Walmart’s World?

Socialist Register 2014
Registering Class

Edited by Greg Albo, Vivek Chibber and Leo Panitch  

Socialist Register 2014 is the 50>th edition of the journal which was founded by Ralph Miliband and John Saville in 1964 to advance socialist analysis and discussion. It was an offshoot of the New Left, but reflected a different approach from that of the New Left Review editors, Perry Anderson and Tom Nairn. Over the years, it has produced a rich collection of contributions on socialist ideas.

The 2014 number focuses on the issue of class and argues that the power to achieve socialist change is dependent on the possibility of mobilising the working classes against current austerity policies, which are supported by the upper social echelons of our society. It examines in detail the restructuring of the capitalist class across the world and indicates that this will be continued in the 2015 volume, with the aim of showing what the working classes are up against. It discusses whether or not there is now a transnational capitalist class reflecting the development of multinational companies.

Following the period 1920-1970, when social inequality was diminished, inequality over the past four decades has soared throughout the world. Fewer than 100,000 people (0.001% of the world’s population) now control 30% of the world’s financial wealth. In Britain, 5% of adults

Grillo’s MSS movement in Italy, and the Pirate Party in Germany. Only the working class can emancipate itself, but it has undergone significant change. Heavy manual work is a minority occupation; women have become very much more important; migration has transnationalised workers. It is of little use to seek to go back to the past. The Stop the War Coalition showed it was possible to draw people together in a common movement. Socialists and the trade unions need to reach out and promote new projects like the People’s Assembly. Launching new parties is not the way forward. The 2014 volume of Socialist Register includes two contributions on Brazil which highlight the emergence of Brazilian-based multinationals on to the global challengers’ list and give an account of the huge wave of workers’ demonstrations which spread to the middle classes in June 2013. It points out that the press stoked the unrest but there was no demand for socialism. The conclusions illustrate the problems faced by the Left today. In Brazil it must support the Workers’ Party (PT) President, Delma Ronsseff, but develop initiatives to put pressure on the government to bring in more reforms.

The situation in Brazil illustrates the general problem of the Left across the globe. Although the case for socialism is an integral part of the message of the Socialist Register, we are living through difficult times. This volume charts many of the features of the present political, economic and social scene and discusses how the Left should react. It is, however, clear that there is no magic formula to overcome the forces ranged against us in the current situation.

–The Spokesman, #123

← Back to Socialist Register 2014