Media

A new humanist politics?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02
mason

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Reading or stagnating?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:52
Reading group

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis

When I was a young child, I learned an appreciation for the written word through both of my parents reading aloud to me and through listening to audiobooks on long car trips.

Somewhere during the dreaded forced reading during my secondary and tertiary schooling, I lost my fascination with reading. Then, over time, with that lack, I noticed other things were lacking.

Dangerous nonsense: Bower on Corbyn

Submitted by martin on Tue, 09/04/2019 - 18:48
books

Every Labour canvasser will have come across him (and, invariably, it is a he).

Leering out of his doorway he delivers a deranged tirade about how the country is going to the dogs. Communist-run trade unions. Moscow gold. Economy wrecked by strikes. Scroungers living off the dole. Better off than him, an honest hardworking man.

Of course, not a racist. But too many immigrants. Especially Muslims. Bogus asylum-seekers. Should stay in France. Got a council house instead of his daughter. Live off the state. He’s accused of racism for telling the truth. In his own country!

Boycott the Guardian?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 31/10/2018 - 09:18

Journalist Matt Kennard is one of the figures calling for a boycott of the Guardian. He spoke to Martin Thomas from Solidarity.

K: It’s not really a formal campaign, but it was ignited on social media by left activists, journalists, and commentators who support the Corbyn project.

Ten times the price, but…

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:58

The history of the old Labour left weekly Tribune was not a glorious one. In its early years, which were also the time of the Moscow Trials, it supported Stalin’s regime in the USSR uncritically.

Between 1947 and 1950 it was firmly on the side of the USA and NATO in the Cold War.

From the mid-1980s, under Nigel Williamson and then Phil Kelly as editors, its politics dissolved into soft-leftist alignment with Labour’s establishment, and its last 30 years were a slow but dismal slide into extinction.

The People of the Book

Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 14/02/2018 - 12:04

Books have been a great factor in human culture. The Qur’an says: “Do not argue with the People of the Book except only by the best manner, except the unjust among them. Tell them, ‘We believe in what is revealed to us and to you. Our Lord and your Lord is one. We have submitted ourselves to His will’.”

Books that can win

Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 31/01/2018 - 11:47

The author Alan Sillitoe described how, as a national serviceman aged 19 in 1955, he was got to read Robert Tressell’s The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists by an eager colleague saying: “This is the book which won the 1945 election for Labour”.

The Tories, in 1945, tried to counter by mass-distributing a book of their own, Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom.

The political shift of 1945 was shaped by books, and conversations around books, not by tweets or memes. If we want a similar big shift today, we need similarly heavy ammunition.

A decline of reading

Submitted by martin on Tue, 30/01/2018 - 11:51
Hours spent reading

Between 2000 and 2009, on average across OECD countries the percentage of children who reported reading for enjoyment daily dropped by five percentage points.

Reading drops to its lowest point in the 16-24 age group, and recovers a bit at later ages. Other surveys have found similar results. And Britain is among the worst-hit, possibly because of the wider use of smartphones in this country.

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