books

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at a series of new books of interest for ecosocialists.

The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66
By Geoffrey B Robinson
Princeton University Press, 2018
429 pages

From October 1965 to mid-1966, one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century took place in Indonesia. Anywhere between 500,000 and more than 1 million people associated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were estimated to have been killed and more than 1 million others jailed, some for more than 3 decades, in an anti-leftist purge led by the Indonesian military.

Doug McEachern’s novel follows the progress and regress of the two friends living in the 1960s as “endless acrimonious debates over militancy” pepper their student group house in inner-city North Adelaide.

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
Picador
Sydney, 2018
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
Pluto, 2016
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.

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