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Why Turkey is Authoritarian: From Ataturk to Erdogan

Halil Karaveli

June 2018

‘Karaveli offers us a new way of understanding one of the most important questions in Turkey today: why despite so much democratic promise, its fundamental political structure returns to authoritarianism again and again’ Suzy Hansen, author of Notes on a Foreign Country

‘Informative, authoritative, and reliable, Karaveli’s analysis should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand Turkey’s relentless retreat from democracy’ Ronald Grigor Suny, William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History, University of Michigan

For the last century, the Western world has regarded Turkey as a pivotal case of the ‘clash of civilisations’ between Islam and the West. Why Turkey is Authoritarian offers a radical challenge to this conventional narrative. Halil Karaveli highlights the danger in viewing events in Turkey as a war between a ‘westernising’ state and the popular masses defending their culture and religion, arguing instead for a class analysis that is largely ignored in the Turkish context.

This book goes beyond cultural categories that overshadow more complex realities when thinking about the ‘Muslim world’, while highlighting the ways in which these cultural prejudices have informed ideological positions. Karaveli argues that Turkey’s culture and identity have disabled the Left, which has largely been unable to transcend these divisions.

This book asks the crucial question: why does democracy continue to elude Turkey? Ultimately, Karaveli argues that Turkish history is instructive for a left that faces the global challenge of a rising populist right, which succeeds in mobilising culture and identity to its own purposes.



A Party with Socialists in It: A History of the Labour Left

by Simon Hannah, with an Introduction by John McDonnell

February 2018

‘A welcome corrective … This book astutely appraises British politics’ most important dissident tradition’ Guardian Book of the Day

‘Admirably clear-sighted’ George Eaton, New Statesman

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 the emergence of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s fate rests in the balance. Will they reconcile their internal divisions or split into obscurity?


Student Revolt: Voices of the Austerity Generation

by Matt Myers, with an Introduction by Paul Mason

October 2017

Selected ‘Best Political Books of 2017’ by OpenDemocracy

‘The student revolt represented a turning point in British politics. It was the first visible sign that austerity would meet resistance and, we hope, will eventually be reversed. … This important book captures a sense of the trajectory that leads us from Millbank in 2010 to Jeremy Corbyn today’ Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North

Whatever happened to the student revolt? In 2010 young people across Britain took to the streets to defy a wave of government attacks on education, increasing tuition fees, and cuts to grants for college students. Months of occupations, kettling and outbreaks of violence ensued, but to what effect? Today, students face new attacks on higher education from the current Conservative government.

Student Revolt tells the story of the year that introduced a generation to the  power of mass movement, through the voices of the people involved. Activists’, students’, university-occupiers’, young workers’ and politicians’ testimonies are woven together to create a narrative which starkly captures both the deep divisions as well as the intense energy that sprung from its actors.

The ‘Millbank Generation’ has since moved on – some fell into political inactivity – but many went on to explore different forms of politics, where they continue to fight. This book provides a poignant reminder of the revolt for today’s activists, as well as an opportunity to reflect on its many lessons.


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Sound System: The Political Power of Music

by Dave Randall

April 2017

*Shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2018*

‘There aren’t many books written by a rock and roll guitarist that kick off with Plato – but this is no standard rock treatise. Dave Randall has undertaken a deeply intelligent look at music and society and in particular pop’s tempestuous relationship with commerce which manifests itself as the god and the devil simultaneously. And what sort of musical world would we now live in if the theories of Cornelius Cardew had gained more traction? Thought provoking, readable and clever stuff’ Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music

‘This engaging, hugely readable book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the state of the world – and in the essential, life-affirming role music can play in changing it for the better’ Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

Musicians have often wanted to change the world. From underground grime artists to pop icons, many have believed in the political power of music. Rulers recognise it too. Music has been used to unsettle the most fundamental political and social conventions – and to prop up the status-quo. Sound System is the story of one musician’s journey to discover what makes music so powerful. Years of touring, playing and protesting have given Dave Randall a unique insider’s view of the music industry, enabling him to shed light on the secrets of celebrity, commodification and culture. He finds remarkable examples of music as a force of social change as well as something that has been used to keep people in their place throughout history. This is a book of raves, riots and revolution. From the Glastonbury Festival to the Arab Spring, Pop Idol to Trinidadian Carnival, Randall finds political inspiration across the musical spectrum and poses the question: how can we make music serve the interest of the many, rather than the few?


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A People’s History of the Russian Revolution

by Neil Faulkner

A People’s History of the Russian Revolution, written by one of the finest historians on the left, is a vital contribution to the debate over the legacy of the Revolution and an essential defence of the revolutionary experience’ John Newsinger, author of The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire

‘Vivid and readable … A valuable perspective on a world-shaking event’ Times Higher Education

The Russian Revolution may well be the most misunderstood event in modern history. In A People’s History of the Russian Revolution, Neil Faulkner sets out to debunk the myths. In this fast-paced introduction to tumultuous events, the Russian people are the heroes. Faulkner shows how a mass movement of millions, organised in democratic assemblies, mobilised for militant action, destroyed a regime of landlords, profiteers, and warmongers. Faulkner rejects caricatures of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as authoritarian conspirators, ‘democratic-centralists’, or the progenitors of Stalinist dictatorship. He argues that the Russian Revolution was an explosion of democracy and creativity – and that it was crushed by bloody counter-revolution and replaced with a monstrous form of bureaucratic state-capitalism. Laced with first-hand testimony, this history seeks to rescue the democratic essence of the revolution from its detractors and deniers, offering a perfect primer for the modern reader.




Here We Stand : Women Changing the World

Edited by Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones



Through a series of interviews and articles, 17 key British women campaigners talk intimately about the difficult and exhilarating nature of their work.

These women are dreaming of a better world. But they are not just dreamers. They have organised, marched on the streets, joined protest camps, opened refuges, blogged from war zones, and smashed up military equipment. They have gone undercover, lived in trees, stormed Parliament, and taken on the world’s
largest corporations. They have been sacked, attacked, psychologically abused, jailed, shot at, sued, deceived by police spies, and even disowned by their families. But still they keep dreaming; still they march on. And they are changing history. These original testimonies are uplifting, shocking and moving. They will rouse you, and encourage you to ask for more.

Contributors include: Franny Armstrong, Zoe Broughton, Skye Chirape, Eileen Chubb, Liz Crow, Kate Evans, Zita Holbourne, Shauneen Lambe, Sharyn Lock, Emma Must, Jasvinder Sanghera, Mary Sharkey, Helen Steel, Angharad Tomos, Anuradha Vittachi, Jo Wilding, Angie Zelter.

Originally published by Honno Press.


Cut Out: Living Without Welfare

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 he old.

In Cut Out, 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.

Jeremy Seabrook is a journalist and writer. He has written for the New StatesmanGuardianTimes and Independent. He writes plays for stage and TV and is the author of numerous books including Pauperland: Poverty and the Poor in Britain (Hurst, 2013) and The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh (Hurst, 2015).


The Rent Trap: How We Fell into It and How We Get Out of It

by Samir Jeraj and Rosie Walker

Deregulation, revenge evictions, parliamentary corruption and day-to-day instability: these are the realities for the nine million people currently renting privately in the UK. At the same time, house prices are skyrocketing and the generational promise of homeownership is now an impossib
le dream for many.

This is the rent trap, an inescapable consequence of free market-induced inequality. Samir Jeraj and Rosie Walker offer the first critical account of what is really going on in the private rented sector and expose the powers which are conspiring to oppose regulation. A quarter of British MPs are landlords, rent strike is almost impossible and snap evictions are growing. In the light of these hurdles The Rent Trap shows how people are starting 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.

Samir Jeraj is a journalist who specialises in housing and who previously worked as a city councilor. His work has appeared in the Guardian, New Statesman and New Internationalist. He has carried out investigations on the bedroom tax, crisis financial support and drone warfare.

Rosie Walker was a journalist for ten years before turning to social policy research. She has written about education for the IndependentRed Pepper and The Big Issue, and she has worked as a press officer for War on Want.



Being Red: A Politics for the Future 

by Ken Livingstone 


How should the left govern? In the wake of a huge surge of interest in the Labour Party, Ken Livingstone serves up an insider’s account of the party and its future, at a pivotal moment in its history.

At a time when many are now looking to
revive Labour’s potential, Livingstone has form. His account takes us from the self-proclaimed ‘radical socialism’ of the Greater London Council, to his controversial independent candidacy that saw him branded as ‘dangerous’ by the Blairites, to the political battles against privatisation and pollution that characterised his time as Mayor. At each point he suggests possible lessons for those who would seek to follow, or improve, on his achievements today.

Following Livingstone’s years at the head of the GLC, his two terms as London Mayor, and the head to head sparring with Boris Johnson, Being Red offers a clear-sighted study of the left’s possibilities and limitations, with reflections on the current state of the Labour Party and a look into its future.

Ken Livingstone is a British politician who has twice held the leading political role in London regional government. He served as the Leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the Council was abolished in 1986, and then as the first elected Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. He also served as MP for Brent East from 1987 to 2001. His autobiography, You Can’t Say That, was published by Faber & Faber in 2011.


Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth

by Kevin Ovenden

Kevin Ovenden provides us with a sharp analysis of the political events leading to Syriza storming to power in 2015 and also follows the course of their first hundred days in office. Explaining the origins of the turbulent nature of Greek politics, the book provides an overview of the birth of the Communist and workers’ movements through occupation, civil war, military coup, and the rise and fall of Pasok. It discusses the persistence of radical anti-capitalist forces in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to Greece’s confrontation today with ‘Merkelism’ and the crushing demands of the Troika.

Ovenden also examines the country’s history of far right movements, focusing on the nexus between Golden Dawn, the ‘deep state’ and the traditional right. With imminent political ruptures in mind, he investigates the structure and prospects of Syriza and its key components.


Taking time to reflect on the powerful moment in January 2015, the book then concludes with strategic questions of where to go from here. Ovenden emphasises that this historical moment is full of hope: Syriza aims to provide a new future for workers across Europe, an exit from the neoliberal labyrinth.

Kevin Ovenden is a long-standing progressive journalist, writer and activist who has followed Greece’s politics and social movements for twenty-five years. A leading activist in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, he led five successful aid convoys to break the siege on Gaza, and was aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship when Israeli commandoes boarded it killing ten people in May 2010.

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