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    Melissa Benn

    "Melissa Benn deserves—demands—to be read."—Will Hutton
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    Melissa Gira Grant

    “Hugely influential ... a must read.” – Chris Hayes
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    Benjamin Kunkel

    “Rigorous and unapologetically Marxist.– New York

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    Lynne Segal

    “A powerful manifesto for dealing with the march of time.” – Observer
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    Owen Jones

    "A work of passion, sympathy and moral grace." Dwight Garner, New York Times


  • David-harvey

    David Harvey

    “David Harvey provoked a revolution in his field and has inspired a generation of radical intellectuals.” – Naomi Klein




  • Gabriel García Márquez, 1927–2014

    The esteemed and widely-loved novelist Gabriel García Márquez has passed away, aged 87.

    Here we present his full 1983 interview with the New Left Review, published in the spring of that year under the title 'Our Own Brand of Socialism'. You can also read the full interview over at the New Left Review website.



    Can we look back over the way your political ideas have developed? Your father is a Conservative. Colombia went through a century of intermittent civil war after its independence from Spain in 1819. Two political parties crystallized in the 1840s: the Conservatives whose traditionalist philosophy was based on family, church and state; and the Liberals who were free-thinkers, anti-clerical and economic liberals. The bloodiest of the wars between these two parties was the ‘War of The Thousand Days’ (1899–1902) which left the country bankrupt and devastated. In Colombia we say being a Conservative or Liberal depends on what your father is, but yours obviously didn’t influence your politics at all because you opted for the left very early on. Was this political stance a reaction against your family?

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  • Privatised catastrophe: Bets on the weather and natural disasters

    Governments can no longer afford to compensate the victims of earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, or rebuild infrastructure. The tax revenues just aren’t there. So they’re selling insurance bonds to private investors. In an article recently published by Le Monde Diplomatique, the opening paragraphs of which we publish here, Razmig Keucheyan charts the horrendous new developments of finance capitalism.

    Last November, super-typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people, damaging or destroying 1.5m homes and causing $13bn damage. Three months later, insurance brokers Munich Re and Willis Re, accompanied by representatives of the UN international strategy for disaster reduction (UNISDR), presented a new financial product to members of the Philippine senate: it was intended to make up for the supposed deficiencies of state provision against major climate-related disasters. The Philippines risk and insurance scheme for municipalities (PRISM) is a high-yield security that municipalities would offer to private investors (1), who would receive an attractive rate of interest, subsidised by the state, but would lose their investment in the event of a disaster of a given scale and severity.

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  • The village that Sachs built

    This post is an abridged version of Chapter 5 in Japhy Wilson’s Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case of Dr Shock and Mr Aid, available now in stores.

    Jeffrey Sachs claims to have the solution to extreme poverty. In 2006 he set out to prove it with his Millennium Villages Project (MVP). This multi-million-dollar project is the most high-profile development programme in the world today, with a growing array of celebrity supporters including Madonna and Angelina Jolie. Financed by philanthropists and multinational corporations, the MVP operates in villages across sub-Saharan Africa, in which it is implementing an integrated set of provisions in agriculture, health, education, energy, infrastructure and environmental sustainability. The aim is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in these villages by their deadline in 2015.

    Sachs has identified Ruhiira in southwest Uganda as the ‘flagship’ of the MVP.1 Ruhiira covers a total of 140 square kilometres of mountainous land, including numerous villages and farmsteads, with a population of approximately 50,000 people.2 Of all the Millennium Villages, it is Ruhiira that has received the greatest international attention. An award-winning Vanity Fair profile of Sachs is based around a trip to Ruhiira, and it is the focus of Tommy Hilfiger’s Promise Collection – a fashion range fronted by the Hollywood actress Katie Holmes.

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  • Judith Butler, the Iconoclast: Elisabeth Roudinesco on Judith Butler

    Philosopher and professor in rhetoric at the University of California (Berkeley), Judith Butler, born in 1956, made her name in the English-speaking academic world a quarter of a century ago with the publication of her Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. This complex work, which has now become a classic, has nothing in common with the ‘gender theory’ recently invented by the opponents of gay marriage.

    Far from having invented gender studies, which have been taught in American universities since the early 1960s and which sought to distinguish anatomical sex from socially or psychically constructed gender identities, Judith Butler was rather more of an iconoclastic heir to them. Basing herself on the French thought of the 1970s – from Simone de Beauvoir to Jacques Lacan – in her 1990 work she gave due focus to life on the ‘border lines’, arguing that sexual difference is always fluid and that transsexuality (the conviction that one belongs to another sex), for example, could be a way of subverting the established order and refusing the biological norm. Butler had herself very early in life found herself in a situation outside the norm, lacking in borders, on account of her identity as a Jewish woman raised as a Jew but critical of the policies of the State of Israel.

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