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Richmond, River Thames, May 2016

Richmond, River Thames, May 2016



Ruth Rikowski has posted some new papers to Academia. These are as follows:


Rikowski, R. (2005) Traditional Knowledge and TRIPS, Information for Social Change, winter, Issue No. 22, at:


Rikowski, R. (2004) On the impossibility of determining the length of the working-day for intellectual labour, Information for Social Change, summer, Issue No.19, at:


Rikowski, R. (2003) TRIPS into the Unknown: libraries and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, IFLA Journal, Vol.29 No.2, pp.141-151, at:


Rikowski, R. (2003) Library Privatisation: Fact or Fiction? Information for Social Change, summer, Issue No.17, at:


Rikowski, R. (2002) Globalisation and Libraries – Summary Paper, House of Lords, Select Committee on Economic Affairs, Inquiry into the Global Economy, 22nd January, London, at:


Rikowski, R. (2002) The WTO, the GATS and the meaning of ‘services’, Public Library Journal, Vol.17 No.2, summer, pp.48-50, at:


For all of Ruth Rikowski’s papers at Academia, see:


Glenn Rikowski also has a new post at Academia:


Rikowski, G. (2002) The great GATS buyout, Red Pepper, No.101, November, pp.25-27, at:


For all of Glenn Rikowski’s papers at Academia, see:

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski


My article Fuel for the Living Fire: Labour-Power! is now available at Academia.

It can be viewed at:

It is Chapter 7 in The Labour Debate: An Investigation into the Theory and Reality of Capitalist Work, edited by Ana C. Dinerstein and Micheal Neary, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, pp.179-202.

Glenn Rikowski


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia:

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate:

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas:


Rikowski Point:

Living Fire

Living Fire

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski


The following papers by Glenn Rikowski were recently added to Academia:

Crises in Education, Crises of Education (2014) A paper prepared for the Philosophy of Education Seminars at the University of London Institute of Education 2014-15 Programme, 22nd October 2014, online at Academia:

On Education for Its Own Sake (2005) 17th Ocober 2005, London, online at Academia:

Silence on the Wolves: What is Absent in New Labour’s Five Year Strategy for Education (2005) University of Brighton, Education Research Centre, Occasional Paper, May 2005, online at Academia:

Education, Capital and the Transhuman (2002) Chapter 6, in: Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory, edited by Dave Hill, Peter McLaren, Mike Cole & Glenn Rikowski, Lanham MD: Lexington Books, online at Academia:

The ‘Which Blair’ Project: Giddens, the Third Way and Education (2000) Forum for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education, Vol.42 No.1, pp.4-7, online at Academia:

Nietzsche’s School? The Roots of Educational Postmodernism (1998) A paper prepared for the Social Justice Seminar, Semester 2, University of Birmingham, School of Education, 24th March 1998, online at Academia:

Glenn Rikowski at Academia:

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski


Glenn Rikowski, Visiting Scholar, Department of Education, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

A paper prepared for the Philosophy of Education Seminars at the University of London Institute of Education 2014-15 Programme, 22nd October 2014.



The capitalist crisis of 2007-09 cast a grim shadow over social existence in developed Western nations. The fallout from the banking crash of September 2008 post-Lehman cascaded over welfare, health, social services and education provision in the form of austerity measures, the drive to cut sovereign debt levels, the erosion of workers’ living standards and vicious service cuts and taxes aimed at the poor and disadvantaged (e.g. the bedroom tax in the UK).

On the back of this maelstrom, the Journal of Education Policy (JEP) celebrated its 25th anniversary by running a special issue on ‘Education, Capitalism and the Global Crisis’ in 2010[1]. The JEP is to be congratulated on unveiling articles addressing relationships between the crisis of 2007-09 and education: it was unusual for a mainstream education journal to dedicate a whole issue to this topic. However, with the possible exception of Clarke and Newman’s (2010) contribution[2] it could be concluded that little progress has been made in understanding relations between capitalist crises and education since Madan Sarup’s classic Education, State and Crisis: A Marxist Perspective of 1982. Furthermore, there seemed to be a coy elision regarding the constitution of crisis within or of education itself. The crisis of 2007-09 was basically ‘economic’ in nature, it appears, with various spill-over effects for education: e.g. cuts in expenditure, deepening educational inequalities and rationing of access to higher education (Jones, 2010). Thus: education crisis was derivative of, and consequential upon, economic crisis. Furthermore, the economy, or the ‘economic’ system (for structuralists) is the starting point for analysis of education crisis.

The notion that an ‘education crisis’ can only ever be derivative of a capitalist economic one begs the question as to whether all crises can only ever be basically economic in nature; only ‘economic’ crises fundamentally put either the whole capitalist economy and society at risk, or, are the foundation for crises in other parts of the social system but still basically ‘economic’ in nature; thereby generating spectres of reductionism, economic determinism and crude renditions of historical materialism. On the other hand, references to ‘crisis’ litter media reports and academic outputs in relation to all kinds of topics – and there is nearly always some kind of ‘education crisis’ foregrounded by the print media. In terms of everyday usage the concept appears to have extensive legitimacy, though Gamble notes that ‘the term crisis [is] being thrown around fairly indiscriminately in everyday discourse’ (2009, p.7).[3]

It should be borne in mind that the concept of crisis can be traced back to the writings of Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 B.C.) in ancient Greece, where it was used in relation to medicine, specifically indicating the turning point in the course of a disease or medical condition. In such writings as Epidemics, Book 1, Hippocrates used the concept of crisis to denote the point (the turning point) at which a patient either began to make a recovery from illness, or the disease won out and death resulted (Hippocrates, 1983). Furthermore, reading the ground-breaking work on crisis by Janet Roitman (2011 and 2014), which built on the classic text on the topic by Reinhart Koselleck (1988), indicated that an exploration of the concept of crisis beyond the economic sphere could be a worthwhile project. Maybe there could be essentially ‘education crises’ after all, and with this in view, this paper is structured into three parts, as follows.

Part 1 begins with a rudimentary outline of the concept of crisis. Madan Sarup’s (1982) classical theory of education crisis is then explored, coupled with some evidence showing that Sarup’s approach still has relevance for today (with contemporary examples drawn from the United States, Australia and England). It is demonstrated how contemporary accounts of the 2007-09 economic crisis could supplement and deepen Sarup’s account, whilst also avoiding the issue of the possibility of definitive education crises. This is followed by a brief outline and review of some work by Vincent Carpentier (2003, 2006a-b and 2009), which, although manifesting more sophistication (and much better data) as compared with Sarup’s classic work, nevertheless falls prey to subsuming education crises under economic developments. In the same context, David Blacker’s work on The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame (2013) is examined. This is an attempt to apply Marx’s notion of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (TRPF) (via the work of Kliman, 2012) to developments in education in the United States (primarily). Blacker stamps the TRPF on contemporary education and thereby develops an original account of education crisis. Yet nevertheless, his rendering of education crisis is still derivative of economic crisis. Blacker also fails to pin down what a falling rate of learning actually is. He prefers to focus on a fall in the mass of learning and the elimination of learning, instead. These developments rest on economic, but also environmental, crisis. This first part of the paper ends with a brief critique of Crisis Fundamentalism: the notion that real, bona fide crises can only be economic ones. This is what the concept of crisis in education is concerned with.

Part 2 takes another tack: a different starting point, an alternative methodological approach. Rather than viewing education crises as flowing from economic ones, it explores the concept of education and what it is to be an ‘educated person’, and then seeks out possibilities for education crises within educational phenomena, institutions, processes and ethics. Such crises are crises of education, it is argued. The work of R.S. Peters (via Robin Barrow, 2011) is the focus here. There is an attempt to work through what an ‘education crisis’ might be on the basis of Barrow’s rendition of what he (Barrow) takes to be the four key components of Peters’ conception of the educated person. The discussion of some of the consequences of this approach is deepened through bringing the work of Janet Roitman (2011, 2014) to the keyboard. Rather than providing a history of the concept of crisis, as in Koselleck (1988), or providing a new (and improved) concept of crisis, Roitman shows the various ways in which the concept has been, and can be, put to work. Hence, Roitman’s approach to crisis is ‘put to work’ on R.S. Peters’ work on the educated person, pace Barrow. The last base in Part 2 examines the notion of ‘education for its own sake’ and what I call ‘island pedagogy’, flowing from the work of Furedi (2004a and 2009) and his followers. The argument here is that this approach to education crisis falls either into an ethics of blame or conjures up an education Colossus; a kind of Nietzschean figure with a monumental drive to learn and teach, unsullied by material interests and motivations. This approach is also basically idealist, transhistorical and sociologically naïve. It is also the flipside of Crisis Fundamentalism (education crises derive from economic ones – crises in education): quintessentially education crises can only arise within the educational sphere itself – leading to a kind of Educational Crisis Idealism (crises of education).

The Conclusion argues that we need to think about crisis in relation to education and economy in a new way: such crises are not essentially ‘education’ or ‘economic’ in nature. An anti- (rather than post-) structuralist perspective rooted in class struggle is advanced as a way forward, and neither Crisis Fundamentalism (crises in education) nor Educational Crisis Idealism (crises of education) will do. It also discusses the question of whether, and why, exploring the issue of crisis and education is a worthwhile pursuit for critical educators and theorists and for those who wish to move beyond capitalist education and society.


The whole paper can be downloaded at Academia:

Glenn Rikowski at Academia:


[1] Journal of Education Policy, Vol.25 No.6, November, edited by Stephen Ball, Meg Maguire and Ivor Goodson. A book based on this special 25th Anniversary was produced by the same three editors, also called Education, Capitalism and the Global Crisis, in 2012 (Ball et al, 2012) – but with some additional articles.

[2] Clarke and Newman (2010) explore the notion that crises are ‘socially constructed’ and the roles discourse and social power play in these constructions.

[3] See also: ‘Crisis is much overused in everyday discourse. 24-hour news lives by manufacturing crisis. Most of them are entirely ephemeral. Any event that is in any way out of the ordinary or where there appears to be conflict and the outcome is uncertain becomes labelled a crisis’ (Gamble, 2010, p.704).

An Industrial Sewing Machine

An Industrial Sewing Machine


Lyka Thorn

At the age of fifteen I started working in a factory. This was three years before the law allowed. I was able to work there because it was a small family-run garment factory in the city, not a big multinational one, and they did not worry about such things. I worked about twelve hours a day from 7am until 7pm. I didn’t know anything about the work but I tried hard and they came to teach me how to work the machines. It was very dangerous; I had to be careful all the time. The factory was in a big house with no windows. It was very noisy, and we couldn’t talk to each other.

After about three months, I was moved to another factory owned by the same family, and at the same time I changed from working days to the night shift. This factory was in a villa on the outskirts of the city. It had a lovely garden, although we couldn’t see it when we were working because, again, there were no windows. This was partly to keep the noise in, and partly to stop people looking in. It was a bit quieter, and I met a lot of new friends. We worked hard for just US $3.50 a day – 7 days a week until the order was completed. After that we had to wait up to a day without pay, before starting on the next order. The industrial sewing machine I used was large and cumbersome, encompassing twenty individual sewing devices. I had to stand up and walk from one side of the machine to the other, checking for problems for about 12 hours a day. In the first two and a half years, I got the needle of the machine stuck in my finger three times. When this happened, my workmates would remove the needle with a pair of pliers, making sure that none of the needle was left inside my finger. One of these times, I had to go to see the doctor because my friends couldn’t find the point of the needle. Fortunately the doctor couldn’t find it in my finger, either.

One night I went to work and felt pain of all over my body. I knew I was sick but I carried on working until I fell over, the result of being on my feet every day for extended periods, and eating irregularly and inconsistently. I had to go to the clinic where the doctor gave me medicine to build me up. He asked me why I had rheumatism at such a young age. I was off work about a week in pain and with a fever. For each day I was unable to work, $3.50 was deducted from my wages.

After three years, I started studying English when the night shifts were over. I had only seven hours free time a day. Life was tough. After studying for a year, I had to give it up at the age of nineteen because a marriage was being arranged for me. We never actually got married but started living together.

Soon, I discovered I was pregnant and had to give up work because of morning sickness. I decided to stop working until the baby was born. When I was seven months pregnant my partner left me after a big argument with my dad, and after a month I moved back to my family home.

My baby was born on the 19 September 2007 at 11 am, after I had been in labour for twelve hours, and when I saw her I forgot about all the pain. She looked very cute and all my family loved her because she was the first grandchild.

Three days after she was born, her dad came to the hospital and begged me to take him back. He said he would stop lying to me and would look after me and our daughter. By the time Rita was nine months old, she was costing us a lot of money, and her dad’s wages as a motorcycle taxi driver were not enough. I therefore decided to go back to work in another factory near my family home. The factory employed more then a thousand workers. I worked about eight hours a day- six days a week for US $ 2 a day and I had to work longer hours if they told me to. I had to get up at 4.30 am and often did not get home until 10 pm. I earned about $130 a month but I was exhausted. If I was off for one day they took $5 from my wages.

Factory life is very hard, especially for women. We worked for peanuts until we dropped, and we never ate well, with just one hour a day break at midday. To go home and come back to the factory took about forty minutes, so I had to eat cheap food, which I bought outside the factory gates. This was dirty, of poor-quality and very unhealthy.

Although my partner gave me next to nothing from his wages, and all my wages went on looking after us and our daughter, he accused me of giving my wages to my family. When I denied this, he left me again. I stayed in the factory for another 3 months, then I got very depressed, I couldn’t work, and I decided to stop working there.

Soon after he came back and again asked if we could get back together, but I said, “no”. He nagged me until I agreed to live with him again. I went back to work in the factory for the third time.

I worked there a year, after which we split up again. I tried to commit suicide but even that didn’t seem to bother him. My family looked after me until I felt well. After all this I was totally fell fed up with the factory and my life. I had spent about seven years of my life there, and I decided to end factory life, and start a new one. I just wanted to start again and try to forget about the past.

My new job was a cashier in a bar. I worked from 7pm to 7am every night. I did not have time to look after my daughter, from whom I had never been apart before but because I needed the money I had to leave her with my mum. When I woke up late afternoon, she would say, “mum I miss you, can’t you stay with me tonight?”. I was very sad and told her, sorry I couldn’t, I had to work because of her.

I had been working about six months in the bar, when my ex-partner came back again, and I told him it was too late. I could take care of myself and my daughter. I was fed up with our life together. He left and never came back. He never came to see his daughter. I know she is sad about this, and she used to tell everyone that her dad is dead.

After we split up for good, my sister went to England with her partner and all our family took her to the airport and stayed there for about two hours until she left. When we got back home, we realised we had been burgled. I went straight to the place I had hidden some jewellery, bought during the four years I had worked in the factory before living with my partner – worth about $2000. It had gone. I was very sad. I had worked hard for nothing.

Life is a story, but this was not the end. I worked as a cashier for another year and I met a man from England. He is a good man, and very kind. We got married a year ago, and I now have a spouse visa, and can live in England until 2015, when I need to apply for another visa. My husband looks after me and my family. My daughter, Rita, who is now six years old, and my husband get on very well, and she now thinks of her new-step-father as her only father and calls him ‘papa’. Two months ago, she visited us for six weeks, and we are now waiting for the result of a settlement visa application for her.

An Asian factory worker who knew nothing about the world, I am now studying English and learning more and more about life every day. At last my life is good, and full of happiness and laughter.

© Lyka Thorn, 4th December 2013


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Heathwood Press

Heathwood Press


The Heathwood Institute republished my paper Education As Culture Machine through their Heathwood Press website on 8th July 2013.

This paper was written primarily for my EDU3004 ‘Education, Culture & Society’ students, for an Education Studies module in the School of Education and the University of Northampton. However, it may be of more general interest. It was originally posted to ‘The Flow of Ideas’ website on 25th September 2008, and was the very last article posted to my old ‘Volumizer’ blog before AOL shut down all of its blogs.


Rikowski, G. (2008) Education As Culture Machine, 25th September, London, online at:

The Heathwood Press version is easier to read and has pictures.

See the new version at:

Heathwood Institute & Press:

Glenn Rikowski

London, 4th August 2013

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski

Big Society


Video spoofs ‘Nazi’ library cuts

The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 2nd March, 2011, p.5

By Daily Telegraph Reporter

A video posted on the internet that compares a county council to Nazi Germany for making cuts to libraries has been condemned as “sickening”.

The spoof clip, which was uploaded to the YouTube website, shows Adolf Hitler in his bunker with sub-titles of him supposedly ranting about opposition to spending cuts in Gloucestershire.

One councillor, Philip Booth, was criticised by the Tory county council leader, Mark Hawthorne, for describing the video as “great stuff”. Mr Hawthorne said: “I am always disgusted when idiots try to use Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust to score political points. To see this branded ‘great stuff is sickening.”

Mr Booth, from the Green Party, defended the clip, which is from the 2004 film Downfall, which depicts Hitler’s last days. “I think it has come out of the frustration of library campaigners that they haven’t been listened to,” he said. “I apologise if anyone has taken offence.”


You can see the video at:

The Daily Telegraph, ironically, has listed the video as one of its top spoof videos!

The article online:

Philip Booth’s blog, Ruscombe Green is at: It was voted 11th best blog in the Total Politics Top 30 Councillor Blog national poll for 2010. It was also voted 10th in the Green Blog poll for Total Politics in 2010.

Report on the issue in This is Gloucestershire, ‘Man behind Youtube Hitler spoof video stands by library message’, at: See also:  

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries (FoGL):

Friends of Minchinhampton Library:

See also the ‘Hitler Versus Library Campaigners’ video, by Phil Bradley at the Use Libraries and Learn Stuff blog:  

Book Burning:

Heinrich Heine on Burning Books:

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Raya Dunayevskaya





The January 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona was instigated by years of hateful, racist speech and action on the part of the Right, despite denials from the Right and obfuscation in the mainstream media. If the American people respond properly to this outrage, however, it could forestall the rightward trend in the U.S. — Editors

2. KOREA: PAWN OF THE SUPERPOWERS (a response to Richard Greeman’s “Danger of War Over Korea”) – by Peter Hudis
The intensifying tensions between North Korea and the U.S. calls for a historical re-examination of the roots of the present situation, in light of the conflict between the two poles of world capital that dominated the post-World War II era – Editors

The current confrontation over Korea can only be understood in the historical context of a century of imperialism, war, and resistance —  Editors

The new political reality introduced by the Republicans’ advances in the U.S. mid-term elections, along with the ongoing global economic crisis, calls upon radical thinkers and activists to reconsider their response to capitalism’s drive for unending austerity measures –– Editors.

While Marx’s major writings concentrated on capital and class in Western Europe, he also wrote extensively on ethnicity and nationalism, colonialism, and non-Western societies — Editors

On Hegel’s Dialectic of the “Beautiful Soul” in the French Revolution and the question of  “ethical reality” in the political philosophies of Rosa Luxemburg, Raya Dunayevskaya and Gillian Rose –– Editors

The US midterm elections illustrate the rise of rightwing politics, in the US and abroad, while the left has failed to develop a systematic critique of capitalism –– Editors

In the face of capitalist barbarism, socialists need to conceptualize an emancipatory alternative to alienation and exploitation, rooted in Marx’s writings and contemporary experience. — Editors


NEWLY ADDED TO THE SITE: Over 40 articles from the past decade by Peter Hudis on Marxist and Hegelian theory, world politics, and developments in the US


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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

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Alexander Rikowski


Does historical materialism need to appeal to functional explanation? If not, how can historical materialism otherwise be made consistent? If so, is this a strength or a weakness?

Alexander Rikowski

An essay written as an undergraduate in the Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

London, June 2010

This essay by Alexander Rikowski can be viewed at:

Rikowski, A. (2010) Historical Materialism and Functional Explanation, an essay written as an undergraduate in the Department of Philosophy, King’s College London, June, online at:

About Alexander Rikowski:

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The Flow of Ideas:





A new paper by Ravi Kumar at ‘Radical Notes’

Read: Neoliberalism, Education and the Politics of Capital: Searching Possibilities of Resistance at (this is a modified and expanded version of the paper that appeared in the recent issue of Social Scientist)

Ravi Kumar, Ph.D. || Assistant Professor || Department of Sociology || Jamia Millia Islamia University || Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Marg, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi – 110025
Radical Notes:

Recent Book (2010): Ghetto and Within: Class, Identity, State and Politics of Mobilisation (Aakar Books)
Blog: and

Ravi Kumar


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Capitalist Crisis






1. Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins,

“French, European Strikes Reveal Mass Discontent… and Its Limits”

The French and European-wide strikes reveal mass discontent, but also illustrate the limitations facing today’s labor and leftist movements.

2. Paresh Chattopadhyay, author of The Marxian Concept of Capital and the Soviet Experience,

“Marx Made to Serve Party-State”

[A review of On Socialism: Selections from Writings of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, V. I. Lenin, J .V. Stalin, Mao Zedong, edited by Irfan Habib, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2009]

In critiquing the assumptions of the Indian Marxist historian Irfan Habib’s statist and ultimately market-oriented concept of socialism, Paresh Chattopadhyay elaborates Marx’s concept of socialism as pointing toward a society free of all forms of domination, whether of capital or the state.

3. Sandra Rein, author of Reading Dunayevskaya (forthcoming)

“Reading Luxemburg Through Dunayevskaya for Today, Theory as Practice”

It is argued that today’s crisis is best confronted through a return to Rosa Luxemburg’s key contributions to Marxist philosophy viewed through the Marxist Humanist lens of Raya Dunayevskaya, with a particular emphasis on the relationship of theory to practice. This chapter originally appeared in Gender Activism: Rosa Luxemburg Annual Seminar, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, South Africa, 2008

4. Dyne Suh, student activist,

“October 7 Day of Action at University of California”

Protests at University of California, Santa Barbara over soaring costs of an education were part of an international day of action by students around the world.

5. Ba Karang, Africa-Links,

“Rwanda – From the Horrors of Genocide to Democracy?”

Rwanda’s recent election, its turn toward authoritarianism, and the involvement of Western capital are analyzed.

6. Kamran Afary, author of Performance and Activism, Grassroots Discourse after the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992, and Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins,

“Los Angeles Protests Against Police Killing Reveal the Real Grassroots”

Protests against the police killing of a day laborer in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles – populated by impoverished Central American immigrants – reveal the real grassroots of US society as it suffers through the Great Recession.

7. Richard Abernethy, Hobgoblin Collective,

“Bangladesh: The People Who Make Your Clothes Demand a Living Wage”

A mass strike of garment workers has exposed poverty wages and attracted international support, but met with severe state repression.

8. Reviews of Raya Dunayevskaya, The Power of Negativity:

Angelica Nuzzo, Hegel-Studien, Bd. 42 (2007)

Stacey Whittle, “Philosophy on the Barricades, International Socialism (Summer 2010)

9. Reviews of Kevin Anderson, Marx at the Margins: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies:

Colin Barker, Socialist Review (July-Aug. 2010)

Nagesh Rao, “When Marx Looked Outside Europe,” International Socialism (Sept.-Oct. 2010)

Barry Healy, “Was Karl Marx ‘Eurocentric?” Links (Oct. 22, 2010)


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Karl Marx

Socialism and Hope


Dear friends,

Please find a new article I’ve written, Socialism in the 21st Century and the Russian Revolution, here and some additional notes here .

Please pass this on to others who might be interested. 

Best wishes

Simon Pirani



 ‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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

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