Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football has reviewed three Pluto titles this month.
As part of a list of books to ‘find dreams of a better tomorrow’ he reviewed Katherine Connelly’s Sylvia Pankhurst (Pluto, 2013), Christos Laskos and Euclid Tsakalotos’ Crucible of Resistance (Pluto, 2013) and Anandi Ramamurthy’s Black Star (Pluto, 2013).
As Perryman writes: As the almost instantly forgettable party conference season disappears over the horizon the Westminster bubble political landscape would be hard pushed to inspire anybody much at all. For hope of a better, different, tomorrow we must increasingly draw on other traditions from beyond the mainstream, contemporary and out of history, challenging too a narrow definition of politics the parliamentary parties depend upon for their sorry version of legitimacy.
The article was syndicated to The Huffington Post. You can view it in its entirety here. We’ve reproduced the review of our books below. For more information or to buy a title, click on the cover images below.
Sylvia Pankhurst: Katherine Connelly has written a richly revealing biography of another political outsider Sylvia Pankhurst. A suffragette who struggled to contain her desire for change within one single-issue movement, Katherine carefully describes the contradictions in Pankhurst’s life and politics but also her achievements as one of those who sought a dramatic change in how an entire society was organised.
Were such ambitions and dreams exhausted by the final decades of the last century? There are plenty who would argue they were. Yet Sylvia Pankurst and CLR James in many ways represented dissident positions within the movement of ideas they are supposed to represent. And there are countless other examples of the untried and unfulfilled that offer sparks of inspiration long after 1989 and the apparent End of History.
Crucible of Resistance: The social theorist Raymond Williams once wrote of the Left’s necessity for ‘resources of hope’. No single source is perhaps any longer obvious, but an inward-looking English Left is missing something by scarcely ever tapping into the achievements and lessons of sections of the European Left, and in particular right now Syriza in Greece. Crucible of Resistance details not only the dreadful reality of the Greek austerity programme but the creative resistance and leadership provided by Syriza as an opposition party, of a scale and breadth unimaginable currently on this side of the Channel.
Black Star: Efforts to effect change should not be disconnected from those movements which in, and against, the mainstream sought change on a scale that might at first glance appear localised or sectionalised, yet shared these grand ambitions too. One such example were Britain’s Asian Youth Movements of this same era, the 1970s and 1980s, their history now uncovered by Anandi Ramamurthy in his pioneering book Black Star. This is a story of a new version of militancy, the conflicts it sparked both within their own , Asian, community and with the wider community too, the alliances and actions that emerged and the legacy they left for another wave of political action within and around the Muslim community shaped by the later era of post 9/11 and the anti-war movement in particular.