Alastair Hatchett Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Alastair Hatchett

In Brief

(January 1978)

From International Socialism (1st series), No. 104, January 1978, pp. 31–32.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg, with thanks to Sally Kincaid.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Bookmarx Club is offering a feast of good books in the first three months of this year. As the club grows it can offer a wider range of books and give the club members greater choice. The range and choice will undoubtedly grow in 1978 if readers realise how much they can save on increasingly expensive books. If you can’t afford £4.50 per quarter then share the cost and the books with a friend.

Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative are starting the year with an ambitious list of books by Victor Serge all priced at £1.25. They are Conquered City, Birth of our Power and Men in Prison. Following the success of Marx for Beginners, Writers and Readers are about to launch Lenin for Beginners at £1.25.

Quartet have recently published Jeffrey Weeks’ Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the present at £3.95. New from Allison and Busby is The Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai, translated and edited by Alix Holt at £2.95. Allen Lane have just published Dutiful Daughters (£5.95) edited by Jean McCrindle and Sheila Rowbotham, a book of inter views with women talking about their lives.

New from Pluto are two books on Surrealism: Franklin Rosemont, Andre Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism (£1.80), and Andre Breton, What is Surrealism? (£5.00), a selection of Breton’s writings by Rosemont. The publication of these two companion volumes coincides with a major exhibition of Surrealist art at the Haywood Gallery in London and a season of Surrealist films at the National Film Theatre, in February. Rosemont’s prose will upset, confront and chasten. He doesn’t take prisoners.

‘Marxism is the theory of the self-emancipation of the working class. In spite of the prevalent misunderstandings and gross distortions of this theory, surrealism concedes nothing to its innumerable slanderers and manhandlers ... Surrealism rejects the easy ways out; the dreary sociological utopianisers pontificating in an academic vacuum, the imbecilic American middle-class idolators of North Korean communism, or the clever super-communist manicurists à la New Left Review, who differ from the smug armchair theoreticians of the 30’s only in the way that fashions in upholstery have changed.’

We can only guess what Rosemont would say to the Tory members of the North West Arts Council who were responsible for cutting the Council subsidy to the North West Spanner Theatre group. Several touring theatre groups are currently under attack and need our support. The main reason for the attacks is the enormous success that socialist theatre has begun to enjoy, success that philistines would clearly like to smash.

The latest issue of History Workshop (No. 4) has an interesting section on the Workers’ Theatre Movement in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It contains an article by Tom Thomas, a founder member of the Movement, on A propertyless theatre for the propertyless class.

As a contribution to the current expansion of socialist theatre Pluto are publishing a number of playscripts this year including Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden’s The Non-Stop Connolly Show, John McGrath’s Mum’s the Word and Carol Churchill’s Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. For information about the Playscript Club that Pluto has started write to them at Unit 10 Spencer Court, 7 Chalcot Rd, London NW1.

For information about the persecution of the North West Spanner Theatre group write to North West Spanner, The Drill Hall, Manchester Road, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. North West Spanner have helped to initiate a campaign to defend the arts against political censorship, so if you want more information write to them.

Alastair Hatchet Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 6 March 2015