First publlished OTD in 1914, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, a semi-biographical novel by the Irish house painter & sign writer Robert Noonan, who wrote the book in his spare time under the pen name Robert Tressell. Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the inequity and iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists & corrupt councillors provide a backdrop for his main target—the workers who think that a better life is “not for the likes of them”. Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages to generate profit for their masters.

One of the characters, Frank Owen, is a socialist who tries to convince his fellow workers that capitalism is the … More

The GND has the potential of becoming one of the largest global campaigns of our times, and it started in Ann Pettifor’s flat. In 2008, the first Green New Deal was devised by Pettifor and a group of English economist and thinkers, but was ignored within the tumults of the financial crash. A decade later, the ideas was revived within the democratic socialists in the US, forefront by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The Green New Deal demands a radical and urgent reversal of the current state of the global economy: including total de-carbonisation and a commitment to fairness and social justice. Critics on all sides have been quick to observe that the GND is a pipe dream that could never be implemented, and would cost the earth. But, as Ann Pettifor shows, we need to rethink the function of money, and how it works within the global system.

How can we bail out the banks but not the planet? We have to stop thinking about the imperative of … More

Money makes the world go round: but what is it really? And how is it produced? Above all, who controls its production, and in whose interests? Money is never a neutral medium of exchange. Nor are bankers simply go-betweens for savers and borrowers. In this accessible, brilliantly argued book, leading political economist Ann Pettifor explains in straightforward terms history’s most misunderstood invention: the money system. Pettifor argues that democracies can reclaim control over money production and subordinate the out-of-control finance sector to the interests of society, and also the ecosystem.

She also examines and assesses popular alternative debates on, and innovations in, money: positive money, helicopter money and the rise … More

OTD in 1854, Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘Hard Times’, begins serialisation in his magazine Household Words. Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers & polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind & the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However human joy is not excluded thanks to ‘Mr Sleary’s Horse-Riding’ circus, a gin-soaked & hilarious troupe of open-hearted & affectionate people who act as an antidote to all the drudgery & misery endured by the ordinary citizens of Coketown.

Macaulay attacked Hard Times for its `sullen socialism’, but 20th-century critics such as George Bernard Shaw and F.R. Leavis have … More

Born OTD in 1834, British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris. William Morris, the great 19th century craftsman, architect, designer, poet and writer, remains a monumental figure whose influence resonates powerfully today. As an intellectual (and author of the seminal utopian News From Nowhere), his concern with artistic and human values led him to cross what he called the ‘river of fire’ and become a committed socialist-committed not to some theoretical formula but to the day by day struggle of working women and men in Britain and to the evolution of his ideas about art, about work and about how life should be lived.

  Many of his ideas accorded none too well with the reforming tendencies dominant in the Labour movement, nor with … More

‘Well good evening, my name is Jeremy Hardy and I’m a comedian who likes to make wry witty satirical observations about the society we live in — but I prefer to keep them to myself, thank you very much.’Edited by his wife, Katie Barlow and his long-time producer David Tyler, this comprehensive celebration of Jeremy Hardy’s work is introduced by Jack Dee and Mark Steel. Further reflections on Jeremy come from Rory Bremner, Paul Bassett Davies, Jon Naismith, Francesca Martinez, Sandi Toksvig, Victoria Coren Mitchell, Andy Hamilton, Graeme Garden and Hugo Rifkind. Katie Barlow also provides a moving Afterword.

Jeremy Hardy, who died in February 2019, was perhaps the most distinctive and brilliant comedian to arise from the 80s … More

First published OTD in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto. 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 and Engels’ revolutionary pamphlet.

Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth, at a time of deep mistrust in The Establishment, The … More

Our next PM Book Club we’ll be discussing Chris Nineham’s new book, ‘The British State’. What happens if a radical government gets elected in Britain? How will the banks, the civil servants, the media and the military react? Is the idea of a British coup far-fetched? How can the left prepare? Chris Nineham addresses these questions by looking behind the myths at the reality of two hundred years of British state rule. He brings us a warning from history.

Book available in store and online. Next PM Book Club meet at the shop 6pm. Monday, 2nd March.

Born OTD in 1901, Trinidadian historian, journalist, cricket fan & socialist, C.L.R. James. C.L.R. James is one of the 20th century’s most remarkable individuals. As the author of the influential book The Black Jacobins, he is widely recognized as the premier scholar of slave revolt; the publication of his acute & sensitive volume Beyond a Boundary established an equal reputation as a historian of sport; & his tireless political & intellectual interventions have become the hallmark of a highly creative Marxist thinker, a brilliant dialectician & the last surviving pioneer of Pan-African liberation.

James’s work has never previously been studied in its entirety. Now Paul Buhle, a longtime editorial collaborator with James, has … More

Rosa Luxemburg’s writings reveal one of the most brilliant and passionate minds drawn to the revolutionary socialist movement. Through the letters, pamphlets and theorising, we see an outstanding social and economic theorist, a dedicated political activist and a devoted confidant. Providing an extensive overview of her writings, this volume contains a number of items never before anthologised.

Her work was broad in scope tackling capitalism and socialism; globalisation and imperialism; history; war and peace; social struggles, trade … More