NUT, PCS, Unite and Unison.

Around 50 people attended a lunchtime rally at Waterloo, while more than 200 students joined pickets for a rally on the Strand, which took place in an electric atmosphere. The huge crowd heard speeches from UCU representatives at King’s and elsewhere, from members of other unions and from a Sussex student who told of their struggles with their own management. Many students heard for the first time of the appalling treatment of our colleagues in Engineering by King’s management. The ‘We Support our Teachers’ campaign was a lively presence throughout the day. Dozens of students expressed their disdain at the way the College’s senior management addresses them in Orwellian ‘Newspeak’. Many have written to the Principal and Vice-Principal complaining that they feel patronised by senior management.

Our campaign in defence of education at King’s is partly about our colleagues’ livelihoods, and about the lack of regard shown to them by senior management. But it is clear that it is also about much more than this. The creeping culture of managerialism in universities is also an issue. The support we have received from students, and from colleagues who are either members of other unions, or not yet members of UCU, is an indication that this campaign is also about defending the values that underpin education at King’s and elsewhere, which include collegiality, respect for individuals, cooperation, intellectual integrity and academic independence.

The verve, humour, creativity and imagination of yesterday’s pickets offered us all a glimpse of the potential that exists within this institution for staff and students to make education at King’s more rewarding and more enjoyable. All too often this potential is either stifled or by-passed by the dead hand of senior management.

Our thanks and congratulations go to all who took part yesterday, and to everyone who showed their support for our campaign. Senior management teams across the country are offering no resistance to government cuts. They are determined to follow the example set by King’s and impose redundancies and department closures on their staff and students. The magnificent collective response to these attacks that we have seen at Leeds, Sussex, Kent and King’s is a powerful reminder to all that if we stand together we can defend our education system from the ministers and managers who want to turn it into a marketplace.

Jim Wolfreys

President KCL UCU

Please continue to send donations and messages of support to: ucu@kcl.ac.uk

For more information on our dispute see: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ucu

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