Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Radical Bookshops

The new issue of Information for Social Change (No: 27) is now available online with a series of articles on radical bookshops:


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Roald Dahl as Spy

Jacob Heilbrunn reviews Jennet Conant's The Irregulars in the The New York Times Sunday Book Review:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

"of course you can say what you like in England...."

Church Street Liverpool has traditionally been a place where people can set up a stall and distribute protest literature. Recently that tradition has been subject to low level harassment and confiscation of literature by the police. In response local groups organised through "Liverpool Freedom of Expression" set up ten stalls last Saturday. The police response was to surround campaign stalls with up to six riot vans. Two people were arrested and several stalls had leaflets and literature confiscated.
After the arrests activists were joined by passing members of the public, incensed at what they had witnessed, in a spontaneous attempt to block police vans and prevent them from leaving.

Several articles explaining the background and giving details about this incident can be read on indymedia liverpool.

Liverpool people aren't prepared to tolerate this assault on their freedom of speech so this Saturday - 18th October - local people will be holding another mass stall action. If you want to take part meet outside News from Nowhere in Bold Street at 12.30 pm

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Albert Camus and the Libertarians

Many of the the writings of Albert Camus were framed by a dialogue with anarchism - notably The Rebel, and shorter works such as the early essay on the poet Jehan Rictus, "Jehan Rictus: the poet of poverty" and the anti-cold war statement Neither Victims Nor Executioners. He worked closely with anarchists, revolutionary syndicalists and anti-authoritarian Marxists, supporting conscientious objectors and Spanish anti-fascists. Now a long term project to publish his anarchist and libertarian writings, with the support of his daughter Catherine has reached completion with the publication in French of Albert Camus et les libertaires : écrits présentés par Lou Marin.
Marseille: Egrégores, 2008. 361 pages. € 15.
ISBN: 978-2-9523819-4-9

Égrégores Editions 7, boulevard de la Liberté, 13001 Marseille, France

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In Print....

A short and occasional reminder that it isn't all available on the Web:

Alastair Bellamy writes on "The Murder of John Lambe: Crowd Violence and Popular Politics in Early 17th Century England" in Past and Present, 200 (August 2008). Also in the same issue
Robert Gerwarth explores "The Central European Counter-Revolution: Paramilitary Violence in Germany, Austria and Hungary after the Great War." In particular he looks at how the ideology of anti-semitism helped to create a "socially homogeneous Central European subculture of paramilitary activists who were linked by a determination to suppress violently those held responsible for defeat, revolution and territorial disintegration".
The November issue of Book and Magazine Collector contains an article by David Blake on "George Bellairs: the Banker of Crime" about writer Harold Blundall, author of some 40 detective novels, while Rare Book Review (Oct/Nov 2008) has an neat article by Charlotte Luxford "A Group of Their Own" on "love and loss in Virginia Woolf's intimate circle" and as a bonus there is also a feature on Terry Pratchett - "Not the End of Discworld".

Meanwhile I was intrigued to see the revival of the argument about the "sexy hand-axe thesis" in the current issue of Antiquity. The theory that the Acheulean handaxe was a surrogate used to flaunt stoneage masculinity, and therefore played a key role in natural selection was first controversially proposed M Kohn & S Mithen, in an article "Handaxes: Products of Sexual selection?" Antiquity 73 (199) 518-526. Now Anna Jane Machin has given the pot a fresh stir with a fresh look at this theory "The Sexy Handaxe Theory" with a rejoinder by Steve Mithen.
Expect sales of Antiquity to rocket, centre-folds of Phil Harding, and the re-opening of the Norfolk flint mines at Grimes Graves as soon as the tabloids catch onto it...

The Complexities of Babar

Adam Gopnik examines the different interpretations of Jean de Brunhoff's Babar books - an implicit endorsement of French colonialism or a "fable of the difficulties of a bourgeois life" as Gopnik concludes?

While I don't accept the fable argument I think it is a real step forward to see the social values embedded in literature debated in the pages of a mainstream publication like the New Yorker.

The New Yorker article:

The Morgan Library & Museum currently host an online exhibition of original drafts and Watercolours for the first Babar book:


Friday, October 10, 2008

Radical Anthropology

A new issue of the journal Radical Anthropology is now available as a pdf download, including an interview with Noam Chomsky on "Human Nature and the Origins of Language", an article on "Managing Abundance, Not Chasing Scarcity", and an article evaluating the different and conflicting theories of the purpose of Stonehenge - and more:


[via Ready Steady Book]

Bristol Radical History Week

"Off With Their Heads: Assassins, Plots & Regicide"
Saturday 25th October - Tuesday 4th November. A great programme for this year's Radical History Week in Bristol - Folk-singer Roy Bailey, Colin thompson on the Levellers, Geoffrey Robertson on "The Tyrannicide Brief", Robert Lamb on Tom Paine, Phil Ruff reveals the true identity of 'Peter the Painter', and much more.

Full programme here:


Monday, October 06, 2008

The Beauty and Terror of Science

Richard Holmes new book, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science looks at the impact of the scientific revolution at the end of the 18th century. Reviewed in The Times by John Carey:

"Holmes suffuses his book with the joy, hope and wonder of the revolutionary era. Reading it is like a holiday in a sunny landscape, full of fascinating bypaths that lead to unexpected vistas. He believes that we must engage the minds of young people with science by writing about it in a new way, entering imaginatively into the biographies of individual scientists and showing what makes them just as creative as poets, painters and musicians. The Age of Wonder is offered, with due modesty, as a model, and it succeeds inspiringly."
Read the full review here

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Reality of Henry Miller

Kenneth Rexroth writes about Henry Miller on the Bureau of Public Secrets:


Friday, October 03, 2008

"Keeping the Media Safe for Big Business"

An interesting analysis of the way news and ideas are filtered out of the mass media, with some topical examples. From Media Lens:


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Mountains of Les Miserables

Graham Robb reviews Julie Rose's new translation of Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables in the Times Literary Supplement.