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Colin Barker

In Brief

(March 1974)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.67, March 1974, p.32.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

MANY OF THE BEST ideas are also the simplest. Pluto Press’ latest publication, Rates for the Job 1974 (20p) is a fine illustration. The idea is so simple you wonder why no one ever did it before: the booklet is just a series of maps of Britain, showing the rates for various jobs, such as crane driver, computer operator, welder, in different firms in various parts of the country. It shows the wide variations in the pay for identical work and should prove dynamite in the hands of shop stewards and union militants who can use it.

Pluto also announce three titles for the spring which will interest IS readers (paperback prices quoted). Ian Birchall’s Workers against the Monolith (£1.50) is a history of the international official Communist movement since 1943, when Stalin dissolved the Comintern. Reg Groves’ The Balham Group, How British Trotskyism Began (75p) is an amended version of the series Reg wrote for this journal last year, and Martin Shaw’s Marxism versus Sociology: A Guide to Reading (90p), should delight our student comrades especially.

Counter Information Services have already established a reputation among militants and socialists for their ‘Anti-Reports’, beginning with their well-documented attack on Rio Tinto Zinc (now out of print) to their latest, Your Money and Your Life: Insurance Companies and Pension Funds. Every Anti-Report has been well documented and researched, and provides excellent ammunition for the struggle.

Occasionally, as in the insurance and pensions ‘Anti-Report’, a little of the force of the attack is lost through trying to hit too many targets at once, but the information presented is rich and plentiful. (Teachers, for instance, will find a crisp and well-informed analysis of their pension scheme that makes one wonder why the rank-and-file groups haven’t taken up this issue

CIS are now publishing six Anti-Reports a year, at £2 a year to subscribers. The reports can also be purchased separately. Especially recommended for the general reader are The Recurrent Crisis of London (just reprinted, at 90p) and Three Phase Tricks: a handbook on inflation and Phase Three (still relevant despite the Election, 30p). Coming soon is ‘a bumper edition on the Energy Crisis’ which sounds promising. Not many booksellers handle CIS material, but they can be purchased through IS Books or direct from CIS at 52 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1.

Reminder: any reader who hasn’t yet bought, read and sold Pat Kinnersly’s The Hazards of Work (Pluto, 90p) should examine his head: destitution is the only excuse.

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Last updated: 31.12.2007