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
3 Antisemitism, critical theory and the ambivalences of Marxism
Citizens, let us think of the basic principle of the
International: Solidarity. Only when we have established this life-giving
principle on a sound basis among the numerous workers of all countries will
we attain the great final goal which we have set ourselves. (Karl Marx
– a speech given following a congress of the First International, 8
In liberal democracies there is a belief that citizens ought to take an active interest in what is happening in the political world. Political debate in modern Western democracies is a complex and often rowdy affair. There are three fundamental political issues: 'politics', 'power' and 'justice', which feature in almost all political discussions and conflicts. The book assesses the degree to which the state and state sovereignty are disappearing in the modern world of 'globalised' politics, economics and culture and new international institutions. The main features of the nation and the problems of defining it are outlined: population, culture, history, language, religion, and race. Different types of democracy and their most important features are discussed. 'Freedom' is usually claimed to be the prime objective of political activity. The book discusses equality of human rights, distributional equality, equality before the law, the claims for group equality on the grounds of race, gender, class. Rights, obligations and citizenship are closely associated. Ideology is the driving force of political discourse. The book also discusses nationalism's growth and development over the last two centuries with particular reference to its main features and assumptions. It outlines the development of conservatism as a political ideology and movement in Britain during the last two centuries. An overview of liberalism, socialism, Marxism, anarchism, and Fascism follows. Environmentalism and feminism are also discussed. Finally, the book talks about how ideological change occurs and stresses the importance of rationality in politics.
This is the first monograph devoted to the work of one of the foremost
contemporary advocates of critical theory, Andrew Feenberg. It
focuses on Feenberg’s central concept, technical politics, and explores his
suggestion that democratising technology design is key to a strategic
understanding of the process of civilisational change. In this way, it presents
Feenberg’s intervention as the necessary bridge between various species of
critical constructivism and wider visions of the kind of change that are
urgently needed to move human society onto a more sustainable footing. The book
describes the development of Feenberg’s thought out of the tradition of Marx and
Marcuse, and presents critical analyses of his main ideas: the theory of formal
bias, technology’s ambivalence, progressive rationalisation, and the theory of
primary and secondary instrumentalisation. Technical politics identifies a
limitation of Feenberg’s work associated with his attachment to critique, as the
opposite pole to a negative kind of rationality (instrumentalism). It concludes
by offering a utopian corrective to the theory that can provide a fuller account
of the process of willed technological transformation and of the author’s own
idea of a technologically authorised socialism.
group and essential
to activists, has had to seek private capital to keep going.3 Of the other
satellite front organisations very little remains. Only the Confédération
Générale des Travailleurs (CGT) is a force to be reckoned with but that
trade union is also in a tense relationship with the Party hierarchy: if
the CGT is to revive, it needs to free itself from the Party but the Party
needs the CGT to prop up its own flagging influence.
Third, the Communist Party had commandeered the cultural high
ground of revolutionary Marxism and had imposed its own brand,
essentially been an ideological wing of radical liberalism. To reiterate: it
was nineteenth-century capitalist industrialisation that created the working
class and socialism.
From its very beginnings socialism
was a many-faceted ideology, one that can be roughly divided into four main
types, all of which have been influenced by idealist or
social reformism or social democracy; Marxism or
, Marxism and post-colonial sociology.
Through examination of paradigms that are positioned as alternatives, or are
explicitly critical of contemporary civilisational analysis, the most salient
criticisms are related to the modified version advocated here. Some short
comments on how this takes place, and why, are necessary to show how the
version of contemporary civilisational analysis that I elucidate in Chapter 4
is arrived at.
Critical perspectives on civilisational analysis
When post-colonial sociological responses are compared with
‘faithful’ into ‘correct’ ways of thought.
The political and social order that existed in France before the
Revolution of 1789
Marxism and economic/class factors
By the middle years of the nineteenth
century industrialisation was transforming the economies, societies and the
belief systems of the Western world. A new way of thinking about society
Parry’s concern with socialist eurovision has intensified since then, as
is evident in her forthcoming article ‘Liberation Theory: Variations on
Themes of Marxism and Modernity’. But if in 1987 she was content
merely to identify a problem, now we find she is concerned to analyse the
problem of the left’s non-engagement with colonialism, locating as crucial the ‘shift away from the political’ in European Marxism that began in
the 1930s. However, Parry’s politics of hope and her analytic rigour prevent her from blanket denunciation. She gets at the problem of European
Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.