Jun 132010
 
Dave Douglass reading from his new book “Ghost Dancers
Dave Douglass reads from his book, Ghost Dancers, at the Radical Independent Bookfair in Glasgow (May 2010). Ghost Dancers is the final volume in Dave Douglass’s mining trilogy Stardust and Coaldust, published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the end of the miners strike. A first-person, insiders view of, probably, the last generation of miners and their union. David Douglass is a long-standing and well-known member of the National Union of Mineworkers in the Durham and Doncaster coalfields. He was a coalminer for 40-plus years and a branch official of the Union for 25 years, as well as a member of its Yorkshire Executive during its most testing and dynamic period. He remains a full member of the NUM and is still active in the internal affairs of the Union, as well as being one of its more public and well-known representatives and a published author and historian of the coal communities.Vol. 1: Geordies Wa Mental; Vol. 2: The Wheel’s Still in Spin; Vol. 3: Ghost Dancers (ChristieBooks)

Radical Independent Bookfair

May 282010
 

Noam Chomsky on anarchism 1 (BBC – 1974)

Noam Chomsky on anarchism 2 (BBC – 1974)

Apr 112010
 

The Rape of Socialism – How Labour lost the Millennium
Donovan Pedelty, 512pp, £13.50 [click here for a PDF about the book]

A hundred years ago socialist thinking, in tune with the rising tide of labour protest, presented a serious challenge to the capitalist hegemony. However much they differed over ultimate objectives and how to reach them, the Socialists of the late nineteenth century were at one in their conviction that individualistic capitalism would have to be overcome to establish a just and sane society. They were equally certain that the huge advance in productive capacity which capitalism had helped to bring about, by proving that poverty could be abolished, had made such a transformation possible, immediately or at least within the near future.  So what went wrong?  Donovan Pedelty, in this widely-ranging, fascinating and sometimes darkly humorous anarchist critique, explores the answer to this question through a study of development of socialism during the last hundred years or so, focusing principally on the British Labour Movement since World War II. Within the framework of what apologists for capitalism have always dismissed as ‘utopian visions’, but which Socialists have shown to be realisable, this book traces, in Part One, the development in Britain -through the jockeying for power of the bourgeois political parties – of ‘fully representative democracy’, while highlighting the contradiction between this development and their commitment to capitalism. Part Two analyses the reasons why the party formed to challenge the dominance of capital failed to use that ‘democratic power’ to give the people social justice – and ultimately capitulated to capitalism. This is the story of how Labour, corrupted and distorted its supposed ideal – socialism. The Rape of Socialism (available from http://www.centralbooks.com)

Mar 272010
 


Review of
The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents

by Alex Butterworth
482pp, Bodley Head, £25.00
(The Guardian, 27/3/2010 — http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/27/world-never-was-alex-butterworth) with an additional note ‘On Infiltration…’
Click here for the PDF

Mar 272010
 


UCS1 is perhaps the most lively of Cinema Action’s campaign films. Its short length carries considerable conviction. Most notably, the determination of the shipyard workers is conveyed by the cut to black and the fade-in on union leader Jimmy Reid announcing to a sea of faces, framed by cranes, that the yards are under the workers’ occupation. Reid’s colleague Jimmy Airlie’s more reflective appeal brings the film to a nonetheless forceful conclusion.
A joint shop stewards’ committee successfully ran the occupation of Upper Clyde shipyards for fourteen months until February 1972. It was an unprecedented response to the government’s plan to liquidate the yards. Since the only other media contact by the shop stewards was press conferences, Cinema Action’s footage inside the yards is unique. Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde (d. Cinema Action, 1977) tells the whole story of the dispute and the occupation. Cinema Action returned again to the Upper Clyde in 1983 for Rocking the Boat which caught up movingly with veterans of the 1971-2 action

Click the Films link