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Socialist Register 2009: Violence Today

Socialist Register 2009: Violence Today

Given the extent and extremity of violence today, even in the absence of world war, and two decades after the end of actually-existing socialism, it is hard not feel that we are living in another age of barbarism. The scale and pervasiveness of violence today calls urgently for serious analysis—from “the war on terror” and counter-insurgencies, from terror and counter-terror, suicide bombings and torture, civil wars and anarchy, entailing human tragedies on a scale comparable to those of the two world wars, not to mention urban gang warfare, or the persistence of chronic violence against women. That the nirvana of global capitalism finds millions of people once again just “wishing (a) not to be killed, (b) for a good warm coat” (as Stendhal is said to have put it in a different era) is, when fully contemplated, appalling.… | more…

Socialist Register 2008: Global Flashpoints

Socialist Register 2008: Global Flashpoints

Since 1964, the Socialist Register has brought together leading writers on the left to investigate aspects of a common theme. Global Flashpoints: Reactions to Imperialism and Neoliberalism examines the distinguishing features of neoliberalism today as well as the prospects for the left in the Islamic world, in Latin America, and in the capitalist North.… | more…

Socialist Register 2007: Coming to Terms with Nature

Socialist Register 2007: Coming to Terms with Nature

Since 1964, the Socialist Register has brought together leading writers on the left to investigate aspects of a common theme. Coming to Terms with Nature: Socialist Register 2007 examines whether capitalism can come to terms with today’s ecological challenges and whether socialist thought has developed sufficiently to help us do so. Topics include: the ecological contradictions of capitalist accumulation and the growing social conflicts they create; the relationship between imperialism, markets, oil politics, and renewable energy; the significance of the impasse over the Kyoto protocol; and how technology can overcome the “limits to growth” and yet preserve the biosphere.… | more…

Socialist Register 2006: Telling the Truth

Socialist Register 2006: Telling the Truth

Since 1964, the Socialist Register has brought together leading writers on the left to investigate aspects of a common theme. Telling the Truth: Socialist Register 2006 examines how contemporary social and political debate is structured, how ideas and ideologies come to inform policy making, research, education, and our conceptions of truth more generally.… | more…

Sub-Saharan Africa in Global Capitalism

If we define sub-Saharan Africa as excluding not only north Africa but also bracket off, for the moment, the continent’s southern cone, dominated by South Africa, the key fact about the rest—the greater part of the continent—is thrown sharply into relief: after 80 years of colonial rule and almost four decades of independence, in most of it there is some capital but not a lot of capitalism. The predominant social relations are still not capitalist, nor is the prevailing logic of production. Africa south of the Sahara exists in a capitalist world, which marks and constrains the lives of its inhabitants at every turn, but is not of it … | more…

Socialist Register 2003: Fighting Identities

Socialist Register 2003: Fighting Identities

Why do racial, religious, ethnic and national identities have such purchase on the lives of so many people, and why are they still at the center of so many major conflicts at the beginning of the twenty-first century? What form is racism taking amidst the inequalities, refugees and mass migrations of today’s global capitalism? How does the American state—as both the manager of the world capitalist order and as the embodiment of an all-too-often chauvinist national identity—fit into the picture of ‘Fighting Identities’?… | more…

Socialist Register 2002: A World of Contradictions

Socialist Register 2002: A World of Contradictions

Radical politics have been defined in modern times—and distinguished from earlier traditions of protest—by the idea that economic, social and political structures are contradictory. Systems of exploitation creates not only wealth and prosperity for the powerful, but at the same time bring into being the forces which ensure their own eventual downfall. But it is a large step from the general assertion that social forms contain their own contradictions to analysis of the specific contradictions which occur in a given historical context, their interaction and movement, and their possible historical outcomes.… | more…

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