Ian Angus takes a look at five new books of interest to ecosocialists, looking at urban climate change, past mass extinctions, tropical rainforests, religious anti-science, and the end of Arctic ice. Angus is the editor of Climate and Capitalism, where this list first appeared, and author of the new book A Redder Shade of Green.
At Tsarskoe Selo, the Romanov monarchy’s palatial rural retreat where the former “Tsar of all Russia”, Nicholas II, was detained after being forced to abdicate by the February 1917 revolution, the once all-powerful autocrat found much to get annoyed about.
In particular, Nicholas disliked the military bands that serenaded him with rousing renditions of the anthem of liberation, The Marseillaise, and, with black humour, Chopin’s Funeral March.
Sound System: The Political Power of Music
Pluto Press Left Book Club, 2017
210 pp, $38.99
As a teenager, British writer and musician Dave Randall unwittingly attended a music festival in his home town where he heard the Special AKA sing “Free Nelson Mandela”. He experienced an epiphany.
“I had no idea who Nelson Mandela was,” he writes, “but I knew by the end of the first chorus I wanted him to be free.”
Creating Freedom: Power, Control & the Fight for our Future
By Raoul Martinez
Cannongate Publishing, Edinburgh
2016, 496 pages
“Free markets, free trade, free elections, free media, free thought, free speech, free will. The language of freedom pervades our lives, framing the most urgent issues of our time and the deepest questions about who we are and wish to be.”
One Song One Union
In August 2015, 97 wharfies employed by Hutchison Ports in Brisbane and Sydney awoke to emails and text messages informing them they were sacked. Not enough work to go around, the company said.
Within 24 hours, trade unionists had established community picket lines at both ports and the Maritime Union of Australia was in court seeking reinstatement orders. As news spread, supporters began making their way to the picket camps.
Women footballers in Australia, playing in the W-League, will receive a sizeable pay rise and improved employment conditions after a landmark collective bargaining agreement announced on September 11 between Football Federation Australia, W-League clubs and the players’ union, the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).
Miss Muriel Matters
ABC Books, 2017
In 1909, Muriel Matters planned to rain on the parade of King Edward VII to the ceremonial opening of parliament. She aimed to drop a shower of “Votes for Women” leaflets on his head from a chartered air balloon trailing streamers in the white, gold and green of the Women’s Freedom League (WFL).
Regular readers of Green Left Weekly will sometimes admit their favourite part of the paper is Carlo’s Corner, the semi-regular satirical column by comic writer and performer Carlo Sands.
In a paper filled with heavy and even gloomy topics, people appreciate the chance to laugh — especially at the seemingly all-powerful forces who presume to be our betters yet cause so much pain.
“No joke can change the world, or really anything at all,” Sands says, ahead of his stand up show Inspired? at the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival.
There were innumerable horrors committed by El Salvador’s right-wing death-squad government during the civil war that raged from 1980 to 1992. Alongside the peasants and workers killed or disappeared and the nuns raped, were the priests who were executed. The most sensational execution of all was the murder of Archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Romero, gunned down while celebrating mass.