The recently published A People’s History of London, by Lindsey German and John Rees is reviewed by the Morning Star:
Lindsey German and John Rees have undertaken a formidable task. In one volume, they seek to encapsulate the history of London in terms of the ordinary people who have shaped it and given it its spirited life.
It's a history familiar to socialists and London lovers and what the book succeeds in doing is relating past with current struggles.
In a recent piece for In These Times Slavoj Žižek reflects on the outcome of the Greek elections on the 17th of June, analysing how Syriza, the radical left coalition, came close to smashing the entire set of the European Union’s crockery. Dismissing the EU’s austerity measures as nonsense, Žižek says:
So why does Brussels impose these plans? What matters in contemporary capitalism is that agents act upon their putative beliefs about future prospects, regardless of whether they really believe in those prospects. And, as we also all know, the true aim of these rescue measures is not to save Greece, but to save the European banks.
To illustrate the mistake of enacting austerity measures as the main strategy to combat the crisis, Paul Krugman often compares them to the medieval cure of blood-letting. That’s a nice metaphor that should be radicalized even further. The European financial doctors, who are themselves not sure about how the medicine works, are using the Greeks as test rabbits and letting their blood, not the blood of their own countries. There is no blood-letting for the great German and French banks—on the contrary, they are getting continuous and enormous transfusions.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with inherent and [certain] inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness: that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men...” - Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence.
Two hundred and thirty six years on from the Declaration of Independence, political engagement is still a necessity for the masses. Widespread civil rights movements are rising all over the world, in many guises – the Arab Spring, Anonymous, Los Indignados, Greece, the movement against precarity in Portugal – and Jefferson’s writings can once again remind us that inspired words can bind a nation together, catalysing an extraordinary revolution.