Left Turn by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow is our new Book of the Week.
‘Perhaps the best kept political secret of our time is that politics, as a democratic undertaking, can be not only “fun”, in the entertaining sense, but profoundly uplifting, even ecstatic.’ So writes American activist and critic Barbara Ehrenreich, who in turn is quoted by Jeff Sparrow in the new collection, Left Turn, which he's co-edited with journalist and blogger Antony Loewenstein.
This fragment of thought perhaps best sums up what Left Turn is all about - not so much a manifesto or a declaration, but an attempt to recapture political imagination, or as Sparrow wrote in our recent Q&A, 'an ecstatic sense of the possibility of real change'.
The collection indeed packs a punch when it comes to tackling disillusionment, gathering together a series of provocative pieces from our best and more progressive thinkers. Christos Tsiolkas holds the magnifying glass to the affluent Left and and exclusion of migrant voices from radical politics; Senator Lee Rhiannon contemplates the future of the Greens in the face of Labor's declining popularity and their hand in the next era of government; Guy Rundle writes on the current wave of branded consumption and ever-expanding nature of our giant malls and shopping precincts; Chris Graham argues controversially about the use of violence in Indigenous politics and Jeff Sparrow examines the Occupy movement and its repercussions.
As Mark Rubbo wrote in his review, 'It is to the editors’ great credit that they have managed to pull together such a range of provocative commentary that will stimulate and lead to further debate and discussion. For many people the markets do not provide the answer to achieving just, humane and equitable societies: what political and economic structures might?'