Marxism and postmodernism

Ellen Meiskins Wood (1942-2016): a Marxist who put class centre

Author: 

Andrew Coates

Ellen Meiksins Wood, who has died aged 73, was a noted intellectual figure on the international left who influenced several generations of thinkers and activists.

Born in New York as Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived as political refugees, Wood studied in California before establishing herself as an academic in Canada, based at York University in Toronto.

Her writings were thought-provoking and luminous.

Ellen Meiksins Wood, who has died aged 73, influenced several generations of left academics and activists. She was a Marxist who combined creative and original thinking with a powerful defence of the centrality of class and class struggle to socialist politics.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Read this? Or jamesmurdoch it?

More and more, people jamesmurdoch information rather than reading it. It's an issue for the left.

By Martin Thomas

James Murdoch claims he didn't know about widespread phone-hacking and other dirty tricks by Murdoch journalists. Investigators have uncovered an email to him spelling out the full picture which he not only received but replied to.

Murdoch's defence is that he didn't read that email, beyond the first few words. Like many other people with many other emails, web pages, or text messages, he didn't read it. He jamesmurdoched it.

Marxist Theory and History: 

New Times or class struggle: Debate between Socialist Organiser and Marxism Today

PoMo

Author: 

Mark Perryman and Alan Johnson

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Mark Perryman, from the editorial board of the Communist Party magazine Marxism Today, and Alan Johnson from Socialist Organiser, debated at the Workers' Liberty summer school in July 1989 on whether the watchwords for politics should be "modernising", "fragmentation", and "compromise" - or class struggle.

Mark Perryman, from the editorial board of the Communist Party magazine Marxism Today, and Alan Johnson from Socialist Organiser debated at the Workers' Liberty summer school in July 1989.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Why we should switch our computers off more

Author: 

Martin Thomas

"The Shallows: how the internet is changing the way we think, read, and remember", by Nicholas Carr. Reviewed by Martin Thomas.

A friend recently told me about her 17 year old daughter's homework habits. She will habitually be watching a DVD on her computer and chatting by instant message with number of friends while simultaneously writing an essay for which she will get top marks.

Review of "The Shallows: how the internet is changing the way we think, read, and remember", by Nicholas Carr.

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The critique of capitalism: the writings of Ellen Meiksins Wood in review

Author: 

Janet Burstall and Tony Brown

The lesson that we may be obliged to draw from our current economic and political condition is that a humane, ‘social’, truly democratic and equitable capitalism is more unrealistically utopian than socialism” concludes Ellen Wood in Democracy against capitalism (p. 293).

And if capitalism cannot be reformed to achieve this kind of society, then we need a critique of capitalism, which, Wood begins her book by explaining, is the principal project of Marxism.

Survey article by Janet Burstall and Tony Brown on Ellen Wood's writings of the 1980s and 90s.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Modernism and postmodernism in architecture

Author: 

Belinda Weaver

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Some architects defend hated modern buildings by saying "The Eiffel Tower (Crystal Palace, etc.) was hated in its day!" However, many modern buildings were not hated or protested about in their "day". It's now, after years of looking at them, that the outcry has come against soulless tower blocks and ugly offices. In their day they were praised.

A look at the effects of modernist architecture on cities and working-class living spaces

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"Post-Fordism": collapsing into the present

Author: 

Martin Thomas

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Capitalism has changed and is changing. Vast new areas in the Third World have industrialised. The introduction of small, cheap, flexible computers is revolutionising finance, administration, retailing, manufacturing. The majority of the workforce in many capitalist countries is now "white-collar" - but white-collar work is becoming more industrial.

What does the term "post-Fordism" mean? What is Fordism?

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The lasting legacy of Derrida

Peter Thomas examines the work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who died in October

Derrida is often regarded in the Anglophone world as a leading French postmodern philosopher whose doctrine of “deconstruction” propounded a moral relativism and political passivity.

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