Film star. Icon. Agitator. Martyr. Paul Robeson was a prize-winning scholar and the greatest footballer of his era, even before he ascended to global superstardom as a singer, Hollywood actor, and activist. The son of an escaped slave, Robeson stunned audiences with ‘Ol’ Man River’ and Othello, as his passion for social justice led him from Jazz Age Harlem to the mining towns of Wales, from the frontiers of the Spanish Civil War to Stalin’s Russia. Charismatic, eloquent, and handsome, he had everything — and then lost it all for the sake of his principles. Jeff Sparrow traces Robeson’s troubled life and stellar career, in a story that traverses the arc of the twentieth century and illuminates the fissures of today’s fractured world. From Black Lives Matter to Putin’s United Russia, Sparrow visits the places Robeson lived and worked, exploring race in America, freedom in Moscow, and the legacies of communism and fascism in Europe. Part travelogue, part biography, this is a tale of political ardour, heritage, and trauma — a luminous portrait of a remarkable man, and an urgent reflection on the crises that define us now.
The first book since Christchurch to trace the massacre's fascist roots and what it represents. The massacre of more than fifty worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shocked the world. The murders were not random. They expressed a particular ideology, one that the alleged perpetrator described as 'fascism'. But what does fascism mean today - and what kind of threat does it pose? Jeff Sparrow traces the history of the far right, showing how fascists have adapted to the new politics of the twenty-first century. He argues that the mosque killer represents a frightening new phenomenon - decentralised right-wing terrorism that recruits by committing atrocities, feeding on itself and spreading from country to country. Burgeoning in dark places online, contemporary fascism exults in violence and picks its targets strategically. Today, it is Muslims; tomorrow, it will be Jews or gays or Asians. Even the widespread despair generated by climate change is being harvested to weaponise young men with the politics of hate. With imitative massacres already occurring around the world, Christchurch must be a wake-up call. This book makes a compelling, urgent case for a new response to an old menace.
RUNNER-UP FOR THE FAW BARBARA RAMSDEN AWARD FOR WRITER AND EDITOR SHORTLISTED FOR THE MANNING CLARK HOUSE CULTURAL AWARD A READINGS TOP-TEN NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR In the spirited tradition of Louis Theroux, Jeff Sparrow sets out to explore the relationship between porn and censorship, and what it reveals about our social values. From the internet revolution to raunch culture, Sparrow’s quest takes him through contemporary Australia: the sparkly booths of Sexpo; grimy adult cinemas; the loud, pro-virginity rallies of Pentecostal youth groups; and the depths of the Australian desert, where the Intervention has led to prohibitive restrictions in Indigenous communities. Along the way, Sparrow interviews some key figures, from religious lobbyists and porn stars to feminist activists, convicted pornographers, and those on the censorship board — who spend their days watching porn to evaluate what ‘the average person’ would think of it. Through their stories, he uncovers the hypocrisies and blind spots in a system that seeks to encapsulate the community’s views, but endorses cultural and social prejudices in doing so. In a time of fervour and moral panic, when old divisions between Right and Left are breaking down, Money Shot probes the contradictions of our relationship to sex and censure, excess and folly, erotica and vice. By turns moving, enlightening, and terrifically funny, it will show you a new side to the debate about censorship — whatever your views. PRAISE FOR JEFF SPARROW ‘Revealing ... deftly explores the relationship between pornography, censorship and society’ The Herald Sun ‘Money Shot is an important book ... Sparrow's analysis of the economic and political context of porn is incisive’ The Age
Donald Trump is the Thing-that-should-not-be. The man lives, quite literally, in a building serviced by a golden elevator. Somehow, he presented himself as the scourge of the elites. For decades, he built a persona based on the most conspicuous consumption and the crassest of excess — and then he won the presidency on an antiestablishment ticket. The unlikely rise of Donald J Trump exemplifies the political paradox of the twenty-first century. In this new Gilded Age, the contrast between the haves and the have-nots could not be starker. The world’s eight richest billionaires control as much wealth as the poorest half of the planet — a disparity of wealth and political power unknown in any previous period. Yet not only have progressives failed to make gains in circumstances that should, on paper, favour egalitarianism and social justice, the angry populism that’s prospered explicitly targets ideas associated with the left – and none more so than so-called ‘political correctness’. If Trump – and others like Trump – can turn hostility to PC into a winning slogan, how should the left respond? In the face of a vicious new bigotry, should progressives double-down on identity politics and gender theory? Must they abandon political correctness and everything associated with it to re-connect with a working class they’ve alienated? Or is there, perhaps, another way entirely? In Trigger Warnings, Jeff Sparrow excavates the development of a powerful new vocabulary against progressive causes. From the Days of Rage to Gamergate, from the New Left to the alt-right, he traces changing attitudes to democracy and trauma, symbolism and liberation, in an exhilarating history of ideas and movements. Challenging progressive and conservative orthodoxies alike, Trigger Warnings is a bracing polemic and a persuasive case for a new kind of politics.
The first book since Christchurch to trace the massacre’s fascist roots and what it represents. The massacre of more than fifty worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shocked the world. The murders were not random. They expressed a particular ideology, one that the alleged perpetrator described as ‘fascism’. But what does fascism mean today — and what kind of threat does it pose? Jeff Sparrow traces the history of the far right, showing how fascists have adapted to the new politics of the twenty-first century. He argues that the mosque killer represents a frightening new phenomenon — decentralised right-wing terrorism that recruits by committing atrocities, feeding on itself and spreading from country to country. Burgeoning in dark places online, contemporary fascism exults in violence and picks its targets strategically. Today, it is Muslims; tomorrow, it will be Jews or gays or Asians. Even the widespread despair generated by climate change is being harvested to weaponise young men with the politics of hate. With imitative massacres already occurring around the world, Christchurch must be a wake-up call. This book makes a compelling, urgent case for a new response to an old menace.
Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era
Author: Richard Iton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
Prior to the 1960s, when African Americans had little access to formal political power, black popular culture was commonly seen as a means of forging community and effecting political change. But as Richard Iton shows, despite the changes politics, black artists have continued to play a significant role in the making of critical social spaces.
Compiled by the editors of Freedomways. Tributes to Robeson in prose and poetry by his contemporaries. Selections from Robeson's own writings. Foreword to this edition by Ernest Kaiser. Updated bibliography.
The remarkable life of Paul Robeson, quintessential Harlem Renaissance man: scholar, all-American, actor, activist, and firebrand Born the son of an ex-slave in New Jersey in 1898, Paul Robeson, endowed with multiple gifts, seemed destined for fame. In his youth, he was as tenacious in the classroom as he was on the football field. After graduating from Rutgers with high honors, he went on to earn a law degree at Columbia. Soon after, he began a stage and film career that made him one of the country’s most celebrated figures. But it was not to last. Robeson became increasingly vocal about defending black civil rights and criticizing Western imperialism, and his radical views ran counter to the country’s evermore conservative posture. During the McCarthy period, Robeson’s passport was lifted, he was denounced as a traitor, and his career was destroyed. Yet he refused to bow. His powerful and tragic story is emblematic of the major themes of twentieth-century history. Martin Duberman’s exhaustive biography is the result of years of research and interviews, and paints a portrait worthy of its incredible subject and his improbable story. Duberman uses primary documents to take us deep into Robeson’s life, giving Robeson the due that he so richly deserves.
Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook, Nella Larsen lived her life in the shadows of America's racial divide. Her writings about that life, briefly celebrated in her time, were lost to later generations--only to be rediscovered and hailed by many. In his search for Nella Larsen, George Hutchinson exposes the truths and half-truths surrounding her, as well as the complex reality they mask and mirror. His book is a cultural biography of the color line as it was lived by one person who truly embodied all of its ambiguities and complexities.