Socialism Unbound

Author: Stephen Eric Bronner
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527357
Format: PDF, ePub
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Published more than twenty years ago, Stephen Eric Bronner's bold defense of socialism remains one of the best texts to reframe the movement for modern audiences. Treating socialism as an ethic and reclaiming its early intellectual foundations, while acknowledging and correcting its inherent flaws, Bronner advances a more robust theory of working-class politics for the twenty-first century. Unfolding chronologically, Bronner's study revisits the labor movement's pivotal figures—Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Karl Kautsky, Eduard Bernstein, Vladimir Lenin, and Rosa Luxemburg—and the major themes governing their work. He identifies the contributions of these individuals but also their missteps, particularly the moments in which critical innovation gave way to dogma, muddying the meaning of core principles and practices. Bronner confronts a host of controversial issues, including the relationship between class and social movements, institutional accountability and participation, and economic justice and market imperatives; the problematic processes of revolution and reform; and the tensions between internationalism and identity. Adding a new introduction examining the revival of socialist theory and the evolution of labor politics over the past three decades, Bronner's classic treatise furthers the intellectual development of a genuinely progressive politics.

Archaeology of the Political

Author: Elías José Palti
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023154247X
Format: PDF, Docs
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In the past few decades, the focus of political-philosophical reflection has been reoriented to penetrate that dimension of reality known as "the political." Many of the key figures in contemporary political theory—Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Reinhart Koselleck, Giorgio Agamben, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek, among others—have dedicated themselves to explaining and elaborating on the concept of the political, but in many cases they take the political for granted, as if it were a given, an eternal essence. In An Archaeology of the Political, Elías José Palti argues that the realm of the political is not a natural, transhistorical entity. Instead, he claims that the horizon of the political arose in the context of a series of changes that affirmed the power of absolute monarchies in seventeenth-century Europe and was successively reconfigured from this period up to the present. Palti traces this series of redefinitions accompanying alterations in the regimes of power, creating a genealogy of the concept of the political. Perhaps most important, An Archaeology of the Political demonstrates that transposing ideas from one historical context into another invariably inflicts violence on the conceptual framework from which all political ideas take their meanings.

State of Nature Stages of Society

Author: Frank Palmeri
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231541287
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Frank Palmeri sees the conjectural histories of Rousseau, Hume, Herder, and other Enlightenment philosophers as a template for the development of the social sciences in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Without documents or memorials, these thinkers, he argues, employed conjecture to formulate a naturalistic account of society’s commercial and secular progression. This approach can be traced in the work of political economists (Malthus, Martineau, Mill, Marx), anthropologists, sociologists (Comte, Spencer), and sociologists of religion (Weber, Durkheim, Freud), and its speculative framework creates a surprising ambivalence toward modernity in these disciplines.

What Is a Nation and Other Political Writings

Author: Ernest Renan
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231547145
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Ernest Renan was one of the leading lights of the Parisian intellectual scene in the second half of the nineteenth century. A philologist, historian, and biblical scholar, he was a prominent voice of French liberalism and secularism. Today most familiar in the English-speaking world for his 1882 lecture “What Is a Nation?” and its definition of a nation as an “everyday plebiscite,” Renan was a major figure in the debates surrounding the Franco-Prussian War, the Paris Commune, and the birth of the Third Republic and had a profound influence on thinkers across the political spectrum who grappled with the problem of authority and social organization in the new world wrought by the forces of modernization. What Is a Nation? and Other Political Writings is the first English-language anthology of Renan’s political thought. Offering a broad selection of Renan’s writings from several periods of his public life, most previously untranslated, it restores Renan to his place as one of France’s major liberal thinkers and gives vital critical context to his views on nationalism. The anthology illuminates the characteristics that distinguished nineteenth-century French liberalism from its English and American counterparts as well as the more controversial parts of Renan’s legacy, including his analysis of colonial expansion, his views on Islam and Judaism, and the role of race in his thought. The volume contains a critical introduction to Renan’s life and work as well as detailed annotations that assist in recovering the wealth and complexity of his thought.

The Plebeian Experience

Author: Martin Breaugh
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231520816
Format: PDF
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How do people excluded from political life achieve political agency? Through a series of historical events that have been mostly overlooked by political theorists, Martin Breaugh identifies fleeting yet decisive instances of emancipation in which people took it upon themselves to become political subjects. Emerging during the Roman plebs’s first secession in 494 BCE, the plebeian experience consists of an underground or unexplored configuration of political strategies to obtain political freedom. The people reject domination through political praxis and concerted action, therefore establishing an alternative form of power. Breaugh’s study concludes in the nineteenth century and integrates ideas from sociology, philosophy, history, and political science. Organized around diverse case studies, his work undertakes exercises in political theory to show how concepts provide a different understanding of the meaning of historical events and our political present. The Plebeian Experience describes a recurring phenomenon that clarifies struggles for emancipation throughout history, expanding research into the political agency of the many and shedding light on the richness of radical democratic struggles from ancient Rome to Occupy Wall Street and beyond.

Adventures of the Symbolic

Author: Warren Breckman
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231512899
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Marxism’s collapse in the twentieth century profoundly altered the style and substance of Western European radical thought. To build a more robust form of democratic theory and action, prominent theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon class for more fragmented models of social action, and elevate the political over the social. Acknowledging the constructedness of society and politics, they chose the “symbolic” as a concept powerful enough to reinvent leftist thought outside a Marxist framework. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Adventures of the Dialectic, which reassessed philosophical Marxism at mid century, Warren Breckman critically revisits these thrilling experiments in the aftermath of Marxism. The post-Marxist idea of the symbolic is dynamic and complex, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first advanced a modern conception of symbolism and the symbolic. Hegel and Marx denounced the Romantics for their otherworldly and nebulous posture, yet post-Marxist thinkers appreciated the rich potential of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first recognized. Mapping different ideas of the symbolic among contemporary thinkers, Breckman traces a fascinating reflection of Romantic themes and resonances, and he explores in depth the effort to reconcile a radical and democratic political agenda with a politics that does not privilege materialist understandings of the social. Engaging with the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Marcel Gauchet, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Slavoj Žižek, Breckman uniquely situates these important theorists within two hundred years of European thought and extends their profound relevance to today’s political activism.

States of War

Author: David William Bates
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231528663
Format: PDF, Mobi
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We fear that the growing threat of violent attack, whether from terrorism or other sources, has upset the balance between existential concepts of political power, which emphasize security, and traditional notions of constitutional limits meant to protect civil liberties. We worry that constitutional states cannot, during a time of war, terror, and extreme crisis, maintain legality and preserve civil rights and freedoms. David W. Bates allays these concerns by revisiting the theoretical origins of the modern constitutional state, which, he argues, recognized and made room for tensions among law, war, and the social order. We traditionally associate the Enlightenment with the taming of absolutist sovereign power through the establishment of a legal state based on the rights of individuals. In his critical rereading, Bates shows instead that Enlightenment thinkers conceived of political autonomy in a systematic, theoretical way. Focusing on the nature of foundational violence, war, and existential crises, eighteenth-century thinkers understood law and constitutional order not as a constraint on political power but as the logical implication of that primordial force. Returning to the origin stories that informed the beginnings of political community, Bates reclaims the idea of law, warfare, and the social order as intertwining elements subject to complex historical development. Following an analysis of seminal works by seventeenth-century natural-law theorists, Bates reviews the major canonical thinkers of constitutional theory (Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau) from the perspective of existential security and sovereign power. Countering Carl Schmitt's influential notion of the autonomy of the political, Bates demonstrates that Enlightenment thinkers understood the autonomous political sphere as a space of law protecting individuals according to their political status, not as mere members of a historically contingent social order.

Socialism for a Sceptical Age

Author: Ralph Miliband
Publisher: Verso
ISBN: 9781859849477
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The final book by the noted British Marxist and sociologist, father of British Labour Party politicians, David and Ed Miliband.

Socialism Unbound

Author: Stephen Bronner
Publisher: Westview Press
ISBN: 9780813367767
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Socialism Unbound , by Stephen Bronner, was widely acclaimed when it first appeared in 1990. This second revised edition brings it up to date. Written in a clear prose, and an uncompromising manner, it offers new critical reflections on the tradition of working class politics and its salience for the new millennium. Chronological in structure, broad in scope, its chapters are devoted to the themes associated with the most important figures of the labor movement: Marx & Engles, Karl Kautsky, Eduard Bernstein, Lenin, and Rosa Luxemburg. Each chapter speaks to the contributions and limits of past practices in light of recent political trends. Treating socialism as an ethic, while discarding outworn teleological claims, the conclusion squarely confronts a host of issues including the relation between class and social movements, institutional accountability and participation, revolution and reform, economic justice and market imperatives, internationalism and identity. This second edition of what has been called a classic text indeed articulates the potential contributions of socialist theory for developing a genuinely progressive politics no less than the organizational and ideological challenges it must face in the modern era.

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics Updated Edition

Author: John J. Mearsheimer
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393076240
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"A superb book.…Mearsheimer has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the behavior of great powers."—Barry R. Posen, The National Interest The updated edition of this classic treatise on the behavior of great powers takes a penetrating look at the question likely to dominate international relations in the twenty-first century: Can China rise peacefully? In clear, eloquent prose, John Mearsheimer explains why the answer is no: a rising China will seek to dominate Asia, while the United States, determined to remain the world's sole regional hegemon, will go to great lengths to prevent that from happening. The tragedy of great power politics is inescapable.