Who stole the town hall?

In this provocative new book, Peter Latham argues that the UK Conservative Government’s devolution agenda conceals their real intention: to complete the privatisation of local government and other public services.
Using illustrative examples from across the UK, including the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the Midlands, the book explains the far-reaching implications of the reorganisation of local government that is already affecting vital public services, including education, health, housing and policing.
Proposing an overhaul of the taxation system to include land value taxation, a wealth tax and more progressive income tax to fund an increase in directly provided services, the author argues that a new basis for federal, regional and local democracy is vital.… Read on ...

Nikolaus Wachsmann, ‘A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps’

Wasserman, in this minutely researched tome, addresses many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up over who were the victims of Nazism as well as the contradictory and shifting impulses behind the concentration camps. An earlier paradigm: to understand the Nazis as primarily focused on destroying Communists and the left (a perspective which was also dominant in E. Germany) has shifted in the last decades to a focus on the extermination of ‘Jews’. This review will focus on these narratives, rather than the minute and distressing details of how the CCs operated or attempt to provide an explanatory framework for why the Holocaust happened (which anyway is not Wachsmann’s objective).Read on ...

Iran: Release teacher union leader Esmail Abdi

Esmail Abdi, leader of the Tehran branch of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was unjustly sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court.
The February 22 verdict came eight months after he was arrested while en route to Armenia to obtain a travel visa to attend Education International’s World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. In custody since his arrest, Abdi was charged with “gathering and colluding with intent to harm public order” and “propaganda against the system.” His colleagues say that these charges were prompted by his legitimate trade union activities and leadership role.… Read on ...