In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain's Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckless, criminalized and ignorant a vast, underprivileged swathe of society whose members have become stereotyped by one, hate-filled word: chavs.
In this acclaimed investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from "salt of the earth" to "scum of the earth." Exposing the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature, he portrays a far more complex reality. The chav stereotype, he argues, is used by governments as a convenient figleaf to avoid genuine engagement with social and economic problems and to justify widening inequality. Based on a wealth of original research, Chavs is a damning indictment of the media and political establishment and an illuminating, disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain. This updated edition includes a new chapter exploring the causes and consequences of the UK riots in the summer of 2011.
From the dark-days of entrenched Blairism to the most unlikely superstar in contemporary politics, the recent history of the Labour party has been nothing if not unpredictable. With Corbynmania sweeping the land over 600,000 ballots are currently being sent out to Labour members and supporters (around a third of which only registered this week) amid trumped-up talk of left entryism. Corbyn's lead now appears to be unassailable but in an ever more hostile media environment and with top Labour figures plotting immediate coups, the future direction of the party is finely balanced. To understand how we got here a thorough understanding of the history of the Labour Party is vital. It's just as well, then, that we've put together this Verso reading list...
For the benefit of those who haven't read the Guardian's comment (anti)coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign, I've compiled all 100,000 words into this handy digested read.
Sorry but huge crowds do not translate into electoral success. We need to be looking for small crowds, people, SMALL CROWDS. About 10 people would be ideal; roughly the size of our little party at Saffron and Cosmo’s place last night, where everyone agreed that while o̲f̲ ̲c̲o̲u̲r̲s̲e̲ our red hearts lie instinctively with socialism, it’s quite clear that we must make credible policy proposals such as supporting workfare or implementing austerity, or we’ll have a Conservative government implementing austerity and supporting workfare until 2025.
While the Eurozone crisis is intensifying the contradictions of the project for European integration and the dreaded Troika is forcing unprecedented levels of austerity on the Greek nation, the question of the left's relation to Europe has once more been raised. Owen Jones has been the latest in a long line of prominent leftists to defend a left anti-EU stance, recently arguing in a column in the Guardian for the need for a Left Exit (or 'Lexit') campaign which will wrestle the issue of British withdrawal from the EU away from the UKIPpers and the Eurosceptic Tories. Yet under the leadership of Alexis Tsipras, Syriza is continuing with its attempt to push a left strategy while remaining in the Eurozone.
In this video, part of Open Democracy's #TalkReal series, philosopher Srecko Horvat, Professor of Law Costas Douzinas and others discuss the future of the European project in response to the increasing crisis in Greece. Should the left push forward with its long march through the institutions or should we be campaigning against the anti-democractic EU? Can the Eurozone become a space for progressive politics or will it continue to be used to force through punishing austerity?