Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman is known for his academic work, but he also played an active role in some of the major events of 20th century Europe – and retained a deep commitment to his socialist politics.
In the mid 20th century, Algeria’s bid for independence from France sent reverberations around the emergent Third World – but today, its role in the formation of the post-colonial system is often forgotten.
For years, Italy was cast as Europe’s basket case – plagued by political instability and economic malaise. But today its chaos looks less like an outlier and more like a model countries like Britain are destined to follow.
The ‘Third World’ was not always a pejorative term. Its origins lie in a revolutionary post-colonial project that aimed to find a path to development beyond the Cold War camps.
When a government in a poorer country hands public money to their friends to provide public services, only to see them pocket the lion’s share, we call it corruption. In Britain, we call it putting out to tender.
Frustrated by the conservatism of Britain’s scientific establishment – and the growing popularity of eugenics – a group of radicals led by J. D. Bernal set out to harness science’s capacities for social transformation.
In 1990, Asian rail workers who applied for positions as drivers on British Rail found themselves frozen out in favour of less-qualified white colleagues. They fought back – and won a landmark battle.
As Britain’s official war artist from 1941 to 1945, socialist Abram Games produced iconic propaganda. But his work portrayed the country the troops were fighting for – not the one the Tories wanted them to accept.