Socialism Unbound

Author: Stephen Eric Bronner
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527357
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Published more than twenty years ago, Stephen Eric Bronner's bold defense of socialism remains a seminal text for our time. Treating socialism as an ethic, reinterpreting its core categories, and critically confronting its early foundations, Bronner's work offers a reinvigorated "class ideal" and a new perspective for progressive politics in the twentieth century. Socialism Unbound is an extraordinary work of political history that revisits the pivotal figures of the labor movement: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Karl Kautsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Rosa Luxemburg. Examining their contributions as well as their flaws, Bronner shows how critical innovation gave way to dogma. New practical problems have arisen, and this volume engages with the relationship between class and social movements, institutional accountability and democratic participation, economic justice and market imperatives, and internationalism and identity. With a foreword by Dick Howard and a new introduction by the author, Bronner's classic study remains indispensable for scholars and activists alike.

An Archaeology of the Political

Author: Elías José Palti
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023154247X
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
In the past few decades, much political-philosophical reflection has been dedicated to the realm of "the political." Many of the key figures in contemporary political theory—Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Reinhart Koselleck, Giorgio Agamben, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj i ek, among others—have dedicated themselves to explaining power relations, but in many cases they take the concept of 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 dimension of reality known as 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 regimes of power, thus describing a genealogy of the concept of the political. Perhaps most important, An Archaeology of the Political brings to theoretical discussions a sound historical perspective, illuminating the complex influences of both theology and secularization on our understanding of the political in the contemporary world.

State of Nature Stages of Society

Author: Frank Palmeri
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231541287
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
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. Palmeri finds evidence of speculative frameworks in the political economy of Malthus, Martineau, Mill, and Marx. He traces the influence of speculative thought in the development of anthropology and ethnography in the 1860s, the foundational sociology of Comte and Spencer, and the sociology of religion pioneered by Weber, Durkheim, and Freud. Conjectural histories reveal a surprising ambivalence toward progress, modernity, and secularization among leading thinkers of the time, an attitude that affected texts as varied as Darwin's Descent of Man, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality, and the novels of Walter Scott, George Eliot, and H.G. Wells. Establishing the critical value of conjectural thinking in the study of modern forms of knowledge, Palmeri concludes his investigation with its return in the work of Foucault and in recent histories on early religion, political organization, and material life.

What Is a Nation and Other Political Writings

Author: Ernest Renan
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231547145
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
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
Download Now
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, ePub
Download Now
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 i ek, 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
Download Now
We fear that the growing threat of violent attack 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 Williams 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 constraints 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, Kindle
Download Now
The final book by the noted British Marxist and sociologist, father of British Labour Party politicians, David and Ed Miliband.

Taking Socialism Seriously

Author: Richard Schmitt
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 0739166379
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Capitalism is in crisis. Is a better world possible and what would it look like? Taking Socialism Seriously breaks important new paths for significant social change by examining detailed questions seriously that had previously been neglected.

Embedded with Organized Labor

Author: Steve Early
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1583671889
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Collected for the first time, the essays that comprise Embedded With Organized Labor present a unique and informed perspective on the class war at home from a longtime organizer and “participatory labor journalist.” Steve Early tackles the most pressing issues facing unions today and describes how workers have organized successfully, on the job and in the community, in the face of employer opposition now and in the past. This wide–ranging collection deals with the dilemmas of union radicalism, the obstacles to institutional change within organized labor, and strategies for securing workers’ rights in the new global economy. It also addresses questions hotly debated among union activists and friends of labor, including workers’ rights as human rights, new forms of worker organization such as worker centers, union democracy, cross–border solidarity, race, gender, and ethnic divisions in the working class, and the lessons of labor history.