writers

How do you award radicalism? A sympathetic critique of the Bread and Roses award - Luigi Russi

Political pamphlet

The traditional format followed by the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Writing is problematic in its tolerance for hierarchies, of pedigree and knowledge, especially given its progressive aspiration to showcase radical political non-fiction. Perhaps, it's time for a radical rethink of this new book award.

One way of being a radical is to stay awake to the contradictions of the everyday, as you live through them. And let those speak in a way that makes them apparent and open for scrutiny and conscious decision-making.

On working class fiction

Detail from the cover of Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

In this essay from 2011, novelist DD Johnston presents a communist analysis of the definition and purpose of working class fiction.

Last week, for the second time in my life, I found myself agreeing with Margaret Thatcher. The first time was many years ago, in the mid-1980s, when Thatcher was briefly my hero. I was a timid child, who suffered from a speech impediment, and it had never occurred to me that free school milk was in any way optional.

Working class literature - reading guide

POUM members reading during the Spanish Civil War.

Libcom.org's reading guide on literature with a focus on work and accurate representations of working class life, culture and resistance to power.

American

Alfred Bester

  • The Stars My Destination - In a world where transportation is possible with a thought, prisoners break free, economies crash and the slums emptied. Gully Foyle is marooned in space with a material that could destroy the universe. He has to give it away, but to who?

Against prison studies without capitalism: "The strange career of The New Jim Crow" - Joseph D. Osel

In this analysis Osel provides a devastating and radical analysis of The New Jim Crow discourse. He asks social justice advocates to take a stand against prison studies that do not include an analysis of capitalism and reflects on the significance of the "counterrevolutionary protest" in social justice work, describing how social justice advocates "sustain societal problems even while challenging them." His essay challenges anti-prison activists and others to observe and analyze "their own complicity with and legitimization of the structures that they seek to dismantle."

“The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws.

Joke Kaviaar, activist/ publicist, under attack by Dutch state - solidarity needed

Joke Kaviaar, put on trial by Dutch authorities for speaking out

Joke Kaviaar, writer/ poet/ anarchist/activist, had been put on trial by the Dutch state for íncitement against public order'. The charge is based on four articles she wrote and published on het website, in which she strongly criticized the oppression, detention and deportation of migrants/ refugees/ people without papers, and called for active resistance aganist these policies

Joke Kaviaar, writer/ poet/ anarchist/activist, had been put on trial by the Dutch state for íncitement against public order'. The charge is based on four articles she wrote and published on het website, in which she strongly criticized the oppression, detention and deportation of migrants/ refugees/ people without papers, and called for active resistance against these policies.

Samuel Beckett's MOLLOY

How do we understand MOLLOY? Bourgeois professors would have you believe that Beckett's prose concentrated on telling us how meaningless life is.

Wobbly times number 160

Of course, we all end up dead. What's the point?

Freedom must be saved

The potential closure of an iconic publication such as ‘Freedom’ is an absolute travesty, and would be in whatever circumstances that it may have arisen. However, the reasons for which it found itself in such a perilous financial state makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

Freedom was founded in 1886 by a group of volunteers, and despite format changes, is still in publication today, 125 years from when it first appeared. Freedom has been written and edited by some of the most legendary figures in the movement, and has a well-deserved reputation.

Towards a futurology of the present - Marco Cuevas-Hewitt

Marco Cuevas-Hewitt outlines an emerging practice amongst radical writers; one entailing an attentiveness to intimations of alternative futures arising in the present. This "futurology of the present", as he calls it, represents a significant break with the hackneyed jeremiads and manifestos of earlier political generations, which limit themselves either to a simple negation of the present or to the authoritarian prescription of an idealised future. Delving into questions around the role of artists and writers in social movements and wider society, Cuevas-Hewitt's goal is a re-imagining of radical politics and a re-tooling of radical writerly practice.

‘Tomorrow never happens, man’ – Janis Joplin[1]

The Detective Novel by João Bernardo

Detective Novel and the Thriller

An original thought-provoking essay on the Detective Novel and in particular the thriller, as regards action and isolation by Joao Bernardo translated from the Portuguese.

The Detective Novel
By João Bernardo.

(Translated from the Portuguese by Phil Meyler)

1. The Action.

Common's luck - a film on Jack Common by John Mapplebeck

Jack Common

Jack Common wrote brilliant novels, film scripts and essays of radical social comment, all rooted in his early 20th century working class Geordie upbringing. Later a friend of George Orwell, he led a life of literary obscurity and persistent material poverty, but left us some of the most perceptive commentary and description of working class life of his time. His novels (or, more accurately, autobiographies in novelistic form) also offer some of the best recollections of life unfolding through the eyes of a child.

"[i]John Mapplebeck's film Common's Luck begins with a letter seeking employment written by Willy Kiddar, a thinly-veiled self-portrait of the young Jack Common. Tom Pickard's readings from Kiddar's Luck form part of the narrative of the film.