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Against the Third Way: An Anti-Capitalist Critique

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2674-1
160 pages
June 2001, Polity
Against the Third Way: An Anti-Capitalist Critique (0745626742) cover image
The Third Way is the political philosophy of Tony Blair and New Labour in Britain, Bill Clinton in the United States, and Gerhard Schröder in Germany. Defended most forcefully by Anthony Giddens, it claims to offer a strategy for renewing the Centre Left that avoids the free-market liberalism of the New Right and the state socialism of the Old Left.

In Against the Third Way Alex Callinicos develops a fundamental critique of this philosophy. He argues that Third Way governments have continued the neoliberal policies of their conservative predecessors. They have promoted the interests of the multinational corporations, privatized areas where Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher dared not go, and allowed social and economic inequality to continue growing. Callinicos also attacks the theoretical underpinnings of the Third Way. He challenges the idea that the 'knowledge economy' is freeing us from the contradictions of capitalism, denies that New Labour has coherent strategies for achieving greater equality or reconciling the interests of individual and community, and argues that what is called 'political globalization' - the higher profile of international institutions such as NATO, the IMF, and the WTO - masks the assertion of American imperial power.

The best hope for the Left, Callinicos contends, lies in the emergence of an international movement against global capitalism with the protests at Seattle, Prague, and elsewhere. Those who want to see real change should be challenging the logic of the market rather than, like Blair and Clinton, extending its dominion.

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Introduction.

1. Masters of the Universe:.

The Globalization Debate.

The Limits of Politics.

Myths of the New Economy.

2. Guardians of Morals:.

Back to Values.

Egalitarianism Betrayed.

Community Imposed.

3. Saviours of Humankind:.

Policing the World.

The Armature of Hegemony.

Imperial Collisions.

4. Alternatives:.

Bucking the Market.

Nine Anti-Capitalist Theses.

Afterword.

Notes.

Index.
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University of York
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  • An important and timely contribution to current political debates

  • Written in a lively and accessible way by a leading academic

  • Presents a radical alternative to the Third Way
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'Callinicos presents a fundamentalist leftist critique of "third way philosophy", and argues that international protests against global capitalism provide the model for the future development of the left. Think of Callinicos as a somewhat more cerebral and decidedly more hardline Naomi Klein.' The Bookseller


'Callinicos's short book is a goldmine. In the space available he offers analysis of, among other things, economic globalisation, the "IT revolution" and its role in the recent US boom, the limits (and possibilities) of state action, the "new world order" and the various "humanitarian" wars of interventions of recent years, the "moral agenda" within Third Way politics, and trends towards "global governance". In each case he displays an immense grasp of a wide range of sources and presents often complex arguments in an accessible manner ... Callinicos's book should become an essential part of our armour - buy it, read it, use it.' The Socialist Review

'[A] theoretical critique of the Blairite model of modernisation is offered by Alex Callinicos in Against the Third Way, which is unforgiving of those who seek to blur the distinctions between left and right.' Mark Perryman, New Statesman

'This is not just [a] book about ideas but about the political economy and sociology of capitalism underlying them.' Millennium

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Against the Third Way: An Anti-Capitalist Critique (US $69.95)

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