Commentary

Lexit: Did it ever really exist?

During the EU referendum in the UK in 2016, although Brexit was championed mainly by the right, there was a significant left-wing argument for withdrawal, termed Lexit. Yet today, we are none the wiser of what a coherent Lexit approach might look like. Lexiters from the Socialist Workers Party and the left-wing newspaper, Morning Star, all maintain that a withdrawal from the EU must include a withdrawal from all its institutions including the single market and customs union. But rather than offer a positive vision, Lexiteers instead to point to the damage that leaving the EU will do to global capitalism in the long run. Academics that supported Brexit from the left have put forward ideas that would give us some idea of what a Lexit would look like. The results of these have been, quite frankly, embarrassing. A collection of ‘ideas’ and ‘recommendations’ are put forward that merely re-enforce the nationalism of the Brexit vote itself.

By | 2018-12-05T11:58:31+00:00 Dec 5, 2018|

Is sociology stuck in the middle? The uses of Marxist general theory

In sociology today, especially exemplified by the rise of analytical sociology, Merton’s middle range dominates. But should it? Marx probably would have viewed much of middle rage theory as residing at “the level of appearances” with deeper hidden causes. But that is not to say that appearances are inconsequential. Even things that are caused themselves carry their own weight in the world. It is just to say that Marxism argues that any particular thing cannot be fully explained without analyzing the hidden social reality behind that thing. General theory’s challenge for sociologists is to put seemingly isolated social processes into a broader whole or structure. Marxism identifies structures, processes, and mechanisms that matter for a wide range of more particular social questions. This includes revolutions, racial formation, bureaucratic organizations, the division of housework, and so on.

By | 2018-10-25T12:22:18+00:00 Oct 24, 2018|

Radical black feminism and the simultaneity of oppression

As the word intersectionality falls from the lips of Hillary Clinton and increasingly is normalized and sanitized, we should be clear about its radical moorings. In fact, the idea did not begin in the academy but in struggle. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Combahee River Collective, a Radical Black Lesbian Collective. The concepts of “simultaneity” and “intersectional feminism” capture Combahee's grounding in the radical Black feminist tradition. As Barbara Smith, one of the co-founders of the Collective pointed out (pdf), "simultaneity" is the signature contribution of Black feminism. That is, race, class, gender, sexuality are in play at the same time. They intersect. They operate simultaneously.

By | 2018-10-18T13:31:20+00:00 Oct 18, 2018|

Marxist Sociology Blog relaunch: Theory, research, politics

We are delighted to announce a relaunch of the Marxist Sociology Blog! The blog – which now has a new editorial team – is a public sociology blog aimed at publishing Marxist theory, research, commentary and debate for a general public audience. We will be regularly publishing short articles (around 1,000 words each) in accessible language with minimal academic jargon. We aim to bring you short articles summarizing cutting-edge research and theory from Marxist scholars. We also provide a forum for debate among Marxists and those who wish to engage Marxism. Much of the work published here will be commissioned by our editorial team, but we will consider publishing unsolicited articles.

By | 2018-10-08T08:52:58+00:00 Oct 8, 2018|

On the Formalization of the E-Waste Recycling Economy, in China and the World

Environmental news in the latter half of 2015 has been characterized by an upsurge of discouraging stories worldwide, not least from China. Despite the recent slowdown in economic growth, there have been industrial accidents and unprecedented air quality issues plaguing the country. However, there is at least one local environmental story that appears to defy this bleak trend. In December of 2015, the highly polluted town of Guiyu was suddenly vacated, and all of the informal hazardous waste recycling that had been polluting the soil, the water, and the bodies of young children, came to a halt.

By | 2018-10-09T06:17:43+00:00 Jul 11, 2016|