Category Archives: History

“The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange.” — Friedrich Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Review: Do Religions Evolve?

David Sloan Wilson describes himself as an atheist, but, he insists, he is a “nice atheist”. The proviso is made necessary by the often acrimonious nature of evolution’s forays into religious study. In contrast to writers such as Richard Dawkins … Continue reading

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Centrism extremism: how horseshoe-politics silences brutality

Extremism as a concept is central to current popular political discourse. In its common definition, however, it is also a highly flawed. Its use shows a bias towards centrist politics that silences a history of extremism. Centrists are just as well … Continue reading

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Kautsky – The crisis of capitalism and the shortening of working time

By Karl Kautsky, translated by Noa Rodman In former times we had a saying in Germany: “When the peasant has money, everyone has.” That was perfectly true wherever the great majority of the people were peasants or farmers. It is no … Continue reading

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The four contradictions of liberalism

Liberalism produced some of the greatest political advances of our age. As socialists we often obscure this, but civil and political rights combined with representative democracy make for one of the most potent and liberating achievements of the period following the … Continue reading

Posted in Bourgeois politics, History, Politics, Proletarian politics | 3 Comments

America’s Palestinians: Lessons from The American Indian Experience for Israel-Palestine

Israel is often and repeatedly compared with South Africa, and a quick search on the Internet and in newspapers of the debate on the Occupied Territories, on UN Security Council resolutions condemning and calling and end to the occupation, and … Continue reading

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SYRIZA and Memnosyne

Lyndon Johnson observed that Greece was “the Vietnam of the 1940s.” He was referring, of course, to the “civil war” – i.e: the suppression of the Left- that followed the German occupation- the time when the Aegean became an archipelago … Continue reading

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The Many Prongs That Lead to Ferguson

There are a number of strands that can be picked up from the recent, much-publicized events in Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson is a suburb on the innermost ring of St. Louis’s quite extensive “fat belt”, a European term for the series … Continue reading

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What is Historical Materialism?

When we are born we see the world without preconceptions. The sense data from the world flows into our brains without systematic categorisation. For this reason the world seems a nonsense. We can not understand it and we can hardly … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy | 2 Comments

Extract from Kautsky’s Die Vereinigten Staaten Mitteleuropas (1916)

As the First World War progressed, the Kaiserreich’s ambitions for German military domination of Europe became clearer and clearer: the fate of Europe was to become satellite states of a highly militarised Germany, a strategic goal known as Mitteleuropa. Rather than … Continue reading

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Review – Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography – Georgi M. Derluguian

The title of this book by itself could already warrant a read, yet there is much more to find in this book, its interesting title aside. The work mainly deals with the question of the Soviet Union and particularly its … Continue reading

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The ties that bind: historical memory and present struggle

After having received 12 years of schooling in Ireland, I think it’s not too outlandish to say that history is a means to the formation of national identity, one which inculcates in the population a more or less patriotic conception … Continue reading

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The roads to power: capitalist democracy and socialist strategy

This article comes from an abortive book project that I was working on about five years ago. The questions that it raises about political strategy for the radical left now appear far more pressing than they did when I wrote … Continue reading

Posted in History, Proletarian politics | 1 Comment

Science and Socialism

“Soviets plus electrification,” proclaimed Lenin, “equals communism”. Even allowing for the simplifications inherent in sloganeering, Lenin’s quip does capture a version of the optimism, even faith, that his generation of socialists had in science and its essential compatibility with the socialist … Continue reading

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How does change happen? A review of John Gaventa’s Power and Powerlessness

Why, in a social relation involving the domination of a non-elite by an elite, does challenge to that domination not occur? What is there in certain situations of social deprivation that prevents issues from arising, grievances from being voiced, or … Continue reading

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