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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 August 2007

Potty about Potter

With over 325 million copies of all seven books sold worldwide, the last four books have also been, consecutively, the fastest selling in history. They have been translated into over 65 languages and JK Rowling has amassed an estimated 545 million. In short Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon.
Suzanne Beishon asks: Why?

They are not stunning literary creations, the writing is average at best, and yet they have set alight the imaginations of children and adults across the world.

The key is the huge attention to detail. Treading that fine line between convincing and far-fetched that so many fantasies fail in, it comes out on top. The last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, does not disappoint.

The sixth book built up to a stunning finale and while, when I picked up the final book I thought 'this is too thin to be able to tie up all the loose ends' it achieves it magically (excuse the pun!).

So, with the close of Harry Potter (although there are still two more films to come), we can ask what relevance does Harry Potter have for socialists?

JK Rowling has called herself 'left-wing' and has also said that within the books there is a certain amount of "political stuff".

Of this there is evidence throughout, such as the three 'unforgivable curses' being killing, torture and enslavement.

There are comments on slavery with the oppression of the house-elves whose cause is taken up by Hermione who sets up the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, there are comments on the education system, testing, the curriculum and the virtues of the Baccalaureate over A-Levels or in Hogwarts' case, O.W.L.S.

Racism and discrimination are a theme throughout. The fight for a multicultural society is borne out in the battle against Lord Voldemort's dream of a world dominated by the 'superior' pure-blood wizards.

In the story all the mainstream media is used by the state to discredit the anti-Voldemort movement. It is only the small independent press and pirate radio that is able to put the truth out to the wizarding world (if ever there was a more appropriately bizarre time to mention the Socialist Party's print-fund campaign I will not believe it!).

Why does Harry Potter deserve a review in the socialist? Not only does it have positive political comments throughout and has been so incredibly successful, it has also achieved where governments have failed for years, in getting hundreds of thousands of children that do not normally read, reading.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 24 August 2007:

Stop climate change

Heathrow expansion protests

Thousands march in Tewkesbury


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Social class in Britain today


Socialist Party review

The War on Democracy


Workplace news

Glasgow council workers' victory: United strike action wins

Postal dispute: If talks don't deliver - escalate the action

TUC conference fringe meeting

Belfast airport workers' victory


Socialist Party editorial

World economy fundamentally unsound


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NGH hospital Sheffield: Pay cuts "the thin end of the wedge"


Socialist Party news

Boris Johnson - buffoon or bonus for Tories?

Potty about Potter


 

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