Norman Geras's work on the subject of Karl Marx's antisemitism involved significant dissent from the Marxist tradition in which he located himself, precisely because unvarnished honesty prevented him from glossing over the many troubling ideas and notions that, simply, are there. His Normblog demonstrated how Geras, as a Marxist, took on the shibboleths of the postmodern left, and in particular the relativism whose malign influence he had noted when writing his book on Marx's conception of human nature. 'The principle of self-emancipation', wrote Geras in 1971, 'is central, not incidental, to historical materialism.' This book shows how the materialist usage of 'powers of human nature', 'natural desires', 'natural character' play an important role in the formulation of Marx's theory of history. It explores Richard Rorty's various usages on the question of human nature and the tensions and anomalies as well as then theses on utopia. The book also reviews a fast-growing sector of the current literature on Karl Marx, i.e. whether Marx condemn capitalism in the light of any principle of justice, and the controversy that has fuelled its growth, and distinguishes three meanings (personal, intellectual and socio-political) of 'being a Marxist'. It discusses the significance of the Euston Manifesto, antisemitism on the left anti-Jewish stereotypes, and Marxism before the Holocaust. The book concludes with insights into the 9/11 incident, the principle of humanitarian intervention and international law for military intervention.
Robertson’s claim that our psychological well-being suffers
when human beings commit atrocities against one another. If
it may be jejune to project a world entirely free of the forms
of violation that are under discussion, it seems reasonable to
hypothesize the possibility of one, at least, in which they had
been much reduced, a world not free of atrocity altogether
See NormanGeras, The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political
Philosophy after the Holocaust, Verso, London 1998, pp. 1–82.
02 Crimes Against Humanity 032-074
32. NormanGeras, Solidarity in the Conversation of Humankind: The Ungroundable Liberalism of Richard Rorty , London 1995, pp. 47–70.
33. This paragraph summarizes Solidarity in the Conversation of Humankind , pp. 76–8.
NormanGeras, ‘Literature of Revolution’, New Left Review 113–114 (January/April 1979), pp. 25–29; reprinted in my collection, Literature of Revolution , London 1986, at pp. 247–50.
33. Leon Trotsky, 1905 , London 1972, pp. 131–5.
34. See Martin Broszat/Saul Friedlander, ‘A Controversy about the Historicization of National Socialism’, Yad Vashem Studies 19 (1988), pp. 28–9.
35. Saul Friedlander, ‘The “Final Solution”: On the Unease in Historical Interpretation’, in Peter Hayes, ed., Lessons and Legacies: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a
omits any such requirement.30
Opposing it, some writers have emphasized that crimes against
See the discussion of the view labelled B4 in Chapter 2.
See pp. 143–4 below, and (an abridged version of the same review)
NormanGeras, ‘Enforcing Human Rights’, Dissent Winter 2007, pp.
130–5 at p. 133.
Ratner and Abrams, Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in
International Law, pp. 62–6; deGuzman, ‘The Road from Rome’, pp.
364–8; and cf. Hwang, ‘Defining Crimes Against Humanity’, p. 502.
Robinson, ‘Defining “Crimes Against Humanity” at the Rome
This chapter presents the central argument of the book, jointly written by
Mark Harvey and Norman Geras. It develops a systematic critique of Marx’s
foundational theory of class division and inequality, the Labour Theory of
Value. It presents an alternative, neo-Polanyian, framework for analysing
inequalities and how they are generated at different times in different
societies. It argues for a broader concept of just distribution to include
both market and public goods.
This book tells the story of the emergence of the concept of crimes against humanity. It examines its origins, the ethical assumptions underpinning it, its legal and philosophical boundaries and some of the controversies connected with it. A brief historical introduction is followed by an exploration of the various meanings of the term ‘crimes against humanity’ that have been suggested; a definition is proposed linking it to the idea of basic human rights. The book looks at some problems with the boundaries of the concept, the threshold for its proper application and the related issue of humanitarian intervention. It concludes with a discussion of the prospects for the further development of crimes-against-humanity law.