Friday March 6th, 2015, 8:41 pm (EST)

Europe

European Labor: The Ideological Legacy of the Social Pact

Europe’s trade union movement is on the defensive. It is also in a deep political and ideological crisis. At present, the trade unions are unable to fulfill their role as the defenders of the immediate economic and social interests of their members. They have lost ground in all sectors and industries. What was, in the post–Second World War period, the strongest and most influential trade union movement in the capitalist world is today openly confused, lacks a clear vision, and hesitates in its new social and political orientation. Ironically, the same theories, analyses, and policies which gave it its strength in the postwar period have now become a heavy burden. The ideological legacy of the “social pact” is now leading the trade union movement astray… | more |

Ralph Miliband and the Politics of the New Left

Ralph Miliband and the Politics of the New Left

And the Politics of the New Left

Ralph Miliband (1924-94) was a key twentieth century political thinker. His books The State in Capitalist Society and Parliamentary Socialism influenced a generation of the left. Miliband was an academic and public intellectual whose life and work were devoted to the attempt to define and apply an independent form of socialism. He was an influential teacher and theorist who played a key role within the political and intellectual community of the Left, both in Britain and in North America, where he held several visiting professorships. … | more |

Imperialism Without Colonies

Imperialism Without Colonies

with an introduction by John Bellamy Foster

In the decades after 1945, as colonial possessions became independent states, it was widely-believed that imperialism as a historical phenomenon was coming to an end. The six essays collected in this volume demonstrate that a new form of imperialism was, in fact, taking shape—an imperialism defined not by colonial rule but by the global capitalist market. From the outset, the dominant power in this imperialism without colonies was the United States.… | more |

Beyond the Drumbeat: Iraq, Preventive War, ‘Old Europe’

The letter of support, signed by the leaders of eight European countries last January, for the Bush administration’s inexorable push for war with Iraq was both singularly ideological and shortsighted. The list of values that the signatories claim to share with the United States is altogether unexceptionable: “democracy, individual freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.” But there is a crying omission: free-market capitalism. This omission is all the more striking since there is no fathoming the infamous terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 without bearing in mind that its main target was the World Trade Center, a prominent symbol and hub of globalizing capitalism… | more |

Fools' Crusade

Fools’ Crusade

Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions

Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post–Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions. Diana Johnstone’s well-documented study demonstrates that a crucial moment in establishing in the public mind — and above all, within the political context of liberalism and the left — the legitimacy of such interventions was the “humanitarian” bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999.… | more |

Communists Return to Power in Moldavia

Hope for a Communist Democracy in the Former Soviet Union?

The February 25, 2001 electoral victory of the Moldovan Communist party marked the first return to power of a Communist party in any of the sovereign fragments of the Former Soviet Union (“FSU”). If you have left wing politics and can use a dose of optimism, this event is a positive portent for—at last—an end to the Mafia capitalist regimes of “democratic reform” that constitute the glory of the U.S. victory in the cold war. The most interesting question is not what the Moldovan Communists can achieve in their sovereign ministate, but what can be hoped to happen as a result in the rest of the FSU community. But, you ask, in 2001 is the FSU a “community” in the sense that the Soviet Union was in, say, 1988? The only plausible answer is “yes and no.” The “no” side is easy enough to lay out, all you need is a current map and almanac. The “yes” side requires more effort … | more |

Lenin and Philosophy

Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays

“Today we are in a position to return to Althusser’s work in a new way, and make a new assessment of it,” writes Fredric Jameson in his Introduction to this new edition of Louis Althusser’s Lenin and Philosophy.… | more |

Human Rights and the Ideology of Capitalist Globalization

A View from Slovenia

Ideologies are a constant of human societies, though they have become more explicit in modern society. Since the eighteenth century, they have been increasingly distinguished from religious doctrines and popular religion. Ideologies make a claim to knowledge about society. This knowledge is, of course, biased and distorted in accordance with the interests of certain groups in society, with historical conditions and circumstances. Ideologies claim to be complete accounts of reality, but they are not. They can be critiqued. They rise and pass away, and are perpetuated with certain interests in mind. The “truth” of ideology is political. Therefore, in Marx’s words, ideology is a “false consciousness”… | more |

March 2000 (Volume 51, Number 10)

March 2000 (Volume 51, Number 10)

What do Helmut Kohl and Elián Gonzáles have in common? What could possibly unite the destinies of the huge former Chancellor of Germany, who for so many years dominated European politics and played the part of senior statesman on the global stage, and the little boy whose only political role so far has been as pawn in the hands of fading right-wing Cuban fanatics in Miami? … | more |

Kosovo and “the Jewish Question”

Whether or not it is true, as Vaclav Havel famously claimed, that NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia represents the first war to be waged “in the name of principles and values,” the first “ethical war,” it might well be the case that it is the first act of armed aggression against a sovereign state whose popular legitimization relied almost wholly upon an alleged historical analogy. NATO spokespersons and apologists could not allude often enough to the Second World War,Hitler, and the Nazi regime’s persecution of the Jews. They did this in lieu of providing reasoned justification for NATO’s action, perhaps because under existing international law there was surely no such
justification to be found … | more |

The Blair Kitsch Project

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it was not simply the Soviet Union or the “communist idea” or the efficacy of Marxist solutions that collapsed. Western European social democracy, too, was severely dented. In the face of a triumphalist capitalist storm that swept the world it, too, had to trim its sails. The fact that, barring Spain, social democratic parties or coalitions govern most of Western Europe today is of inter- est largely because of the collective experience it provides: these parties can no longer deliver effective policies that improve the conditions of the majority of electors whose votes have placed them in power. Capitalism, unchallenged from any quarter, no longer feels the need to protect its left flank by conceding reforms… | more |

September 1999 (Volume 51, Number 4)

September 1999 (Volume 51, Number 4)

We’ve received three letters from readers complaining about our articles on Kosovo. While this isn’t a groundswell of opinion, we assume that there are other readers out there who share the concerns of these critics, and since this is an important issue, we think it’s worth returning to it. We won’t go over the same ground again, but we want to take up at least one larger question raised by the critics … | more |

November 1998 (Volume 50, Number 6)

November 1998 (Volume 50, Number 6)

There’s been a lot of discussion in MR about the implications of “globalization.” We don’t intend to repeat the arguments here, but we recently received a communication that brings into focus one major aspect of this much debated issue: what it means for workers to “think globally, act locally.” … | more |

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 |

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