Jul 02 2020

In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest

 Allan Armstrong was reading  How the West Came to Rule – The geopolitical origins of capitalism, by How the West Came to Rule – The geopolitical origins of capitalism by Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglum, as he learned of the tragic death of Neil Davidson. This book was influenced by Neil’s work on Uneven and Combined Development at a world scale.

Allan has engaged in several debates with Neil about how Socialists can address Scottish history. He decided to write a review of Anievas and Nisancioglum’s book, and look at  aspects of British and Scottish history, through the lens they provide.

Allan  sent this review to Conter. He thought that the second  issue of the magazine would be well served if it had a number of articles  in Neil’s memory. However, the Covid-19 crisis has delayed this issue.




Challenging Eurocentric views of the world

I was reading How the West Came to Rule (HtWctR) when I learned of the death of Neil Davidson. Neil is acknowledged by the book’s authors, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu, as one of their inspirers.[1] HtWctR places the Uneven and Combined Development Theory (UCDT) at the centre of its analysis, referencing Neil in doing so.[2] Neil had been making a major contribution to reviving and applying this theory to global history. This led to the conference entitled ‘Uneven and Combined Development for the 21st Century’ held in Glasgow between the 5-7th September 2019. Anievas addressed this conference, albeit on another topic than HtWctR.[3] Although this conference placed historical development in Scotland under the UCDT spotlight, its contributors also examined historical developments over a far wider arena. HtWctR addresses these developments at the global level and represents the most ambitious attempt I have read to utilise UCDT both historically and geographically, whilst also drawing upon other theories. Continue reading “In memory of Neil Davidson: The West – No Better Than All the Rest”

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Nov 20 2016






(see short biogs at end)


 1. ALLAN ARMSTRONG – 9.11.16

“An even greater leap into fantasy land is the belief that Brexit will provide a progressive example to other member states wanting to break away from the EU…. The first and unfortunately well-known non-UK person to celebrate Brexit was none other than the Right populist US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump. With typical crassness he chose his new golf course at Turnberry in Scotland to declare his solidarity with Brexit… Another presidential hopeful, Marine Le Pen, of the French Far Right National Front, was the first significant European politician to proclaim her solidarity with Brexit.

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Nov 14 2009

Migrant workers are at the heart of our fightback

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 20RCN @ 7:27 pm

Editorial from The Commune, no. 6

The jobs massacre currently taking place under the cover of recession is an attack which particularly endangers casually or precariously employed workers; furthermore, migrants are also being scapegoated for ‘stealing’ hard-to-come-by jobs.

Immigrants, many of whom are forced to leave their countries of birth by repressive regimes directly or indirectly put in place with a helping hand from British foreign policy, are expected to work long hours at low pay on casual contracts: and most of all, not to complain.

However, brave organising efforts have been mounted by many migrant workers to stand up to employers and demand basic rights: for example cleaners at university campuses or banks in the City of London demanding a living wage rather than just the legal minimum and fighting against redundancies. They are an example to the entire labour movement of how to fight back: they show the possibility of building working-class resistance to the recession. Yet as the ‘Justice for Cleaners’ episode shows unions like Unite are indifferent, or even hostile, to migrant workers. This despite the fact that for many migrants, raising your head above the parapet risks determined efforts by employers and the state to question your ‘right’ to live in the UK and therefore to weed-out troublemakers and organisers.

Recent liberal calls for an ‘amnesty’ offering ‘a pathway to citizenship’ for ‘hard-working’ illegal immigrants do not challenge this, since business interests and the state still decide who is ‘suitable’ for entry. The use of border controls to determine who may or may not live in the UK is an affront to any notion of democratic rights of the individual, and is also intimately linked with the racist idea that where you come from should determine whether you are allowed to choose to live here. Such border controls are also highly gendered, with women bearing the brunt of deportations and violence perpetrated by immigration officials.

Those who argue that migrants should not be allowed into the UK ‘for their own protection’, to stop them being exploited by unscrupulous employers, ignore the fact that hundreds of thousands of people work in the UK illegally regardless: in fact their status simply means that they are denied basic employment rights; subjected to practices such as the nonpayment of wages; and are in constant fear that their already precarious work status will be swept from under them. Borders, detention centres and deportations are a savage weapon in the hands of the bosses to control people. Capitalism needs to move the workforce around at its whim in order to mobilise it efficiently, much as the EU Posted Workers’ Directive has allowed bosses to ‘undercut’, breaking union and minimum wage agreements: the best way to fight this exploitation is not to retreat into protectionism, but rather to demand full freedom of movement and equal work conditions for all, regardless of any form of national discrimination.

As communists we are for a world without any borders or states. Opposition to all immigration controls is fundamental to the free society we envisage and the fight to build it starts now. We do not believe it to be some ‘optional extra’ to be neglected as it was by recent left electoral projects from Respect to No2EU. All workers have a common enemy in these racist, sexist, union-busting immigration controls.

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