With irrepressible humor, Slavoj iek dissects our current political and social climate, discussing everything from Jordan Peterson and sex “unicorns” to Greta Thunberg and Chairman Mao. Taking aim at his enemies on the Left, Right, and Center, he argues that contemporary society can only be properly understood from a communist standpoint. Why communism? The greater the triumph of global capitalism, the more its dangerous antagonisms multiply: climate collapse, the digital manipulation of our lives, the explosion in refugee numbers – all need a radical solution. That solution is a Left that dares to speak its name, to get its hands dirty in the real world of contemporary politics, not to sling its insults from the sidelines or to fight a culture war that is merely a fig leaf covering its political and economic failures. As the crises caused by contemporary capitalism accumulate at an alarming rate, the Left finds itself in crisis too, beset with competing ideologies and prone to populism, racism, and conspiracy theories. A Left that Dares to Speak Its Name is iek’s attempt to elucidate the major political issues of the day from a truly radical Leftist position. The first three parts explore the global political situation and the final part focuses on contemporary Western culture, as iek directs his polemic to topics such as wellness, Wikileaks, and the rights of sexbots. This wide-ranging collection of essays provides the perfect insight into the ideas of one of the most influential radical thinkers of our time.
What causes climate change, social breakdown, rampant inequality and the creeping spread of ubiquitous surveillance? Capitalism. What is the only alternative to capitalism? Socialism. Socialism cannot, however, remain static if it is going to save civilisation from these catastrophes. In this urgent manifesto for a 21st century left, Jeremy Gilbert shows that we need a revitalised socialist politics that learns from the past to adapt to contemporary challenges. He argues that socialism must overcome its industrial origins and give priority to an environmental agenda. In an age of global networks, digital technology and instant communication, central government diktat and restrictions on free speech and movement must be jettisoned. We need to control the economy rather than let it control us – but we must do this by empowering workers, citizens and communities to run their world their way. It’s time to take back the wealth, the services and the platforms that our own energy has built. In the digital age, it’s time for a new socialism.
Human beings universally dream of a better world. For centuries they have expressed their yearning for ways of life that are free from oppression, want and fear, through philosophy, art, film and literature.<br /> <br />In this concise and engaging book, Mark Jendrysik examines the multifarious ways utopians have posed the question of how human beings might establish justice and realize truly human values. Drawing upon a range of sources, from Plato’s <i>Republic</i> and Thomas More’s <i>Utopia</i> to Ursula Le Guin’s <i>The Dispossessed</i>, he argues that, though for many utopia means ‘demanding the impossible’, the goals that seemed out of reach for one generation are often realized in the next. Nonetheless, he shows that, while utopian thought points toward our most noble aspirations, it also illustrates the dangers of totalitarianism, of the surveillance state and of global climate change.<br /> <br />This engaging book will be an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to understand how, for good or ill, utopian aspirations shape our lives, even in times that seem designed to close off dreams of a better world.
From the shores of Europe to the Mexican-US border, mass migration is one of the most pressing issues we face today. Yet at the same time, calls to defend national sovereignty are becoming ever more vitriolic, with those fleeing war, persecution, and famine vilified as a threat to our security as well as our social and economic order. In this book, written amidst the dark resurgence of appeals to defend ‘blood and soil’, Donatella Di Cesare challenges the idea of the exclusionary state, arguing that migration is a fundamental human right. She develops an original philosophy of migration that places the migrants themselves, rather than states and their borders, at the centre. Through an analysis of three historic cities, Athens, Rome and Jerusalem, Di Cesare shows how we should conceive of migrants not as an other but rather as resident foreigners. This means recognising that citizenship cannot be based on any supposed connection to the land or an exclusive claim to ownership that would deny the rights of those who arrive as migrants. Instead, citizenship must be disconnected from the possession of territory altogether and founded on the principle of cohabitation – and on the ultimate reality that we are all temporary guests and tenants of the earth. Di Cesare’s argument for a new ethics of hospitality will be of great interest to all those concerned with the challenges posed by migration and with the increasingly hostile attitudes towards migrants, as well as students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.
Who are refugees? Who, if anyone, is responsible for protecting them? What forms should this protection take? In a world of people fleeing from civil wars, state failure, and environmental disasters, these are ethically and politically pressing questions. In this book, David Owen reveals how the contemporary politics of refuge is structured by two rival historical pictures of refugees. In reconstructing this history, he advocates an understanding of refugeehood that moves us beyond our current impasse by distinguishing between what is owed to refugees in general and what is owed to different types of refugee. He provides an account of refugee protection and the forms of international cooperation required to implement it that is responsive to the claims of both refugees and states. At a time when refugee protection is once again prominent on the international agenda, this book offers a guide to understanding the challenges this topic raises and shows why addressing it matters for all of us.
Populism is the key political phenomenon of the 21st century. From Trump to Brexit, from Chávez to Podemos, the term has been used to describe leaders, parties and movements across the globe who disrupt the status quo and speak in the name of ‘the people’ against ‘the elite’. Yet the term remains something of a puzzle: poorly understood, vaguely defined and, more often than not, used as a term of abuse.<br /> <br /> In this concise and engaging book, leading expert Benjamin Moffitt cuts through this confusion. Offering the first accessible introduction to populism as a core concept in political theory, he maps the different schools of thought on how to understand populism and explores how populism relates to some of the most important concepts at the heart of political debate today. He asks: what has populism got to do with nationalism and nativism? How does it intersect with socialism? Is it compatible with liberalism? And in the end, is populism a good or bad thing for democracy? <br /> <br /> This book is essential reading for anyone – from students and scholars to general readers alike – seeking to make sense of one the most important and controversial issues in the contemporary political landscape.
Modern political revolutions since the 18th century have swept away traditional systems of domination by declaring that ‘all men are created equal’. This declaration of equal rights is a fundamental political act – it is the political act in which the political community creates itself in relation to traditional systems of domination. But because it was generally assumed that the subject of these rights is the individual human being, the political community was subordinated to the individual. Marx discerned, rightly, that this was the paradox at the heart of the declaration of the rights of man. But while Marx was right to highlight this paradox, his proposed solution does not provide us with a sound basis for overcoming it. <br /><br />In this major new work, Christoph Menke adopts a different approach: he argues that we can address and overcome this paradox only by embarking on a fundamental inquiry into the nature of rights. Rights are a specific configuration of normativity: to have a right is to have a justified and binding claim. But with the equal rights declared by modern revolutions, rights assumed a particular form: the normative claim to equality was combined with an assumption about the factual conditions of social life. In this conception, society is the realm of private individuals pursuing their interests, and private interests are therefore seen as the natural basis for politics – what Menke calls ‘the naturalization of the social’. By laying bare this conception which lies at the basis of political literalism and modern law, Menke is able to criticize and move beyond it, opening up a new way of understanding rights that no longer involves the disempowering of the political community. <br /><br />This radical critique of rights and of modern law is a major contribution to critical theory and legal theory and it will be of great interest to students and scholars in social and political theory, philosophy and law.
Many of us wonder what we could possibly do to end oppression, exploitation, and injustice. People have studied revolutions and protest movements for centuries, but few have focused on prefigurative politics, the idea of 'building the new society within the shell of the old'. Fed up with capitalism? Get organised and build the institutions of the future in radical unions and local communities. Tired of politicians stalling on climate change? Set up an alternative energy collective. Ready to smash racism and the patriarchy? Root them out in all areas of our lives, not just in 'high politics'. This is the first book dedicated to prefigurative politics, explaining its history and examining the various debates surrounding it. How can collective decision-making be inclusive? In what ways are movements intersectional? Can prefigurative organisations scale up? It is a must-read for students of radical politics, anarchism, and social movements, as well as activists and concerned citizens everywhere.
The original – and often continuing – sin of countries with a settler colonial past is their brutal treatment of indigenous peoples. This challenging legacy continues to confront modern liberal democracies ranging from the USA and Canada to Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Duncan Ivison’s book considers how these states can justly accommodate indigenous populations today. He shows how indigenous movements have gained prominence in the past decade, driving both domestic and international campaigns for change. He examines how the claims made by these movements challenge liberal conceptions of the state, rights, political community, identity and legitimacy. Interweaving a lucid introduction to the debates with his own original argument, he contends that we need to move beyond complaints about the ‘politics of identity’ and towards a more historically and theoretically nuanced liberalism better suited to our times. This book will be a key resource for students and scholars interested in political theory, historic injustice, Indigenous studies and the history of political thought.
Michael Walzer is one of the world’s most important political thinkers, whose major works, such as <i>Spheres of Justice</i> and <i>Just and Unjust Wars</i>, have transformed many central debates in contemporary political philosophy. <br /><br />In this book, Toby J. Reiner provides the most wide-ranging and up-to-date introduction to his work available. Reiner examines his writings on topics ranging from justice in war, humanitarian intervention and migration ethics to distributive justice, multiculturalism, and the political role of religion. Situating Walzer’s thought in the intellectual environment of post-war American leftist politics, Reiner demonstrates the importance of his attempt to provide a social-democratic alternative to liberalism, Marxism, and post-modernism. He shows that Walzer has developed a novel approach to political theory based on the thesis that human communities construct the values that give meaning to their lives, giving his work a significance that goes well beyond political theory, into political and social science more broadly.<br /><br />Reiner not only gives a crystal clear guide to Walzer’s ideas for students of political philosophy and general readers, but also develops an original and illuminating new interpretation of his thought that no political theorist can afford to miss.