On September 12 The Netherlands is voting and several opinion polls have pointed to a strong possibility of a government with left inclinations. On Sunday, Guardian correspondent in The Netherlands Julian Coman wrote “Dutch embrace radical left as European dream sours”. However, the realities of the current election do not exactly point towards a massive turn to the left but rather, towards a fragmented voter base with a preference for varying degrees of leftist agendas.
Laurie Penny is an English journalist who came into the public eye last year with her gripping coverage of the student protests and occupations. She writes a column for the New Statesman, as well as appearing in The Guardian and the Evening Standard. Her first book Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism is out on Zero from April 29th. I caught up with Laurie recently to talk about her book, and the situation facing women today.
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The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood…Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.
-George Orwell, “Can Socialists Be Happy?” 1943
I start with Orwell because people often forget that he remained a socialist even as he mounted critique after critique of the U.S.S.R. and other totalitarian-Communist states. Because the first argument one often faces in the U.S. when one suggests socialism as an alternative to the current political-economic structure is that Communism failed. But reading Orwell’s essays from the 40s, from an England struggling against Nazism on one side and yet learning of the brutality of Stalinism, is to remember that it is possible to have an intellectually honest critique of the states that called themselves socialist and to still advocate for socialism. Continue reading