Born OTD in 1953, American political scientist, activist, professor, and author, Norman Finkelstein. In an iconoclastic and controversial study, Norman Finkelstein moves from an interrogation of the place the Holocaust has come to occupy in American culture to a disturbing examination of recent Holocaust compensation agreements. It was not until the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, when Israel’s evident strength brought it into line with US foreign policy, that memory of the Holocaust began to acquire the exceptional prominence it enjoys today.

Leaders of America’s Jewish community were delighted that Israel was now deemed a major strategic asset and, Finkelstein contends, exploited … More

Born OTD in 1928, American linguist, philosopher, historian & social critic, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky has been a huge influence on my life since I first discovered his work back in the mid-90’s and how, sadly, little has changed in terms of manufacturing consent and the so-called left adopting neoliberalism in the, ‘There Is No Alternative’ narrative.

In “Profit Over People,” Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a … More

Born OTD in 1820, Friedrich Engels. Much of what Marx and Engels’ proposed – a state education system, a progressive income tax, the nationalisation of banks – would continue to be at the heart of political debate into the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that The Communist Manifesto (as it was later renamed) is the second best-selling book of all time, surpassed only by The Bible.

The Guardian’s editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson employs his trademark draughtsmanship and wit to this lively graphic novel adaptation of Marx … More

Born OTD in 1961, Indian author, political activist involved in human rights & environmental causes, Arundhati Roy. In Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Roy examines the dark side of Indian democracy a nation of 1.2 billion, where the country’s 100 richest people own assets worth one quarter of India’s gross domestic product. Ferocious & clear-sighted, this is a searing portrait of a nation haunted by ghosts: the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt; the hundreds of millions who live on less than two dollars a day.

It is the story of how the largest democracy in the world, with over 800 million voting in the last … More

Born OTD in 1928, Lennie Hibbert. A Jamaican musician who was bandmaster at the Alpha Boy’s School. Lennie worked as a live musician in jazz groups in the 1960s, and frequently worked with the Sound Dimension band, recording some of the best-known riddims for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

In 1976 Lennie was awarded the Order of Distinction (O.D.) for his contribution to music on the island and for … More

Born OTD in 1962, American author, journalist and feminist, Naomi Wolf. Wolf posits the idea of an “iron-maiden,” an intrinsically unattainable standard that is then used to punish women physically and psychologically for their failure to achieve and conform to it. Wolf criticized the fashion and beauty industries as exploitative of women, but added that the beauty myth extended into all areas of human functioning

Wolf writes that women should have “the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being … More

Born OTD in 1960, Neil Gaiman, author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. “When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead.”

But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is … More

Born OTD in 1913, French philosopher, author, and journalist, Albert Camus. In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves.

This is our ‘absurd’ task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly … More

Born OTD in 1855, American socialist, political activist, trade unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States, Eugene Victor Debs.

After his work with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and the American Railway Union, Debs’ next major work in organizing … More