A new Left Book Club will launch in the autumn with a list of high-quality political books aimed at a wide readership. Members will receive hot-off-the-press titles on the housing crisis, climate change, the European Union, new forms of protest, radical history and many other topical issues.
Today’s Left Book Club is being launched by a collective of activists, writers and trade unionists who have been building the LBC in partnership with the radical publisher Pluto Press. Politically non-aligned and not-for-profit, we believe, as did the organisers of the first Left Book Club in the 1930s, that books, and the discussion of ideas, are vital for the development of progressive politics in Britain.
Our first of four annual books will be Syriza: Escaping the Labyrinth, by Kevin Ovenden. It will be followed in 2016 with The Rent Trap, a book on the housing crisis by Samir Jeraj and Rosie Walker, and the award winning Here We Stand: Women Changing The World, edited by Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones.
Our aim is that members, who will pay £40 as an annual subscription, will discuss the books in reading groups, as did members of the first LBC, or through online forums.
- Heathcote Williams, playwright: ‘The Left Book Club is owed a huge debt as an intellectual mojo. It seems the most natural thing in the world to extend its lifespan.’
- Kate Smurthwaite , comedian and activist: ‘In a world of wall-to-wall airbrushed adverts, repetitive inane corporate messages and media distortion and sensationalisation it’s really important to be fighting back on the most basic battleground – the mental environment.’
- Marina Warner, writer: ‘An important, strong, timely idea’
- Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader: ‘We live in an age of crises – economic, social, ecological and political. It’s vital that we build a movement that can offer positive alternatives to a world of war, climate change and gross inequality. I support the Left Book Club.’
- Ken Livingstone: ‘I’m delighted to see the return of the Left Book Club. There’s no doubt it played a major part in the foundation of the welfare state, and even helped us win World War Two. We need an LBC now just as badly, to bring people together to read and talk about progressive politics at a time when our society is being fragmented by austerity. ‘