Book review: The way of the Activist

The way of the Activist

By Jamie Driscoll and Rachel Broardbent

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (16 Aug. 2017)

Is this a cult handbook? Or a faction guide on how to over throw your local Labour party CLP or branch?

It is neither, so you can take a deep breath and relax… it’s a book about practical socialism, activism and changing the way people question politics.

Possibly, like me, you may be new to socialism, politics, economics, activism, the Labour Party and why you are being called a Trot? Maybe you are an old hand at all this, but feel you can’t keep up with all these new ideas or maybe you dislike them? Or just maybe, you fancy catching up on the latest trends in society without having to do a degree in PPE. Well if you identify with any this then you may like this book.

This book was created, quickly following the general election in 2017, by a group based in the north of England. They are called Talk Socialism. They are not a big group, but they do have elements of Momentum about them, although they seem to be a softer group with more emphasis on education rather than being a political movement.

The book is more of a guide than a plotted history book or opinion piece. It is built of short chapters that explain everything from how to engage with others and why people vote the way they do, the evidence is presented in a clear format, with limited but strong supporting evidence.

It also explores basic economic systems and ideas, explained in an understandable but non-authoritarian way. It looks at some need history of topics, such as capitalism, to help the reader shape their idea, then it builds on this knowledge to explore future and current possibilities. It also uses this approach with psychology, leadership and ethics.

It is not this…

Whilst the book builds on the subjects, its use of sources could have been greater. It uses strong sources of reference, but it does not counteract its argument to create discussion. However, this is a how to guide not an academic hardback.

My favourite point about this book, is it has everything included, that you may have questions about. It is also presented in an accessible way. It gives the reader confidence when engaging with more knowledgeable people or annoying know it all’s! Like the sort of people you may meet at a political party meeting or in the comments of the BBCs politics Facebook page.

This book is a good initiative as it can bring up to speed the 100,000s of new members to the Labour party. If you are one of them, new or returning, then this book is for you.

Socialism has changed since the 1980s and this book points out why. If you are in Labour First or Progress, and scared of the new members, then maybe this book will help you understand why we have had a recent increase in numbers and why the left way is more attractive than the third way in 2018

Buy it here

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