Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the October 1917 uprising, is one of the most misunderstood leaders of the twentieth century. In his own time, there were many, even among his enemies, who acknowledged the full magnitude of his intellectual and political achievements. But his legacy has been lost in misinterpretation; he is worshipped but rarely read.
Tariq Ali explores the two major influences on Lenin's thought – the turbulent history of Tsarist Russia and the birth of the international labour movement – and explains how Lenin confronted dilemmas that still cast a shadow over the present. Is terrorism ever a viable strategy? Is support for imperial wars ever justified? Can politics be made without a party? Was the seizure of power in 1917 morally justified? Should he have parted company from his wife and lived with his lover?
In The Dilemmas of Lenin, Ali provides an insightful portrait of Lenin's deepest preoccupations and underlines the clarity and vigour of his theoretical and political formulations. He concludes with an affecting account of Lenin's last two years, when he realized that “we knew nothing” and insisted that the revolution had to be renewed lest it wither and die.
What kind of world are we leaving to our grandchildren? How are the discontents kindled today likely to blaze and explode tomorrow?
From escalating climate change to the devastation in Syria, pandemic state surveillance to looming nuclear war, Noam Chomsky takes stock of the world today. Over the course of ten conversations with long-time collaborator David Barsamian, spanning 2013-2016, Chomsky argues in favour of radical changes to a system that cannot possibly cope with what awaits tomorrow.
Interwoven with personal reflections spanning from childhood to his eighth decade of life, Global Discontents also marks out Chomsky's own intellectual journey, mapping his progress to revolutionary ideas and global prominence.
Across the Western world, people are angry about the inability of government to perform basic functions competently. With widespread evidence of policy failures at home and ill-conceived wars and interventions abroad, it is hardly surprising that politicians are distrusted and government is derided as a sprawling, wasteful mess. But what exactly is government supposed to do, and is the track record of Western governments really so awful?
In this compelling book, leading scholar of public policy and management, Alasdair Roberts, explores what government does well and what it does badly. Political leaders, he explains, have always been obliged to wrestle with shifting circumstances and contending priorities, making the job of governing extraordinarily difficult. The performance of western democracies in recent decades is, admittedly, far from perfect but - as Roberts ably shows - it is also much better than you might think.
Donald Trump's election has called into question many fundamental assumptions about politics and society. Should the forty-fifth president of the United States make us reconsider the nature and future of the global order? Collecting a wide range of perspectives from leading political scientists, historians, and international-relations scholars, Chaos in the Liberal Order explores the global trends that led to Trump's stunning victory and the impact his presidency will have on the international political landscape.
Contributors situate Trump among past foreign policy upheavals and enduring models for global governance, seeking to understand how and why he departs from precedents and norms. The book considers key issues, such as what Trump means for America's role in the world; the relationship between domestic and international politics; and Trump's place in the rise of the far right worldwide. It poses challenging questions, including: Does Trump's election signal the downfall of the liberal order or unveil its resilience? What is the importance of individual leaders for the international system, and to what extent is Trump an outlier? Is there a Trump doctrine, or is America's president fundamentally impulsive and scattershot?
The book considers the effects of Trump's presidency on trends in human rights, international alliances, and regional conflicts. With provocative contributions from prominent figures such as Stephen M. Walt, Andrew J. Bacevich, and Samuel Moyn, this timely collection brings much-needed expert perspectives on our tumultuous era.
What is the relationship between cosmopolitanism and secularism-the worldwide and the worldly? While cosmopolitan politics may seem inherently secular, existing forms of secularism risk undermining the universality of cosmopolitanism because they privilege the European tradition over all others and transform particular historical norms into enunciations of truth, valid for all cultures and all epochs. In this book, the noted philosopher Etienne Balibar explores the tensions lurking at this troubled nexus in order to advance a truly democratic and emancipatory cosmopolitanism, which requires a secularization of secularism itself.
Balibar argues for the idea of the universal against its particular dominant institutions. He questions the assumptions that underlie popular ideas of secularism and religion and outlines the importance of a new critique for the contemporary world. Balibar holds that conflicts between religious and secular discourses need to be reframed from a point of view that takes into account the cultural hybridization, migration and mobility, and transformation of borders that have reshaped the postcolonial age. Among the topics discussed are the uses and misuses of the category of religion and the religious, the paradoxical genealogy of monotheism, French laicite's identitarian turn, and the implications of the responses to the Charlie Hebdo attacks for an extended definition of free speech.
Going beyond circumscribed notions of religion and the public sphere, Secularism and Cosmopolitanism is a profound rethinking of identity and difference that seeks to make room for a renewed political imagination.
Was Hobbes the first great architect of modern political philosophy? Highly critical of the classical tradition in philosophy, particularly Aristotle, Hobbes thought that he had established a new science of morality and politics. Devin Stauffer here delves into Hobbes's critique of the classical tradition, making this oft-neglected aspect of the philosopher's thought the basis of a new, comprehensive interpretation of his political philosophy.
In Hobbes's Kingdom of Light, Stauffer argues that Hobbes was engaged in a struggle on multiple fronts against forces, both philosophic and religious, that he thought had long distorted philosophy and destroyed the prospects of a lasting peace in politics. By exploring the twists and turns of Hobbes's arguments, not only in his famous Leviathan but throughout his corpus, Stauffer uncovers the details of Hobbes's critique of an older outlook, rooted in classical philosophy and Christian theology, and reveals the complexity of Hobbes's war against the "Kingdom of Darkness". He also describes the key features of the new outlook - the "Kingdom of Light" - that Hobbes sought to put in its place. Hobbes's venture helped to prepare the way for the later emergence of modern liberalism and modern secularism. Hobbes's Kingdom of Light is a wide-ranging and ambitious exploration of Hobbes's thought.
In recent years, the West has seen a rising tide of populist and anti-political feeling. Figures like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage have gained power by distancing themselves from “the establishment” and portraying politics itself as the enemy of the people. And it’s not just them — increasingly, the media and politicians of all stripes hurl the word “ideological” as an insult, tie themselves in knots to avoid mentioning “the working class,” and champion the “depoliticising of key decision-making.”
In this book, Eliane Glaser — one of the early commentators to call attention to this new wave of populism — takes stock of how we got here and where we’re going. At the heart of this is a vital question: Is the “death of politics” simply an inevitable sign of the times, going hand in hand with climate change, technological development and postmodern malaise? Or is it the intentional result of right-wing engineering?
In addressing this question, Glaser shows how forces on the Right have manipulated and benefitted from the apathy of anti-politics; and how the Left’s move to centre under neoliberal leaders has helped in the process. She argues that in order to revive productive engagement and hope for the future, we need to return to three pillars of political philosophy that have become dirty words: ideology, authority and the state. Glaser puts forward a strong and galvanising defence of these foundations, showing that however unpopular they may be, they’re necessary for the functioning of a fair society.
Despite playing a decisive role in shaping the past two hundred years of American and European politics, liberalism is no longer the dominant force it once was. In this expanded and updated edition of what has become a classic history of liberalism, Edmund Fawcett traces its ideals, successes, and failures through the lives and ideas of exemplary thinkers and politicians from the early nineteenth century to today. Significant revisions--including a new conclusion--reflect recent changes affecting the world political order that many see as presenting new and very potent threats to the survival of liberal democracy as we know it. A richly detailed account of a vulnerable but critically important political creed, this book reminds us that to defend liberalism it is vital to understand its character and history.
With many predicting the end of US hegemony, Russia and China's growing cooperation in a number of key strategic areas looks set to have a major impact on global power dynamics. But what lies behind this Sino-Russian rapprochement? Is it simply the result of deteriorated Russo-US and Sino-US relations or does it date back to a more fundamental alignment of interests after the Cold War?
This book by leading expert on Sino-Russian relations Alexander Lukin attempts to answer these questions by offering a deeply-informed and nuanced assessment of Russia and China's ever-closer ties. Tracing the evolution of this partnership from the 1990s to the present day, he shows how economic and geopolitical interests drove the two counties together in spite of political and cultural differences. Key areas of cooperation and possible conflict are explored from bilateral trade and investment to immigration and security. Ultimately, Lukin argues that China and Russia's informal alliance is part of a growing system of cooperation in the non-Western world, which has also seen the emergence of a new political community: Greater Eurasia.
Combining accessibility with expert sensitivity to the complexities of the subject, Lukin's vision of the new China-Russia rapprochement will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding this evolving partnership and the way in which it is altering the contemporary geopolitical landscape.
Do we need the United Nations? Where would the contemporary world be without its largest intergovernmental organization? And where could it be had the UN's member states and staff performed better?
These fundamental questions are explored by the leading analyst of UN history and politics, Thomas G. Weiss, in this hard-hitting, authoritative book. While counterfactuals are often dismissed as academic contrivances, they can serve to focus the mind; and here, Weiss uses them to ably demonstrate the pluses and minuses of multilateral cooperation. He is not shy about UN achievements and failures drawn from its ideas and operations in its three substantive pillars of activities: international peace and security; human rights and humanitarian action; and sustainable development. But, he argues, the inward-looking and populist movements in electoral politics worldwide make robust multilateralism more not less compelling. The selection of Antonio Guterres as the ninth UN secretary-general should rekindle critical thinking about the potential for international cooperation. There is a desperate need to reinvigorate and update rather than jettison the United Nations in responding to threats from climate change to pandemics, from proliferation to terrorism. Weiss tells you why and how.