The House That Jack Built: Jack Mundey, Green Bans Hero
By James Colman
NewSouth Publishing, 2016, 356 pages Reviewed by Phil Shannon Pavlovian hostility to construction industry unions and venom-flecked hatred of the environment movement is far from a new development amongst conservative commentators, notes James Colman (Sydney architect, urban planner and university lecturer) in his book, The House That Jack Built, on Jack Mundey, the 1970s New South Wales State Secretary of the Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) who originated the world’s first ‘green bans’ to save working class housing, historic buildings and urban bushland from the developers’ bulldozer.
Reviewed by Chris Slee Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami
Pluto Press 2016 London
May 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Despite some flaws, this book is a good introduction to the Syrian revolution. It explains why people protested against the Assad regime, and why many of them took up arms. It also shows how the initially non-sectarian popular uprising was increasingly converted into a sectarian conflict. The main flaws of the book relate to the role of Turkey, and of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in the struggle in Rojava (the predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria).
March 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following was a presentation given by Cuban scholar Olga Fernández Ríos at the launch of the Cuban edition of Michael Lebowitz' The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development at the Havana International Book Fair, February 15, 2015. It has been translated by Sean Seymour-Jones. Lebowitz will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15. * * * This timely book was previously published by Colección Debates Sobre Socialismo, Corporación Plataforma Nexos, Escaparate Ediciones, Chile, October 2012. Its author is a professor emeritus of economy from the Simon Fraser University of Canada. For us Cubans his work is very familiar and today we can recall many of his works: Beyond Capital: The Political Economy of the Working Class that received the Deutscher Prize in 2004 for the best and most innovative recent work of the Marxist tradition in the English-speaking world. This text was published in Cuba in 2008 by Editorial Ciencias Sociales. Likewise, in 2009 Editorial Ciencias Sociales published Socialism Doesn’t Fall From the Sky and in 2015 Ruth Casa Editorial and the Instituto Juan Marinello published The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted. More recently Lebowitz published The Socialist Imperative. On this occasion, we dealing a study that covers a very topical subject of interest to our country and for the Latin American context: the pertinence and existing possibilities for the development of socialism with a correct understanding of the process of socialist transition.