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- Manuel Riesco: Is Pinochet Dead? Central planks of the Chilean dictator’s state have been left untouched by successive elected governments. Tracking recent student and labour protests, Manuel Riesco asks whether the ‘Transition’ will now finally follow Pinochet into the grave.
- Gopal Balakrishnan: Role of Force in History Gopal Balakrishnan takes issue with an ambitious attempt to apply evolutionary paradigms to human history, which would locate the wellsprings of conflict in the combative make-up of the species. Azar Gat’s War in Human Civilization as an instance of neo-social darwinism adapted to the multicultural spirit of the age.
- Meredith Jung-En Woo: The New East Asia The emergence of a new regional order from the ashes of the Asian Financial Crisis. As the PRC’s economic expansion takes it further afield in search of markets and raw materials, how have China’s neighbours responded to the Middle Kingdom’s return to the global stage?
- Robin Blackburn: 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.
- Jesse Diaz, Javier Rodriguez: Undocumented in America Has the mass immigrants’ rights campaign of 2006 been asphyxiated by the Democrats’ embrace? Two Los Angeles activists recount the movement’s progress since the Chicano struggles of the 60s, and current defence of America’s sans-papiers from state and vigilante attacks.
- Andrew Plaks: Leaving the Garden Cao Xueqin’s monumental 18th-century novel Honglou Meng—Dream of the Red Chamber—is an undisputed masterwork of world literature. Andrew Plaks on the resonant imagery and dense interweaving of literary and philosophical motifs in a paradoxical Bildungsroman of decline.
- Vivek Chibber on C A Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914. Modernity’s origins sought among Safavid, Ottoman and Mughal crises—with cameo roles for Western capital and labour.
- Emilie Bickerton on Serge Halimi, Les Nouveaux chiens de garde. Polemical attack on the French media as choristers of the new liberal order. Does Sarkozy’s victory mean the electorate is finally in tune?.
- David Simpson on Donald Sassoon, The Culture of the Europeans. Market mechanisms as makers of genre and arbiters of their survival, in a longue durée account of cultural consumption.
‘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.
‘Vectors of the
Biopolitical’ Taking coordinates from Aristotle, Malcolm Bull finds in Agamben’s biopolitics and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach the disconnected fragments of a lost vision of society, adumbrated by Marx, glimpsed and rejected by Arendt. Strange meetings as the trajectories of the disenfranchised and the empowered, human and non-human, converge.
Díaz & Rodríguez,
‘Immigrants and Democrats’ Has the mass immigrants’ rights campaign of 2006 been asphyxiated by the Democrats’ embrace? Two Los Angeles activists recount the movement’s progress since the Chicano struggles of the 60s, and current defence of America’s sans-papiers from state and vigilante attacks.
before 2008’ With anti-war sentiment growing—if still passive—in the US, how will Democrats use their recapture of Congress? Mike Davis analyses likely outcomes on the questions—Iraq, corruption, economic insecurity—that confront a Party leadership hooked on corporate dollars, and myopically gazing towards 2008.
‘US Politics’ Robert Brenner reads the US mid-term results against deeper structural shifts in the American polity. The rise of the Republican right seen in the context of the long downturn and dismantling of the liberal compact: from New Deal and Great Society to the capitalist offensive under Reagan, Clinton and Bush.
‘Anti-War Inertia’ Neither rising domestic opposition to the Iraq war, nor discussions of withdrawal in Congress, can be ascribed to pressure from mass mobilizations against the occupation. Alexander Cockburn investigates the disappearance of the anti-war movement: co-opted by the Democrats, captive to the logic of the War on Terror.
Walker & Buck,
‘The Chinese Road’ The PRC’s breakneck transition to capitalism seen through the prism of 19th-century Europe and America, as its cities rehearse the processes analysed by Marx: commodification of land and labour, formation of markets and capitalist elites. What lessons might the West’s past hold for China’s future?
‘War for the
Middle East’ As fears are voiced within the US establishment of impending debacle in Iraq, a survey of the embattled landscape from Baghdad, Ramallah and Tehran to Beirut and Damascus. American control is slipping, Ali argues—but it is too soon to count on imperial defeat.
- Chechnya, Eager to embrace Putin, Western rulers and pundits continue to connive at the Russian occupation of Chechnya, as Moscow’s second murderous war in the Caucasus enters its sixth year. Traditions of resistance, popular demands for sovereignty and Russia’s brutal military response, in Europe’s forgotten colony.
- New Labour, Causes and consequences of Britain’s distinctive contribution to the repertoire of latter-day neoliberalism. The domestic and foreign record of the Blair regime, and its hybrid role in a shifting Atlantic order.
- Iraq, With the now unanimous support of the ‘international community’, can Washington hope to recoup its gamble in Iraq? Prospects for the resistance and the Occupation, as the UN-approved government is hoisted into place.
- Europe Europe’s political landscape, revealed by the protest votes in France and the Netherlands. Mutation and dilation of the EU in the age of liberal hegemony, and lessons to be drawn from the unprecedented irruptions of discontent against it.
‘A Chinese Masterpiece’ Cao Xueqin’s monumental 18th-century novel Honglou Meng—Dream of the Red Chamber—is an undisputed masterwork of world literature. Andrew Plaks on the resonant imagery and dense interweaving of literary and philosophical motifs in a paradoxical Bildungsroman of decline.
‘Adieu to Cahiers’ Life-cycle of Cahiers du cinéma. The trajectory of the pre-eminent film journal, from cine-clubs of Liberated Paris to masterpieces of the New Wave, barricades to the pensée unique, tracked against broader changes in French intellectual culture.
‘Role of Force
in History’ Gopal Balakrishnan takes issue with an ambitious attempt to apply evolutionary paradigms to human history, which would locate the wellsprings of conflict in the combative make-up of the species. Azar Gat’s War in Human Civilization as an instance of neo-social darwinism adapted to the multicultural spirit of the age.
‘After Dialectics’ Göran Therborn offers a panoramic survey of left social theory since the fall of Communism. The vicissitudes of modernity as contested temporal narrative, and the divergent thematic paths—religion, Utopia, class, sexuality, networks, world-systems—that are emerging in the new landscape.
‘Ruling the Void’ The hollowing of democracies, as ruling elites retreat and voters abstain from mass electoral politics. Peter Mair on the paradoxes of its ‘third wave’ triumph and emergence of a governing class bereft of legitimacy, as parties become appendages of the state.
‘Against Historical Realism’ Within the epic sweep of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Hayden White argues, three genres are braided together: historical, novelistic and philosophical. If the former two—and the battles, loves and deaths they recount—continue the line of European realism, in the third Tolstoy presents history as a force beyond human control, in a bid to dismantle ideologies of progress.
‘Depoliticized Politics’ Reflections on China’s ‘revolutionary century’, and roots of its state-party rigidification in the failures of the Cultural Revolution. What deeper dynamics of capitalist restoration link the contemporary neutralization of politics, east and west?
‘Atlantic Empires’ Alistair Hennessy on J H Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 1492–1830. Conquistadors and indigenous peoples, colonists and slaves populate a continental canvas, in a magisterial comparison of British and Spanish imperialism in the Americas.
‘Remaking Medellín’ Transformed from murder capital to corporate boom town, Medellín has been hailed as a rare urban success story for neo-conservatism in South America. The singular progression of Escobar and Uribe’s hometown—cattle-trading post, industrial centre, drug-trafficking hub, neoliberal Latin Mecca.
‘Idolatry and Art’ Amid rhetorical dust-storms over purported Islamist threats to Western values, Sven Lütticken finds antecedents for contemporary struggles over the image in Judaic and Protestant bans on idolatry. Multiple meanings of the veil and varying forms of iconoclasm, under the aegis of the spectacle.