In the Belly of the Beast

The 2014 issue of journal Socialist Register is the 50th since the journal was founded by Ralph Miliband – together with John Saville – in 1964. Tomorrow will see a discussion in Parliament, chaired by John McDonnell MP, on the legacy and ongoing relevance of the political project he initiated (see details below)

The concern to interpret anew, but rigorously and relevantly, the politics of Marx became the hallmark of the politics of the Register: theory, by all means, but theory that bore relevance to the editors’ preoccupations with contemporary politics”. (Marion Kozak) Continue reading

Mehdi Hasan and the Daily Mail

So what if Mehdi Hasan pitched himself to work for the Daily Mail three years ago? Journalists, especially those without a berth – as Mehdi was at the time – have got to work to live. And of course he’s going to emphasise how much a prospective employer’s values are congruent with his own. I’m sure if he’d gone for a job at The Morning Star, he would have burnished his peace and socialism credentials. Continue reading

We’re all Ralph Miliband now

Ralph Miliband T-ShirtThe treatment of Ralph Miliband by the Daily Mail has appalled the right-thinking all and sundry – even the likes of Michael Heseltine and Zac Goldsmith. Yet it is reassuringly pleasing to read reports that sales of Ralph’s books have soared since the Mail published that fateful essay last Saturday. And as a tribute to one of this country’s leading left thinkers, Philosophy Football has taken a quote from Ralph’s final book Socialism for a Sceptical Age, and turned it into a symbol of T-shirted dissent.

In a modern version of the ‘I am Spartacus!’ legend, we can wear Ralph’s words in opposition to the hatred of the Daily Mail. Ralph argued that “Socialism involves a process of striving to advance the goals that define it.” Obvious, you might think, but certainly not to today’s political establishment! So now we can all wear these words proudly. Continue reading

Socialism for a sceptical age

Sewage works are unwholesome places all told. But for particularly pungent, toxic effluent these have nothing on the Daily MailLast weekend’s piece and today’s awful editorial touched the depths one would normally need a specially reinforced submersible to reach. It’s breathtaking really. With its own Nazi-loving, blackshirt-hurrahing skeletons goose stepping in the closet, the Mail is the last paper to call out anyone about “hating Britain”. So, well done Ed Miliband for standing up against this scurrilous rag. Can you imagine Dave or Nick ever doing the same?

But from their own pathetic, small-minded and life-denying perspective the Daily Mail are absolutely right to hate Ralph Miliband. He was motivated by everything they abhor – tolerance, freedom, reason, equality, socialism. In fact, Miliband senior was the most dangerous kind of Marxist. He was not only widely-read and respected, he had thought creatively and coherently about socialist strategies suitable to Britain. It was this topic he devoted his attention to in his final book, Socialism for a Sceptical Age. And now Ralph is in the news, now is as good a time as any to talk about some of his ideas. Continue reading