Soundings

Articles from No. 43, Winter

Back to the Future: Culture and Political Change: In a Changing Political Climate We Need to Defend the Hard-Won Gains of Earlier Battles for Equality. Can the Cultural Sector Play a More Prominent Role in This?
So the Tories might be coming. And we have to prepare for a new set of battles as the Conservatives reposition themselves and centre-right ideology gains momentum in public debate. With their almost touching faith in the free market still intact, and...
Editorial
As we head towards the election it is worth reminding ourselves that political settlements are never stable. They are always contested and require constant shoring up and adjustment. At certain moments the contestations become sharper and more visible,...
Fear of a Black President: In the US a Barely Concealed Racist Backlash Is Helping to Undermine Fragile Moves towards Progress
'I can't trust Obama. I have read about him ... he's an Arab'. It was at that moment, sensing the impending political fall-out, that Senator John McCain reached to take away the microphone from 'the crazy lady', as the comedy show Saturday Night Live...
North Korea in Transition: Engagement, Not Sanctions, Is the Best Policy towards North Korea
North Korea serves as no-one's poster boy for anything positive in the West. The image crafted by the media and underpinned by political commentators is of at best a bad country and at worst a mad and sad country - erratic and irrational, impossible...
Pakistan - a Catharsis: Time Is Running out for a Democratic Settlement in Pakistan
Earlier this year, part of Swat, a peaceful resort in the North West Frontier Province, was burned to the ground. Enraged religious militants have also razed more than two hundred schools in the region - especially schools serving girls. Houses belonging...
Reflections on the Present: A Conjunctural Analysis of the Current Global Financial Crisis
This article analyses the implications of the credit crunch - that is to say the severe crisis which has been afflicting the global economy for the past two years or so - through conceiving of these events as a 'conjuncture'. This is a theoretical...
The Injustice of Unequal Work: Contributive Injustice - the Unequal Sharing out of Good and Bad Work - Is a Major Contributor to Class Inequality
Most of what has been written about economic justice, equality and fairness deals with what people get - with distributive justice. But in everyday life, people are also concerned with what they are allowed or expected to contribute. Thus, for example,...
The Media and Climate Change: Helen Bird, Max Boykoff, Mike Goodman and George Monbiot Discuss Media Coverage of Climate Change with Jo Littler
How has the media coverage of climate change changed in recent years? Helen It's risen hugely up the agenda and is no longer in its little green box. There's more of a general consensus that climate change is happening, and that it's manmade, but...
The Patriot's Game: The English Left Needs a Model of Civic Nationalism If England Is to Have a Progressive Future
Two thousand years this little tiny fucking island has been raped and pillaged by people who have come here and wanted a piece of it. Two fucking world wars men have laid down their lives for this. And for what? So we can stick our fucking flag...
Time to Join the EMU? Joining a Reformed EMU Would Be a Good Option for Britain
In a crisis, policy measures that were scarcely thinkable a few months previously may become practical options - nationalisation of major banks, higher tax rates on the rich, perhaps a serious attempt to reduce the use of tax havens ... and even, maybe,...
What Crisis Is This? What Are the Overlapping Processes and Contradictions That Are Coming Together to Produce Our Current Sense of the Present as Crisis?
There is widespread agreement that we are currently experiencing a crisis of substantial proportions, provoking claims that existing ways of doing things cannot go on - whether this takes the form of President Sarkozy's demand for a 'capitalism with...
What Rights? Whose Responsibilities? the Human Rights Act of 1998 Needs Strengthening, Not Qualifying
In March 2009 the Ministry of Justice produced a Green Paper, Rights and Responsibilities: Developing Our Constitutional Framework, which examined the arguments for a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Much delayed by ministers determined to prevent...
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