Our next PM Book Club, we’ll be discussing Nancy MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’. An explosive expose of the man who devoted his career to shackling democracy – and succeeded. Libertarian billionaires are using their wealth & power to drastically curtail the US democratic process, disempowering ordinary citizens whilst entrenching the influence of corporations as never before. In Democracy in Chains, award-winning historian Nancy MacLean reveals how the ideas of Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan have been used to undermine the power of voters in a country whose Constitution is founded on the principle ‘We the people’.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp … More

An explosive expose of the man who devoted his career to shackling democracy – and succeeded. Libertarian billionaires are using their wealth and power to drastically curtail the US democratic process, disempowering ordinary citizens whilst entrenching the influence of corporations as never before. In Democracy in Chains, award-winning historian Nancy MacLean reveals how the ideas of Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan have been used to undermine the power of voters in a country whose Constitution is founded on the principle ‘We the people’.

Democracy in Chains is a timely, important book, which should be read by anybody interested in the future of democracy. … More

Born OTD in 1954, Robert Gerard Sands. This is the best-selling biography of the IRA resistance fighter and hunger-striker, Bobby Sands. In this updated, new edition, Denis O’Hearn draws from a wealth of interviews with friends, comrades, fellow prisoners and prison wardens, to provide a faithful and shocking insight into life in Northern Ireland’s H-Block prisons, an exploration of the motivations and thoughts of the Republican strikers and the story of one of the world’s most radical, inspirational figures.

Following his journey from its very beginnings – an ordinary boy from a working-class background in Belfast to a highly … More

Born OTD in 1923, the late great Harry Leslie Smith. Harry was an English writer and political commentator. He grew up in poverty in Yorkshire, served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, & emigrated to Canada in 1953. After retiring, Smith wrote his memoirs, and about the social history of Great Britain in the 20th century.

A survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man, … More

Governments today in both Europe & the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts―austerity―to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means & now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, & adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices … More

Born OTD in 1876, John Griffith London, AKA Jack London. The People of the Abyss is a book by Jack London about life in the East End of London in 1902. He wrote this first-hand account after living in the East End for several weeks, sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets. In his attempt to understand the working-class of this deprived area of London the author stayed as a lodger with a poor family. The conditions he experienced and wrote about were the same as those endured by an estimated 500,000 of the contemporary London poor.

As well as being a literary masterpiece, The People of the Abyss stands as a major sociological study. While other … More

Born OTD in 1883, English soldier, lawyer & politician, Clement Attlee. The government he led built the post-war consensus, based upon the assumption that full employment would be maintained by Keynesian policies and that a greatly enlarged system of social services would be created – aspirations that had been outlined in the 1942 Beveridge Report. Within this context, his government undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, as well as the creation of the National Health Service.

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain’s radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire … More

Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, & perhaps the most avidly read political theorist & commentator of our time. In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research, to which he has contributed for over half a century. In clear, precise, & nontechnical language, Chomsky elaborates on 50 years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis.

He expounds and criticizes many alternative theories, such as those that emphasize the social, the communicative, and the referential aspects … More

Christ stopped at Eboli, down on the coast, up the in the hills the world remains pre-Christian. This is the author’s account of life in one of those hill villages while in internal exile under the fascists. Levi presents most of the villagers as being so isolated from the mainstream of Italian culture that they have a pre-christian or pagan mentality or weltanschauung. For example at Christmas the poor people give presents to the rich – unlike in the Bible story were the Kings give presents to the carpenter’s son – hence the title of the book

He comes to see these people as the aboriginal inhabitants of Italy crushed down by the weight by a series … More