Within our reach is the end of austerity, the restoration of the NHS, the improvement of the lives of underprivileged people and Britain that is not governed by Old Etonians, City boys and tax-dodgers. Vote, and Vote Corbyn! And, in case you needed convincing, here’s our selection of some of the best Pluto books on British politics.
By Greg Philo, Mike Berry, Justin Schlosberg, Antony Lerman and David Miller
There has been an extraordinary media output on the issue of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and antisemitism. Accusations about the Labour Party have made headlines on a daily basis. In the three years after Corbyn became leader there were over five thousand news stories and articles in the national press alone.
Bad News for Labour examines the impact of this coverage on public beliefs about the Party. It replaces media hype with the rigorous analysis of evidence. The authors draw on carefully compiled research to reveal surprising findings in this guide to the reality behind the headlines.
By Simon Hannah
** Guardian Politics Book of the Day**
For over a hundred years, the British Labour Party has been a bastion for working class organisation and struggle. However, has it ever truly been on the side of the workers? Where do its interests really lie? And can we rely on it to provide a barrier against right-wing forces? By looking into its history, this book shines a light on the internal dynamics of the ‘party with socialists in it’.
From its origins in the late nineteenth century, the Labour Party was uncomfortably divided between a metropolitan liberal and a working class milieu, which characterises the party to this very day. This history guides us through the Bevanite movement and the celebrated government of Clement Attlee, to the emergence of a New Left that was highly sceptical of the Labour party during the Wilson era. It explores the move towards Blairism and the disheartening story of the decline of the Labour Left after their historic defeat in the 1980s.
With socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s fate rests in the balance.
Edited by Dan Bulley, Jenny Edkins, Nadine El-Enany
On the 14th June 2017, a fire engulfed a tower block in West London, seventy-two people lost their lives and hundreds of others were left displaced and traumatised. The Grenfell Tower fire is the epicentre of a long history of violence enacted by government and corporations.
The Grenfell Tower fire illustrates Britain’s symbolic order; the continued logic of colonialism, the disposability of working class lives, the marketisation of social provision and global austerity politics, and the negligence and malfeasance of multinational contractors. Exploring these topics and more, the contributors construct critical analysis from legal, cultural, media, community and government responses to the fire, asking whether, without remedy for multifaceted power and violence, we will ever really be ‘after’ Grenfell?
With poetry by Ben Okri and Tony Walsh, and photographs by Parveen Ali, Sam Boal and Yolanthe Fawehinmi. With contributions from Phil Scraton, Daniel Renwick, Nadine El-Enany, Sarah Keenan, Gracie Mae Bradley and The Radical Housing Network.
Edited by Vickie Cooper and David Whyte
Austerity, a response to the aftermath of the financial crisis, continues to devastate contemporary Britain. Unless we vote for a change in government, it’ll continue; austerity is over in name only.
Covering a range of famous cases of institutional violence in Britain, the book argues that police attacks on the homeless, violent evictions in the rented sector, the risks faced by people on workfare schemes, community violence in Northern Ireland and cuts to the regulation of social protection, are all being driven by reductions in public sector funding. The result is a shocking exposé of the myriad ways in which austerity policies harm people in Britain.
Edited by Antony Lerman
With a general election defined by party policies on immigration and Brexit, the notion of ‘belonging’, as both a political project and a human emotion, has never been more important. Since its foundation in 1957, the European Union has encouraged people across its member states to feel a sense of belonging to one united community, with mixed results. Today, faced with British departure from the EU, the fracturing impacts of the migration crisis, the threat of terrorism and rising tensions within countries, governments within and outside the EU seek to impose a different kind of belonging on their populations through policies of exclusion and bordering.
Do I Belong? offers fascinating insights into such questions as: Why fear growing diversity? Is there a European identity? Who determines who belongs? Is a single sense of ‘good’ belonging in Europe dangerous? This collection provides a unique commentary on an insufficiently understood but defining phenomenon of our age.
By Paolo Gerbaudo
From the movements behind Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in UK, the last decade has witnessed the rise of a new blueprint for political organisation: the ‘digital party’.
These new political formations tap into the potential of social media, and use online participatory platforms to include the rank-and-file. Paolo Gerbaudo looks at the restructuring of political parties in the time of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and campaigning based on Big Data. Drawing on interviews with key political leaders and digital organisers, he argues that the digital party is very different from the class-based ‘mass party’ of the industrial era.
By Richard Seymour
Why are the rich still getting away with it? Why is protest so ephemeral? Why does the left appear to be marginal to political life? In Against Austerity, author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, Richard Seymour challenges our understanding of capitalism, class and ideology, showing how ‘austerity’ is just one part of a wider elite plan to radically re-engineer society and everyday life in the interests of profit, consumerism and speculative finance.
But Against Austerity is not a gospel of despair. Seymour argues that once we turn to face the headwinds of this new reality, dispensing with reassuring dogmas, we can forge new collective resistance and alternatives to the current system.
By Jeremy Seabrook
Britain’s welfare state, one of the greatest achievements of our post-war reconstruction, was regarded as the cornerstone of modern society. Today, that cornerstone is wilfully being dismantled by a succession of governments, with horrifying consequences. The establishment paints pictures of so-called ‘benefit scroungers’; the disabled, the sickly and the old.
In Cut Out: Living Without Welfare, Jeremy Seabrook speaks to people whose support from the state – for whatever reason – is now being withdrawn, rendering their lives unsustainable. In turns disturbing, eye-opening, and ultimately humanistic, these accounts reveal the reality behind the headlines, and the true nature of British politics today.
Published in partnership with the Left Book Club.
By Rosie Walker and Samir Jeraj
Deregulation, revenge evictions, parliamentary corruption and day-to-day instability: these are the realities for the eleven million people currently renting privately in the UK. At the same time, house prices are skyrocketing and the generational promise of home ownership is now an impossible dream for many. This is the rent-trap: an inescapable consequence of Tory-led market-induced inequality.
Rosie Walker and Samir Jeraj offer the first critical account of what is really going on in the private rented sector and expose the powers conspiring to oppose regulation. A quarter of British MPs are landlords, rent strike is almost impossible and snap evictions are growing, but in the light of these hurdles The Rent Trap shows how to fight back.
Drawing on inspiration from movements in the UK, Europe and further afield, The Rent Trap coheres current experiences of those fighting the financial burdens, health risks and vicious behaviour of landlords in an attempt to put an end to the dominant narratives that normalise rent extraction and undermine our fundamental rights.
Published in partnership with the Left Book Club.
Edited by David Whyte
‘A game-changing book. It should be read by everyone’
– George Monbiot
Banks accused of rate-fixing. Members of Parliament cooking the books. Major defence contractors investigated over suspect arms deals. Police accused of being paid off by tabloids. The headlines are unrelenting these days. Perhaps it’s high time we ask: just exactly how corrupt is Britain?
David Whyte brings together a wide range of leading commentators and campaigners, offering a series of troubling answers. Unflinchingly facing the corruption in British public life, they show that it is no longer tenable to assume that corruption is something that happens elsewhere; corrupt practices are revealed across a wide range of venerated institutions, from local government to big business. These powerful exposés shine a light on the corruption fundamentally embedded in the current UK politics, police and finance.
All books available to buy from Pluto Press.