For forty years, the annual Socialist Register has brought together leading writers on the left to investigate aspects of a common theme. Contributors to this volume consider what imperialism means in the new century by examining the U.S.-led imperialist project currently transforming relations of global power.
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’?
There are two central developments that define our era. One of these is the historic failure of the socialist project of the mass working-class parties, both Communist and Social Democratic. The other is, of course, what has commonly come to be known as the “globalization” of capitalism. These two developments are certainly related to one another, but they cannot be reduced to one another. Each also has its own specific dynamics which need to be analysed separately
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.
Socialist Register 2001 examines the challenges faced by workers and the labor movement under global capitalism in the new century. This collection of twenty timely and original essays lay the groundwork for a much-needed revival of class analysis. A broad range of working-class issues are addressed including knowledge work and the “cybertariat” in the new economy, feminism and unions, migrant labor, peasant struggles, internationalism, and the impact of unstable, casual, and contingent employment. Other essays examine critically important regional experiences in India, Iran, Russia, Brazil, Southern Africa, and East Asia, as well as Europe and North America. Contributors to this volume reveal new and exciting possibilities for change that transcend the limits of old forms of class organization and politics.
This volume of the SOCIALIST REGISTER points toward a very different way of thinking about the future. While rejecting schematic blueprints, this volume reasserts the need for a bold and revolutionary social imagination aimed at creating saner ways of living and more rational ways of organizing society. Topics covered include work and its structure, democracy and the state, and technology and its social uses. Necessary and Unnecessary Utopias makes the case that a socialist vision of the the future remains both possible and necessary.
“Globalization” has come to define our age. Stock market fluctuations, the fortunes of political administrations, and conditions for working people—all rise and fall with the tide of global capital flow.