Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, takes a look at six new books of interest to ecosocialists — from pro-corporate “environmentalism” to the struggle of indigenous peoples in Latin America and the scramble for Africa’s natural resources.
The Lucky Galah
By Tracy Sorensen
279 pages, $29.99
The Lucky Galah is the first novel from Tracy Sorensen, tutor in media at Charles Sturt University, documentary maker and former Green Left Weekly journalist.
The novel is largely told from the perspective of a galah named Lucky. From her cage or perched on her owner’s shoulder, Lucky observes and narrates life with a degree of omniscience, yet lives life caged or restricted by clipped wings.
Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion & Defiance of Prince Charles
By Tom Bower
William Collins, 2018
Meghan: A Hollywood Princess
By Andrew Morton
Michael O’Mara Books, 2018
“Nobody knows what utter hell it is to be Prince of Wales,” whined Charles, the heir to the British throne.
All that handshaking and small talk is “an intolerable burden”, his never-right office temperature “makes my life so unbearable”, and first-class seats on commercial airflights are “so uncomfortable”.
The former British colony of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained its independence on August 31, 1957. However, this was based on a deal by the Malay elites represented by the conservative United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and Chinese and Indian capitalist classes with British colonialism. This deal preserved the privileges of the Malay elite.
Ten years earlier in 1947, a different vision of independence based on popular democratic participation and multi-ethnic solidarity came together in the “People’s Constitution”.
Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation & Critique
By Gareth Dale
246 pp., $33.88
As a well-known British socialist activist and an academic political economist, Gareth Dale is thus ideally placed to write about Karl Polanyi, writes Derek Wall.
Polanyi was a leading 20th century critic of the free market economics that crystallised into the neoliberal system that is now threatening our planet.
Heather Rogers has written a brilliant book about a very relevant topic given the current crisis in Australia over recycling.
Dissent didn’t obey strict decade-demarcation lines on Australian campuses in the radical 1960s, writes Sally Wood in Dissent: The Student Press in 1960s Australia.
Night Shift: 270 Factory Stories
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Los Angeles, 2015
360 pages, US$17.99
David Macaray’s enjoyable and readable Night Shift is an exquisite study of industrial work in a US manufacturing site between the mid-1970s and the mid-’90s. Being a marvel of industrial sociology, it avoids managerialism’s dehumanisation of factory workers — e.g. human resources (HR) and of management studies that turn into an academic research object.
Poisoning Our Children: The Parent’s Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides, shows there is plenty of peer-reviewed science finding monumental faults with pesticide use and regulation — science ignored by regulators.
The title of Adam Hochschild’s marvellous book on the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War is taken from French author Albert Camus’s requiem for that doomed struggle: “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts … It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and there are times when courage is not rewarded”.