Labour Research November 2015



Inside the labyrinth

Kevin Ovenden, Pluto Press, 208 pages, £12.99

Many readers of political books will have a few slightly faded Left Book Club volumes in their collection. 

The original Left Book Club ran from 1936 to 1948, gathering over 40,000 members in its first year alone. Sixty years later, and the Left Book Club has relaunched, this time with the support of radical publisher Pluto Press. This is their first release.

Kevin Ovenden’s book shows how Syriza went from a mere 5% of the vote in 2007 to becoming the government of Greece a few years later, by consistently opposing austerity and calling for a “government of the left”.

Ovenden uses eyewitness accounts to show the way in which Syriza’s support rested on the radicalisation of the population as a whole through a process of mass struggle with over 30 general strikes, occupations and a vibrant anti-fascist and anti-racist movement.

The book tells the turbulent story of Syriza’s first six months in office. Despite the party’s many defeats over the last few months, the rise (and possible fall) of Syriza is a symbolic and important story to tell. 

The twists and turns of the bailout negotiations with the Troika; the brief reign of finance minister Yanis Varoufakis; and the surge of popular support all converge to create a pivotal moment in Europe’s recent history.

Reviews contributed by the Bookmarks socialist bookshop. 

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