With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated."
Over the past several decades, Italian revolutionary politics has offered a model for new forms of political thinking. Radical Thought in Italy continues that tradition by providing an original view of the potential for a radical democratic politics today that speaks not only to the Italian situation but also to a broadly international context. First, the essays settle accounts with the culture of cynicism, opportunism, and fear that has come to permeate the Left. They then proceed to analyze the new difficulties and possibilities opened by current economic conditions and the crisis of the welfare state. Finally, the authors propose a series of new concepts that are helpful in rethinking revolution for our times. Contributors: Giorgio Agamben, U of Verona and Coll ge Internationale de Philosophie, Paris; Massimo De Carolis, U of Salerno; Alisa Del Re, U of Padua; Augusto Illuminati, U of Urbino; Maurizio Lazzarato; Antonio Negri, U of Paris VIII; Franco Piperno, U of Calabria; Marco Revelli, U of Turin; Rossana Rossanda; Carlo Vercellone; Adelino Zanini. Paolo Virno is the author of several books, including the recently translated A Grammar of the Multitude. Michael Hardt is professor of literature and romance studies at Duke University.
Peter Singer identifies the central vision that unifies Marx's thought, enabling us to grasp Marx's views as a whole. Singer sees him as a philosopher primarily concerned with human freedom, rather than as an economist or a social scientist. He explains alienation, historical materialism, the economic theory of Capital, and Marx's ideas of communism in plain English, and concludes with an assessment of Marx's legacy.
Have the poor fared best by participating in conventional electoral politics or by engaging in mass defiance and disruption? The authors of the classic Regulating The Poor assess the successes and failures of these two strategies as they examine, in this provocative study, four protest movements of lower-class groups in 20th century America:
-- The mobilization of the unemployed during the Great Depression that gave rise to the Workers' Alliance of America
-- The industrial strikes that resulted in the formation of the CIO
-- The Southern Civil Rights Movement
-- The movement of welfare recipients led by the National Welfare Rights Organization.
The Chinese economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, China's 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of China's underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. They are truly the voiceless in modern China. They are also, perhaps, the reason that China will not be able to make the great social and economic leap forward, because if it is to leap it must carry the 900 million with it. Chinese journalists Wu Chuntao and Chen Guidi returned to Wu's home province of Anhui, one of China's poorest, to undertake a three-year survey of what had happened to the peasants there, asking the question: Have the peasants been betrayed by the revolution undertaken in their name by Mao and his successors? The result is a brilliant narrative of life among the 900 million, and a vivid portrait of the petty dictators that run China's villages and counties and the consequences of their bullying despotism on the people they administer. Told principally through four dramatic narratives of particular Anhui people, Will the Boat Sink the Water? gives voice to the unheard masses and looks beneath the gloss of the new China to find the truth of daily life for its vast population of rural poor.
"How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times, even if they are different and perhaps less dark, and "Origins" raises a set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead." --Jeffrey C. Isaac, The Washington Post
The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time--Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia--which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.
If not capitalism, then what? Something's not working, but there's a dearth of material on what could be right - and more important how to change things. Laying out strategy & vision for his "participatory economics," Albert argues that we must change the way we view work & wages and restructure our workplaces so that everyone can become involved in controlling their working lives. The third in his "Forward" books is written in clear language and will be of interest to those just beginning to question capitalist logic & to experienced activists. Using real-world examples, Albert offers today's political discontents a valuable tool.
Michael Albert is a co-founder of both South End Press and Z magazine and lives in Woods Hole.