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The early career of Clement Attlee reminds us that the welfare state was never intended to stand alone as a set of institutions. Its stability depends upon a set of ethical, economic, and political foundations.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty, 2014) is the most talked about work of political economy to have appeared in recent years, if not decades. Martin O’Neill of Renewal and Juncture’s Nick Pearce interviewed Professor Piketty on a recent visit to London.

New spaces of debate have opened up that are challenging the dominant narrative and informing new movements for change. Some of these spaces and alternatives are discussed in this issue.

Further developing the arguments of anthropologist and activist David Graeber’s article ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs’ this article takes Graeber’s insight as a starting point, using the concept of ‘bullshit jobs’ to draw out a central contradiction in neoliberal rhetoric.

This article recontextualises the way we think of the state, and asserts its continuing importance for the left. It argues that we need to re-imagine the state as a site of contestation and compromise, not a monolithic entity.

The authors point to the narrowness of the questions considered in mainstream economic debate, which has been reduced to a monitoring of a few indicators such as growth, inflation or GDP, without any consideration of deeper questions such as our manufacturing capacity, our needs and the sustainability of our way of life.

Women Against Fundamentalism

Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Nira Yuval-Davis

This book combines a detailed theoretical and historical introduction to Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) with a collection of illuminating life stories by some its members and founders. Photocopyright: Rob Kenyon -

Open Tribe

This book discusses the possibilities that would be opened up to the Left if it could combine the values of solidarity and belonging with curiosity and openness towards difference.

Seductions & Enigmas

This collection, which includes newly translated works by Jean Laplanche himself, brings together essays that illuminate Laplanche’s unique interpretative methodology.

The financial crisis has transformed the debate over Scottish independence – to the disadvantage of the SNP.

The origins and implications of the left’s dalliance with Scottish independence.

If you are in need of a doorstop, look no further. At 675 pages, an inch and a quarter thick, and three pounds in weight, the SNP’s independence manifesto, Scotland’s Future, will do that job admirably. Whether it also meets its stated aim of being ‘Your Guide to an Independent Scotland’ is another matter entirely.

For social democrats, the post-war years are usually seen as halcyon days. Across the Western world, including the United Kingdom, societies became healthier, wealthier and more equal. Inequalities were compressed as the dynamism of industrial capitalism was harnessed by the state – both national and local – and by strong trade unions, in the interests of the many not the few.

This essay criticises ‘Leninism’. It addresses seven points on social change and transformation: change as a broad social movement, and issues of gender, management, authority, the state, the party and the union. It draws on perspectives from various anarchist, syndicalist, feminist, and socialist traditions.

We start the issue with the two most recent instalments from the Kilburn Manifesto. Beatrix Campbell writes on the ways in which patriarchy is entangled with neoliberalism, while Ben Little writes on the ways in which generational politics is articulated to its project.

Discusses neo-patriarchy, the new gender settlement through which patriarchy is entangled with neoliberalism. Since the gains first made by 1970s feminism there has been little further advance; instead capitalism has adapted to new forms of gender power.

This article discusses how young people are one of the groups most affected by neoliberalism. This is not because of a wealth transfer from young to old, or a neglect of the interests of the young simply because they don’t vote: it is part of a strategic restructuring of how our economy and society work in favour of capital.


Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal, Hilary Wainwright, Pragna Patel

Spring 2014

Reflecting the point in history when they first became immersed in feminist and socialist politics, the authors of Beyond the Fragments - guest-featuring Pragna Patel - reflect on the heady days of the 1970s, and discuss what we could learn from those times.

In addressing this theme of ‘A century of anti-communisms’, the present issue of Twentieth Century Communism, overspilling into the next, joins a rapidly increasing body of literature on the subject.

The article offers an overview of anti-communisms – ranging across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and across Eurasia and the US.