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Rethinking Democracy: Socialist Register 2018

Socialist Register 2018: Rethinking Democracy

For years, intellectuals have argued that, with the triumph of capitalist, liberal democracy, the Western World has reached “the end of history.” Recently, however, there has been a rise of authoritarian politics in many countries. Concepts of post-democracy, anti-politics, and the like are gaining currency in theoretical and political debate. Now that capitalist democracies are facing seismic and systemic challenges, it becomes increasingly important to investigate not only the inherent antagonism between liberalism and the democratic process, but also socialism. Is socialism an enemy of democracy? Could socialism develop, expand, even enhance democracy? | more…

Socialist Register 2017: Rethinking Revolution

Socialist Register 2017: Rethinking Revolution

One hundred years ago, “October 1917” galvanized leftists and oppressed peoples around the globe, and became the lodestar for 20th century politics. Today, the left needs to reckon with this legacy—and transcend it. Social change, as it was understood in the 20th century, appears now to be as impossible as revolution, leaving the left to rethink the relationship between capitalist crises, as well as the conceptual tension between revolution and reform. | more…

Socialist Register 2013: The Question of Strategy

Socialist Register 2013: The Question of Strategy

Socialist Register 2013 seeks to explore and clarify strategy for the Left in the light of new challenges and new opportunities. Socialists today have to confront two realities: that they cannot avoid the question of reforms and a gradualist path out of capitalism, and that the organizational vehicles for socialism will most likely have to abide by different structures and principles than those that dominated left politics in the 20th century. Though solutions are not obvious, Socialist Register 2013 interrogates these dilemmas and critiques some unhelpful radical thinking that obstructs the reconsideration of socialist strategy for the 21st century. It asks, how have the occupations of public squares around the world changed the political scene? What are the most useful forms of political organization in the new conjuncture? Which features of past organizational models should be retained, and which discarded? | more…

Socialist Register 2012: The Crisis and the Left

Socialist Register 2012: The Crisis and the Left

The global economic crisis that closed the first decade of the 21st century has demonstrated that the contradictions of capitalism cannot be overcome. The challenge for socialist analysis is to reveal both the nature of these contradictions in the neo-liberal era of globalized finance, and their consequences in our time. This volume, a companion to The Crisis This Time: Socialist Register 2011, examines the response of the international Left and asks, how has the Left responded and can it offer an alternative to faltering capitalism? | more…

Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time

Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time

The global economic crisis that closed the first decade of the 21st century has demonstrated that the contradictions of capitalism cannot be overcome. The challenge for socialist analysis is to reveal both the nature of these contradictions in the neo-liberal era of globalized finance, and their consequences in our time. Crises need to be understood as turning points that open up opportunities. How to facilitate this is the sharpest challenge posed to socialists by the most severe global economic crisis since the 1930s. | more…

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…

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