In this radical and controversial overview of the post-communist world, Boris Kagarlitsky argues that the very success of neoliberal capitalism has made traditional socialism all the more necessary and feasible.
Kagarlitsky argues that leftists exaggerate the importance of the 'objective' aspects of the 'new reality' - globalisation - and the weakening of the state, while underestimating the importance of the hegemony of neoliberalism. As long as neoliberalism retains its ideological hegemony, despite its economic failure, the consequence is a 'new barbarism' - already a reality in Eastern Europe, and now also emerging in the West.
Kagarlitsky challenges the political neurosis of the left and prevailing assumptions of Marxism to argue that Marx's theories are now more timely than they were in the mid-twentieth century. He analyses theories of the 'end of the proletariat' and the 'end of work', and assesses the potential of the new technologies - such as the Internet - which create fresh challenges for capitalism and new arenas for struggle.
Boris Kagarlitsky is a senior research fellow in the Institute for Comparative Political Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a political prisoner under Brezhnev and latterly has been an adviser to the Chair of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia. He is the author of Russia Under Yeltsin and Putin (Pluto, 2002), The Politics of Empire (Pluto, 2004) and Empire of the Periphery (Pluto, 2007).
Preface Introduction 1. The Left As it Is 2. De-Revising Marx 3. The Return of the Proletariat 4. New Technologies and New Struggles Notes Index