Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ride the Elephant Or the Pony?

Will the Left Continue Business as Usual?

Over half a million protesters in D.C.  Hundreds of thousands in Chicago, LA & New York and many other U.S. cities.  On Friday, 6,000 protesters led by a coalition of leftist forces demonstrated in Minneapolis. In St. Paul between 50,000 and 90,000 came out on Saturday in a somewhat vague parade - the biggest demonstration in Minnesota history.  Many, especially women, have spoken.

What do they have to be afraid of?
Obviously something has changed, and it is not just another Republican administration coming into office.  The gloves are off.  The mask over capital has dropped. The facade of ‘reasonableness,’ compromise, bi-partisanship and process is done, even if this is not apparent to the majority of the Democratic Party bureaucrats and politicians or the corporate media.  These people now and in the past have been collaborators, and in a war, what happens to collaborators?

As they have done a dozens of times before, the corporate politicians will attempt to lead this struggle into their normal channels.  Democratic politicians tried to hop on these protests as if they were some kind of vanguard.  Vote for us!  Organize for 2020!  Don’t have a class view!  Let’s unite against Trump and think about nothing else!  When actually the Democrats 'foamed the runway' for the Trump Zeppelin to land.  The failures of Obama and Clinton in regard to the working class led to this.

What is the Left going to do in this new situation?  I mean the real Left, not the professional strata of middle-class progressives who are allies of capital.  Will the Left do the same old thing they have been doing for years?  Which has gotten us into a position of being a minor irritant on a national scale?  Probably, as the cynics like to say. 

Caligula Prepares to Rule
What is apparent to everyone is that unity is needed.  But a unity with the Democratic Party apparatus, the graveyard of progressives, is fatal. This has been proved in the past.  It is the role of the actual Left to create an alternative pole of attraction.  Can they do it?

From history, certain U.S. left groups ride high for a short while, but cannot make the turn to a mass organization.  They mostly exist as a 'kernel' of knowledge, skills and organization, but the seed never sprouts.  Some groups remain stuck on one tactic, like marches.  Nor am I talking about short-lived ‘united fronts’ for one event, such as happened on Friday, though these are a start.  A real united front lasts longer than a day.

Two attempts at ‘unity’ have been made in the recent past.  Sanders is the most obvious example of an attempt to create a ‘progressive’ faction “Tea” Party in the Democrats. (‘Occupy the Democrats’ is their fantasy.)  Riffing on this, smaller forces around the Communist Party and their periphery and their splits are calling for left ‘unity’ - including the Democrats as part of their strategy.   DSA is a prime mover in this as well, given they have had a 50+ year policy of deep entry into the Democrats.  This reflects outfits linked to the Working Families Party in New York, which endorses Democrats regularly but claims to be independent.  

However, as the re-election of Pelosi and Schumer and the coming defeat of Ellison have shown, this is not in the cards.  The reason is the capitalist controllers of the Democratic Party cannot afford to lose to some kind of ‘democratic socialist’ strain, which would be like mixing oil and water.  This is unlike the Tea-Party, which was a pro-small business strata in a large-business controlled Republican Party, essentially mixing thicker oil with thinner oil.  They are not equivalent struggles, class-wise.  No more than Trump or Pence are really enemies.

The other example was a meeting in Chicago last year of Socialist Alternative, the Green Party, the International Socialists, Black Agenda Report and others to form some kind of ‘left block’ independent of the Democrats.   The middle-class Green Party has recently adopted ‘eco-socialism’ according to reports, so this is a significant move to the left.  Something like this effort is what we need as far as unity, but now obviously on a far larger scale. 

I’m not exactly sure how a formation will come about – whether unity among left groups and publications can lead to unity among broader anti-capitalist forces, leading to unity with some unions, community groups and indigenous tribes to form a broad anti-capitalist class front.  But this coming together is the only thing that will create a pole of attraction.  Otherwise this movement will get co-opted again by the liberal corporate Democrats. (Again!). McGovern, Jesse Jackson, Obama … all paths to the graveyard of real change, and doorways to the ultra-right.

This process has to start with the most conscious forces and people on the left.

Anti-capitalist groups and socialist groups need to come together to develop a 10-15 point program that covers broad interests.  They need to block together in a permanent united front, still allowing for organizational freedom within the block.  They should embrace both legal and illegal tactics, electoral and non-electoral methods, allowing work in unions, workplaces, community organizations, cooperatives, the streets – anywhere possible.  They need to put aside certain personality conflicts, small group mentalities, cynicism and sectarianism – a tall order!  “Single issue” organizations need to re-evaluate how their issue is connected to every other left issue.   

A permanent block can become a pole of attraction drawing more and more organizations and members into a larger and larger force – something the left has not had since the 1930s and 1940s.  It can challenge the pro-capitalist attitudes of some community organizations.  It can suck working class voters out of identifying with the Democrats and Republicans and bring allegiance by unions.  A mass-based labor/populist party may come about as the result of these efforts, but at this time most unions are still in the camp of the Democrats.  Even in the 1960s and 1970s organizations could not unite to oppose the capitalist system.  Yet without nation-wide and even international weight, you cannot beat these people.  So the question is, do you want to beat these people?

Actually, capital is in worse shape now than it was in that period.  The planet is in worse shape.  “Democracy” is showing that it is not.  A ‘modern’ corporate state that takes off the mask in such a vicious way shows its own fragility.  The corporate overlords are actually weaker than they appear.  A world-wide endgame is even visible over the horizon – an endgame that can go one of two ways – to barbarism or to what some people call socialism, but not the kind of socialism that has been seen in the past. 

‘Workers of the world unite’ is not just a slogan for other people. If you think your group or single struggle is sufficient, look at history.  Until it is combined with millions of people, it won’t suffice, as most of us know.  It certainly hasn’t so far.  

P.S. - Counterpunch had an article on the large march in D.C. on Saturday by a European leftist feminist.  Not sure it's true but it certainly captures the culture of part of the event.  The truth will be in the organizational results of the event.  She said that:  "The pussy hat symbolises the desire to be political without actually engaging in anything political whatsoever."  

Red Frog
January 28, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Revolutionary Humanism

"Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism,” by David Harvey, 2014

Every contradiction doesn’t end in crisis or a final crisis, but the more contradictions an economic system has, the more chances for failure, just as a sick man with 3 or 17 diseases is in trouble.  Harvey here wants to concentrate on economic issues, but that still leaves much room for elaboration.  He names 3 different levels of contradiction that capital is subject to – 7 foundational; 7 that move around and 3 that are dangerous and perhaps fatal.  If this seems unnecessarily complicated and perhaps unfocused, Harvey’s response would be that society is far more complicated now than it was in the past, so lets not ‘dumb it down.’  Radicals cannot win through simplicity, he argues.

Count 'Em!
For instance, the prime contradiction that many Marxists focus on – between capital and labor – he includes as one among 7 ‘foundational’ ones.  What is subsequently missing from his analysis is the role the working class plays in withdrawing its labor as a form of fundamental power, or as the source of all use values.  (In addition, his idea of the working class is limited to factory workers…)  Nearly every person works most of their life, so ‘labor’ becomes central to anyone’s life experience.  However, as Harvey points out - debt, money, technology, markets, private property, the state, the division of labor, nature, growth, alienation and uneven geographic development all play roles.  Labor (and nature) produce surplus value, and can be considered as the ‘foundation’ of ANY profits.  But capitalists also gouge the working class when they go home from work through mortgages, fees, taxes, interest, apartment rents, monopoly prices and other methods of accrual in the circulation of capital. These subtleties are Harvey’s main contribution. 

Harvey calls himself a ‘revolutionary humanist’ while citing Marx frequently, so he is essentially attempting to separate himself from any identification with ‘socialism’ as a term, perhaps due to its past associations.  He advocates an ‘anti-capitalist’ movement at present and scatters suggestions throughout the book about how to resist.

This book is especially useful to any autodidact for a broad analysis of capital.  It is not written in a congested academic style, so is somewhat easy to read.  I am not going to list every contradiction, but I am going to indicate some of Harvey’s better (or worse) insights:

  1. Money will have to be gradually eliminated in a post-capitalist society, which will happen as more and more values are socialized and exchange becomes increasingly based on sharing or potlach. He suggests a quasi-monetary form of money that ‘disappears’ after a certain time… as numbers in a bank account for instance.
  2. Money is now created out of thin air by the central banks, as a form of fictitious capital, which shows the central role of the state in the present maintenance of capital.  This is part of its two main roles under capital, the other being the application of force.
  3. ‘Intellectual property’ is at present key to capital’s attempt to privatize everything, including DNA, seeds, human and animal life, ideas etc.
  4. Neither full centralization nor decentralization will be optimal for a post-capitalist society.  Certain functions will have to lean to one or the other.  Under capital, sometimes decentralization allows centralized control.
  5. Harvey thinks that if you could remove the control of money from the state, then its monopoly over violence would also be weakened or ended.  This idea suggests a peaceful transition to post-capitalism.
  6. Illegal activities – drugs, slavery, guns & sex trafficking, tax evasion, theft, usury, corruption, fraud and price fixing, Ponzi schemes or market manipulation – are all integral to the functioning of capital, yet are not included in official statistics or theory.  “Dispossession” is at the heart of capital, no matter its method, legal or illegal.
  7. “Between equal rights, force decides.”  - Marx.
  8. Simple nationalization and worker co-operatives ultimately fail because they are still embedded in the web of capital’s contradictions.
  9. Capital must circulate or die – which is why the present speed of circulation has increased, especially given its technological and world-wide reach.  “Fast fashion,” tech ‘upgrades,’ commodity fetishes, planned obsolescence and disposability are all essential to capital.  Excessive amounts of ‘fixed’ capital (buildings, highways, ports, stadiums) threaten this circulation, which is why they have to be destroyed or replaced frequently.
  10. Harvey spends a lot of time on the need for local workers to be paid ‘well’ so they can buy goods.  Credit has been a substitute for many years.  However, he ignores the imperial project, which markets itself to a world-wide middle class instead, undermining the 'pay' argument.
  11. Technological innovation is part of the ‘creative destruction’ implicit in capital – though different classes are subject to two sides of this equation.  Robotization - and computers are really robots - is a weapon in the class struggle, increasing the pace of labor and unemployment.  Robots and tech improvements will never increase overall employment under capital - only the reverse.
  12. Harvey does not believe that military conflicts arise out of capital’s contradictions. (!)  He does not explain why wars happen. (!)
  13. ‘Competition’ is the central liberal economic myth about capital.  Monopoly / oligopoly is foundational to actual capital. 
  14. De-centralized, ‘local’ focus and tactics by anti-capitalists have left the ‘macro level almost bare of oppositional powers. The essential organizational and political weakness of the U.S. Left is here revealed.
  15. Capital creates its own environment and space and over-accumulation funds the perpetual re-organization of production of environments.  Harvey points out that capital moves its failings around so as not to make them obvious.  Can you say Detroit and Sheffield?  The urban ‘spectacle’ is its replacement.
  16. Advanced capital in general will support multiculturalism as long as it does not threaten labor control and basic class inequality. 
  17. Living off non-productive capital (financialization) will ultimately lead to a severe crisis of the system.
  18. Education and free time beyond a certain level for the masses of people threatens capital.  “The ‘human capital’ theory … is certainly one of the weirdest widely accepted economic ideas that could be imagined.” 
  19. Everyday life is being monetized as household labor is being replaced by market-based transactions.
  20. One of capital’s greatest tricks is to get people to create content on the internet for free, then monetize their work.
  21. “Compound growth” is impossible under capital.  Harvey sees this as key to capital’s ultimate crisis, although he thinks no crisis is inevitable and that human action is key.  Capital can postpone this crisis with ‘disaster capitalism,’ wars or depressions and further privatization of the public and personal spheres.
  22. ‘Conscience laundering’ is another name for the application of charity, or the personal effect of the ‘charity-industrial’ complex, ala Bill Gates and company.
  23. Harvey vacillates over whether nature is in such straights as to be a threat to capital.  He seems to be very vague on the effects of global warming.
  24. Harvey thinks that human alienation from capital will ultimately prod people to revolt and perhaps overthrow this system.  This alienation is increasing across the globe, especially among younger people.
Again, another long list, but my purpose here is not so much to write some elegant summation, but to provide specifics that can be used in debates on the Left about the future of capital. 

Other books by Harvey reviewed below:  Rebel Citiesand The Enigma of Capital.  There are many other reviews on books about capitalism. Use search box, upper left.

And for those of you who like to watch:  Harvey talking about this book on YouTube:

And I bought it at Mayday Books!
Red Frog
January 22, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What they Never Talk about on MLK Day:

“Orders to Kill – The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” by William F. Pepper, foreword by Dexter Scott King, 1995 (a reprise)

This book cracks the case of the assassination of Martin Luther King, which mainstream reporters have never bothered to do.  It is the powerful result of a 20-year legal search for information and facts carried out by Pepper, James Earl Ray’s defense attorney.  It names the assassin – who is now dead and was a sergeant of the Memphis police department, a sharp-shooter named Earl Clark.

The Truth About the Assassination
Pepper describes how the secret services set up Ray as the assassin – luring Ray to Memphis for a gun deal, then renting a hotel room for him across from the Lorraine Motel, then dropping a bag with a decoy weapon on the street outside.  The CIA contact was called "Raul" and got Ray cars, money, a pass out of Canada, and the gun.  And like the Kennedy assassination, a gun that had no relation to the one that killed King.  How the real murder rifle was stashed at a coffee shop, Jim’s Grill, across from the Lorraine Motel and picked up by Clark, who went out the back door.  This restaurant was owned by Loyd Jowers, who was later a defendant in the civil case and testified to this on TV.  How King’s room was mysteriously changed to the second floor of the Lorraine for a better shot, from a protected internal room.   

How King was also triangulated by military sharpshooters and police on two high buildings around the motel as described by participants, in case the first shooter missed. Military photographers were present on a water tower, but their photos were never made public. This evidence further confirms the role of the deep-state in ordering King’s execution.  Witnesses describe someone in the row of bushes in the empty lot across from the Lorraine – a direct shot and the perfect place for the main shooter.  How this key hedge behind which Clark stood was cut down the day after the murder to make the official story work better.  Branches were also cleared that blocked the view from the ostensible shooter Ray's high window in the flophouse hotel at the end of the block.  How they tried to get Ray to escape from prison so he could be shot and stop proclaiming his innocence as a patsy.

A civil jury acquitted Ray of the crime, but the award was ignored by the U.S. propaganda apparatus.  The King family believes that Ray never shot King, and they have also been ignored.  Multiple witnesses in this book admit to being part of the conspiracy or knowing who shot King, or heard someone giving orders to do the shooting.  CIA/NSA people were caught in a photo coming down off the wall across from the motel – the location from which Earl Clark shot King.  At the Lorraine Hotel balcony, a military intelligence officer was kneeling over King a minute after the shooting checking his pulse.  Some shooters and conspirators were tied to the mob of Carlos Marcello – the same pattern that was used in the Kennedy assassinations.  One contract offered to the Mob to do the shooting was put out by the FBI.  Essentially this was the same MO and personnel (Raul was seen in Dallas) as the hits on the Kennedy brothers by the same security/military faction inside the government.  The hand of the deep state that still rules. 

Assassination is the chosen method of the death squads trained by the U.S. in Latin America, Africa, and as we can see here, even in the U.S. It is used against leftists primarily, but any opponent of the U.S. At present U.S. JSOC commandos carry out extra-judicial assassinations in many countries across the globe.  

King was killed because he had become a larger threat – adding opposition to the Vietnam War and capitalism and support for strikers to his anti-racist and anti-Jim Crow methods.  He was no cuddly ‘father’ who wanted everyone to shout kumbaya about ‘dreams,’ as the U.S. propaganda system declares to this day.  The FBI under Hoover considered him a Communist; most newspapers denounced him; Johnson himself played a double-game and after the Vietnam comments, opposed him.  He was marked for death, as he himself knew.  Ray himself had no grudge against King.  It wasn’t some racist cracker who killed him, it was the racist cracker capitalist system. 

This post is based on an earlier post from January 20, 2015.

Other reviews below re: assassination:  The Strange Death of Paul Wellstone,' "They Killed the Our President”  and "The Devils Chessboard."

A new book by Pepper has just come out.  Here is an excellent review:

Rare copies of "Order To Kill" book are still at Mayday - I think.  Get them while you can.

Red Frog
January 15, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

What’s In a Name?

"Anthropocene or Capitalocene? – Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism,” edited by Jason W. Moore, 2016

This book makes a good argument for Marxists and environmentalists to call the present bio-historical period the Capitalocene, not the Anthropocene. This would be a replacement for the Holocene, the name of the prior geologic period.  The Anthropocene has been embraced by the majority of scientists and even some Marxists, and is soon to be official.  Essentially the argument is that it is capitalism which has created a rift in the natural structure of the world, not generic humans or ‘human nature.’  The latter description (anthro Latin for ‘human’) leads to putting the onus on the Promethean ‘human,’ not a specific form of production.  This leads to a solution of either the deep-ecology perspective - returning to some neo-primitive hunter-gatherer world - or to reckless geo-engineering or insufficient tech fixes, all favored by pro-capitalist scientists and governments.  Or complacency, as ‘its only human – nothing you can do here.’ 

What Is the Anthropocene Hiding?
As James Hansen noted in the current issue of ‘Rolling Stone,’ even the pro-capitalist environmentalist Al Gore thinks the global warming question is well on the way to being solved.  This in spite of the fact that there have been almost indistinguishable differences between carbon production under U.S. Democratic or Republican administrations. After all, under it capital remains the same.

This book itself was probably constructed as a ‘call for papers.’  If you know a bit of how academics work, they submit papers they have usually already written, attempting to fit it into the new theme.  This sometimes results in submissions that have little to do with the topic, sometimes hilariously.  The first two essays in this book actually focus on humans as the main source of the problem.  The first is a jeremiad against the term ‘anthro,’ basically supporting anarchist/deep ecology environmental politics, with only a tiny caveat rejecting that position.  The second is a lyrical, impressionistic name-dropping riff that mentions capitalism only once, yet claiming the term ‘capitalocene’ for herself.

Moore’s essay gets to the heart of the matter, tracing the history of how capitalism has severely reshaped the environment since the birth of ‘merchant’ capital in the 1500s. Massive deforestation across Europe, mass profit-based agriculture like sugar plantations, crude mining (Potosi, Peru), using humans like animals, animal exterminations – all got their start in that period.  Coal and industrialism were not the actual beginning points, only later qualitative developments.  He focuses on the term ‘cheap nature’ to describe the profitable uses of nature by capital, which is never ‘costed’ in any private accounting balance sheet.  Marx pointed out in 1875 in the ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’ that labor AND nature are the sources of all wealth, something that capitalism still has not grasped in the year 2017 – and never will.  The era of cheap nature is coming to an end and with it, a severe restriction of capitalist profits based on cheap nature.  This is part of the reason for economic stagnation in the productive sphere.  Moore also attacks Cartesian (and religious) mind/body dualism as an idealist ideological tool that allowed nature to be treated as something separate from humans.  In addition, Moore supplements Marx’s focus on the exploitation of wage labor by adding the exploitation of unpaid work (slavery and women at home) and unpaid nature (cheap nature.)

The 4th essay by Justin O’Brien attempts to introduce the term “Necrocene” (necro, Latin for ‘death’) as the name of the present period, due to the deadly effects of capitalist ‘growth’ and profit demands on planetary systems. It is not ‘creative destruction’ – it is plain destruction. This name seems somewhat diversionary, but perhaps serves only as an emphasis.  O’Brien details the long-running extinction of animal and plant life, the destruction of forests and pollution of rivers; the killing of people through slave and virtual slave labor; the introduction of radioactive particles into the very fabric of cells – though not also mentioning plastics, chemicals, pesticides and drugs that get in our bodies through the water supply. He details how the ‘evolutionism’ of Darwin and early bourgeois scientists had to take into account revolutionary ‘breaks’ in the fossil records, as discovered by Cuvier.  So by the 1970s there was a natural sciences consensus that capitalism’s managerial skills could not control planetary-wide negative-values.  In essence, the natural ‘debt’ was and is unpayable at this point, and slow, evolutionary change is not on the agenda. 

The 5th essay by Elmar Altvater is another short argument against technological ‘fixes’ like geo-engineering, similar to that found more extensively in Naomi Klein’s book, “This Changes Everything.”  He points out that the ‘fix’ resembles the ‘problem,’ as Einstein once remarked.  Capital is not merely an economic or social process, but re-shapes geography to do its bidding as well.  Engels pointed out in 1883 in the “Dialectics of Nature” that natural and social processes are a ‘dialectical totality.’  Hence, capital’s effect on nature is a unitary subject, as is its proposed ‘solutions.’ Beware.

This essay looks more at the final culmination of the Capitalocene – global warming - though overall global warming receives scant attention in this collection.  As I said in prior reviews and essays, humans on a world scale may be able to live on the basis of the living standards and some of the technology of the 1940s in the U.S.  Interestingly, scientists agree the rising line of global warming starts about 1940 as well, at the beginning of WWII.  The description of the Capitalocene by Moore and Altvater have it starting in the 1500s.  Moore does not detail the qualitative change of global warming that occurred later.  Anthropocene adherents date it’s beginnings to 1800, based on the steam engine or coal – i.e. a technology-based argument.

Altvater points out that nature and human life do not work in the same way as capital, so the rift between the two only grows.  The dialectical conclusion is that one or the other must die.  Nature and capital are at loggerheads; labor and capital are at loggerheads.  He elucidates that even if external costs were internalized in private accounting systems, many costs to the environment cannot be priced. This is why a ‘carbon tax’ as proffered by Hansen / / Gore is insufficient.   

The 6th essay by Hartley starts by listing the 5 major flaws in the theories of the Anthropocene as advanced by capitalist-oriented scientists:  It is exclusively human-centered; it is technology-centered; it is historically determined, positivist and apolitical, i.e. ignoring labor and capital. Hartley explores each one of these, based on Moore’s essay and his own inputs, especially concentrating on the role of racist and sexist capitalist culture.  His use of culture is valuable as an analysis of capital but seems a bit off-base in relation to the main issue, as if an earlier essay was grafted onto a newer introduction. 

The last essay by Parenti concentrates on the role of the capitalist state in responding to ‘weather’ emergencies. This reflects the fact that the national territorial state will need to respond to the Capitalocene to protect its corporations and businesses, which seems to be a given.  He declares that the state is an ‘inherently environmental entity.’  How this explains imperialist un-‘territoriality’ as embodied in hundreds of U.S. military bases around the world, international drone strikes, surveillance satellites, the internet, the U.N, the U.S. Air Force and Navy, world-wide imperialist production and mining site or JSOC assassination squads is not addressed.  Not sure again what this has to do with the main issue unless you are absolutely unaware of the relation between capital and its state. Again, another essay grafted onto the main topic. 

All together a partially-useful collection that makes a point all leftists should hear.  

Relevant reviews that directly relate to this subject matter below:  The Sixth Extinction,”This Changes Everything,” “Ubiquity,” “Reason in Revolt,” & “Collapse.” 

And I bought it at Mayday Books!
Red Frog
January 8, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Angel of Capitalist Mercy

“White Trash,” fiction by John King, 2001, with new introduction, 2016

King specializes in tracking the lives or working class people in England, similar to what Ken Loach does in film, except perhaps in a rougher way.  This book was written to defend the National Health System – NHS – a great gain of the British labor movement which is now under attack.  King is not explicitly political but his themes of class conflict are present here in spades.

Don't Go To the Hospital!
The basic plot is that a perfectionist technocrat, Mr. Jeffreys, is put in charge of a large NHS hospital.  We only later discover this ostensibly ‘kind’ man is really a cruel proto-fascist.  King compares him to the attitude of a happy-go-lucky working class nurse, Ruby, who is the counter to Jeffreys, who is the heroine of this book. Ruby works in the hospital doing the work of what looks like a nurse’s aide, not a nurse.  Which made me think that perhaps King does not have much familiarity with actual nurse’s work.  King also describes the lives of 4 working class people that mysteriously die while in this hospital.  One of the patients who dies is a taxi driver who looks like a ‘thug’ but loves his family and takes good care of them; another is an old man who was a leftist union activist; another, a working-class lesbian; a fourth, working-class gay man.  All seem to share the aspect of being rejects from polite society. Their deaths would seem to impact the ‘death’ statistics of any hospital’s records, and would attract suspicion.    

King’s themes of being against police, making fun of middle-class people and their habits and defending the British working class ‘yobs, hooligans, thugs, chavs, cockneys, scousers, spivs, bumpkins, cider-drinkers’ are all here.  The book contains well-written lyrical, almost poetic passages.  And the book also veers into melodrama and schmaltzy sacchariness at times in its attempt to portray these folks in a bright light, especially in long italicized sentences that run on for paragraphs.  The book even has a happy ending…! 

King is one of the few authors mining this field of writing, coming out of a history of anarchist politics and music in England, and is a welcome respite from middle-class fiction.

Prior book by King reviewed:  Football Factory.  Also non-fiction books on elite disdain for the British and U.S. working class, ‘Chavs’ and “White Trash,” both reviewed below.  Use blog search box, upper left.

And I bought it at Mayday Books!

Red Frog