Born OTD in 1924, historian, writer, socialist & peace campaigner, E. P. Thompson. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th & early 19th centuries, in particular The Making of the English Working Class. This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reflecting on the importance of the book for its 50th anniversary, Emma Griffin explained that Thompson “uncovered details about workshop … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester “Ska” Sterling, AKA, Mr. Versatile. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites (playing alto saxophone), one of only two (the other is Doreen Shaffer) still alive. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins. His debut solo album, Bangarang, was released on Pama Records in 1969.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1942, English director, stage designer, gardener, and author, Derek Jarman. In 1986 the controversial film-maker Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive, and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the bleak coast of Dungeness, where he also wrote these journals. Looking back over his childhood, his “coming out” in the 1960s and his cinema career, the book is at once a volume of autobiography, a lament for a lost generation and a celebration of homosexuality.

In 1986 Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the … More

Born OTD in 1947, musician, songwriter and frontman guitarist of Mod band the Small Faces, Steve Marriott. Marriott was influenced from an early age by his heroes including Buddy Holly, Booker T & the MG’s, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Bobby Bland. Limited 180 gm audiophile vinyl LP repressing of this album by the iconic British quartet featuring Steve Marriot, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan

The band is remembered as one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s. Availabel in store … More

Born OTD in 1963, English-Welsh writer known for his environmental & political activism, George Monbiot. In 2000, he published ‘Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain’. The book examines the role of corporate power in the U.K., on both local & national levels, & argues that corporate involvement in politics is a serious threat to democracy. Subjects discussed in the book include the building of the Skye Bridge, corporate involvement in the NHS, the role of business in university research, & the conditions which influence the granting of planning permission.

Feral is the lyrical and gripping story of George Monbiot’s efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way … More

OTD in 1787 the First Fleet (the 11 ships), that departed from Portsmouth, England, carrying 1,500 convicts and later arrived on 13 May 1787 to found the penal colony that became known as Australia. In 1787, the 28th year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia. An epic description of the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia.

The Fatal Shore is the prize-winning, scholarly, brilliantly entertaining narrative that has given its true history to Australia. Available in … More

Born OTD in 1942, American boxer and activist, Cassius Marcellus Clay, AKA Muhammed Ali. When Muhammad Ali died, many mourned the life of the greatest sportsman the world had ever seen. In Redemption Song, Mike Marqusee argues that Ali was not just a boxer but a remarkable political figure in a decade of tumultuous change. Playful, popular, always confrontational, Ali refashioned the role of a political activist and was central, alongside figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, to the black liberation and the anti-war movements.

Marqusee shows that sport and politics were always intertwined, and this is the reason why Ali remained an international beacon … More

Born OTD in 1933, American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist, Susan Sontag. Sontag was active in writing & speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War & the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture & media, AIDS & illness, human rights, communism & leftist ideology. Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor in 1978, while suffering from breast cancer herself. In her study she reveals that the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment.

By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is – a disease; not a curse, not … More

Born OTD in 1809, French politician & the founder of mutualist philosophy, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. His best-known assertion is that ‘property is theft!’, contained in his first major work, What Is Property?, published in 1840. Proudhon favored workers’ associations or co-operatives as well as individual worker/peasant possession over private ownership or the nationalization of land and workplaces.

The first English translation of Guerin’s monumental anthology of anarchism, published here in one volume. It details a vast array … More

Born OTD in 1921, American social theorist, author, orator, historian, & political philosopher, Murray Bookchin. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated & developed the theory of social ecology & urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, & ecological thought. In the essays that make up this book, Murray Bookchin calls for a critical social standpoint that transcends both ‘biocentrism’ & ‘ecocentrism’. A call for new politics & ethics of complementarity, in which people, fighting for a free, nonhierarchical, & cooperative society, begin to play a creative role in natural evolution. Bookchin attacks the misanthropic notion that the environmental crisis is caused mainly by overpopulation or humanity’s genetic makeup.

He resolutely points to social causes–patriarchy, racism, and a capitalistic “grow or die” economy–as some of the problems the environmental … More