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N E W I N T E R N A T I O N A L I S T N o . 3 0 9


T h e R a d i c a l T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y


This issue has had a longer genesis than most. Ten years ago, for my sins, I tried to write a history of the world in the scope of one issue of the NI. This fitted in with our perpetual promise to deliver a big subject in the palm of your hand ('easier to read than a book...-) but probably represented my own particular strain of megalomania. I failed on one count to which I confessed openly - I needed 20 extra pages even to begin to do justice to the material. But there was another shortcoming which I managed to gloss over - I found it impossible to bring the narrative up to date, to take it beyond the Second World War.

This was partly because the post-War world, with its profusion of countries, concerns and sheer human numbers, is intrinsically much more complicated than the one which preceded it. But it was also too close for me to see it in its proper perspective.

Ever since then I’ve had the ambition of completing the work, of looking at the twentieth century as a whole, and the beginning of 1999 - a few months before the stream of mainstream retrospectives becomes a flood - seemed the natural time to do so.

Again, I’ve accomplished the task only by bursting the banks even the broader banks of a January-February bumper issue. The 16-page booklet which accompanies this magazine is part and parcel of the whole: it recounts the key events of the century with an explicit bias towards the viewpoint of the poor and marginalized and of the resistance movements which represented them. In that sense it is a century-wide extension of our annual ‘Chronicle’, which selects the key events of the year with a particular eye to those affecting the Majority World - and our eight-page survey of key events and trends in 1998 begins on Page 36.

The bulk of this issue, however, is given over to an attempt to reclaim the century from the opinion-mongers who are already saying its essential meaning lies in the victory of ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ over all comers - and if you think I am exaggerating the extravagance of their claims then you might start by examining a few of them on Page 7.

Our own idea of The Radical Twentieth Century is that many of the greatest social and political achievements of the century, many of the things humanity values most about itself, derive directly from the hard work and imagination of protest and resistance movements. We have therefore looked back on the century’s events and trends from the point of view of five key movements: anti-colonialism, feminism, labour, peace and the environment.

What The Radical Twentieth Century shows is not only that events are shaped as much by the masses of ordinary people as by ‘great’ leaders (a standard but still valid Marxist point) but also that the world can be fundamentally changed by movements considered utterly lunatic when they start out. For a magazine which owes its very existence to the belief that there is a better way of ordering the world, there could be no better lesson to carry into the twenty-first century.

C k . 6 Chris Brazier fo r the New Internationalist Co-operative

The Radical Twentieth Century 7 The century is being hijacked. Time to reclaim it. says Chris Brazier. A bunch of fives 10 From unsung martyrs to big ideas, from dangerous corporations to ridiculous wars, here is the century in lists o ffiv e . ANTI-COLONIALISM The heart of Africa 12 Am id attempts to wrestle with conflict in Burundi and DR Congo, fo rm e r Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere reflects with Ikaweba Bunting on an anti-colonial life. ECOLOGY The powerboat and the planet 16 The N I looks back over the b r ie f but vibrant history o f the environmental movement.

FEMINISM Domestic murder and the golden sea 18 In d ia ’s Urvashi Butalia starts her journey through the women’s century by recalling an incident chillingly close to home. LABOUR After the eclipse 21 The labour movement has seen revolution, reform and apparent defeat. But the best is yet to come, argues Jeremy Seabrook.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 1900 & 2000 - THE FACTS 24 PEACE No more war heroes 26 Few people escaped war and its ravages entirely. But the peace movement still made a difference, believes Dorothy Thompson.

Betrayal and promise 29 Pre-millennial blues are understandable given the state w e ’re in, says Eduardo Galeano. But th ere’s p lenty o f hope o f redemption out there i f only you will look.

Big Bad Century


Come out from under that desk, barks cartoonist PJ Polyp - this is what w e ’ve all been waiting fo r , this is... The Exponential Century. Heaven, hell and spring sunshine 34 Chris Brazier writes a postscript fo r the twentieth century and burrows into the gaping cracks in the new world order.

TH tM P lU l T W E N T IE T H

c m ifij v world order.

CHRONICLE OF 1998 36 An alternative view o f the year's events, with special fea tu res on Indonesia, weather, the Middle East, in ternational justice, DR Congo, Iraq and a lternative prizewinners.


L e t t e r s

T h e b om b in g o f I raq

U p d a te

J um b o c r o s sw o r d




4 4

R e v iew s : in c lu d in g B e s t of 1 9 9 8 4 5 C o u n t ry p ro f i le : S o u th K o re a 4 8 MAGAZINE DESIGNED BY ANDREW KOKOTKA Front cover photographs: Gandhi (Hulton-Deutsch/Corbis); Mandela (Paul Velasco/ABPL/Corbis); suffragettes (HultonDeutsch/Corbis): peace plant (George W Wright/Corbis); Aung San Suu Kyi (Howard Davies/Corbis); Chinese Communists (UPl/CorbisBettmann); farmer (Glen Williams): baby (anon); painting by V Serov.


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