If you think the latest tome of Giddens’ Sociology is the one textbook you need to get you through your undergraduate days, think again. Impress your tutor and learn something beyond the lecture theatre with these essential Verso titles.
Bolster any politics, philosophy, economics, literature, sociology or history essay with one of these books and not only score the grade, but begin your lifelong love affair with radical writers.
We are black, it is true, but tell us, gentlemen, you who are so judicious, what is the law that says that the black man must belong to and be the property of the white man? ... Yes, gentleman, we are free like you, and it is only by your avarice and our ignorance that anyone is still held in slavery up to this day, and we can neither see nor find the right that you pretend to have over us ... We are your equals then, by natural right, and if nature pleases itself to diversify colours within the human race, it is not a crime to be born black nor an advantage to be white.
This excerpt is from a letter written in July 1792 by the leaders of the revolution of Haitian slaves. The letter has been republished in the collection of writings of the black leader Toussaint L'Overture, The Haitian Revolution, which includes also the correspondence between him and Napoleon Bonaparte. In the late eighteenth century, Toussaint L'Overture and his supporters established the first black republic in the world.
In the United Kingdom, October is Black History Month. The celebration was originally introduced in 1926 on the initiative of Carter G. Woodson, the editor of the Journal of Negro History. In 2007, no fewer than 6,000 events were held in the UK as part of its programme. Here are some key Verso titles past and present that are relevant to the study and celebration of African and Caribbean history.
Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague — Marc Perelman
Perelman’s book takes a subversive look at sport and global sporting events such as the Olympics to reveal their darker side. He argues that sport has become an instrument of political control and a vehicle for capitalist monoculture. This timely polemic offers refreshing reading to those looking for an antidote to this summer’s Olympian frenzy.
Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism — Stephen Graham
This authoritative study examines the rapid and dangerous spread and normalization of surveillance and state policing in western cities and warzones alike under the guise of national security. As such it provides an unsettling and provocative insight into the global backdrop of the rising costs and militarization of London’s Olympic Games security operation.
A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain— Owen Hatherley
Hatherley’s critical tour of Britain’s urban centres incorporates the latest and most high profile attempt at regeneration offering a carefully considered indictment of the architectural and social failures of Stratford’s Olympic sites.
We're pleased to finally post video from our Communism, A New Beginning? conference from back in October in the debut of our incredibly novel YouTube page. It's an interesting look back to a weekend of what was the first month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street; around when Étienne Balibar spoke on "Communism as Commitment, Imagination, and Politics," peaceful protesters just uptown at Times Square were arrested and en route to Central Booking.
Here is a guide to the talks given at this conference:
In a fiery critical call for solidarity, rich with the language of class war, a number of European academics and artists call for a campaign of solidarity with the Greek people and a launch against the dehumanising and aggressive ideology of technocratic austerity.
"[T]he future of democracy and the fate of European nations are in question" under the restructuring of Greek debt and the "endless, devastating bailouts", according to the authors, who include French academics Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Jacques Ranciere and more. Public assets are being carved up for privatisation under the oversight of the troika, producing vast wealth for the international buyers but failing to address the sovereign debt crisis at all: "it has literally exploded into free fall in approaching 170% of GDP, while in 2009 it represented more than 120%".