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People's Republic of South Yorkshire
By Helen Jackon
Published on 1st May 2021. Click here to pre-order
This is the story of how class solidarity translated into creative and radical local initiative, with fairness at its core, during the 1970s and 1980s. Contributors took the experience into their later work, lives and careers. Helen Jackson was one of them.
The author's historical and political narrative merges with her own reflections as a woman in politics, so that we see how political action delivers change and understanding at an individual as well as a societal level.
Focused on the local and regional, the memoir holds wider lessons for national and global politics. Valuing women's contribution to work, welfare and care in the community delivers sound economic results, especially when it is linked with ready access to lifelong learning through adult education.
Solidarity crosses frontiers and includes diverse strands of inequality. People are looking for ways to devolve power, because they see solutions to global challenges such as climate and health can be best identified and delivered through communities.
The Spokesman 147
Edited by Tony Simpson & Tom Unterrainer
A cruel year finally closed. The COVID-19 Pandemic has coincided with the deaths of many friends and supporters of the Russell Foundation. In April 2020, we lost Ken Fleet, who had been the Foundation's tireless Secretary for 50 years. The year also claimed Robert Fisk and John Le Carré, contributors to The Spokesman. In this issue, we remember two other contributors who died in 2020-Mike Cooley and Stephen Cohen, who made their mark in different fields.
I first heard Mike Cooley speak at an Institute for Workers' Control conference in the early 1980s. Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister and the prospects were bleak. Mike spoke about tacit knowledge - how workers know what to do. He probed hand-eye co-ordination, going on to celebrate the skill entailed in safely crossing a busy road. When, in later years, I reminded him of this example he had given, he was somewhat surprised, though it did stir a memory. For he would occasionally phone the Foundation to keep in contact, particularly after we republished Architect or Bee? in 2016. Mike then sent the manuscript of Delinquent Genius, and asked for an opinion. He had deliberated about it for some decades. My immediate response was that these insights, personal and scientific, should be shared more widely. So it was that the book came to be published in 2018, with a generous introduction by Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland and Mike's old school friend from Tuam in County Mayo. We reprint a chapter from that book, together with John Palmer's appreciation of Mikes life, which is the Foreword to The Search for Alternatives, the third title in the Cooley trilogy published by Spokesman. Mike's archive now resides at Waterford Institute of Technology, where it attracts international attention. Meanwhile, the Lucas Plan discussion network links Mike's insights to ongoing work for a Green New Deal and related questions. Closer to home, Shirley, Mike's wife, and Graham, his son, keep the flame burning.
Stephen Cohen was another longtime friend of the Russell Foundation. He collaborated with Ken Coates in the extended campaign, ultimately successful, for the rehabilitation of Nikolai Bukharin in the Soviet Union. Bukharin's widow, Anna Larina, and son, Yuri, had exhausted every official avenue in the Soviet Union, so that a wider international campaign was necessary. John Daniels sketches Cohen's broader achievements in explaining modern Russia to the wider world ...
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force in January 2021. It is a notable achievement, the result of long decades of campaigning at the United Nations and in wider civil society. We publish a Dossier which includes the text of the Treaty itself, together with critical commentaries including one by Richard Falk, which gives us our title for this issue.
Brexit Testimonies from EU Citizens in the UK
From an idea by Elena Remigi
Collected by Elena Remigi, Véronique Martin and Tim Sykes
With forewords by George Szirtes & Ian Dunt
Imagine... Imagine you left your native country because you wanted to explore your neighbouring world and embrace the European dream. Imagine you truly believed that the European Union was your home and that, as well as being a citizen of the country you were born in, you were also a citizen of Europe. Imagine you fell deeply in love with your new country. Imagine you built a life there, married, had children, a career, started a business... You felt happy and totally integrated. You were at home.
Then one day, your new country decides to vote to leave the European Union, which means that all the rules you have built your life on are going to change. One morning, after years and even decades, you suddenly feel unwelcome, unwanted, betrayed. Your certainties, your life and your security are gone. Your sense of identity too. Through no fault of your own, you are stuck in a painful limbo.
This is what has happened since the Brexit Referendum in June 2016 to the EU citizens who have made their life in the UK. This book of testimonies is their voice, their stories from Limbo, haunted by the poignant question: where is home?
Collected by Elena Remigi, Véronique Martin and Tim Sykes
In Limbo Too
Brexit Testimonies from UK Citizens in the EU
From an idea by Elena Remigi. Expanded and revised edition.
Fearful, uncertain, angry, ashamed. Betrayed, bereft, unsettled, abandoned. Collateral damage, high and dry. Cast adrift, torn asunder.
For many UK citizens who have built homes, families and lives in Europe, these words express how they have felt since the EU referendum upturned their lives.
After the 1992 Maastricht Treaty created the EU as we know it, the generations who have moved from Britain to elsewhere in Europe have done so with an assumption of belonging. They could live, love, work, start a family, start a business, own property, and contribute to society in the same way that someone could move from Kent to Cumbria in the knowledge that their citizenship and status would remain inviolable.
For UK citizens in Europe, the 2016 referendum shattered that security overnight. Their assumption of belonging was annulled, their assured citizenship called into question, the very ground beneath their feet removed.
The first volume, In Limbo, provided a platform for the testimonies of EU citizens living in post-referendum Britain. In Limbo Too complements this with the narrative of Britons living in Europe. This book is their voice, their stories from Limbo.
The Search for Alternatives
Liberating Human Imagination
A Mike Cooley Reader
By Mike Cooley
Foreword by John Palmer
Introduction by Karamjit S Gill
"we have become far too smart scientifically to survive much longer without wisdom"
Mike Cooley, The Myth of the Moral Neutrality of Technology
"The thrust of Mike Cooley's human society focused analysis has a striking parallel in the rapidly growing world-wide movement - led by young people - against climate change and for radical, green policies in all the major aspects of our economic, social and individual lives to counteract it. It is a development profoundly welcomed by him as the climate change threat to our planet and its people looms ever larger. In a sustainable world economy, the values and goals of Michael Cooley's work on human centred technology are sure to be reflected."
"Through his historical insights into the evolution of digital technology, Mike Cooley provides a stimulating narrative for understanding the impacts and implications of the new digital technologies of machine intelligence and automation ... Cooley's main concern is the misuse of technology, which can amongst other things create a frantic work tempo for some and the dole queue for others. Although humans with their skill and ingenuity were able to create technological change from the early stages to the advance of artificial intelligence, the society which has given birth to them tends to fail to keep pace."
Karamjit S Gill
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