Abstract only
Costas Panayotakis

The introduction offers a sketch of the current conjuncture, while also providing an outline of the book’s argument. It begins with the contrast between the capitalist triumphalism that accompanied the end of the Cold War and the setbacks that capitalism has faced at the beginning of this century. The capitalist world’s main superpower, the United States, has faced a number of challenges, from the World Trade Center attacks to the military fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed it; but also economic challenges, as manifested by the rise of China and the global financial crisis of 2008. This latter crisis and the global coronavirus pandemic have also adversely impacted the rest of the capitalist world, notably Europe. At the same time, a deepening ecological crisis and a crisis of political democracy are also manifestations of capitalism’s increasingly destructive implications. After the brief overview of the current conjuncture, the introduction outlines how each of the book’s chapters adds to the analysis of capitalist destruction, to the cost–benefit contradiction that capitalism generates, and to the political implications of this contradiction and of its experience by diverse segments of the population for the formation of an anti-capitalist coalition fighting for a more humane, less destructive society.

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Kathryn Nash

This chapter deals with the emergence and evolution of pan-Africanism in the first half of the 1900s. In order to analyze the decisions made by independence era leaders when choosing norms for the African regional organization, it is crucial to understand the impact of pan-Africanist ideas as well as the impact of key events that took place in the lead-up to independence. In a very broad sense, pan-Africanism is an encompassing philosophy that deals with solidarity of African peoples. As this chapter shows, it was and still is a concept that is subject to evolution and contestation, but it is a critical lens through which to view debates within Africa and regional diplomatic policies. The chapter explores how critical figures, notably George Padmore, W.E.B Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey, shaped the development of pan-Africanism and its interpretation. Furthermore, it discusses critical events in the inter-war period and during World War II that had profound impacts on leaders in the pan-African movement and the evolution of pan-Africanism. The chapter culminates in a discussion of the 1945 Manchester Conference, an event that included many scholars who would return to Africa to lead independence movements.

in African peace
Kathryn Nash

One of the major critiques of the African Union is that the shift in peace and security from non-interference under the Organization of African Unity to non-indifference under the AU is purely cosmetic, and the results show no tangible difference in outcomes. This chapter spells out the extent of the change in norms, institutions, and policies between the OAU and the AU to first show that there is a real difference between the two organizations. It then explores case studies to show how these changes manifested in practices. The first case study contrasts AU action to address atrocities in Darfur in the early 2000s with OAU action to manage the crisis of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war in the late 1960s. The second contrasts AU action in Burundi with OAU action in the same country over different periods. Finally, the chapter discusses the AU response to the crisis in Libya in 2011 and addresses arguments that it represents a lack of support by the AU for intervention to stop atrocities.

in African peace
Costas Panayotakis

Using Karl Marx’s analysis as its starting point, this chapter argues for the need to define the surplus in an inclusive way that takes into account the wealth and surplus production taking place not just in the capitalist workplace but also in the household and public sectors of the economy. Such a rethinking allows a fuller understanding of the interconnections between these different economic sectors and of the ways the capitalist economic system creates divisions within the producers’ ranks. In particular, a brief overview of some of the dynamics of neoliberal restructuring and austerity shows that labor market competition is not the only structural feature of the capitalist economic system that keeps producers divided. To understand the dynamics that keep producers divided, one has to pay at least as much attention to another structural feature of contemporary capitalist economies: the existence within them of distinct sites of wealth and surplus production.

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Abstract only
Costas Panayotakis

This chapter explores the practical significance of the surplus. It begins by examining the questions of justice that class exploitation raises, and continues by addressing the relationship between surplus production and human freedom. Responding to the view of surplus as a society’s “index of freedom,” this chapter argues that only a classless, non-exploitative society could make use of the surplus at its disposal in a way consistent with human freedom. To do so, such a society would need to subject decisions regarding the size and use of the surplus to democratic deliberation. In making such democratic deliberation over the surplus central to the communist ideal, this chapter also begins a process of reconceptualizing communism that later chapters continue. Since democratic deliberation over the surplus – or over any other matter of public concern, for that matter – is inconceivable in the presence of racial and gender inequalities, however, this chapter also introduces a recurrent theme in this work, namely that abolishing class exploitation is not possible without also abolishing gender and racial oppression.

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Martin Yuille and Bill Ollier

Epidemiology aims to understand, prevent and control diseases and conditions that affect populations of plants, animals or humans. Its method rests on observation and action. When applied to a health problem it leads to conclusions on prevention. The father of epidemiology, John Snow, used his observations to advocate actions by government that he predicted would curtail a major cholera outbreak in Victorian London. However, this experimental approach was soon abandoned so that, today, epidemiology has become primarily an observational science. The case is made for the rebirth of epidemiology combining observation and experiment.

in Saving sick Britain
Martin Yuille and Bill Ollier

This chapter examines the ideas of C. P. Snow (The Two Cultures), Richard Dawkins (genetic determinism), Craig Venter (‘creating’ life) and Denis Noble (principle of biological relativity). The theory of biological relativity says there is no hierarchy in biological systems and no level in its organisation that has precedence over any other level. This denial of a hierarchy is the denial of determinism, including, in particular, genetic determinism. From the perspective of the modern plagues, the principle insists that there is no single solution available to ending those plagues.

in Saving sick Britain
Abstract only
Martin Yuille and Bill Ollier

Concurrent with the top-down change already described, the Health Society requires bottom-up change in every community. Such change is required because the modern plagues spread through social networks that operate predominantly at the community level. The authors propose that the starting point for this change is through reconfiguring the NHS Health Check. Reconfiguration includes the introduction of Health Society professionals and Health Society Champions. Evaluation of the development of the Health Society should include a target for improved healthspan. Because this is an exercise in experimental epidemiology (not merely in today’s convention of observational epidemiology), a pilot Health Society should be tested. Suitable locations for this pilot (including Greater Manchester) are identified.

in Saving sick Britain
Martin Yuille and Bill Ollier

The NHS is both necessary and sufficient for our healthcare. However, is it sufficient when it comes to our health - when it comes to the prevention of the common long-term conditions? This distinction between healthcare and prevention is fundamental to the authors’ arguments. This chapter provides an introduction to services for prevention of infectious diseases and of common long-term conditions and to the frequent changes in UK government policy over the first two decades of twenty-first century from the appointment for the first time ever of a Minister of Public Health to the subsequent side-lining of this ministry. Lip service has been paid to prevention but policy action has been inadequate since it has failed to stem, let alone reverse, the rising prevalence of the modern plagues.

in Saving sick Britain
Martin Yuille and Bill Ollier

Implementing Systems Prevention requires a re-examination of the meaning of ‘health’. A positive definition is needed to replace the negative definition (absence of disease) that is common currency. Political philosophy provides this positive definition. Lawrence Hamilton is concerned with the role of values versus the role of needs in democratic discourse. He recognises that human needs change and he describes some basic categories of these needs. He equates ‘health’ with satisfaction of these needs. In this chapter, these needs are discussed using insights from biology and ‘health’ is redefined as the optimal satisfaction of these needs. The needs are contrasted with definitions of health by the World Health Organisation.

in Saving sick Britain