New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time by Ernesto LaclauNew Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time continues the innovative exploration of major issues concerning democracy and socialism which was staked out in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Examining the meanings of social struggle in the context of late capitalism, Laclau situates the re-making of political identities within a framework of democratic revolution. The critical method is one which describes major structural changes in the contemporary world-system at the same time as it theorizes a coherent and radical interpretative form. This marriage of politics and theory allows the book to embrace topics ranging from the relationship between Marxism and psychoanalysis to the historical significance of May 1968 and forms of political struggle in the third world. In a final section of illuminating interviews the author expounds his most recent thought on politics and philosophy.
The French Revolution's reign of terror (In Our Time)
Thank you! This is a book that every thoughtful citizen should read, but it is a book that will need intelligent backing and presentation. It will make some people fighting mad; it will frighten some people; it will cause controversy; but, in final analysis, it is the challenge we have been looking for, the first successful presentation of the interlocking causes of war, of revolution, of counter-revolution as related to yesterday, today and tomorrow. Victory we can and must have, but ""victory is an opportunity, not a fulfillment"". Laski shows incontrovertibly that the very factors that have made for fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany, Vichy France, are present in greater or lesser degree in the United Nations. He urges realization of the fact that we accept the inevitability of a planned post-war economy, and that we accept it now.
Despite its length, this volume is a propaganda tract on the intellectual level of The New Republic and The Nation. Laski tries to bridge the gap between his socialistically-tainted past and his present-day chauvinism and open support of the ruling classes. It is, of course, only in his own imagination that he views his present practice with a bad conscience for he and his Party have always served the cause they are serving now. Bad conscience in the present case can be accounted for only because the discrepancies between liberal phraseology and the capitalist reality are really too glaring for the comfort of a man who worries about his intellectual reputation. But whatever Laski may say is said in support of his main thesis, namely, that everything must be subordinate to the task of defeating the Nazis. To be sure, he also says that the transformation from a capitalist to a socialist society cannot be postponed until after the war but must be progressively realized while the war is going on. He must be aware, however, of the illusory character of his suggestions in this respect.
Ernesto Laclau is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government, University of Essex, and Distinguished Professor for Humanities and Rhetorical.
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