Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Proposals -What's with the Name?

We join with fellow workers the world over in celebrating May 1st, the International Workers’ Day, with the launching of our inaugural issue of New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry. We do so in honour of all those who have passed before us clearing the way for progressive intellectuals, community activist, and, of course, proletarian militants and intellectuals of every variety and tendency, across time and space. We join with fellow workers in remembering the martyrs of the Chicago Haymarket Rally of May, 1884.

Much has changed since 1884. Workers movements have arisen, succeeded, and then failed. The major socialist experiments of the 20th century have, for the most part, faded from view. The few that hold on – China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea are either transforming themselves into capitalist success stories, clinging to nominal collectivist poverty and geopolitical self-justification, or have degenerated into bizarre and horrific shadows of whatever promise they may have held. As the 20th century drew to a close those of us who managed to take hold of the dream of a classless society found ourselves gradually pushed to the sidelines as market-mechanisms and acquisitive individualism became ever more triumphant.

Nonetheless we persisted. In the late 1990s we organized a session for the American Anthropological Association entitled “Counter Flows: Marxist Anthropology in the New Millennium.” We then observed that between the publication of Bridget O’Laughin’s 1975 review article, “Marxist Approaches in Anthropology,” and William Roseberry’s 1988 review article “Political Economy,” (published on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall), a sea change had occurred within social science and humanities disciplines. In an ironic (tragic may be more apt) twist, anthropologists had answered Kathleen Gough’s call for “New Proposals” by a radical engagement with the ‘text,’ simultaneously subverting and adopting Gough’s critique of anthropology as the “child of Western Imperialism” (1968:403-407).

We have taken Gough’s call to arms as the title of our journal—New Proposals—and, in so doing we dedicate this endeavour to her unwavering support of revolutionary and socialist action in the pursuit of a better world for all.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm waiting for the first issue with pleasant anticipation. Where (and when) can I find it? Erwin