The Bourgeois Nemesis
In 1964, NLR produced a set of texts aiming to explain the crisis-ridden state of post-war Britain by analysing the unique class compact that governed its longstanding capitalist regime. Behind the Nairn–Anderson theses stood an earlier formulation of these ideas, ‘La Nemesi borghese’, published by Nairn in the Italian Marxist journal Il Contemporaneo, appearing here for the first time in English.
A Myriad Byzantiums
After ethnic definitions of collective identity, is a new scenery—hybrid cultures intertwined with a universal genome—becoming visible? Could St John Perse’s cosmopolis on the Bosphorus furnish a template for a world beyond national and multicultural imaginings?
Farewell Britannia: Break-Up or New Union?
Has the Northern Ireland Agreement injected a fatal shot of constitutionalism into the archaic Ukanian state? Responding to Pocock and Mulhern, Tom Nairn looks forward to a rearrangement of islander relations, but warns that without its own reconstitution England could become a fatally regressive anomaly in the archipelago.
Ukania Under Blair
Great Britain has finally yielded a parliament to Scotland. But the Labour regime in London still clings convulsively to the totems of Ukania, in Tom Nairn’s savage updating of Robert Musil. New Labour’s eupeptic rhetoric of youth as a sure sign of a system being wheeled into the terminal ward.
Reflections on Nationalist Disasters
“Seventy-five years ago there occurred an event, obscure at the time, from whose terrible consequences the world of 2000 ad has not yet completely recovered. The place was Munich, capital of the historic Kingdom of Bavaria and now the second city of the recently formed all-German Reich . . .” read more
Sovereignty After the Election
“I desire a perfect Union of Lawes and persons, and such a Naturalizing as may make one body of both Kingdomes under mee your King. That I and my posteritie (if it so please God) may rule over you to the world’s ende; Such an Union as was . . .” read more
Breakwaters of 2000: From Ethnic to Civic Nationalism
“A considerable part of world opinion has grown convinced that the end of history has led to a return of ethnic nationalism. The return is mainly a threat, and a permanent one in the sense that few can see any general cure for the fragmentation or anarchy now . . .” read more
The Sole Survivor
“This Review is two hundred issues old. All sorts of things can be hung on commemorative hooks, and one of them is rueful retrospect. About five crises ago I found myself before an audience of us academics, trying to persuade them that a National Government would be . . .” read more
The Crisis of the British State
“Ireland, mounting street violence in the greater English cities, the disintegration of the Labour Party (and hence of the old two-party stability), continuing separatist agitation in Wales and Scotland, a renewed economic crisis after the brief reprieve of North Sea oil—these may appear, at first sight, signs of . . .” read more
The House of Windsor
“Genuine socialists have always detested the Windsor monarchs. They appear to confront a nation sucked into helpless crown-worship, without a single ounce of decent republicanism in its make-up. While they dream of communism, the country has not advanced out of this old feudal rhapsody. The ‘serious’ bourgeois Sunday . . .” read more
The Future of Britain’s Crisis
“‘The outstanding feature of the British situation since the Second World War has been unreality . . . On balance the wonder is that the system has remained afloat and changed course to the extent that it has. So far the repeated lesson of history that the loss . . .” read more
The Twilight of the British State
“‘External conflicts between states form the shape of the state. I am assuming this “shape” to mean—by contrast with internal social development—the external configuration, the size of a state, its contiguity (whether strict or loose), and even its ethnic composition . . . We must stress that in . . .” read more
The Modern Janus
“The theory of nationalism represents Marxism’s great historical failure. It may have had others as well, and some of these have been more debated: Marxism’s shortcomings over imperialism, the State, the falling rate of profit and the immiseration of the masses are certainly old battlefields. Yet none of . . .” read more
Scotland and Europe
“For a number of reasons this seems an appropriate moment to reconsider the problem of Scottish nationalism. With its November 1973 electoral victory in the Govan Constituency the Scottish National Party has recovered from its setbacks in the 1970 general election. At the same time the Kilbrandon Commission . . .” read more
Immigration under Capitalism
“The authors of Immigrant Workers begin by observing that ‘The race relations approach has dominated research on immigration in Britain’. This approach has been mainly liberal in outlook, and frequently followed American models; ‘few British social scientists have paid any attention to . . . immigrants in the . . .” read more
The Left against Europe? (Special Issue)
“‘I imagine that by about the turn of the century something like a United States of Socialist Europe will exist. A timid and conservative prefiguration of these United States is naturally the Common Market, for even conservative, bourgeois politicians are beginning to sense that the nation state, at . . .” read more
The Fateful Meridian
“‘The history of a party’, wrote Antonio Gramsci, ‘cannot fail to be the history of a given social class . . . writing the history of a party really means nothing but writing the history of a country from a particular, monographic point of view, throwing one aspect . . .” read more
“This fiftieth issue of New Left Review opens with a critique, by Perry Anderson, of the structures of bourgeois culture in Britain. The task of forging a revolutionary and internationalist political culture in this country has always been a central preoccupation of the Review. This involves attacking the . . .” read more
The Three Dreams of Scottish Nationalism
“Modern Scottish Nationalism has led a fluctuating, intermittent existence since 1853. Now, quite suddenly, it has become a more serious political reality. In the past it has gone through many renaissances, followed by even more impressive and longer-lasting collapses into inertia; but the present upsurge looks likely to . . .” read more
“Unique among governments of the Left, the Labour Government has done more than fail its friends: it has even disappointed its enemies. Disillusion over its foreign policy is almost universal. The liberal opponents of socialism have been criticizing its inert conservatism for some time; now even the pillars . . .” read more
The Nature of the Labour Party (Part II)
“What is the main justification of Labourism, put forward by socialists at its birth and still advanced by its apologists? What is the cry that rings out at every Labour Party Conference, to repress all serious dissent and maintain the incredible system intact? That Labourism attains the unity . . .” read more
The Nature of the Labour Party (Part I)
“The British Labour Party is obviously one of the greatest political forces of the capitalist world. With its six million and more members, it is by far the largest of social-democratic parties. The twelve million votes cast in its favour at the last General Election were the votes . . .” read more
“He had scarcely drawn his last breath, when the halo was stuck above his head. It was like some preposterous historical mistake. Who would have believed Hugh Gaitskell fit for such an exalted place in the national pantheon? Who, dredging through the speeches and few writings of this . . .” read more
The British Political Elite
“Class-divided societies have almost always been governed politically by a small minority. In general, this chosen few is a small group even in relation to the ‘ruling class’ itself, in the Marxist sense, the class which possesses or controls the economic wealth of society through the institutions of . . .” read more
Crowds and Critics
“This book—which may be said to have the clarity, simplicity, and explanatory flexibility of a metaphysical system—is an erudite and fascinating work of immense distinction. In it, the fruits of human action en bloc have been wisely tabled and formulated. Original and massively documented, it provides us with . . .” read more
Meditations on a Theme by Tom Nairn
“In China an immemorial throne crumbled in 1911; India put its Rajas and Nawabs in the wastepaper-basket as soon as it gained independence in 1947; in Ethiopia the Lion of Judah has lately ceased to roar. Monarchy survives in odd corners of Asia; and in Japan and Britain. . . .” read more
Portrait of the organizer of the 1963 issue of Il Contemporaneo on Britain, by way of his memoir, I distintivi all’occhiello. From the Resistance to the PCI to journalistic postings in Italy and beyond, a work marrying sentimental history and political retrospect, revealing a radical and independent-minded figure.
Two Great Losses
With the deaths of Mike Davis and Tom Nairn, the international left has lost two of its most original and far-sighted thinkers—and NLR, two outstanding contributors, whose signature theses profoundly enriched the thought-worlds of the journal. As prologue to fuller commemoration of each, Perry Anderson reflects on what both have meant for the Review.
A comparative engagement with Tom Hazeldine’s The Northern Question, setting the trajectory of England’s former industrial powerhouse against that of Belgium’s Wallonia. Rustbelt regions, embedded in national contexts beset by persistent geographical polarizations, yet stubbornly consequential for their political outcomes.
Learning from Small Nations
Leading scholar of national questions discusses his personal trajectory and theoretical development, against the backdrop of the Czech experience. Sociological and historical roots of national feeling, and comparative perspectives on their European destinies.
Britain After Nairn
How far can the path from Thatcher to Blair be written as a dynamic of Ukanian constitutional involution, or devolution? Francis Mulhern questions whether classes can be so quickly bundled off-stage. Is it possible to speak of nations—English, Scottish, Irish or any other—as political communities, without social or ideological dispositions?