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Marx’s Lost Theory
In a landmark re-reading of Class Struggles in France and The Eighteenth Brumaire, Mike Davis draws out the theoretical propositions on class and nation, world-market and inter-state rivalry, that underpin the seminal political writings. Repudiation of politics as discourse pur, and revaluation of Marx’s ‘middle-level concepts’ for the mediated expression of complex social interests.
An Island Tragedy
A. Sivanandan recounts his country’s long road to ethnic cleansing, from the social engineering of colonial Ceylon to Colombo’s anti-Tamil campaigns. Marginalization, displacement and destruction of a people, in a communal onslaught fanned by Buddhist chauvinism.
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.
Analysing the current hegemony of Erdoğan’s AKP in Turkey, Cihan Tuğal argues that the party has been the agent of a classic passive revolution, effectively shoring up the Kemalist state. Paradoxes of ‘Americanization with Muslim characteristics’, against the backdrop of Western military intervention in the Middle East.
A Tale of Two Nationalisms
As tensions are ratcheted up across the Taiwan Strait, Wang Chaohua analyses the distinctive trajectory of national consciousness on the island. Contradictions of identity, as the legacies of KMT and Cold War confront local particularities and democratic impulses, and possibilities for an exit from the impasses of geography and history.
To when should the emergence of nationalism be dated? How should its distinctive ideological features be characterized? What consequences follow for ethnic conflicts today? Kedourie, Oakeshott and Gellner as markers in the rival views that followed.
Race and History in China
The official ideology of the PRC has been changing rapidly. Do new definitions of the ‘nation’ imply a greater racial tinge? The author of The Tyranny of History looks at the long sweep of Chinese civilization, and asks whether the current period is seeing a shift away from the general tenor of that past.
Late Nationalism: The Case of Quebec
The developed world has its own national movements, encased within Spain, the UK and Canada, which have set out to gain the classical objective of independence. How far is their timing likely to affect their trajectory? Kevin Pask considers the example of a postmodern Quebec.
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.
Bolivia: Military Nationalism and the Popular Assembly
On 7 October 1970 President Ovando was overthrown by a triumvirate representing the three branches of the armed forces, headed by General Miranda. Then, in a remarkable political action, General Torres proclaimed resistance to this junta, called on the workers, and made himself President. The triumvirate managed to . . . read more
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?
Marxism and the National Question
I believe that a little philosophy is needed on the subject of the nation. It was the nation which first led me to question Marxism seriously. This was the real breach in the walls which let me make an outside tour of the fortress, rather than go on . . . read more
Jews and Others
why try Eichmann? Some of the older Israeli Jews will tell you that Eichmann symbolises ages of anti-Semitic persecution, that his crimes must be exposed as an object lesson in what Jewish identity can involve and a memorial to the inhumanity Jews have suffered. Eichmann’s judgment must . . . read more
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
Ice Empire and Ice Hockey: Two Fin de Siecle Dreams
At the beginning of September 1939, the Reichswehr invaded Poland from the West; two weeks later the Red Army invaded from the East. On September 28, Hitler and Stalin signed a partition agreement which gave each tyrant half of a sad country which had only twenty-one years of . . . 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
Yugoslavia and the New Nationalism
A grotesque war is taking place in the middle of the European continent. It is an attack on lives, livelihoods, homes, villages, historic and religious buildings, and also on fundamental human values. A year ago, few people had heard of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Now it is clear that we . . . read more
Indonesian Nationalism Today and in the Future
In my experience, nationalism is frequently misunderstood. For that reason, I will begin my remarks by discussing briefly two common kinds of misunderstanding, using Indonesia as an example of a phenomenon almost universal in this century which is now crawling to its end. The first is that nationalism . . . read more
Nationalism and the Case of Ireland
The Enlightenment and its Romantic aftermath gave birth to two doctrines distinguished only by the letter s. The first was that people had the right to self-determination; the second was that peoples had such a right. The former belief is the keystone of modern democracy, and indeed . . . read more
The Nature of the British-Irish Agreement
It is an academic, personal and political honour to give the ninth John Whyte memorial lecture. It is an academic honour because John Whyte was the most dispassionate analyst of our conflict—and so is a hard act to follow. Interpreting Northern Ireland still conveys his marvellous gifts of . . . read more
Marxists Before the Holocaust
I shall begin here from an astonishing fact. In December 1938, in an appeal to American Jews, Leon Trotsky in a certain manner predicted the impending Jewish catastrophe. Here is what he wrote: ‘It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak . . . read more
Reply to Critics
It is a great honour to have elicited comments from such a distinguished assembly of scholars and thinkers, and I feel greatly moved by this. The papers range over a large number of topics and more than one of them leaves me feeling out of my depth, conceptually . . . read more
Habermas on National Unification in Germany and Korea
Jürgen Habermas’s public lecture in Seoul on ‘National Unification and Popular Sovereignty’ came as a welcome intervention for those Koreans committed to a reunification process which would be both peaceful and democratic. Although little of what he said, even on German unity, was entirely new to many of . . . read more
National Unification and Popular Sovereignty
Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, new states have been emerging in fast-moving sequence—whether through the secession of formerly ‘autonomous’ territories, or through the reunification of national states that had fallen into dependence and partition. These would appear to be only the clearest symptoms that a phenomenon . . . read more
Identity Politics and the Left
My lecture is about a surprisingly new subject. We have become so used to terms like ‘collective identity’, ‘identity groups, ‘identity politics’, or, for that matter ‘ethnicity’, that it is hard to remember how recently they have surfaced as part of the current vocabulary, or jargon, of political . . . read more
The National Imagination
Eric Hobsbawm, in the final chapter of a comprehensive survey on the history of nationalism, claimed that as a historical phenomenon, it had passed its heyday. Employing a Hegelian idiom he suggested that the nation-state was now on a declining curve of historical viability, the beginnings of its . . . read more
Nationalism and the Left in Germany
A new/old spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of nationalism. Everyone underestimated its force and potential before 1989, and in the post-Cold War world, almost everyone is struggling to come to terms with it. There is a long history of the Left, in Germany in particular, being accused of . . . read more
Overcoming the Past
I would like your very different biographies and your experiences with the European Left to encounter each other as it were in a discussion on Germany, on ‘overcoming the past’, on the legacy of socialism, on Europe and the lack of synchrony between Germany and Poland. The . . . read more
Nationalism and Richard Rorty: The Text as a Flag for Pax Americana
Richard Rorty is in danger of attaining the sort of eminence which today is normally reserved for French philosophes. He is one of the few English-language thinkers whom defenders of postmodernism feel able to cite along-side the continental icons of Foucault, Derrida and Baudrillard. He has been described, . . . read more
The Destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina
The year 1992, scheduled to be a milestone on the road to European unity, has seen Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities slowly bombarded to pieces and their inhabitants starved before the television eyes of the world. It has seen two million Bosnian Moslems threatened with Europe’s first genocide . . . read more
The Crisis of Algerian Nationalism and the Rise of Islamic Integralism
By cancelling the elections planned for the end of 1991, banning the Front Islamique du Salut (fis), arresting its top leaders and detaining thousands of activists, the Algerian regime prevented an Islamist government from being elected, but did not succeed in forcing the theocratic djinn back into . . . read more
The New World Disorder
It is quite possible that historians of the 2050s, looking back into our now closing century, will pick out, as one deep tectonic movement stretching across more than two centuries, the disintegration of the great polyethnic, polyglot, and often polyreligious monarchical empires built up so painfully in mediaeval . . . read more
Nationalism and Politics in Eastern Europe: A Response to Gellner
‘Nationalism’ is a much-abused concept that can be used to explain everything—hence, nothing at all. Unless rooted in concrete analysis of the national and class politics of a given state or area, it runs the risk of becoming analytically vacuous. Ernest Gellner’s work has long been distinguished by . . . read more
Incomplete Revolution: National Movements and the Collapse of the Soviet Empire
Early in September, less than a month after the abortive coup in Moscow, Soviet ethnographers gathered in Bishkek (formerly Frunze), the capital of the newly independent Kyrgiz republic, for their annual national conference. Confronted by the radically transformed political situation in what was repeatedly referred to as ‘the . . . read more
Es Gibt Keinen Staat in Europa: Racism and Politics in Europe Today
I would like to start by explaining how I came to modify the agreed theme and, to some extent, focus of this contribution. There were some general reasons for doing so, which occurred to me as I was reading the Congress programme, but recent political events provided a . . . read more
Eastern Europe’s Republics of Gilead
Why is the West so fascinated by the recent events in Eastern Europe? The answer seems obvious: what fascinates the Western gaze is the re-invention of democracy. It is as if democracy, which in the West shows increasing signs of decay and crisis, lost in bureaucratic routine and . . . read more
The Revenge of the Past: Socialism and Ethnic Conflict in Transcaucasia
At the beginning of the twentieth century, when Social Democrats agonized over the emerging ‘national question’, Russian Marxists sought at one and the same time to win allies among the non-Russian nationalities and to combat the project of the nationalists to splinter the unitary state. Secure in their . . . read more
Brazilian Culture: Nationalism by Elimination
We Brazilians and other Latin Americans constantly experience the artificial, inauthentic and imitative nature of our cultural life. An essential element in our critical thought since independence, it has been variously interpreted from romantic, naturalist, modernist, right-wing, left-wing, cosmopolitan and nationalist points of view, so we may suppose . . . read more
Identity, Negation and Violence
As something to be talked and written about, as a phenomenon with nearly hysterical descriptions and pronouncements routinely added to its name as a mobilizing theme for politicians, armies, navies and air forces, ‘terrorism’ has now lost a good deal of its power. A mere matter of months . . . 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
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 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
The Dialectic of Class and Region in Belgium
Belgian society today is a living illustration of the law of uneven development which has dominated the whole history of capitalism. The present structural crisis of the Belgian economy is a direct consequence of the fact that Belgium was the first industrialized country in continental Europe. The crisis . . . read more
Marxists and the National Question
The aim of this article is to isolate certain key theoretical and methodological aspects of the classic Marxist debate on the national question: a debate which had its starting-point in the relatively imprecise positions developed by Marx and Engels themselves in their writings, and which was carried on . . . read more
A Scottish Road to Socialism?
Scotland has been putting on its spectacles with commendable eagerness to read the minute print of a ‘Red Paper’ or socialist symposium on the state of the nation, which has reached the best-seller lists. It is a collection of twenty-eight essays, edited by Edinburgh University’s student rector, Gordon . . . read more
Some Reflections on 'The Break-up of Britain'
Nationalism has been a great puzzle to (non-nationalist) politicians and theorists ever since its invention, not only because it is both powerful and devoid of any discernible rational theory, but also because its shape and function are constantly changing. Like the cloud with which Hamlet taunted Polonius, it . . . read more
Dialectic of Religion and Class in Ulster
The six most north-easterly counties of the Irish mainland form a colony 16 miles from the coast of the Mother Country. A third of its population owe it neither historical, nor religious, nor political allegiance. The industry of these six counties has been in decline for over a . . . read more
The coup in Lisbon on 25 April 1974 brought the beginnings of modern political life to the ancient and backward Portuguese colony of Timor, with its 600,000 inhabitants. Timor is strategically located at the south-eastern extremity of the Nusa Tenggara Archipelago, or Lesser Sundas—that part of Indonesia closest . . . read more
Discussion on the Strategy of Peoples Democracy
This interview with leading members of People’s Democracy took place in Derry on the evening of April 20 1969, as the crisis which was finally to unseat O’Neill opened. Three days previously, Bernadette Devlin had been elected in Mid-Ulster. On the previous evening, a march through Burntollet had . . . read more