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We Are the Crisis



“One of the most formidable intellects among young radicals from the 1960s New Left.” – Misha Glenny

“Peter was a socialist intellectual of the highest calibre, combining enormous energy and independence of mind with a truly collective spirit.” – Tariq Ali

“For those who wish to understand the reality of contemporary politics, here is an invaluable handbook. Peter Gowan exposes the pretensions of power with penetrating clarity.”  – Andrew J. Bacevich, author of WASHINGTON RULES: AMERICA’S PATH TO PERMANENT WAR
In this wide-ranging and incisive collection, Peter Gowan traces the contours of the world order that emerged after the end of the Cold War and assesses its prospects in the light of the global economic downturn. Arguing that the present inter-state system was shaped from the outset by Washington’s drive to maintain its status as global hegemon, Gowan dissects several cherished myths of the liberal mainstream, offering a radical counter-history of the UN and a sharp critique of the West’s interventions in the Balkans.

Gowan provides a forceful response to advocates of a new cosmopolitanism, and engages with neo-realist theories of international relations—asking whether the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a crisis for their visions of American power, and discussing what the lineaments of a future order might be.

Gowan sadly passed away between completing this book and its publication. The introduction to A CALCULUS OF POWER is provided by Tariq Ali, who has worked closely with Gowan throughout their careers, after first meeting in 1967 through the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. In Gowan’s obituary, Ali commented: “the international left has lost one of its most astute political analysts, and NEW LEFT REVIEW the most generous and steadfast of comrades.”
Gowan’s death is a great loss to the left and to the field of international politics, and Verso is proud to publish his last book.

PETER GOWAN (1946–2009) taught international relations for many years at London Metropolitan University. He was the author of THE GLOBAL GAMBLE, co-editor of THE QUESTION OF EUROPE, cofounder of the journal LABOUR FOCUS on Eastern Europe and a longstanding member of the editorial board of NEW LEFT REVIEW.
ISBN: 978 1 84467 620 0 / $26.95 / £16.99 / $33.50 / Hardcover / 272 pages
For more information or to buy the book visit:
Academics based outside North America may request an inspection copy – please contact
Academics based within North America may request an examination copy – please contact


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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