"Forget about ideas and think about selling them" was Nick Griffin's advice to the BNP party faithful at the beginning of his decade long campaign to make fascism bland enough for the British political palate. In Bloody Nasty People journalist Daniel Trilling follows the BNP from its electoral heights to its human depths, as Griffin attempted to cover-up his "boots and fists" past as a street-fighting thug and rebrand himself, and his party, in the model of Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Front National, France's successful fascist organisation.
A People's History of London, Lindsey German and John Rees' chronicle of the city told through its rebellions and revolts, continues to draw strong reviews. Writing for the Camden New Journal, Dan Carrier interviewed the authors:
"There is barely a street in inner London that cannot tell a tale," says John. "This is not just a social history but is the story of a theatre of political activism". They draw on reasons for London's radicalism, and say the book is timely. "The Olympics and the Jubilee mean there is a big focus on London,' says Lindsey. "London books tell the history of the rich and powerful. We wanted to show there was a different tradition."
Carrier's follows London's story from its sacking by Boudicca's hordes to the riots of August 2011, by way of strikes, revolts and the London mob, claiming "It is an inspiring history of radical activism, and this chronicle of these heroes who stood shoulder to shoulder is a timely reminder."
Appearing on The Julian Assange Show alongside renowned linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, "street-fighting novelist" Tariq Ali argues the "infectious" Arab Spring has spread to the US and Russia, and is still underway. Criticising the "extreme centre", a political consensus of centrist neoliberal orthodoxy that destroys political diversity and opposition, Ali talks about how the speed and flair of the Arab Spring caught everyone, from dictators and their sponsors to the Western media, by surprise.
Assange, Ali and Chomsky continue to discuss the "new hope" that resides in South America Bolivarian movements, and the democratic crisis in the Eurozone.
Friday 15th June saw Dalston's homely Cafe Oto host Verso's "24hr Žižek" event. The evening began with an opening talk serving as an introduction to Hegel's thought, delivered in pin-sharp clarity by Iain Hamilton Grant.
Slavoj Žižek then spoke at length on Marx, the current economic situation worldwide, the rise of the European far-right, fatherhood, and the social crisis currently unfolding in Greece.
Owen Hatherley's new travelogue through the grim thoroughfares of contemporary urban planning is raising both hackles and high praise from across the mainstream media.
Reviewing A New Kind of Bleak for Time Out, Euan Ferguson praises Hatherley's "typically acerbic and witty arguments" on the ideological landscape that have shaped our urban environments, from the unrealised potential of post-war planning to the clumsy market-driven regeneration of Blairism:
Hatherley's an engaging, fearless and startlingly intelligent polemicist, one unashamed to talk about class and capitalism and the importance of state provision. We need a writer like him now more than ever, an uncompromising voice from the left: the purpose of his search for the real Britain is not to take the piss or exhume fake nostalgia but to ask questions for which there are no easy answer.