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Europe

September 1998 (Volume 50, Number 4)

September 1998 (Volume 50, Number 4)

The left has more than once heard calls for a “third way”. In decades gone by, people talked about a “third way” between Communism and capitalism, which was social democracy. Now that both the Communism of that period and the social democratic alternative have both more or less died, we’re beginning to hear about a new “third way”. The main exponent of this new alternative is the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. But there’s talk of a “third way” partnership between Blair and Clinton, or even a troika with the man who may become the next Chancellor of Germany, the German Social-Democratic Party’s Gerhard Schroder … | more |

A Report from Minsk

In Minsk, in the summer of 1992, I spoke to a militia officer (our term for the local police) who worked at the department responsible for the fight against organized crime. As a writer I was particularly interested in the activities (and thought patterns and language) of the newly emerging private business. The officers of the department were well informed, and they were in a despondent and confused mood. “I returned recently from the U.S.A., where I spent some time working in an American police department,” the chief of the unit told me.” An American policeman explained to me what we here in Belarus should be doing. ‘You want to build capitalism,’ said he, ‘good.’ ‘But where will your people get money to start a business, or to buy factories from the state? From what you tell me, they cannot obtain money legally. So you, the cops, should close your eyes to crimes that only involve money. Your job now is to see that people don’t kill each other in the streets—nothing more. When the ones who have stolen enough money take power they will adopt their own laws. And then you can do your best to achieve law and order in the country.’” … | more |

The Reconstruction of Bourgeois Order in Northern Ireland

In April, the Northern Ireland process finally resulted in an agreement reached under the chairmanship of U.S. Senator John Mitchell. The so-called Good Friday Agreement, which is to be put to a referendum on May 22, proposed the establishment of a power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly (with the prospect of Sinn Fein actually joining a Northern Ireland executive), a cross-border Council of Ireland to reassure the Nationalist community that their interests are protected, and a British Council to similarly reassure the Unionists. A major concession to the Unionists is the proposal that the Irish Republic drop its constitutional claim to the North. There is also an understanding that the prisoners from those paramilitary organizations accepting the agreement will be released within two years of its implementation.… | more |

Requiem for Social Democracy?

The fall of the Soviet empire was greeted not only as the funeral of socialism. It was also described as marking the final dead end for all revolutionary roads. The practitioners of revolution—Robespierre and Cromwell—as well as its theoreticians—Luxemburg and Marx—were lumped together in retrospective condemnation. Logically, such an offensive against the very idea of radical transformation should have been coupled with praise for gradualism, for Fabian tactics, for progressive change. To use two cliches at once, the “col- lapse of communism” could have been combined with the “triumph of social democracy.” Actually, nothing of the kind happened. On the contrary, the disintegration of the neo-stalinist system has been followed by a major crisis of social-democracy, taken here in its very narrow current definition-the reformist management of capitalist society.… | more |

In Our Time: The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion

In Our Time: The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion

When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from his Munich meetings with Adolf Hitler in September 1938, he proclaimed that he held in his hands a document guaranteeing “peace in our time.” In the decades since, Chamberlain’s folly has become the occasion for a commonplace historical lesson: that when the “good” innocently accept the assurances of the “evil,” the result is catastrophic.… | more |

Inventing Western Civilization

Inventing Western Civilization

What is civilization? The term, commonly identified with “uplift” and “order,” has come to take on another meaning: the “civilized” versus the “primitive.” This book is about the idea of civilization and how, at different times, the concept has been used by the powerful in order to defend their status. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of early societies, anthropologist Thomas C. Patterson shows how class, sexism, and racism have been integral to the appearance of “civilized” societies in Western Europe. … | more |

Reflections on the Recent Work of Sheila Rowbotham

Women's Movements and Building Bridges

Sheila Rowbotham is an active British socialist feminist as well as a political-historical writer. Growing up intellectually and politically in the Marxist tradition as shaped by Edward and Dorothy Thompson, growing and changing in struggles lost and won, Rowbotham continues to base her analyses in history. Her personal history and memory contribute significant details to the political analyses she offers, especially of grassroots movements. Rowbotham lives the life of a politically committed activist and an historical reporter, while a single mother actively engaged in her community. She has written fifteen books, innumerable articles, introductions, essays, poems, films, record jackets, reports, reviews and interviews.… | more |

Homage to Pasolini on the Twentieth Anniversary of His Murder

Pier Paolo Pasolini, born in Bologna on March 5, 1922, and raised in the Friuli region of Venetia, is, in the words of Alberto Moravia, the major Italian poet of the second half of the twentieth century. He was also a filmmaker, novelist, and political journalist of genius. He was murdered twenty years ago, on November 2, 1975.… | more |

Hobsbawm’s Century

In 1902, the Rationalist Press Association issued a pamphlet entitled A New Catechism. Like the classic Roman Catholic statement of belief on which it was modeled, the document comprised a long list of questions and answers. However, the faith which it rehearsed was not belief in Christianity, but rather belief in secular human reason. The pamphlet opened with a stirring dedication:

We baptize the twentieth century—in the name of Peace, Liberty, and Progress! We christen her—the People’s Century. We ask of the new century a Religion without superstition; Politics without war; Science and the arts without materialism; and wealth without misery or wrong!… | more |

Yugoslavia Dismembered

Yugoslavia Dismembered

The crisis in the former Yugoslavia has raised questions of universal importance. What are the rights of nations, peoples, and minority communities in an age when national boundaries are swept aside in the name of “ethnic cleansing?” Catherine Samary shows how the refusal to recognize any national identity except “pure” ethnicity has served as a pretext for the butchering of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and poses a threat to modern pluralist national boundaries everywhere. In response, Samary argues: “There must be different ways of being a ‘people.’ Forming a separate country for one single group is not (and must not be) the only choice.” Drawing from past experiences in the region, Samary outlines compelling and challenging alternatives to the surrender of pluralism and democracy to ultranationalist military might.… | more |

Beyond Capital: Toward a Theory of Transition

Beyond Capital: Toward a Theory of Transition

Toward a Theory of Transition

In Beyond Capital, the internationally esteemed Marxist philosopher István Mész´ros provides a major contribution to the task of reassessing the socialist alternative and the conditions for its realization in the light of twentieth-century developments and disappointments. Mészáros brings original Marxist thinking to bear on the most fundamental issue facing the left: how to move theoretically Beyond Capital—beyond the project that Marx began and which he articulated under a specific form of commodity capitalism, as well as beyond the power of capital itself.… | more |

Radical Perspectives on the Rise of Fascism in Germany, 1919–1945

Radical Perspectives on the Rise of Fascism in Germany, 1919–1945

To understand the complex phenomenon of fascism and its success in Germany requires an integrated analysis of the economic, class, and power dimensions that led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the ascension to power of the Nazi party. The contributors to this volume, including a number of scholars from East and West Germany whose works appear in English for the first time, collectively construct such an analysis. … | more |

When Biology Became Destiny

When Biology Became Destiny

Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany

This collection of essays analyzes the experience of women in Weimar and Nazi Germany — the first a period of crisis and polarization between right and left, and the second a period in which the right triumphed. The history documented in this book provides us with a perspective from which to analyze our own time, for in the history of Weimar and Nazi Germany we see the issues surrounding women, family, and reproduction as powerful mobilizing forces for both right and left. … | more |

Late Marx and the Russian Road

Late Marx and the Russian Road

Marx and the Peripheries of Capitalism

Explores Marx’s attitude to “developing” societies. Includes translations of Marx’s notes from the 1880s, among the most important finds of the last century.… | more |

Scenes From the Anti-Nazi War

Scenes From the Anti-Nazi War

In this lively and instructive memoir of his experience with the anti-Nazi underground in Italy and Yugoslavia during World War II, Basil Davidson has thrown needed light on a much-neglected part of European history. Sent to the area as a representative of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), he is able to recount at first hand the intense determination of the revolutionary partisans, who hoped that their sacrifices would lead to a new society, and the equally determined policy of the Allies to suppress them. As the London Review of Books stated, “The true purpose of this marvelously original book is to remind us that [for the underground] the Second World War was above all a political, even a revolutionary, experience, in which liberation was not simply a matter of driving out the Germans but also involved a radical restructuring of whole societies… which had permitted the growth of appeasement, defeatism, and indigenous fascism.… | more |

The Kapetanios

The Kapetanios

Partisans and Civil War in Greece, 1943–1949

The complicated and dramatic course of the Civil War in Greece had, for lack of parties interested in reconstructing the truth of its events, never been narrated prior to the appearance of this volume. It closed a gap in the history of our times, and did so with thoroughness and vivid journalistic immediacy. In addition to the known sources and unpublished documents, the author relied on testimony painstakingly collected from survivors of the tragedy who were scattered throughout the world. It remains the authoritative account.… | more |

The Economic Theory of the Leisure Class

Economic Theory of the Leisure Class

Introduction by Donald Harris

Bukharin completed this work in 1914; it represented an attempt to grapple with the Austrian School of political economy, as represented chiefly by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Bukharin interprets the school as reflecting the social position of the rentier stratum of the capitalist class, which tends to view the economy from the point of view of consumption rather than production. His discussion, while it does not deal with the many changes and refinements of neoclassical economics, does contrast, in polemical form, Marxism with the fundamental premises of modern academic economics.… | more |

The Explosion

The Explosion

Marxism and the French Upheaval

Explores the full sweep of Marxist Thinking on social change in the light of the 1968 French explosion.… | more |

The Great Tradition in English Literature: From Shakespeare to Shaw

The Great Tradition in English Literature: From Shakespeare to Shaw

This is an illuminating interpretation of the life and work of twenty-two major literary figures during three hundred years of English literature. It reveals how they were rooted in the political and social movements of their own time, with representative selections from their writings. In two volumes. … | more |

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