New rs21 magazine focuses on Korea, social reproduction, the defeat of 1917

The autumn edition of rs21 magazine, out now, includes pieces on Trump’s foreign policy and the legacy of the junior doctors’ strike, while Owen Miller writes on the nuclear crisis and North Korea. Tithi Bhattacharya provides an in-depth look into social reproduction theory, while Gareth Dale charts how the revolutionary forces of the Russian revolution of October 1917 were finally defeated. Below we include the text of the editorial. The articles will appear on this site in the month or so – or you can read them straight away by buying the magazine or taking out a subscription.

This edition takes as its focus the growing crisis on the Korean peninsula. In previous issues we have developed the argument that the USA remains the predominant global power, but that its reach is undermined by its declining share of global production. The USA remains the sole super power, but has found itself challenged by other powers within their own spheres of influence – as shown dramatically by Russia’s predominant role in Ukraine and Syria. Under President Trump the USA’s relationship to other powers has seemed more erratic, but under the surface there is more continuity than change.

One such area of continuity is the continuation of the “pivot to the Pacific” best articulated by Hillary Clinton under the Obama regime. China’s economic power dwarfs that of Russia and the Chinese state has been gradually strengthening its economic ties across the globe, successfully competing with both the USA and the European economic bloc. Since at least 2011 Clinton has represented the mainstream view that consolidating American presence and alliances in the Pacific region (through states like Australia, South Korea and Japan) is key to ensuring China’s development is contained within the framework  of a new American century. Trump’s escalating rhetoric against North Korea, and the accompanying “pressure” on  China to act against its longstanding ally can only be understood in this context. In our analysis piece Owen Miller, an academic and well-known researcher on Korea, provides a geopolitical and historical analysis of the crisis in the peninsula.

Corbyn’s shackled rise

In the UK Corbyn’s popularity, and strength within Labour, continue to rise. His higher media profile in part reflects the mainstream media’s acceptance of his greater credibility after the election, as much as the Tories’ troubled Brexit negotiations. But with “acceptance” into the mainstream comes new threats. The plotters around Chuka Umunna MP may have stopped their coup attempts but they have persisted with a war of manoeuvre over their core issues – most notably EU membership.

Their aim is to try to constrain the radicalism unleashed around Corbyn into limits acceptable to a “modernised” social democracy which wants to manage British capitalism within a neoliberal framework. While we do not include a further analysis of Corbynism here, after extensive coverage last issue, our website will continue to interrogate the growth of Corbynism and how the revolutionary left can relate to it in order to raise confidence to resist austerity.

A proposed consultation about changes to the Gender Recognition Act has led to an outburst of debate. In response, we publish an article explaining why reform is a necessary step for trans* people seeking control over their own lives. On questions of trans* oppression rs21 is proud to stand in active solidarity with trans activists, and is committed to helping win the wider left to understanding and supporting the fight for trans liberation. Elsewhere in this issue Tithi Bhattacharya continues a discussion of how we can use the framework of social reproduction theory as a basis for understanding both women’s oppression and the wider question of  how the working class is reproduced under capitalism.

Finally, continuing our series on the anniversary of 1917 Gareth Dale writes our long read on how the hopes of the revolution were finally extinguished. We welcome responses to all articles.

Single copies of the magazine are available to order on the magazine page, where you can also take out a subscription



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