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Socialist Register 2009: Violence Today


Paperback, 296 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-58367-181-8
Released: December 2009
There is no MR Associate Discount on Socialist Register titles.

Edited by Leo Panitch and Colin Leys

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.

The opening essay offers an overview of the scale and variety of contemporary violence while also taking up once again the question of socialism versus barbarism. Other essays analyze the nature and roots of paradigmatic cases and types of violence today around the world. And several of the concluding essays deal, from various different standpoints, with the still important question of whether violence has any place in socialist strategy in the context of today’s actually-existing barbarism.


  • Henry Bernstein, Colin Leys, and Leo Panitch — Reflections on Violence Today
  • Vivek Chibber — American Militarism and the U.S. Political Establishment: The Real Lessons of the Invasion of Iraq
  • Philip Green — On-Screen Barbarism: Violence in U.S. Visual Culture
  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore — Race, Prisons and War: Scenes from the History of U.S. Violence
  • Joe Sim and Steve Tombs — State Talk, State Silence: Work and ‘Violence’ in the UK
  • Lynne Segal — Violence’s Victims: The Gender Landscape
  • Barbara Harriss-White — Girls as Disposable Commodities in India
  • Achin Vanaik — India’s Paradigmatic Communal Violence
  • Tania Murray Li — Reflections on Indonesian Violence: Two Tales and Three Silences
  • Ulrich Oslender — Colombia: Old and New Patterns of Violence
  • Sofiri Joab-Peterside and Anna Zalik — The Commodification of Violence in the Niger Delta
  • Dennis Rodgers and Steffen Jensen — Revolutionaries, Barbarians or War Machines? Gangs in Nicaragua and South Africa
  • Michael Brie — Emancipation and the Left: The Issue of Violence
  • Samir Amin — The Defense of Humanity Requires the Radicalization of Popular Struggles
  • John Berger — Human Shield

Leo Panitch is professor of political science at York University in Toronto and author of Renewing Socialism: Democracy, Strategy, and Imagination. Colin Leys is emeritus professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and author of Market-Driven Politics.

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SKU: mrp1818 Categories: , Tags: ,

Publication Date: December 2008

Number of Pages: 296

Paperback ISBN: 9781583671818