Saturday, December 30, 2017

Critical Research (2017)

Book Review from the December 2017 issue of the Socialist Standard

'What is Critical Social Research, Vol II'. By Babak Fozooni. (Fastprint publishing, £8.99)

The blurb on the back says that Babak Fozooni 'writes from a working class perspective' and he does indeed write from a position of wanting to see capitalism replaced by a system without production for sale and without wage-labour. He defines 'critical social research' as social research that goes beyond surface appearances to bring in capitalism as the underlying factor.

The book is a collection of articles on various subjects ranging from the psychology of sex to football in Iran and cricket in Afghanistan. The one on 'Guy Aldred and proletarian atheism' is of interest as Aldred moved in the same milieu as us and at one time considered himself an 'impossibilist'. He is more widely promoted and known as an 'anti-parliamentary communist' though he stood for parliament on a number of occasions. The view attributed to him – that the sort of atheism promoted by Richard Dawkins is inadequate – was also expressed in our 1910 pamphlet Socialism and Religion which criticised the atheist/Freethinker approach to religion of trying to refute it by reason without taking into consideration the social conditions that gave rise to it, giving the impression that capitalism without religion would be acceptable.

In the article on football in Iran, Fozooni makes the point that football was promoted by the government as a means of 'nation-building' to rally people round the Iranian state. Football internationals perform the same role of course in 'nations' that have already long been built.
Adam Buick