Capitalism, alienation and the family

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In the second part of her two-part series on the family, Canadian socialist Susan Rosenthal explains how families can trap men, women and children in violent and abusive relations.

Stripping the romantic veneer from the typical family reveals two people who are socialised to be opposites, crammed in a box, subjected to falling living standards, rising debt and social insecurity. They are expected to raise children, who have lots of needs, and to do this with no outside support. Add bouts of unemployment, injury, or illness. Add some dependent relatives. Then make it difficult for these people to leave. Insist that they solve their own problems, and if they cannot, then it must be their fault or their partner’s fault.

Sport: capitalism at play

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Can Marxism help us make sense of sport? Paul Blackledge mines Tony Collins's Sport in Capitalist Society and Michael Lavalette's collection Capitalism and Sport for some answers.

If the Winter Olympics in Sochi, London 2012, and the World Cup in Brazil prove nothing else, they confirm that sport and politics go together like a horse and carriage - and those who argue otherwise are at best illiterate or more likely ideological.

How socialists should respond to these events is also clear enough - no amount of grand spectacle could ever justify Russia's homophobia or Brazil's social cleansing. And for all its brilliance, the opening ceremony at London 2012 didn't justify the £11 billion spent on the games in a period of austerity.

A is for Alienation

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Alienation is one of the most frequently encountered concepts not only in philosophical, political, psychological and sociological writings, as well as in creative literature, but - on an almost daily basis - even in the popular media. This is not surprising. For the practical reality of some form of alienation is an inescapable experience in the life of every individual in our society.

Understandably, this experience has negative connotations, indicating the need to do something about it, in order to overcome its frequently deplored impact. But protest against alienation seems to be in vain. Why is this so? What is the apparently all-powerful agency of "alienation", capable of negatively affecting the whole of humankind over a long historical period, and how could it be consigned to the past?

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