Pierre Mauroy: Socialist leader of France in the '80s

When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were establishing the global mood music of the monetarist, greed-is-good 1980s, Pierre Mauroy sought to make France dance to a different tune. As the first Socialist Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic (1981-84) and first prime minister of the François Mitterrand era, Mauroy pursued a policy of nationalisation, taxation of the rich, increased minimum wages, retirement at 60 and a 39-hour working week.

Incendiary devices: Books as bombs

Every so often, a book comes along that challenges our beliefs and shakes our world view. So what does it take for literature to make history, asks Boyd Tonkin

The rise of fathers' playgroups

Men can feel out of place at mother-and-toddler groups. But male-only parenting events are proving hugely popular. By Heather Bateman

Jyoti Basu: Marxist politician who combined realpolitik and

Jyoti Basu, who has died aged 95, was a staunch Marxist and a towering figure in Indian politics for six eventful decades. In 1997, he came close to becoming the county's first Communist Prime Minister. But the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Politburo decided against participating in the United Front government, a decision Basu later described as an "historic blunder". Others felt it was a manifestation of the insecurities of the Indian Left typical since the fall of the Soviet Union. In the end, H.D. Deve Gowda, of the Janta Dal party, became the premier.

Frank Turner, Union Chapel, London

The way a section of the crowd rise in their pews like a gospel choir tells you how fervently Frank Turner is loved by his fans. With his checked shirt and beard, he is no one's normal idea of a protest hero.

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Janet Jagan: Marxist from Chicago who served as president of Guyana

Janet Jagan was white, Jewish and from Chicago, but for two years she served as President of Guyana, a Caribbean country on the mainland of South America deeply divided between communities of Indian and African origin. She was training as a nurse in her home town when she met Cheddi Jagan, a dental student whose parents had been brought from India as indentured labourers to work on a sugar plantation in what was then British Guiana, and the future course of her life was set.

Victor Kiernan: Marxist historian, writer and linguist who challenged

Victor Kiernan, professor emeritus of Modern History at Edinburgh University, was an erudite Marxist historian with wide-ranging interests that spanned virtually every continent. His passion for history and radical politics, classical languages and world literature was evenly divided.

Alexei Sayle: A comrade in Bloomsbury

Alexei Sayle, the former Marxist comedian, has written a wince-inducing novel satirising the pretensions of British ex-pats in Spain. But these days his digs at the middle classes are fuelled by 'self-loathing'

Boris: I will sweep out Ken's 'Marxist cabal'

Boris Johnson pledged yesterday to sweep away the "superannuated Marxist cabal" installed at City Hall by Ken Livingstone, as he launched his campaign to become Mayor of London.