History

Review: Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London by Owen Hatherley

Red Metropolis is a strange book, largely because, somewhat by its own admission, it’s not really a book at all: it’s somewhere between an overgrown essay and a coping mechanism. This is not to say that it is bad (quite the contrary: it is good) but to say that it is somewhat hard to pin down, accordingly, somewhat hard to write about.…

People Like Us: Our Leaders and the Politics of Ordinariness

In contemporary Britain, political leaders are sewn into our cultural fabric and their attempts to don a guise of demotic accessibility seem commonplace and expected. Perhaps most explicitly, and contradictorily, Boris Johnson has used this strategy of appearing as ‘one of us’ to gain the trust of large swathes of his electorate, claiming to represent the apathetic sentiment of anti-Establishment politics which…

The Social Review Podcast Episode 62: Left Out of This Land

Joe, Lines and Julia meet to discuss two big new books about Corbyn’s Labour Party: ‘This Land: The Story of a Movement’ by Owen Jones, and ‘Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn’ by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire. The team discuss the book’s different conclusions, whether it casts new light on Corbyn’s Labour or not, the importance of interpersonal…

The Social Review Podcast Episode 61: Alexander Hamilton – Economic Radical?

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a… you get the gist. Jasper sits down with Christian Parenti, author of ‘Radical Hamilton: Economic Lessons From a Misunderstood Founder’ (Verso, 2020) to discuss the political and economic legacy of the ten-dollar founding father. Was Hamilton really a free-trading capitalist, or a statist radical? How do Hamiltonianism and Jeffersonianism continue to influence socio-economic development…

Lessons from Brecht

Bertolt Brecht was one of the most innovative and unique cultural products of “the Left”, his work is the product of lived experiences in Weimar Germany, Nazi Germany, the United States, and the German Democratic Republic. Consequently, Brecht, politically and ideologically, inhabits a distinct space that has many lessons for socialism today.   Brecht lived through multiple defeats of socialism in an age…

Review: A People’s History of Tennis

Credit: UA Archives – Upper Arlington Public Library (Repository: UA Historical Society) I have never considered myself a “sports person”.  In my salad days, I hardly brimmed with natural athleticism. To me, school sport was at best an irritant and at worst an exercise in humiliation–I faked injuries in order to do my homework in the library (I know, I know) and declared…

Left Reading Groups and Lockdown

Photo Credit: Rich Grundy  In 1792, a British army officer sent to assess the morale of potential troops in an imminent war against revolutionary France reported with horror that the workers of Sheffield did not only ‘read the most violent publications,’ they also ‘comment on them.’ In Halifax, a Methodist chapel had set up a debating society at which the town’s weavers…

Lansman’s Dilemma

“I think we made mistakes in the eighties. With hindsight, I don’t think we helped ourselves. We allowed ourselves to be marginalised; we were too unforgiving of people who some saw as betraying our principles and didn’t give them a way back. My view has always been that if you don’t take the mainstream of the Labour Party with you, you’re going…