Edward Thompson and the New Left
The death of Edward Thompson on 28 August takes from us the most eloquent voice on the British Left, a historian who transformed his craft, a writer of some of the best English prose of the twentieth century, a thinker who knew that ideas were not a world unto themselves and a man who, seeing extraordinary perils, raised the alarm, without counting the personal cost.
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By the same author:
White Gold, Black Labour
Robin Blackburn on Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton. Can the history of a commodity supply a new perspective on the emergence of global capitalism?
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.