Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Future Socialist Society (Brian S. Roper’s next book).

As indicated in my profile, my research is organised within two programmes. The first focuses on the past, present and future of democracy. The second focuses on the political history, historical sociology and political economy of New Zealand since 1935 (although my research in this programme occasionally goes back much earlier to Maori society prior to white settler colonisation). My planned NZ focused research will be described in a separate entry.

Within the democracy research programme, my most important publication is my recent book: The History of Democracy ISBN 978-0-7453-3189-8, published by Pluto Press (London) in 2013. Translated editions are forthcoming in China, Germany and Turkey.
Links to reviews of this book can be found on this blog at:

The next book within this programme, which I am currently working on, is entitled: The Future Socialist Society. The title is inspired by, and borrowed with permission from, an outstanding pamphlet by John Molyneux (available among other places in Arguments for Revolutionary Socialism, Second Edition, Bookmarks, London, 1991, pp. 82-109).

This book addresses four key questions: What makes socialism necessary? What makes socialism possible? What are likely to be the central features of socialism beyond capitalism? What makes socialism desirable?

In response to these questions, it argues that the scale of exploitation and inequality, recurring and increasingly global economic crises, inter-state geopolitical rivalry and military conflict, global warming, and the absence of substantive democracy within liberal democracies, underlines the necessity of socialism.

The capitalist development of the productive forces, historical progressiveness of liberal representative democracy, despite its obvious limitations, and increasing size of the working class on a global scale, makes socialism possible.

In order to identify what socialism beyond capitalism might be like the book then turns to a consideration of the historical antecedents of socialist participatory democracy, focusing on the aspects of democracy in a future socialist society that will to varying degrees draw upon some of the positive features of Athenian democracy, liberal representative democracy, and historical attempts to create socialism such as the Paris Commune and Russian Revolution.

Building upon the experience of previous attempts to create participatory forms of democracy, including some of those that have taken place more recently, the book describes the social, economic and political arrangements that will be necessary if a socialist society is to be qualitatively more egalitarian, libertarian, peaceful, democratic and environmentally sustainable than advanced capitalist civilisation.

One of the most common objections to socialism is the argument that all conceivable attempts to create socialism by revolutionary means will inevitably degenerate into some kind of authoritarianism, especially if the revolutionary government is forced to defend itself by military means. This leads Bobbio, Held, and others to argue that socialism can only be created within the institutional framework of representative democracy.

Against this view, I argue that there are likely to be a series of constitutional protections and institutional mechanisms at the core of a radically democratic workers’ state that will prevent the revolution from degenerating into authoritarianism. Ultimately the real threat of authoritarianism arises from the defenders of capitalism who support violent counter-revolution. The best way to defend and foster liberty is to focus, in theory and in practice, on the collective creation of a socialist society and democratic system of government that transcends both capitalism and liberal representative democracy.

Above all else, what makes socialism desirable is the creative imagining, and actual possibility of collectively building, a world that is more egalitarian, libertarian, democratic, peaceful, and environmentally sustainable.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

POLS 208 Democracy Music Video Screenings 2014

 Music Videos- Selected from a Wide Range of Alternative Music Genres
• Sharon van Etten- Tell Me
• Little Green Cars- Harper Lee
• Little Green Cars- Big Red Dragon 
• Lady Lamb The Beekeeper- The Nothing Part II

• Yumi Zouma - The Brae 
• Palma Violets- Best of Friends
• Of Monsters and Men- Mountain Sound
• First Aid Kit - Ghost Town
• First Aid Kit - Emmylou
• Janis Joplin -Summertime
• The Decemberists – Rise to Me 
• Sharon Van Etten - One Day  
• The Veils - The Letter
• Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean
• Rogue Wave - Every Day

• The Head and the Heart - Rivers and Roads
• Shapeshifter - In Colour 
• The Brunettes - Small Town Crew
• Gllian Welch - Miss Ohio
• PJ Harvey - Good Fortune 
• Lou Barlow - Legendary

• Sebadoh – Willing to Wait 
• Sebadoh – Flame
• Sebadoh – I Will
• Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner
• Daughter – Youth 
• Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man 
• Cloud Nothings- 'Stay Useless and 'Fall In' Live on KEXP 
 • Nirvarna– Lithium 
• Belle and Sebastian– I Want The World To Stop 
• Bruce Springstein- The River
• Daughter – Smother (Live on KEXP) 

• Sonic Youth - Cool Thing
• The Coup (Boots Riley) – Not Yet Free 
• Shearwater - Hail Mary live at SXSW 
Gil Scott-Heron- The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
• The Coup - Fat Cats and Bigga Fish 
• Bjork – Hyperballad
• Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks
Cat Power – Metal Heart 
• Lady Lamb The Beekeeper – Bird Ballons 
• Pulp - Common People 

• Alistair Hulett and Jimmy Gregory – The Internationale 
•The War on Drugs – Red Eyes

•Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning
• Joy Division – Atmosphere 
• Sharon Van Etten – Much More Than That
• Led Zeplin – Stairway to Heavan
•Tiny Ruins – You've Got the Kind of Nerve I Like 
• Yumi Zouma - The Brae (Official Video)
• PJ Harvey - White Chalk 
• Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze 
• Sharon Van Etten - Taking Chances 
• Neil Young - Hey, Hey, My, My - Into the Black
• Pavement - Here 
• Tike Tane - Dub Soldier 
• Shapeshifter - In Colour