This collection of essays from one of Europe’s most formidable Marxist intellectuals takes the razor tomany attitudes, but most of all to liberal ones. At the centre of Perry Anderson’s concern is Europe itself – inspired, he says, by the great contemporary historian of European integration, Alan Milward, and in particular by Milward’s central insight: that the construction of the European Union was always based on domestic calculations and in effect bolstered or even “rescued” the nation state. The federalist hopes and rhetoric with which the EU is still encumbered are for Anderson, following Milward, “a pack of pieties” (…)
Yet for all Anderson’s unblinking gaze, present throughout these essays, like ghostly victims at a victors’ banquet, are hints that something else might have been possible. That something else is not defined here: indeed, in the essay (not in this collection) that Anderson wrote to relaunch the New Left Review in 2002, he negated the possibility of any substantial defiance to the capitalism whose cruelties and exclusions he documents, writing that “for the first time since the Reformation, there are no longer any significant oppositions – that is, systematic rival outlooks – within the thought-world of the west; and scarcely any on a world scale either”.
John Lloyd reviews Perry Anderson’s The New Old World in the Financial Times
February 3, 2010 by versouk