Anindya Bhattacharyya

Praxis Makes Perfect

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Anindya Bhattacharyya takes a look at some recently published books that examine the philosophical implications of the struggle for radical political change.

In 1845 the young Karl Marx wrote down a series of short notes to himself summarising the conclusions of his intense engagement with the radical philosophies of his day. They were never intended for publication, but were nevertheless been preserved for posterity after Marx's death by his lifelong friend and comrade Frederick Engels.

Art of the Ordinary

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Review of 'From the Bauhaus to the New World, Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy', Tate Modern, London.

Anyone using the London Underground this month cannot fail to notice the striking posters advertising the latest mega-exhibition at the Tate Modern. The show brings together two great figures of modernist art, the German-born Josef Albers (1888-1976) and the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946).

The careers of the two artists overlapped during the 1920s when they both taught at the Bauhaus, the German school of art and design that pretty much invented "modernism" as we now know it - pioneering everything from anglepoise lamps to sans serif fonts.

Freedom of Information: Not Quite Open Government

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Over 50,000 previously secret government documents have been released to the public this month as the Freedom of Information Act 2000 finally comes into effect.

Previously official information would typically be closed to public access for 30 years. But under the new rules people have the right to request information at any time and have that information supplied.

In the Right Direction

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In his review of Welcome to the Desert of the Real!, the latest book by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, Alex Callinicos remarks that despite Zizek's intermittent political 'misses', he's generally 'heading in the right direction' (January SR).

One noteworthy example of this appears in an interview with Zizek published in 'Ha'aretz', the liberal Israeli newspaper, on 13 January. At the end of the interview Zizek is asked what sort of alternative to capitalism he'd like to see. He replies: 'There's the puzzle. I would say, a new version of what was once called socialism.'

This, to my knowledge, is the first time that Zizek has explicitly used the word 'socialism' to describe his hopes for the future. Previously, he tended to (mis)use the term to describe state capitalist regimes of the former Eastern bloc.

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