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Class War

Peter Green: Class War​ in Ancient Athens

19 April 2017
Democracy’s Slaves: A Political History of Ancient Greece 
by Paulin Ismard, translated by Jane Marie Todd.
Harvard, 188 pp., £25.95, January 2017, 978 0 674 66007 6
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... have been more different – bear eloquent witness. The tradition thus preserved became an extraordinarily persistent and pervasive legacy. It embodied all the social prejudices associated with a class of blue-blooded landowners, in particular their ingrained hierarchical outlook, rooted in agriculture and warfare, that nursed a withering contempt for those who soiled their hands with any kind of ...
25 July 1991
The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol I.: Regions and Communities 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 608 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25788 3
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The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol II.: People and Their Environment 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 392 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25789 1
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The Temper of the Times: British Society since World War​ Two 
by Bill Williamson.
Blackwell, 308 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 631 15919 3
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... of the ease with which its boundaries can be extended in almost any direction. Between social theory at one extreme, and antiquarianism at the other, lies a vast terrain which includes the history of class, religion, politics, gender, health, housing, education, leisure, sport, crime – and so on. The result is an increasingly diffuse school of studies which could easily break up into a mass of ...

Thou shalt wage class war

Gareth Stedman Jones

1 November 1984
Proletarian Philosophers: Problems in Socialist Culture in Britain 1900-1940 
by Jonathan Rée.
Oxford, 176 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 19 827261 8
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... Sometime in the late Sixties, I was invited, along with some senior socialist historians, to meet Bill Craik, a veteran and pioneer, so I was told, of independent working-class education. The intention was to find a practical means of honouring his work. I was taken to a tiny North London council flat, and there sitting in the middle of its cramped living-room, I ...
27 February 1992
Class WarA Decade of Disorder 
edited by Ian Bone, Alan Pullen and Tim Scargill.
Verso, 113 pp., £7.95, November 1991, 0 86091 558 1
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... clinking lianas, muted the defiant calligraphy that defaced these walls. Monster slogans in braille aimed at the wilfully blind. Demands. Complaints. Curses. This was not the work of a coven of ClassWar anarchists but the frantic message-in-a-bottle charter of humans at the end of their tether: marooned exiles who had nothing left beyond a collaboration with the masonry that held them prisoner ...
25 April 1991
The Progressive Dilemma: From Lloyd George to Kinnock 
by David Marquand.
Heinemann, 248 pp., £20, January 1991, 0 434 45094 4
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... In other words, like Toryism, it encourages them to obey. Similarly, the exclusive attitudes of Labourism, its denial of legitimacy to other progressive forces and its assumption that the ‘working class’ (by which is meant the trade-unionised working class) has a special virtue, and a special claim on society, has alienated many who might otherwise support a progressive politics. This explains the ...

Levity

Robert Crawford

20 August 2014
... panache, Operatic, fat, incessantly jumpy with static, Gralloching yourself, tearing yourself apart To hit back through lesions or drooled ferro-concrete bridges, Jokes and spread-betting, canals, class-war and bombs Flung by staunch hunger-strikers, polis of asbestos spit, Morphing into a stained-glassed, ran-dan, ram-stam disco Of theme-pub banks intact with mahogany counters, Gothic lavvies, high ...

The Story of Thaksin Shinawatra

Richard Lloyd Parry: Class War​ in Thailand

18 June 2014
... department, passing the time on tablets and smartphones. Thailand’s political crisis is a sorry tale of bad losers and a broken political system. But it is also an old-fashioned, 20th-century-style classwar. Above all, it concerns one of the great dilemmas of democracies: what to do about unacceptable politicians who, for all their obvious iniquities, are elected fair and square. Which is to say ...

Will-be-ism?

Nicolas Walter

27 February 1992
Demanding the impossible: A History of Anarchism 
by Peter Marshall.
HarperCollins, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 00 217855 9
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The Self-Build Book 
by Jon Broome and Brian Richardson.
Green Books, 253 pp., £15, December 1991, 1 870098 23 4
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... and Communism are dying, but old nationalism and racialism and older religious fundamentalism and fanaticism are being reborn, and even older despotism and gangsterism are as lively as ever. The Cold War is over, but the hot wars are getting hotter. As the world collapses into what is conventionally called ‘anarchy’, it may be worth taking more serious thought about alternatives to the way we ...

Over the Rainbow

Slavoj Žižek: Populist Conservatism

4 November 2004
... In Kansas and other states in the American heartland, economic class conflict (poor farmers and blue-collar workers versus lawyers, bankers, large companies) has been transposed into an opposition between honest, hard-working, Christian Americans on the one hand, and ...

Mao meets Oakeshott

John Lanchester: Britain’s new class​ divide

21 October 2004
Mind the Gap: The New Class​ Divide in Britain 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Short Books, 320 pp., £14.99, September 2004, 1 904095 94 1
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... paper, and wait for somebody to say something . . . and wait . . . and wait . . . It is in this context that Ferdinand Mount’s book Mind the Gap is so welcome. He has written an essay about class in which it is possible to disagree with almost every assertion and produce counter-examples for almost every fact, but which gives the strange, giddy-making sensation that there is a source of ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: False Intelligence

19 February 2004
... operatives and quietly passed along to newspapers in London and elsewhere.’ The BBC reported in November that the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who was one of the few to say before the war that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction, had urged MPs to hold a fresh inquiry into the use of intelligence before the war even started. He said that British intelligence had run a ...

Can the poor think?

Malcolm Bull: ‘Nervous States’

26 June 2019
Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World 
by William Davies.
Cape, 272 pp., £16.99, September 2018, 978 1 78733 010 8
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... wars were fought over stuck, until immigration finally did the trick, neatly combining the desire for cultural continuity with anxieties about labour-market competition, and dividing the working class along ethnic lines. Both Trump’s victory and the Brexit vote were primarily the work of affluent old people in coalition with poorer white voters. This is a novel coalition, especially in Britain ...

Can the poor think?

Malcolm Bull: ‘Nervous States’

26 June 2019
Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World 
by William Davies.
Cape, 272 pp., £16.99, September 2018, 978 1 78733 010 8
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... wars were fought over stuck, until immigration finally did the trick, neatly combining the desire for cultural continuity with anxieties about labour-market competition, and dividing the working class along ethnic lines. Both Trump’s victory and the Brexit vote were primarily the work of affluent old people in coalition with poorer white voters. This is a novel coalition, especially in Britain ...

Looking back

Hugh Thomas

7 July 1983
The Spanish Civil War 
by David Mitchell.
Granada, 208 pp., £9.95, December 1982, 0 246 11916 0
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... In a review, 22 years ago, of my history of the Spanish Civil War, Malcolm Muggeridge concluded that the one merit of the book was that no one would want to go into the disagreeable matter again. That proved over-optimistic. Since then, there has been a flood of ...

Office Parties

José Harris

10 May 1990
The Rise of Professional Society: England since 1880 
by Harold Perkin.
Routledge, 604 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 00890 5
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... the labour market, and honourable idleness is now segregated into that stretch of life known as retirement. Even strenuous pursuit of intellectual truth, at which some at least of the leisured class once excelled, is now no longer trusted and admired unless practised on a salary with a research assistant in a seat of higher learning. What does this paradoxical transformation signify, and how has ...

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