Live Working or Die Fighting by Paul Mason: reviewed

‘Live Working or Die Fighting. How the Working Class Went Global’ is dedicated to John Mason, the father of journalist Paul Mason. John Mason was a truck driver. However, the interesting book is arguably influenced by the mother of Paul Mason. His mother was a headteacher in Greater Manchester. The evidence of this influence is apparent in three main ways.

Firstly, there is a Mancunian perspective which informs many passages of the text. Secondly, there is a huge emphasis placed on education in the slices of history being analysed. Thirdly, there is a clear attempt to tell the reader precisely what to think about people, theories, and events.

Hence the central thesis of Mason is not a subtle one. For all the detail he uses to make his points, he arranges his own prejudices as truths. Hence he claims something which is not quite true:

“If the people I have chosen to write about had one thing in common it was their refusal to be doctrinaire, their embarrassment at the crazy non sequiturs sometimes demanded by socialist or anarchist theory, their deep engagement with the lives of the people they were fighting for.”

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