The thread linking Thomas Aquinas, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Nietzsche to Karl Marx may seem tenuous to many, but with typical verve and bravura and not a little waspish humour Eagleton has made these connections in his defence of materialism and critique of the metaphysical. In the preface he nails his colours to the mast of “unabashed universalism” which he hopes will scandalise “only those postmodern dogmatists for whom all universal claims are oppressive”.
There is no doubt that the left were in the driving seat at Brighton and exuded a confidence and assurance born from the unexpectedly favourable election result in June and the subsequent turmoil and implosion of their Tory opponents.
It was particularly refreshing that socialist ideas were common currency and openly debated. What a change from the stage-managed PR presentations of recent years.
Jeremy Corbyn’s keynote speech to the Labour Party conference was a defiant response to his critics in the parliamentary party who have been doing their best to undermine him since his re-election as leader at the start of the conference.
On education, arms sales, housing and especially on immigration, he offered a refreshingly radical agenda in complete contrast to that of his deputy and chief tormentor, Tom Watson, the previous day.
In the face of the Blairites' and the media's continuing vicious assault on Jeremy Corbyn, socialists - whether inside or outside the Labour Party - have a duty to stand up in defence of the principles on which he won the leadership contest
As the real war in Syria intensifies the metaphorical war on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party continues unabated. The offensive has been led by the now familiar alliance between the liberal media (The Guardian and The Observer) and members of the shadow cabinet and the Parliamentary Labour Party, with a dishonourable mention in dispatches for the BBC.
Jeremy Corbyn's crushing victory over the Blairites sent the Establishment reeling. We must organise to defend him and, even more importantly, the principles he was elected on, writes Shaun Doherty.
In politics as in life always expect the unexpected. Jeremy Corbyn’s astonishing and crushing victory in the Labour Party leadership contest was beyond everyone’s wildest dreams a few months ago. When I think of the local MP who, for most of my 40 years of teaching in Islington would cycle up and down the Holloway Road, the main artery of his constituency, supporting every strike and progressive campaign under the sun, I could barely have imagined his current elevation.
The Tories' election victory has provoked moves towards 'doing politics differently'. Shaun Doherty stresses how workers' confidence to fight back lies in industrial struggle.
In April 1974 I attended my first union meeting at a north London comprehensive school. The NUT rep, a member of the Communist Party, read out a request for support for a demonstration in work time protesting at the jailing of Ricky Tomlinson and Des Warren — the Shrewsbury Two building workers. More in hope than expectation I suggested we support it. To my surprise there was a near unanimous vote to take unofficial solidarity strike action in support of the demonstration. I thought, “Yes, this is what unions are about.”
A chorus of condemnation has greeted David Cameron's launch of an inquiry into trade union tactics in the wake of the Grangemouth affair.
Unite the Union has described it as a Tory election stunt and rightly called for a refusal to cooperate with it.
Frances O'Grady of the TUC said that it is "simply part of the Conservative Party's general election campaign" and even SNP leader Alex Salmond has suggested that it "was entirely about seeking electoral advantage". These responses are fine as far as they go.
The most recent manifestation of the contradictions in Irish politics was the candidacy of Martin McGuinness for the presidency of the Irish Republic. McGuinness stood on a programme of opposition to the austerity measures in the South, while simultaneously implementing austerity measures in Northern Ireland. His journey from IRA commander to constitutional politician is indeed a compelling story, but this book promises a lot more than it delivers in attempting to explain it.
The Obama Syndrome (Tariq Ali) is published by Verso, £9.99. Obama's Wars (Bob Woodward) is published by Simon and Schuster, £20.
As Barack Obama and the Democratic Party face a humiliating rebuff in the mid-term elections both these books offer an appraisal of his tenure in office. They could not be more different.