Chris Bambery

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Chris Bambery
Known forPolitics

Chris Bambery is a Scottish political activist, socialist, author, journalist, and TV presenter and producer, most recently with the Islam Channel where he hosts their current affairs programme The Report. Prior to the 2017 UK General Election he was the Parliamentary Assistant to Scottish National Party MP George Kerevan.[1] A leading member of the International Socialist Group, he was a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party until 2011 when he resigned from the party.[2]

Political activity[edit]

Originally from Edinburgh, where he was educated at Daniel Stewart's College, he began his political career as a member of the International Marxist Group in 1972. After leaving Edinburgh University, where he had been Vice President of the Students Representative Council, he became a full-time organiser for the IMG in Glasgow in 1978-79 but left that organisation in May 1979, joining the Socialist Workers Party seven months later. In 1981, he became the SWP's Glasgow organiser.

In 1983, he moved to London as an organiser for the SWP, was elected a member of its Central Committee in 1987 and became its National Organiser shortly afterwards, a position which he held to 2004 when he replaced Chris Harman as editor of Socialist Worker.

In 2001, he led the International Socialist Tendency at the Genoa Group of Eight Summit protest in Italy with fellow SWP member Alex Callinicos.

After considerable political tension within the SWP regarding the party's response to the economic crisis, Bambery made public his resignation letter to SWP National Organiser Charlie Kimber on 11 April 2011. His resignation was joined by 38 other party members, based in Scotland, who shared Bambery's analysis that the SWP had retreated from building a political opposition to austerity and the recession along the lines of the highly successful Stop the War Coalition which the SWP was heavily involved with in its first decade.

Following his resignation from the SWP, Bambery was a founding member of the International Socialist Group, an organisation set up by the 39 former SWP members to formulate a united front approach to the recession and to develop a Left argument for Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum.[3]

During the referendum campaign, Bambery supported the Radical Independence Campaign and was subsequently a supporter of Rise, the Scottish radical left coalition.

In 2014 his A People's History of Scotland and his The Second World War: A Marxist History were published. A review of the former in The Scotsman stated: "In telling the stories of the ordinary footsoldiers in the Radical War of 1820, of the cotton spinners’ strike of 1837 and of the miners’ struggles from 1840 to 1984, in describing the lives of such as Mary Brooksbank and James Connolly, Bambery offers a Scottish version of EP Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class" [4] Brian Morton in The Herald described its "relentless populism" as "tiresome" but concluded that it was "pamphleteering of an attractively old-fashioned sort, but on an ambitious scale... It's to be hoped that Bambery's steady insistence on social justice as a higher political end, above party or nationalism, remains audible." [5]

Reviewing the book in Monthly Review, Paul Buhle welcomed it writing: "Chris Bambery’s splendid People’s History builds upon the scholarly work of others across several generations, including the renowned Scottish historian Thomas Johnson, but also a wealth of nearly forgotten researchers... One might say, more properly, that this sweeping history builds upon a social and class legacy of resistance rarely understood beyond the borders of this curious land with its staggering natural beauty, desperate poverty, and collective memories." Paul Buhle, The Struggle for Scotland’s Future, Monthly Review, The Struggle for Scotland’s Future https://monthlyreview.org/2015/02/01/the-struggle-for-scotlands-future/

Professor John Newsinger, author of The Blood Never Dried: A People's History of the British Empire, reviewed The Second World War: A Marxist History thus: "Chris Bambery’s The Second World War is well-written, in places positively brilliant, covering a lot of ground, laying bare the real motives of the great powers." John Newsinger, ‘Every Rebel is Our Ally,’ Review 31 http://review31.co.uk/article/view/273/every-rebel-is-our-ally


In March 2018 Catalonia Reborn, co-authored by Chris and George Kerevan, was published by Luath Press, and in August 2018 Verso published a new, updated edition of A People's History of Scotland.

Michael Eaude, author of Catalonia: A Cultural History welcomed Catalonia Reborn writing: "The book’s great achievement is to connect these recent events with history and a materialist analysis of the class and national forces in play. Its style is direct and urgent, as befits a book on rapid-moving contemporary events, but it is not superficial. Sometimes, outside eyes can contribute a rounder, fuller picture, especially (as in this case) eyes from Scotland, whose struggle is entwined with Catalonia’s." Michael Eaude, Author of Catalonia A Cultural History, Kleptomaniac State, Catalonia Today, 9 September 2018 https://www.cataloniatoday.cat/article/1469800-kleptomaniac-state.html

Writing about the book in The National, Martin Hannan said of it: "The book is a sustained indictment of the Spanish government’s dealings with Catalonia, made all the more devastating by the detailed factual nature of the work. The National, 13 June 2018 https://www.thenational.scot/news/16286021.new-george-kerevan-book-spanish-corruption-drove-catalan-push-for-indy/

Reviewing it in Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, Ned Thomas, founder of the Mercator Institute for Media, Languages and Culture at Aberystwyth University, said: “Past and present are nicely linked through visits to sites of social memory in the Catalan capital… well-researched, well-structured and well-explained.” https://www.planetmagazine.org.uk/planet-online/233/review/ned-thomas


The book was welcomed in the House of Commons where Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams put down an Early Day Motion signed by 11 MPs from Plaid Cymru, the SNP and Labour, stating:

“That this House congratulates Chris Bambery and George Kerevan on the publishing and launch of their book Catalonia Reborn; commends the authors for producing such a detailed and revealing book, given the subject’s complexity and importance to the future of Europe; believes that this is the key text for anyone concerned with the future of Catalonia, Spain and Europe; and hopes that the authors will continue in their work to shed light on developments in Catalonia in the future.”

https://www.parliament.uk/edm/print/2017-19/1364

He contributes regularly to Brave New Europe, Counterfire, Commonspace and to newspapers and magazines including Military History Monthly, The National, The Scotsman and others.

Bambery is also the Public Point of Contact for the Westminster All Party Group on Catalonia and writes and posts regularly on events there. Currently he is contributing a weekly report for Brave New Europe on the trial of 12 Catalan leaders in the Spanish Supreme Court on charges of rebellion and sedition in relation to the 1 October Catalan independence referendum. In late 2018 he visited two of the accused, Jordi Cuixart and Carme Forcadell, and wrote of his visit for Brave New Europe and the National. https://braveneweurope.com/chris-bambery-catalonia-we-are-in-jail-for-defending-democratic-values

https://www.thenational.scot/news/17282051.catalan-political-prisoner-carme-forcadell-channels-gloria-gaynor/

In May 2019 along with Hywel Williams MP, Chair of the APPG on Catalonia, he attended the trial of the Catalan 12 at the Supreme Court in Madrid https://braveneweurope.com/spain-the-political-prisoners-who-are-not-political-prisoners

In June 2019 Hywel Williams MP and Chris Bambery received the Francesc Macia Award in Barcelona on behalf of the APPG on Catalonia

Bibliography[edit]

  • Scotland's National Question (1995)
  • Ireland's Permanent Revolution (1990)
  • Scotland - Nation & Class
  • Scotland - The Socialist Answer
  • Stopping The Nazi Menace - How To Fight The Fascists Today
  • Fighting To Change The World
  • Ireland - Why The Troops Must Get Out
  • Permanent Revolution
  • Imperialism
  • A Rebel's Guide to Gramsci (2006)
  • Gramsci: Hegemony and revolutionary strategy
  • Bahrain, British Imperialism
  • A People's History of Scotland (2014)
  • The Second World War: A Marxist History (2014)
  • Catalonia Reborn: How Catalonia Took on the Corrupt Spanish State and the Legacy of Franco (co-authored with George Kerevan) (2018)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Office". georgekerevanmp.scot. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  2. ^ Toby Young "Crisis in the SWP: Is this the end of the People's Front of Judea?" Daily Telegraph (blog), 13 April 2011
  3. ^ Michael Theodoulou, 'Iran lambasts UK's 'lavish' diamond jubilee celebrations', The National (Abu Dhabi), 6 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  4. ^ Roger Hutchinson (31 May 2014). "Book review: A People's History of Scotland". The Scotsman.
  5. ^ Brian Morton (7 June 2014). "Scotland from the ground up". Herald Scotland.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Chris Harman
Editor of Socialist Worker
2004–2009
Succeeded by
Charlie Kimber