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Verso 9781844673551 The Democratic Paradox smallThe Democratic Paradox is Chantal Mouffe’s most accessible and illuminating study of democracy’s sharp edges, fractures, and incongruities. Orienting her discussion within the debates over modern liberal democracy, Mouffe takes aim at John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, and the consensus building of “third way” politics to show how their conceptions of democracy fall victim to paralyzing contradictions. Against this background, Mouffe develops a rich conception of “agonistic pluralism” that draws on Wittgenstein, Derrida, and the provocative theses of Carl Schmitt, attempting to reclaim the antagonism and conflict of radical democracy as its most vital, abiding feature.

The tenth question in our Radical Thinkers giveaway competition is:

The Democratic Paradox continues some of the issues raised in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, written with Ernesto Laclau. Which other Verso publication does Mouffe name as pursuing these issues?


Entry to the competition for Radical Thinkers question 10 is now closed! The answer is:

The Return of the Political


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Jane Wheatley reviews Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking as part of a ‘Summer reading: outdoors’ special: Verso1844675580Wanderlust New Edition2

“Published in 2001 and already a modern classic. Centuries of painters, poets, philosophers, protesters and pilgrims are marshalled in celebration of the singular human pursuit, best enjoyed in solitude.”

Read the full article here.

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Verso’s new edition of Rights of Man and Common Sense presented by Peter Linebaugh has been reviewed in the Independent today. Boyd Tonkin writes:

“When Obama quoted Tom Paine Verso 9781844673803 Rights of Manin his inaugural address, but failed to name him, he captured the strange amalgam of ubiquity and obscurity that marks the Thetford corset-maker’s role in political life.

The largely self-taught thinker and activist who helped to craft and shield revolutions in America and France died 200 years ago this month. His great causes triumphed

Yet this most eloquent of English democrats seldom gets his due. With a stirring essay by Peter Linebaugh, this edition of Paine’s peerless defences of revolution – and attacks on patronage and corruption – should be compulsory reading for every MP.”

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Verso 9781844672899 Thin Blue Line smallConor Foley, humanitarian aid worker and author of the critically acclaimed The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War, writes about deforestation in the current issue of Foreign Policy Magazine.

“Saving the rain forest is a fashionable idea in faraway developed countries in Europe and North America. Preserve this ecological treasure, the story goes, and greenhouse gas emissions will go down, countless species will be saved, and the environment will be in far better shape. Sounds simple enough.

But at the heart of the matter in Brazil — home to 60 percent of the Amazon rain forest — it is anything but straightforward. Wrapped up in the intensely political debate are not just the environmental stakes, but competing economic claims on the land, an increased demand for the food staples and ethanol raw materials grown there, and a rising dispute over land rights. Thanks to the escalation on all fronts, Brazil’s conflict between man and nature has hit fever pitch. A bill waiting on President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s desk will grant ownership rights to previously illegal occupiers of vast tracts of land in the Amazon if he signs it into law. Proponents claim that granting property rights will create an incentive for owners to conserve their land; critics worry that sanctioning previous land grabs and deforestation will only breed more of the same.” READ MORE

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“A fascinating and important analysis of recent wars and disasters around the world…Foley has the inestimable advantage of having been in many of the places he talks about, and he enriches the discussion with thoughtful diary extracts and vivid anecdotes.” Guardian

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Yitzhak Laor, author of the forthcoming The Myths of Liberal Zionism (Verso, October 2009), writes about Israeli settlements and US policy in the June 16th edition of Haaretz.

After Israel conquered Sinai in 1956, the United States allowed David Ben-Gurion to make his speech about the “Third Kingdom of Israel.” The Americans then sent the Israel Defense Forces quickly back to their tents. Had the Americans also wanted to resolve the conflict in 1967, they would have gotten Israel out of the territories four or five wars ago, with the same ease with which they coerced Yitzhak Rabin’s first government into the first separation-of-forces agreement with Egypt. But the years went by, the dead were buried, the disabled have covered many long kilometers in their wheelchairs, the American peace plans have continued to create hopes, and the United States has not expelled Israel from the Palestinian territories…” READ MORE

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