Marxism and postmodernism

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


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.

Read this? Or jamesmurdoch it?

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.

Why we should switch our computers off more


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.

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


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.

Modernism and postmodernism in architecture


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.

"Post-Fordism": collapsing into the present


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.

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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