Robin Blackburn on Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong. Universal principles and local ressentiments as twin motors of US nationalism, in a study of the ambiguous relation between patriotic creed and heartland ethos.
CREED AND CONQUEST
The nature of us nationalism is an unjustly neglected topic. Few citizens of the us would own to being ‘nationalist’. But ‘patriots’ are not hard to find, nor are those who fly the flag from their porch. Europeans, inhabiting countries that have been devastated by wars that killed 100 million over the last century, and citizens of states that have been forced to withdraw their own imperial projects, now have a more chastened sense of national destiny and national self.
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Robin Blackburn on Richard Huzzey, Freedom Burning. Victorian Britain’s anti-slavery crusade as accomplice of imperial expansion.
Stuart Hall, 1932–2014
Founding editor of NLR, pioneer of Cultural Studies, early analyst of Thatcherism, theorist of Caribbean identities, nuncio of New Times—Robin Blackburn remembers Stuart Hall.
Finance for Anarchists
Robin Blackburn on David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Anthropological enquiry into the fluctuating forms of money and credit over the longue durée.
Alexander Cockburn, 1941–2012
A tribute to Alexander Cockburn—director of CounterPunch, Marxian environmentalist, long-standing editor of New Left Review. Robin Blackburn traces his path from County Cork to Soho, Havana to Manhattan, the Florida Keys to California’s Lost Coast.
Atlantic economies remain mired in unemployment and stagnation three years on from 2008. Diagnosing the underlying causes of the crisis as global over-capacity, deficient demand and anarchic credit creation, Robin Blackburn explores proposals for a genuine exit from it to the left.
Reclaiming Human Rights
Robin Blackburn on Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Demystifying the origins and ideological ascendancy of human-rights discourse.
State of the Union
The fate of post-bellum attempts to extend egalitarian impulses across race lines and factory floors, amid the sharpening class struggles of the Gilded Age.
Value Theory and the Chinese Worker
In answer, Blackburn explores the paradoxes of fictitious capital, underwritten by super-exploitation of China’s producers. A public-utility credit system, democratic forms of nationalization and mechanisms to socialize investment as steps towards financial dual power.
The Philosopher and his Blacks
Robin Blackburn on Louis Sala-Molins, Dark Side of the Light. Polemical assault on the French Enlightenment’s record on slavery—Condorcet’s contradictions, Diderot’s compromises, Montesquieu’s motivations.
The Subprime Crisis
As reverberations from the stricken mortgage market reach the real economy, Robin Blackburn reveals the origins of the crunch in the shadowy realms of financialization. Precedents from the bubbles and crash of the 1920s, warnings from pioneers and venture capitalists, and proposals for how to turn the crisis to socially redistributive effect.
Plan for a Global Pension
On current projections, a fifth of the world’s population will be over 60 by 2050. With old-age poverty set to increase across the planet, Robin Blackburn presents a plan for funding a universal pension of a dollar a day.