Revolution and Its Alternatives

Other Marxisms, Other Empowerments, Other Priorities


Against the usual argument heard most frequently on the left, that there is no subject for a radical politics together with its form of political mobilization, there is – but in the absence of a radical leftist project, this subject has in the past transferred, and in many instances is still transferring, his/her support to the radical politics on offer from the other end of the ideological spectrum. The combination of on the one hand a globally expanding industrial reserve army, generating ever more intense competition in the labour markets of capitalism, and on the other the endorsement by many on the left not of class but rather of non-class identities espoused by the ‘new’ populist postmodernism, has fuelled what can only be described as a perfect storm, politically speaking.

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Tom Brass, D.Phil. (1982), formerly lectured in the Social and Political Sciences Faculty at Cambridge University and directed studies for Queens' College. He edited The Journal of Peasant Studies for almost two decades, and has published extensively on agrarian issues and rural labour relations.

Introduction: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times?
 1 The Vanishing
 2 The Banishment
 3 Making a Difference?
 4 The Shrewd Scholar?
 5 Something They Have Forgotten?
 6 Themes

Part 1: Revolutionary/Counter-revolutionary Practice/Theory

1 Revolution in Practice
 1 Introduction: Revolution, or Reform (and Counter-revolution)
 2 Educate them to Revolt
 3 The Greatest of All Proprietors
 4 Desperation and Vengeance
 5 As the Part to the Whole
 6 Conclusion

2 Revolution in Theory
 1 Revolution and/as Modernity
 2 To the Barricades?
 3 Half the Voters Plus One?
 4 Confused Chatter and Legislative Obstruction
 5 Modernity and/as Bourgeois Democracy
 6 Conclusion

3 Refusing Revolution, Empowering Counter-Revolution
 1 Introduction: To the Barricades?
 2 What History Taught Us
 3 The Nation’s Great Concerns
 4 The Balance of Class Power?
 5 To the Barricades
 6 The World We/(They) Have Lost
 7 A (Marxist) Warning from History
 8 Conclusion

Part 2: Other Marxisms, Other Priorities/Identities

4 The (Revolutionary) Path Not Taken
 1 Introduction: Promoting Capitalism, Not Socialism
 2 Laissez-faire Discourse-for
 3 In the Footsteps of Laissez-faire
 4 Capitalism – or Socialism?
 5 The Path Not Taken
 6 Conclusion

5 Avoiding Revolution: A Return to Patronage
 1 Introduction: From Periphery to the (Academic) Core
 2 Empiricism, Patronage and Subsistence
 3 Personal Tie of Affection?
 4 Two Concepts, or One?
 5 A Caring State...
 6 ...or Permanent Revolution
 7 Conclusion

6 Misunderstanding Revolution: (Re-) Defining Coercion?
 1 Introduction: A Necessary Journey?
 2 The Debate
 3 The Debate Transcended?
 4 Problems with Theory
 5 Butterfly Collecting
 6 Conclusion

7 Other Priorities, Other Identities: Unmasking the Subaltern
 1 Introduction: (Armchair) Generals Go to War
 2 Subaltern Conquests
 3 Nationalist Appropriation I: Cambridge and England
 4 Nationalist Appropriation II: Delhi and India
 5 Critique of a Critique
 6 Difference and Sameness
 7 ‘A reiteration of the already said’
 8 Conclusion

Part 3: Alternatives to Revolution?

8 Betraying Revolution (Again)
 1 Introduction: Revolutionary Socialism as the Fifth Horseman
 2 Peasants, Left and Right
 3 A Plan of Campaign?
 4 Power Wanting, But Wanting Power?
 5 Resistance, Not Revolution
 6 Conclusion

9 Viva la Revolución? Eric Hobsbawm on Peasants
 1 Introduction: A Time There Was …
 2 Big in Brazil
 3 Hobsbawm and Feudalism
 4 Hobsbawm and the hacienda System
 5 Hobsbawm and Capitalism
 6 Hobsbawm and Marxism
 7 Outside Latin America
 8 Conclusion

10 Marxism, or Postmodern Precursor? John Berger on Peasants
 1 Introduction: Holy Humble Peasants?
 2 No Country for Old Peasants
 3 Migrants, Gender, Money
 4 Different Stories, Same Themes
 5 Looking, But Seeing?
 6 Too Much History, Too Many Lives
 7 Conclusion


Author Index
Subject Index
The book is aimed at an audience of undergraduate, postgraduate and academic researchers with an interest in social change, development studies, agrarian issues, labour conditions, and political economy.
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