Thanks for your support
After our successful publishing relaunch in 2015, the Left Book Club needs your help to fund our next step: discovering the next generation of progressive writers and creating a network of real-life book clubs to debate their ideas. In these turbulent times of divided politics we want to go beyond old lines to discuss the actual issues. Twitter only goes so far. There's a missing popular platform for progressive ideas in the UK today and we want to provide it, with your help. Please help us fund a part-time Digital Editor and a site revamp to support our aims.
We're honoured that Noam Chomsky has leant his voice to support the Left Book Club and this crowdfunder. Please watch his comments in full here.
What our revamped site will do:
- Discover and mentor the voices of the new left
- Open calls for articles responding to our current books
- Annual essay competition for hitherto unpublished writers
- Active search for a wide range of diverse views
- Take the debate into the world
- Build a network of real-world book clubs and other live events for members: a live progressive social network
- Work with bookshops, libraries, colleges, universities, trade unions, cafes and other potential book club venues
- Build the clubs around our books and other great progressive texts
- Develop original digital content around our books' themes:
- Author and other interviews, debates, short articles from many contributors, recorded talks and other video, newsletters, podcasts, book club reports
- Create strong partnerships and share content with other progressive sites and enterprises
- Connect with new audiences and authors via social media
Why we're unique:
We’re non-aligned and draw on the multiple traditions of the left. Our focus is on books and therefore the issues: in-depth looks at major topics and new ideas clearly presented: informed discussion. We’re the antidote to heated but fact-free partisan online debate and snap judgments. We want to remove walls and let everyone take part in debates often ignored by mainstream media that are vital in our challenging times.
Titles published in 2015-16
New titles for 2016-2017
Who are we?
We're a non-aligned, volunteer-run, not for profit collective made up of activists, writers, publishers, booksellers and trade unionists who, in November 2015, relaunched the Left Book Club, an influential subscription-based literary and social movement of the 1930's. We work in partnership with Pluto Press. Like the organisers of the first Left Book Club, we believe that publishing great radical books -- and facilitating conversation about the ideas they contain -- are vital for the development of progressive politics in Britain. Find out more at our current site: www.leftbookclub.com.
Our directors are: Hank Roberts (Trade Unionist, Chair), Jan Woolf (Writer, Convenor), Neil Faulkner (Archaeologist & Historian), Conrad Landin (Journalist), Anna Minton (Writer, Journalist, Academic), Peter Pendle (Trade Unionist), Brendan Montague (Journalist), Nik Górecki (Bookseller), Alice Kilroy (Banner Maker, retired teacher & bookkeeper).
The original Left Book Club
Established in 1936 by Victor Gollancz, the original LBC was a publishing group that exerted a strong socialist influence in the UK and is credited with helping the Labour Party win its landslide victory in 1945. Books were aimed at subscribers, to create a movement, but could be bought individually from bookshops and newsagents. The LBC published one book a month, as well as an influential newsletter, held an annual rally and encouraged subscribers to create their own local book clubs to discuss each book. By 1939 there were 1,200 such groups and ‘socials’ around the UK. Writers and books included George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier), Arthur Koestler, Stephen Spender, Edgar Snow (Red Star Over China), Clement Attlee and Clifford Odets. Membership peaked at 57,000. The original LBC ceased publishing in 1948, after its ideas had helped create the post-war welfare state. We relaunched it in November 2015.
Original Left Book Club titles
What we'd do with extra funds if we surpass our target:
- Make our Digital Editor full-time, not part-time
- Extend our Digital Editor’s contract beyond one year
- Publish more than four books per year
- More live events, more video and audio on the site
How we plan to fund the LBC in the future:
The LBC is currently funded by members' subscriptions, book sales and donations. This crowdfunder is a one-off to get the Digital Editor in place for a year and to relaunch our site and other digital platforms. We’ll need to find an ongoing way to finance the editor’s position. We hope to do this by increased subscriptions, grants and an annual ticketed live fundraising event.
We're a collective and this is reflected in the rewards we're offering for this crowdfunder. Each director has provided a unique contribution from their particular circle or skillset . While our list of rewards may seem more eclectic and lengthy than those of a conventional crowdfunder, we think we've come up with some great, unusual and exclusive perks -- perfect Christmas presents! Everyone who donates is invited to our website launch party in the new year. Find more details about some of our prizes below:
Left Book Club Badge, 25mm
Left Book Club Standard, Tote Bag 42x38cm, cotton
Left Book Club Special Edition, Tote Bag 42x38cm, cotton
Peter Kennard, '5.00am at Grunwicks', 1977, signed vintage photographic print, 24 x 16cm
Jeremy Deller, 'The Battle of Orgreave', 2001, an album of 20 signed, 6x4 inches photographic prints of his video work
Knife, 'Marx and his Editor', 2016, original drawing, signed, 29.7x21cm, light fast inks
Martin Rowson, 'St. Theresa', 2016, original artwork, signed
Ralph Steadman, 'Alice and the Paranoids', poster, signed, 51x76cm
Richard Hamilton (1922-2011), 'Free the South Kensington 3 / Drop the charges. Free Raphael', 1998, digital print poster, 85x60cm
Richard Hamilton designed and signed poster. One of three campaign posters against museum charging by the three South Kensington Museums, the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, May 1998.
Tired Parents. Personalised spousal apology video from Britain's #1 animated comedy relationship counsellors, The Tired Parents. Send a photo of yourself and the Tired Parents will transform it into a multi-purpose apology video for your partner. See their work here: www.tiredparents.co.uk
Alice Kilroy, Hand-made protest banner from one of the UK's premier protest banner makers. Alice will work with you to create a banner for your particular cause. See her beautiful work at www.alicekilroy.com
Long weekend in London, 2 nights and 3 days
Lovely maisonette in Willesden Junction, NW10. Close to the Bakerloo line for access to Oxford Circus, National Gallery, Regent's Park, plus a mainline and overground that takes you to the National Library, Kew Gardens, Stratford Westfield shopping centre. The maisonette is best suited to a couple as it has one double bedroom, but space for friends on the settee or an airbed on the platform/mezzanine up the glass stairs. Double bedroom, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, library in the box room.
Long weekend in Southsea, 2 nights and 3 days
The sea front and shingle beach are within walking distance. Albert road has lots of little shops and restaurants. There are lots of historic sites to see and make sure you stroll along the seafront whatever the weather. The Isle of Wight can be reached by ferry or hovercraft. The Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays offers a wonderful view on a fine day as well as shopping opportunities. The historic dockyard with Nelson’s Victory and the wonderful Mary Rose exhibition are a must see. Bedroom, front room, kitchen, bathroom (The Confessional!), spare fold-out bed, courtyeard garden, parking for one car.