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Book Reviews






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When British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) was wound up in 2009, there was some money left over to give to community projects and Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre was given over £250,000 for reportedly the biggest oral history project in the UK. 100 people of all ages were interviewed about their life and attitudes to Sellafield, all the interviews are kept and can be accessed by members of the public visiting the centre. A website is under construction, with transcripts of some of the interviews and a book of edited highlights of 30 of the interviews has been published. The first interview is with a woman whose father owned the farm that was compulsorily purchased to build a TNT factory which only a couple of years later became the site of Windscale’s plutonium piles, then the nuclear power station and later the whole reprocessing complex known as Sellafield. The last interview is one of the American bosses, MD of the Low Level waste dump at Drigg. Along the way are ordinary people, locally well-known people and some downright famous people including Eric Robson of Gardeners' Question Time. The local MP Jamie Reed is one interviewee, and yours truly Jill Perry, Green Party candidate at the last general election is another. The recollections and anecdotes from rural life and life in the impoverished towns of the West Coast of Cumbria in times past are some of the most interesting parts. While some of the scientists are gung-ho in favour, most people show much more ambivalence than you might expect. Jill Perry



.SLYRP_SPbZ]WOZYP_bPP_L_L_TXP 5Z^^Pd—-L^^&öôú[[&mõú#ýý 4>-9%ýûü"õõõüôúõý÷ô “Twitter allows anyone to be a journalist and an informant to the larger world, and provides a megaphone to amplify the message,” says author and Twitter employee Claire Díaz-Ortiz. For anyone with a sketchy idea of Twitter, it is an internet based messaging network accessed by computer or mobile phone, with a limit of 140 characters per message. Although this book does not show us how to join or navigate Twitter and assumes a certain level of knowledge, the author adopts the acronym TWEET to lead us through the steps organisations can take to communicate their message, enlist supporters or raise money via Twitter. Target: choose your organisation’s strategy, either as an information account, a personalised account or a fundraising account – or use different strategies for different campaigns. Write: just do it. Don’t over-edit. Tweet multimedia. Don’t delete your tweets. Engage: use #hashtags to get your message to non-followers, use @replies to reach another person’s followers, subscribe to or start your own lists. Explore: find yourself on Twitter and reply to tweets mentioning you or your organisation, contact and build relationships with Twitter ‘influencers’; Track: monitor the effectiveness of your Twitter usage. There is a lot of geek-speak in this book, far too many boring references to individual Twitter users and numerous referrals to the author’s rather disappointing website. But as she points out, Twitter is “a one-to-many service” and the book is worth reading if just for the invaluable ‘Engage’ chapter, full of useful tools to make the most of this empowering medium. Cathy Ashley


AP]^ZMZZV^&öôü[[&mõö#ýý 4>-9%ýûü"õüøøúûüüöö Green political thought has often been ambiguous line about the importance of urbanism to ecological politics. Misreading the writings of William Morris and other nineteenth century eco-socialists on the evils of the industrialising city as being a criticism of urban life altogether, Green thinkers have, with the important exceptions of anarchist-inspired activist-thinkers like Murray Bookchin and Colin Ward, mostly been at best ambiguous about the process of urbanisation, and at worst outright critical. Renowned geographer David Harvey demonstrates the futility of any effort to assert a Green politics committed to socialism and equality which hopes to revert to some sort of pre-industrial, non-urbanised society. As Harvey demonstrates, cities have always been the primary nodes of capital accumulation, enabling the 1% to reassert their authority over the 99% thanks to what Harvey calls ‘the lopsidedness in urban development along class lines’. So far, so William Morris: cities as sites for the oppression of the working classes. Harvey’s analysis of the importance of urbanisation to post-war capitalism is important, and allows us all the more easily to understand the relationship between city spaces and the accumulation of capital on a global scale. However, Harvey also highlights the other side of urban political economy through his focus on the intertwined questions of ‘reclaiming the city as the site of anticapitalist struggle’, and the need to develop the idea of the ‘urban commons’, looking to the Paris Commune and to more recent urban struggles in Bolivia amongst others for inspiration. The book marks a significant intervention into contemporary political debates and, although there are questions that must be asked of its analysis – particular about the relationship between urban and rural strategies for resisting capitalism – Harvey nevertheless closes with the fundamental question of the moment: ‘Whose side will each of us, as individuals, come down on? Which street will we occupy’ Daniel Whittall

978 84 460 3799 6 dossier harvey