Problems Magazine

Current issue and recent issues.

(Not on-line until 12 months old, but available by subscription from Athol Books).

Problems 32: The October Revolution, 100 Years On

  • A World Without Bolsheviks? by Gwydion M Williams
    • What would our world be like if the Bolsheviks had not taken power?
  • The Russian Revolution, by Brendan Clifford
    • The Tsarist state had broken down.  A landlord restoration was being prepared regardless of what Lenin had done.
  • The Bolsheviks and Orthodox Christianity by Peter Brooke
    • How the Bolsheviks tried variously to suppress, discourage or incorporate Russia’s traditional religion

Problems 31: Feed-the-Rich Economics

  • How the West was tricked into mistrusting its highly successful Mixed Economy system
  • How the Baby Boomers were sold ‘Imaginary Capitalism’ as the answer to their dreams of Freedom
  • How it failed overall, but allowed the rich to gain a lot more than their fair share.
  • How the Soviet Union made vast economic gains under Stalin.  And was doing OK up until the 1970s.

Problems 30: Jews as ‘Collateral Damage’ in the Fall of the British Empire.  Part Two: The 13th Chancellor

  • The British government could have contained Hitler without a World War, but acted mainly from selfish power-political calculations.
  • The British ruling class were indifferent to the fate of German Jews
  • Karl Lueger – Moderate Antisemitism as the root of Christian Democracy
  • Why many Italian Jews supported Mussolini’s Fascism
  • The ‘Protocols of Zion’ were boosted by Henry Ford and by the London Times

Problems 29: Jews as ‘Collateral Damage’ in the Fall of the British Empire. Part One: Britain’s Exterminating Sea Empire

  • How Modern Genocide was invented by European Imperialism, long before Hitler applied it to European Jews
  • How Imperialism mostly accepted Jews as part of the White Master Race, though often viewed as suspicious and unreliable
  • How Sea-Empires are very different from other Empires
  • Why the British Empire could only dominate the world if Continental Europe kept weakening itself through major wars
  • How the British Ruling Class viewed Hitler as both useful and threatening: but more useful up until his annexation of what’s now the Czech Republic


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Problems 28: Asocialism Part One: The Muon and the Green Great Dragon.

  • Why Muons were real, even when no one had believed they should exist. Or could explain why they did exist.
  • Why atoms are not really ‘a hole in a hole’.
  • Why any native English speaker would know that a ‘green great dragon’ was bad English, but would be unlikely to know why.
  • How the question ‘why’ is very different for human matters and for the physical universe.
  • How religions came in waves of ideas, and gave us ways to organise our thinking that had not existed before.
  • How religions show their human origin, by always supposing that it was a universe made as a dwelling for humans and similar creatures

Also available as a PDF, Problems 28 – The Muon and the Green Great Dragon

Problems 27China: Agnes Smedley’s Battle Hymn Against Japan

  • Smedley as Stranger In Her Own Land
  • Chinese Trotskyism
  • The little-known Trotskyist influence on Khrushchev
  • Witness at Xian – and Loose Cannon at Xian
  • A Failed Sexual Revolution at Yenan
  • Singing a Battle Hymn of China
  • Persecution by the Ignorant and Powerful
  • Death and Unjust Neglect

Also available as a PDF, Problems 27 – Smedley in the Sino-Japanese War

Problems 26Smedley: an American Woman Who Loved China’s Red Army

  • How Agnes Smedley found a life’s purpose in China
  • Her connection with super-spy Richard Sorge
  • Her account of the little-known Red Areas in South China
  • The surprising neglect of her work by later writers
  • How she told a genuinely unknown and potentially damaging story about Mao
  • The cowboy scholarship of ‘Wild Swan’ Chang and ‘Doc’ Halliday.
  • Her account of the ‘A.B. Group’, an early split within the Red Army
  • The Chinese Social Democrats’ efforts to created a functional Third Force

Also available as a PDF, Problems 26 Smedley and China’s Red Army

Problems 25China: Blue Ants and Dangerous Reds.

  • Why a very civilised Frenchmen called the Chinese ‘Blue Ants’.
  • How ‘Old China Hands’ in 1950 thought that the new Communist government would be as ineffective as the Kuomintang had been.
  • The amazing ignorance about ‘Red China’ found in 1950s USA.
  • Blood, Opium and Gunboats: how the West had messed up China before 1949.
  • The Amethyst Incident: when Gunboat Diplomacy ended.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 25 China’s ‘Blue Ants’

Problems 24 – China 1949: Fixing a Broken Society

  • The West’s false understanding of ‘Normal Politics’.
  • How the Kuomintang failed to develop anything much during their period of rule. How they failed to confront Global Imperialism, and then were very slow to resist Japan’s expansion into Chinese territory.
  • An interesting account of the first years after 1949, by a Christian missionary who stayed in China when most Westerners left or were expelled.
  • How Edgar Snow was well aware of the crisis after the Great Leap Forward, but noted the unusual weather and did not class it as a famine.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 24 China 1949.

Problems 23 – China: Nurturing Red Stars

  • Why it become the job of the Chinese Communist Party to complete the necessary nationalist revolution that the Kuomintang had backed away from in 1927.
  • The unexpected role of Madam Sun (Soong Ching-ling) in publicising and strengthening Mao Zedong via Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China.
  • Full article, available online.
  • Also available as a PDF, Problems 23 – Nurturing Red Stars

Problems 22China’s Blue Republic, 1912-49  Stalin: Paradoxes of Power.

  • China’s ‘Blue Republic’ lasted from 1912 to 1949, and achieved nothing.  It achieved nothing because it was trying to erect a copy of the complex political structures of the USA or Western Europe on top of a society that had very different value. And doing it with a false understanding of the intricate political processes that had occurred there.
  • Stalin shaped the Soviet Union, which was for a long time regarded as the first and most important example of a working model of socialism.
  • Full article, available online.
  • Also available as a PDF, Problems 22_China’s Blue Republic

Problems 21China: Why a sophistocated Empire could not modernise. Including details of the exceptional nature of European developments.  And how Japan managed to modernise without uprooting its traditional culture.  Also available as a PDF, Problems 21 – Imperial China

Problems 19-20 – How Britain Planned World War One, by Pat Walsh.

Problems 17-18 – China’s Maoist Foundations.

  • How Deng build on the foundations made by Mao.  The economy tripled during Mao’s rule, and life expectancy increased more than for equivalent poor countries.

Problems 15-16 – Iraq and International Law.  (Republication of articles from the 1990s by Brendan Clifford.  Judgements that have stood the test of time.

Problems 14 – Why the Anglosphere Can’t Impose Democracy; What We Owe to Vietnam’s General Giap.  By Gwydion M. Williams.

Problems 13 – Anti-German Propaganda of World War One, by Eamon Dyas.

Problems 11-12 the Minimum Wage up to the First Labour Government

Problems 09-10 Ireland under the British Minimum Wage System

Problems 07-08 the Trial of William Cobbett

Problems 05-06 – Cobbett on Rural War

Problems 04 – the Soviet State in 1990

Problems 03 – Soviet Politics and Islamic Politics

Problems 02 – the 1986 Divorce Referendum

Problems 01 – German Industrial Relations, 2010


Problems of Socialism and Capitalism 60 – Hells’ Puritans

Problems of Socialism and Capitalism 59 – Frankenstein, the monster as victim

Three issues on Workers Control and one on the Labour Party exist as PDFs at

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