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A Seventh Man

New edition of this seminal exploration of migrant workers.
Why does the Western world look to migrant laborers to perform the most menial tasks? What compels people to leave their homes and accept this humiliating situation? In A Seventh Man, John Berger and Jean Mohr come to grips with what it is to be a migrant worker—the material circumstances and the inner experience—and, in doing so, reveal how the migrant is not so much on the margins of modern life, but absolutely central to it. First published in 1975, this finely wrought exploration remains as urgent as ever, presenting a mode of living that pervades the countries of the West and yet is excluded from much of its culture.

Reviews

  • “I admire and love John Berger’s books. He writes about what is important, not just interesting—in contemporary English letters, he seems to be peerless; not since Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience. He is a wonderful artist and thinker.”

Blog

  • Art and Property Now

    In tribute to John Berger, who died yesterday, on 2 January 2017, we excerpt 'Art and Property Now' from Landscapes, edited by Tom Overton. The 1967 essay of materialist art criticism fed into Ways of Seeing (1972), the influential TV series and book that changed our understanding of art and its private ownership. 

    "Painting or a sculpture is a significant form of property – in a sense in which a story, a song, a poem is not. Its value as property supplies it with an aura which is the last debased expression of the quality which art objects once possessed when they were used magically. It is around property that we piece together our last tattered religion, and our visual works of art are its ritual objects." — John Berger


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  • Good To Know You!

    Andy Merrifield pays tribute to John Berger, who passed away aged 90 on 2 January 2017. 

    John died yesterday. I’ll remember his voice, his laugh, his charm and generosity. His words. Stripped-down words, mystical and carefully chosen words, earthy words, fierce words. They’ll always grab us, make us think, feel and act, piss people off. To weep for John is to weep on the shoulder of life. Remember him, gazing up at Aesop, in front of Velázquez’s great canvas?  

    He’s intimidating, he has a kind of arrogance. A pause for thought. No, he’s not arrogant. But he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The presence of Aesop refers to nothing except what he has felt and seen. Refers to no possessions, to no institutions, to no authority or protection. If you weep on his shoulder, you’ll weep on the shoulder of his life. If you caress his body, it will recall the tenderness it knew in childhood.

    John didn’t suffer fools gladly, either. 


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  • Juridified Dispossession: Brexit, Migrant Workers and the Law

    What are the implications of Brexit for workers’ rights? Gracie Mae Bradley examines how state power creates a paradigm of juridified dispossession where government immigration law and policy tacitly sanction the exploitation of migrant workers, while at the same time encouraging a ‘hostile environment’ extending into the fabric of daily life. Brexit’s legal challenges threaten the rights of migrant workers further, but where there is fragmentation and change, new possibilities for solidarity and resistance can emerge.

    Gracie Mae Bradley is a human rights worker and sometime writer. She is a Project Manager at the Migrants' Rights Network and also helps coordinate the Against Borders for Children campaign.

    When we talk about workers’ rights, which workers and which rights do we really mean? Legal rights are only one component of justice and the good life, and the law itself does not contain all that is meaningful about rights. But Brexit has pitched workers into a battle with the UK government to prevent it from rolling back long-held employment rights once Britain leaves the EU, and resistance must take into account the law as much as government policy, politics, or what is happening in the streets.  

    Theresa May has vowed to end the European Court of Justice’s (CJEU) jurisdiction in the UK: the Great Repeal Bill (GRB) is an historic proposal to end the authority of EU law and ‘take back control’. On ‘Brexit day’, EU law will be absorbed into UK law “wherever practical.” Of course, what is practical for the government is not necessarily practical for workers.

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Other books by John Berger Photography by Jean Mohr

  • 9781784785840-max_141

    Landscapes

    “John Berger teaches us how to think, how to feel how to stare at things until we see what we thought wasn’t there. But above all, he teaches us how to love in the face of adversity. He is a master.” — Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things

    13 posts

  • 9781784781767-max_141

    Portraits

    “A volume whose breadth and depth bring it close to a definitive self-portrait of one of Britain’s most original thinkers” – Financial Times

    23 posts

  • Corkers-freedom-frontcover-max_141

    Corker's Freedom

    "A contemporary masterpiece"—New York Review of Books

    12 posts