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Beyond Capitalism?: The future of radical politics [Paperback]

Simon Hardy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Mar 2013
How to move 'beyond capitalism' and whether indeed it is possible to do so, has become a question of general interest, rather than simply the preserve of left-literary discussion, since the credit crisis of 2008. This book examines the social nature of the austerity crisis, and whether an anticapitalist message can successfully intersect and create a new virtuous dynamic for the radical left after decades of retreat. Intended as a contribution to debates around fundamental social change which have emerged in the wake of Occupy and the Arab revolutions, Beyond Capitalism is a book which combines 'historical sociology' with the politics of social emancipation. The question these movements have posed is how can the radical left marshal its often meagre forces to create a new counter hegemony to the ethos and culture of capitalism?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (29 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780998325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780998329
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Simon Hardy is a writer and socialist activist. He was a leading figure in the student revolt of 2010-11 and a contributor to It Started in Wisconsin: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Labor Protest (Verso 2012). He has recently been involved in setting up the Anticapitalist Initiative, a new, pluralist activist network to facilitate practice-informed debate on the future of radical politics (see Anticapitalists.org). Luke Cooper is a writer and socialist activist. He is currently studying for a PhD in International Relations at the University of Sussex and part of the workgroup on Uneven and Combined Development (see UnevenandCombined.com). He has recently been involved in setting up the Anticapitalist Initiative, a new, pluralist activist network to facilitate practice-informed debate on the future of radical politics (see Anticapitalists.org). He lives in the UK. He lives in the UK.

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3.0 out of 5 stars A disillusioned Marxist writes ...... 14 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback
“Radical political ideas should be striking a chord amongst millions of workers”

As far as The West goes, the millions of workers aspire to “a better life” within the context of “everyday life”. They aspire to a modest detached house, in a cul de sac on a not unpleasant housing estate, all mod cons, a car (for both), with respectable education for the kids and a health service that is not too obviously under strain. This is what politicians promise as the fair deal for “hard working families”. And this is what the self same families aspire to. They see the costs involved - lifelong debt, delayed family, long working hours, little residual domesticity - as part of the deal, and the substantial minority who cannot achieve such goals as “losers”, implying that they don’t deserve the rewards that they themselves have worked so hard for.

As far as “The developing world” goes, people are struggling to survive at all, consider themselves lucky to get any job, however low paid, however long hours, however spirit-sapping. They see education as the way out of poverty, as if every assiduous student will be able to get a high paid professional job as a solicitor, a doctor or a teacher. Radical political ideas don’t get a look-in. Activism is limited to the struggle to form a union, to get marginally less low pay, marginally less long hours.

Anyway what Radical political ideas? Those of Chavez? “El Impulso hit by paper shortage as economic woes continue to affect publications across the country” “The once-thriving heavy industries of Ciudad Guayana are now starved of investment and hampered by labour disputes” 63.4% inflation. And all this for a country sitting on the biggest oil ocean in the world.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book the British Left Needed 19 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having been a member of several Socialist parties within Britain, this book diagnoses everything that's wrong with the old British Left.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How a post-capitalist world is possible, if we want it 12 Nov 2013
By Malvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Beyond Capitalism" by Luke Cooper and Simon Hardy contemplates how the Left might articulate a winning politics of resistance to capitalism. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hardy are U.K.-based educators, writers and activists representing the New Left. This concise and thoughtful book will appeal to everyone interested in progressive political movements.

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hardy recognize that many people find it difficult to imagine life beyond capitalism. The authors get their history right. The collapse of state communism in 1989 opened the way to globalization including the cooptation of Leftist politics by finance in both the U.S. and Britain. With no credible Leftist political challenge in sight, the 1% has accumulated tremendous wealth while the working class has been relegated to an increasingly precarious existence.

So, why has the Left failed to attract a mass following? Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hardy answer that the Labor Party and unions in the U.K. have capitulated to 'capitalist realism' and failed to articulate any credible alternatives to austerity. Meanwhile, the disillusioned have taken to libertarian (anarchist) movements such as Occupy; but not established Marxist political parties for fear of the legacy of stifling, bureaucratic statism. Yet, the authors believe that the Syriza Party of Greece demonstrates how a socialist politics of "universal democratization" might lead the way out of the crisis.

On that point, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hardy enumerate a set of common sense principles to help the Left maximize its potential. The authors envision a more open, pragmatic and flexible politics that is driven by working class aspirations from below. Channeling the wisdom of Rosa Luxemburg, the authors suggest the Left needs to successfully navigate 'betwixt and between' the present and the future in its struggle for economic, social and democratic justice. In this manner, the authors believe that a post-capitalist world is possible, if we want it.

I highly recommend this important book to everyone.
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