Below you will find articles we’ve read which we recommend, and below that, organisations we’ve come across that we like the sound of.
(We welcome suggestions for articles, organisations and publications that you think might fit within the values and ideology you detect on this site.)
Recent articles/information we like include . . .
Toby Hill, in this article for LeftFootFoward (1.10.2014), is pretty cross that Labour can’t speak effectively to the people moving towards UKIP, many of whom actually have left-wing views. His view of the contemporary left is pretty damning. More here
This article reveals how Israel has played its Gaza/Hamas card over the past ten years. Now that the USA is showing some small signs of pressurising the Israeli government, its manipulation of the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish youths shows how desperate Netanyahu’s government has become. Read Mouin Rabbani’s article here (Written on 18th July and published in the 31st July 2014 issue of the London Review of Books.)
In 40 years time, people born in Britain today will either be barristers or barristas, says Paul Mason, summarising an OECD report. It’s chastening reading. More here (Guardian 8.7.14)
This fascinating and detailed assessment of Tony Benn takes us into wider questions of socialist strategy (including Stuart Hall’s differences with Tony Benn). It first appeared on the ILP website (30th May 2014). The article contains interesting observations on the ILP as well. Barry Winter is a stalwart of both the ILP and Taking Soundings. Read the full article here.
In this excellent article in openDemocracy (9.5.14), Greg Philo argues that the left should recognise that there is much to be lost from Scottish independence, and should be particularly wary of the ugly nationalism the debate is fostering. More here
An important interview with Thomas Picketty about his book “Capital in the 21st Century”, is available here . (It’s by Andrew Hussey, Observer, 13 April 2014). Will Hutton wrote another summary, and endorsement of Picketty’s argument, in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section (12 April), which you can ready here
‘The Bridge’ the title of a new publication from Compass and Alternatiev by Uffe Elbaek and Neal Lawson. It argues that the new politics will link the vertical and the horizontal. You can download it here (Posted 20.3.14)
Check out this interview with Professor Leo Panitch by the Real News Network. You can see him on a short video (8 mins) or read the transcript. Leo Panitch is editor of the excellent Socialist Register, amongst many other things, and is always worth listening to/reading. Click here for the interview.
This article sets out the story of David Oluwale and explains what the ‘Remember Oluwale’ charity is doing in Leeds. There’s a Facebook page you can ‘like’ if you want to. The new magazine, Citizen (of Leeds), in which the article appears is full of interesting articles. (Posted 26.12.2013.)
Given the right-wing media barrage of articles against migration to the UK, this article by Scott Blinder both highlights the methodological issues behind the (usually inflated) estimates of migrants expected to arrive in the UK, and provides resources for a proper debate about the numbers. (Originally published in The Conversation, but this link is to Social Europe 11.12.13.)
Here is the text of the important speech given by Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters, at the Taking Soundings meeting on 13th November 2013. We can’t do justice to the lively discussion, but the text (inserted below) repays careful reading, as Pragna denounces the legitimation offered under the banner of ‘multi-faithism’ to fundamentalist forms of religion which are hostile to women’s human rights. We are very grateful to Pragna for supplying us with this text and we hope it gets widely circulated. Click here to download: Pragna Patel 13 Nov 2013 final
Sociologists Malcolm James and Naaz Rashid attack the ConDem government for the xenophobia at the root of the recent announcements by David Cameron to restrict the rights of the Romanians and Bulgarians he imagines will flood into Britain in 2014. Gordon Brown and New Labour get some stick, too. More here. (Originally posted in openDemocracy 28.11.13.)
The life-long radical campaigner Professor Gus John, who was born in Grenada, offers a master-class in contemporary and post-war history in this blistering attack on the Barbados establishment. They had organised two church services to celebrate the life of Margaret Thatcher and to praise the Conservative Party. Brush up your history of the British governments’ efforts to exclude black people here (originally posted on Gus John’s website on 19.11.13)
Recent immigrants to UK ‘make net contribution’ – This goes some way to busting some immigrant-bashing myths: more evidence to throw on the growing pile that shows that immigrants to the UK make a net contribution to the UK economy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24813467 And here is a link to the authors’ own article on a website called The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/revealed-immigrants-put-34-more-into-public-finances-than-they-take-out-19845
The summer 2013 issue of Fabian Review contains a series of articles which document the increasing rate of inequality in the UK, criticise Blue Labour for taking attention away from inequality, and recommend new approaches for Ed Miliband’s party. Articles include Howard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (authors of The Spirit Level) on ‘Is society stronger?’, Puja Dabarti: ‘Are fewer children in poverty?’, Kate Bell: ‘Investing in childhood’, Howard Reed: ‘The boom in inequality’, Andrew Simms: ‘Do you want to grow forever?’, Sophia Parker: ‘Unsqueezing the middle’ and Sol Picciotto: ‘A taxing problem’. It can be downloaded here
Marinaleda, in impoverished Andalusia, used to suffer terrible hardships. Led by a charismatic mayor, the village declared itself a communist utopia and too farmland to provide for everyone. Could it be the asnwer to modern capitalism’s failings? Dan Hancock sets out the results of his investigations here [first published 19.10.13 in The Observer]
This article provides the much-needed economic analysis to which Ed Miliband alludes in his remarks about the ‘squeezed middle’. But, according to Manchester University’s Dr Johanna Montgomerie, the hardships of the middle classes (or anyone else for that matter) are not going to be alleviated simply by controlling the banking sector more carefully. Much more important political changes are needed. More here (First published by Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute on 28.8.13)
Cynthia Cockburn provides a fascinating and detailed summary of an event bringing together current (younger) feminist historians with some of the (slightly older) founders of second-wave feminism here [from openDemocracy October 2013]
Here’s a short article [Guardian 14.10.13] based on an interview with one of the Labour Party’s chief strategists, Jon Cruddas MP, where he argues for a shift in focus for the party, with a new emphasis on the role of men. Read more here [Sharp contrast with Andreas Bieler’s argument for a transformation in the social democratic model; see article below this one.]
In responding to an explanation for the defeat of the left in Norway’s recent election, Andreas Bieler, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Nottingham, argues that the social democratic model itself needs refining. More here [accessed 15.10.13]
Professor David Coates taught at Leeds University and was influenced by Ralph Miliband. In this short article (accessed 9.10.13) he states Ralph’s view of the Labour Party and seems to suggest that Ed might be in some ways walking in his father’s footsteps. Read more here
In this interesting article [accessed 11.10.13] from the IPPR‘s centre-left journal Juncture, Professor Linda Colley (author of Britons – Forging the Nation 1707-1837) examines some of the issues underlying England’s identity crisis and Scottish independence. She suggests that, unlike the Scots, the English find holding ‘multiple identities’ a serious challenge. More here
Stuart Hall and Alan O’Shea’s latest chapter (1st October 2013) in the Kilburn Manifesto, in Soundings journal, argues that those who claim to be reflecting common sense are actually engaging in an ideological process of shaping ideas that are far from commonly held. More here
Chantal Mouffe (on the web in September 2013) on the ‘post-political’ and the need for political parties to offer a real alternative on European integration, and whether populism can have a positive effect on European democracy. Read more here
Owen Hatherley (15 Aug 2013) uses the c-word [capitalism] in this interesting article on Raymond Williams’s close analysis of how the meaning of everyday words has been changed as capitalist morality embedded itself into our everyday lives. More here
Professor Ray Bush gave an inspiring talk to the Taking Soundings group at the time of the Egyptian revolution . . . here is his analysis (2 Aug 2013) of the coup against Morsi’s Islamic government, and the army’s aim to restore a climate suitable for neoliberal capitalism.
John Harris’s exposé of Serco, ‘the biggest company you’ve never heard of’, which runs everything from prisons to out-of-hours GP services to speed cameras, in the Guardian (29.7.13) is a chilling indicator of what happens when the state goes private.
Jon Burnett for the IRR writes here (2.8.13) about important research on the precarious lives of asylum seekers in the ‘forced labour’ market. The report itself (from Leeds and Salford Unis) is linked at the end of Burnett’s article.
As we near the anniversary of the 2011 “summer riots” this article has been published in a recent edition of the South Atlantic Quarterly (edited by Ben Trott). With reference the great EP Thompson, it’s well worth a read.
Doreen Massy’s inspiring lecture to the recent Taking Soundings meeting in Leeds (19.6.13) was kindly filmed for us by Dan Clayton (of Leeds Salon). You can view it here
The Taking Soundings event on ‘Slow Food’, addressed by Anne-Marie Vatarrese and Geoff Andrews, was filmed for us by Dan Clayton (Leeds Salon) and has now been uploaded – you can watch it (just over an hour) here
Here’s a wonderful two minute poem by Hollie McNish on the economic reasons why immigration is so good for us on upworthy (June 2013)
Citizen Smart’s diverting song against the Bedroom Tax published on YouTube
The Great Gatsby’s world is every bit as unequal as Britain under the coalition writes Aditya Chakrabortty (Guardian 20 May 2013). The wealthy in America and Britain no longer resemble the prewar elite, but appearances cannot mask how cut off they are from the rest of us read more here
The Labour Party oriented journal Renewal has three interesting articles you can download free here (and a good subscription offer too) (May 2013)
The important French political philosopher offers an analysis of the situation in Eruope and proposes a ‘bottom up’ approach to its solution in this article in openDemocracy (6 May 2013)
Social democrat, Christian, philosopher and public intellectual Cornel West lays into the Coalition and Obama, in the nicest possible way here (Guardian 13 May 2013)
Mary Kaldor sheds much light on the situation in Syria, and sets out proposals for the protection of the civilian Syrian people here (openDemocracy 27 April 2013)
Here’s Stuart Hall setting the agenda (in 1988) for the discussion of Thatcherism. In Marxism Today
Bangladeshi journalist and human rights activist William Gomes exposes the political corruption behind the Rana plaza tragedy here
IPPR article on the north-south implications of Thatcherism published here
Remember the Olympics? Here’s a book of essays (including our pal Ben Carrington’s) reflecting on the whole experience, edited by the excellent Mark Perriman, and published by our friends at Lawrence and Wishart.
There’s a report of our recent meeting (24th April 2013) with Green Party leader Nathalie Bennett, on the Left Unity web-site
Stuart Hall launched the Kilburn Manifesto in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section (24 April 2013) here Note: there’s a link to the full manifesto at the end on this article and Taking Soundings has Doreen Massey (a co-author of the manifesto) speaking at our meeting on 19th June 2013.
In The Independent (18 June 2013) Mark Steel mocked the Thatcher funeral here
In openDemocracy (9-15 April 2013): Anthony Barnett offers his customary insight into the forces labelled (by Stuart Hall) ‘Thatcherism’ – – here
Also in openDemocracy (8 April 2013) Amrit Wilson analyses the anti-rape movement in India, and discusses the new Freedom Without Fear Platform in Britain – – here
Glenda Jackson’s coruscating Parliamentary address on Thatcherism – read the article in the New Statesman and/or watch the film of her speech (on 10th April 2013) here
Organisations and web-sites we suggest you look at include:
Cafe Everythinque Leeds – advertises interesting cafe-discussion events in and around Leeds
The Mule (Manchester independent media)
openDemocracy (if you sign up with oD you’ll get a weekly email with links to all their most important articles from the previous week)