by Alex Alvarez Taylor. A glance at the results of the Italian election in March confirms that the trend towards the populist right continues to gather strength in Europe. Support for the Five Star Movement sharply increased in the southern regions and in the islands particularly.
by Alberto Toscano. Dear colleague, Over the past few weeks of the UCU strike to defend pensions, you have repeatedly crossed picket lines of lecturers and students from your institution. Many of us have asked you to support an action aimed at preventing the imposition of pension poverty on thousands of academics present and future, and to challenge the plunder of a collective resource, a process which is being driven by faulty economics and engineered by managers who have massively increased their own pay at the same time as they have squandered our deferred salary.
by James Gurrey “Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?” — Hamlet For as long as I have been a part of the Left, for most activists there has been a tacit subjective injunction at various times to feel guilty about various things: the fact that some are worse off than ourselves, that we are insufficiently active, that we are not politically ‘hard’ enough, that we have and enjoy different kinds of ‘privilege’. However there is nothing progressive about guilt. Quite the opposite. Defining guilt as the projecting inwards of aggressive instincts we
by George Souvlis, Sebastian Budgen, Jeremiah Gaster and Charlie Post. Could you introduce yourself, by describing the formative experiences (academic and political) that strongly influenced you? Politically, I was shaped by the social struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. My father’s family were working-class Jewish social-democrats, who, while voting for the US Democratic Party since the 1930s, were anti-racist and anti-imperialist. They supported both the civil rights and black power movement. My uncle, who was involved in the unofficial and illegal strikes among teachers in the late 1950s and early 1960s that won collective bargaining rights, broke
by David Camfield. Too often people on the radical left find ourselves thinking with concepts we’ve inherited from the past that have become misleading because the realities to which the concepts refer have changed fundamentally. This happens a lot when we talk about the workers’ movement. As New York City transit union activist Steve Downs put it, We speak about the labour movement and I think we tend to do it out of habit or maybe generosity or maybe even embarrassment, but there is no labour movement in this city or in this country, frankly… there is no unifying vision, there
by Richard Seymour. “As long as you think you’re white,” James Baldwin said, “there’s no hope for you.” And if this seems counterintuitive — as though one might think white people are the only people with hope — he went on to say: “Insofar as you think you’re white, you’re irrelevant. We can no longer afford that particular, romance.” There’s something odd, and challenging here. It’s a strange way to put it: whiteness is supposed to be a privilege, something those interpellated as ‘white’ are getting something out of, not — as Baldwin seemed to believe — doom. At
by Sarah Grey There’s a special kind of dread that breeds in the path of a hurricane. They call it the ‘cone of uncertainty’ – that brightly coloured funnel on the weather map that traces the possible paths of a storm. It’s a statistical mishmash created from dozens of predictions of varying quality, and when you see the dark red centre touch your part of the map, you can almost feel the barometric pressure dropping. You might have days to prepare, days before you know whether it’ll really hit you and how badly. You might not have days to
by Matthew Cole. According to the speculations of techno-futurologists, left and right, the machines are here to liberate us. Most of the discourse is dominated by the neoliberal right such as Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England. Their arguments, avoiding questions of exploitation, are naturally popular with the establishment. McAfee’s best-selling book The Second Machine Age has been lauded by leaders at the World Economic Forum.
Since the 1991 publication of The Wages of Whiteness, David Roediger’s work has fundamentally changed the shape of scholarship on race and racism in the US. In his latest book, Class, Race and Marxism, Roediger tackles the relationship between race and class in contemporary society, and questions many of the common assumptions of the Marxist left. Below are a series of critical commentaries on the book by Satnam Virdee, Alana Lentin and Charles Post. Solidarity, Race and Class by Alana Lentin Comments on Roediger’s Class, Race and Marxism by Charles Post Race, Class and Roediger’s Open Marxism by Satnam Virdee
by Alana Lentin At the launch of David Roediger’s collection, Race, Class and Marxism it was invigorating to see so many people crowd into the un-air-conditioned space on a hot Friday evening to hear four brilliant thinkers talk about race. And so it was dispiriting that during Q&A a number of audience members suggested that an over-emphasis on ‘identitarianism’ is diluting the power of the left at a critical juncture in US politics. The picture they painted of a left fragmented by an over-wrought concern with positionality to the detriment of an emphasis on ‘materiality’ was gently and graciously