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Although Marxism and even anarchism are sometimes treated as if they are simply varieties of socialism, we consider that they have sufficiently distinctive characteristics to warrant separate treatment. Starting with Marxism, we examine Marx’s theories of history, economics and politics before discussing the controversies within Marx-inspired political organisations in the

in Understanding political ideas and movements

(finally) of the urban middle class as a revitalising force in Russian political life after the ‘de-democratisation’ of Vladimir Putin’s second term as president and the disappointments of Dmitri Medvedev’s term. The almost unanimous enthusiasm the protests generated in the mainstream Western discussion led to the emergence of an expert orthodoxy that they represented the beginning of the end of the Putin

in The new politics of Russia
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Nationalism is perhaps the most powerful ideology of the last couple of centuries. We attempt here to distinguish a number of varieties of nationalism – liberal, reactionary and radical. There follows a brief history of nationalism from the pre-Renaissance period to the twentieth century, after which we consider whether nationalism as an ideology serves particular political

in Understanding political ideas and movements

This chapter explores the concept of the state, looking at various theories of the state and identifying its major characteristics and then how far real states measure up to these characteristics. Finally, it examines the issue of whether the state is still as fundamental a political institution as it has been over the past four centuries

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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despotic, that does not proclaim its devotion to ‘democracy’. Along with ‘God, Queen and country’ (in Britain), or ‘mom and apple pie’ (in the USA), ‘democracy’ is now associated with something good and wholesome, something worth defending and, if necessary, dying (and killing) for. One can see that there is a problem with the term ‘democracy’. If every political system is a

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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The state of surprise

largely unanticipated, as for many was the Russian military deployment to Syria in autumn 2015. More precisely, however, it is another rude awakening. Since the ‘founding surprise’ of the collapse of the USSR – still for many the exemplary failure of expert political prediction 4 – Western officials and observers have been repeatedly surprised by developments in Russian

in The new politics of Russia
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Events have made ‘fascism’ a term of political abuse rather than one of serious ideological analysis. Moreover, self-proclaimed fascists have claimed that fascism is beyond intellectual analysis and have despised those who favour rational examination of their beliefs. However, we take fascism seriously as an ideology by examining fascist values and the concrete actions of some

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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contemporary Britain as a nation. Perhaps more accurately the United Kingdom should be considered as a ‘state’ made up of several ‘nations’, each of which is discussed in turn. This problem of nation and national identity can be investigated through a study of Northern Ireland, where issues of national and state identity have contributed to the political crisis. POINTS TO CONSIDER

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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Deciphering power in Russia

the wider Russian political landscape, whether from the population or from the political elite, or both. This has evolved into a heightened focus on the personalised nature of Russian power, and it has provided a platform for much speculation about the increasing narrowness of Putin’s advisory circle, the inherent instability of ‘Putin’s’ system and consequently (again) about the Putin era coming to

in The new politics of Russia
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We now explore the term ‘equality’, defined in two ways: first, that which concerns equality as a starting point to life; second, equality as an outcome. We also consider equality before the law, equal political rights and equal social rights. After that we examine individual and group equality, and equality in terms of the class structure and international relations. Finally

in Understanding political ideas and movements