1 June 2024

OR Books, 2024; 320pp; £17.99 (available online here)

Its text finalised in early December 2023, Deluge brings together expert analysis and commentary from journalists, academics and campaigners, its 13 contributions divided into three sections.

In the first (‘Contexts’), two stand-out essays dismantle the myth that Hamas is to blame for the failure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the facile notion that Gaza’s current plight is a consequence of its people’s failure to adopt nonviolence.

In reality, as academic Colter Louwerse explains, following its election in 2006…

1 June 2024 Warren Draper

PM Press, 2022; 360pp; £20.99

This academic yet accessible book addresses the myth that revolutionary, liberatory social transformation is no longer possible under capitalism, and also the notion that the tension between individualist and collectivist anarchism somehow makes anarchism itself impossible.

Clark demonstrates that contemporary capitalism has created an environment where, as Frederic Jameson famously said, it is ‘easier to imagine the end of the world, than the end of capitalism’.

But, like the English anarchist Colin Ward, he uses real world…

1 June 2024 Ian Sinclair

C Hurst & Co, 2023; 688pp; £17.99

At over 650 pages, White Malice may look daunting but is actually written in such an engrossing journalistic style that it sometimes reads like a spy thriller.

Dr Susan Williams, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, focuses on US covert intervention in the Congo and Ghana in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

In particular, she writes about the fate of two popular politicians – Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of what was called the Republic of the Congo after…

1 June 2024 Andrea Needham

Viking, 2023; 464pp; £25 hardback (paperback £10.99, out in August; audio book out now £14)

The day before the local elections in England, the UK government announced that it had started rounding up asylum-seekers and would ‘detain’ them pending their deportation to Rwanda later this year.

The prime minister’s press secretary denied that this was a cynical move to increase Conservative votes in the elections, claiming that: ‘For our part, there really is not a day to lose when people are dying in the Channel.’

Crocodile tears and detention of asylum-seekers notwithstanding, the Conservatives crashed and burned in the…

1 April 2024 Glyn Carter

Wildfire, 2023; 352pp; £25    

Between 2010 and 2019, more people took part in protests than at any other point in human history. Across the world, movements formed that looked revolutionary. But, after the heady successes of the Arab Spring and elsewhere, in most of the countries rocked by the waves of democratic movements, things were soon no better, and may now be worse, than before the protests started. Vincent Bevins calls this ‘the missing revolution’.

The risings in the Arab world, in Brazil and Chile, Hong Kong, Turkey, Ukraine and elsewhere weren’t…

1 April 2024 Andrea Needham

Pluto Press, 2023; 272pp; £20

Why is it legal to advertise products that are driving us and the planet to destruction? Why should advertisers be able to tempt us to buy an SUV [an oversized car – ed] as if it were no more damaging to the environment than a bicycle? And what can we do about it?

All these questions and more are tackled in Badvertising

We are surrounded by advertising: online, on TV, in the street, on public transport, and – more insidiously – through sponsorship, whether it’s BP sponsoring the British Museum or British Airways…

1 April 2024 Gabriel Carlyle

House of Anansi Press, 2023; 352pp; £14.99

Progressives need to talk and think much more about insecurity. Indeed, our failure to do so has been a ‘strategic mistake’.

So says author and activist Astra Taylor in this print version of her 2023 CBC Massey Lectures.

We all experience ‘existential insecurity’ as a core part of the human condition. We can all be wounded (physically and psychologically), we are all dependent upon others for our survival, and we will all die.

But, Taylor notes, we are all also ‘ensnared in systems that are structured to trigger…

1 February 2024 Erica Smith

Pluto Press, 2023; 376pp; £14.99

Back in 2008, the 24-year old Plane Stupid campaigner Dan Glass was invited to Downing Street to receive an award and took the opportunity to superglue himself to the then-prime minister, Gordon Brown.

But Dan’s life as a campaigner neither began or ended with eco-activism.

Dan was a queer school kid who came out after Section 28 – which prohibited the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ by local authorities – became law in 1988.

Dan writes about how he would ‘slink out on the night bus to Soho and… wake up next to some guy…

1 February 2024 Andrea Needham

Independently Published, 2023; 257pp; £11.99

This morning I got up very early, went outside in my pyjamas, and asked the man who had been idling his car right outside my bedroom window for 10 minutes if he could please turn his engine off.

He did, but, when he left a few minutes later, he slammed the car door hard several times before revving away. Just to show me.

Of course, most drivers aren’t like this but it illustrates the key problem with the car: private benefits, public disbenefits. And those of us who don’t own a car get the double whammy: all of the bad stuff…

1 February 2024 Virginia Moffatt

Housmans Bookshop 2023; 190pp; £10;

Every now and then, I get sent a book to review which is a sheer joy from start to finish. Peace! Books! Freedom! is such a book.

A short gallop through the history of 5 Caledonian Road, the Kings Cross home of Housmans Bookshop, Peace News and many other radical organisations, it’s a great story of activism, resistance and community.

It begins with the generous donation by pacifist curate, Tom Willis that enabled Peace News to buy a building in Central London to create the movement centre they’d…

1 February 2024 Ian Sinclair

Pluto Press, 2023; 248pp; £16.99

From Che Guevara to Gandhi and Lenin, revolutionaries and historians of revolutions have tended to focus on so-called ‘Great Men’.

She Who Struggles is an admirable attempt to correct this imbalance, an edited collection highlighting women who played key roles in revolutionary, anti-colonial and socialist struggles during the twentieth century, including in Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Kurdistan, Mali and Palestine.

‘Within these movements, women’s liberation was often placed as subsequent to the achievement of national and…

1 February 2024 Erica Smith

Alona Pardo, Re/Sisters: A Lens on Gender and Ecology: Prestel, 2023, 320pp; £45 Women in Revolt!: Art and Activism in the UK 1970 – 90: Tate Britain; until 7 April; £17/£5; Linsey Youngl, Women in Revolt!: Art and Activism in the UK 1970 – 90: Tate Publishing, 2023; 304pp; £35

When I was 14, in the winter of 1978, I travelled down to London from the north-west with my mum to see the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. It remains my number one gallery experience.

45 years later, not one but two seminal feminist exhibitions in London have elbowed their way into my all-time gallery Top 10.

The last edition of PN profiled the remarkable Re/Sisters exhibition at the Barbican, which closed on 14 January. You can still order the catalogue from your…

1 December 2023 Cath and Warren Draper

PM Press, 2023; 576pp; £23.99

In the poorest state of the US, with the largest Black population and a long, terrifying history of extreme racial violence, there is a truly inspirational movement towards political, cultural and economic democracy.

For the last decade Cooperation Jackson (CJ), based in Jackson, Mississippi, has been accessing land for food and housing, building a network of worker co-operatives, and creating autonomous People’s Assemblies in order to take back power and build grassroots democracy.

This book is a collection of nearly 40…

1 December 2023 Ian Sinclair

The New Press, 2023; 240pp; £19.99

Earlier this year, Brown University’s Costs of War project calculated that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has led to nearly one million people being killed due to direct violence, many more being killed by indirect causes connected to the conflict, and 38 million people being displaced.

In his new book, US writer and activist Norman Solomon highlights how the government, military and media hide the murderous impact of US military interventions from the US public.

Relying largely on secondary sources, he focuses in on the US’s…

1 December 2023 Gabriel Carlyle

Verso, 2023; 368pp; £19.99

The now-obscure term ‘Natopolitan’ appears to have been coined by the British Marxist historian EP Thompson in the late 1970s.

It referred not just to NATO proper, but also (in a later gloss by Edward Said) to ‘a mentality whose web extended over a lot more activity and thought’.

This reader on post-Cold War NATO – pieces range in date from 1994 to 2023 – examines both, but its core material focuses on three main topics: NATO’s massive expansion following the collapse of the enemy that it was ostensibly created to counter;…