E) Problems Magazine

Current issue and recent issues.

(Print editions available by subscription from Athol Books).

PDFs and web-page links for Older Issues here.

Problems 47: Millionaires Then and Now

Multi-Millionaires as a Blight on Civilization
Why the very rich have never been a real Meritocracy.  How they have grabbed an increasing share of the social  wealth, thanks to government policies from the 1980s.  Why it has never been a real Free Market.  How Trickle-Down was a fraud. Promises of low taxes  and a smaller state were untrue.

Elites In History
Today’s millionaires are the heirs of the slave-owning  elites of early civilisations. And why nothing today is  like Classical Rome’s undemocratic republic.

Available as a PDF: Problem Labour 47 – Millionaires Then and Now.


Problems 46: Power To All Our Friends!

How to fix Climate Change and keep Modern Civilisation.
The Climate Crisis began with a steady rise in average global temperatures from the 1980s. And it gets steadily worse, with a series of no-longer-rare weather disasters. Crises that are even worse than if we had a simple increase of one or two degrees in the average in an otherwise unchanged pattern of global weather.
Civilisation is certain to survive, but perhaps with some decades of hardship and an actual shrinkage of population. And a probable ending of Western hegemony, with the New Right probably reclassified as wreckers of what they’d inherited.
The BBC should have a prime-time Weather World once a week, showing global patterns and listing any recent disasters. This would help change public opinion by continuous drips of alarming news.
The Western elite are finally reacting. But still give priority to their own power and privilege.

Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.


Problems 45: Texas Freeze & two articles on Eugenics.

Texas: Deregulated Electricity Hurts Its Customers.
The USA has been hit by a series of climate disasters.  The freeze of early 2021 was special, because much of the misery was caused by anti-state and pro-market policies.
Breeding For Superior Beings – the Dangers of Eugenics
The Eugenics Congress, London 1912
Concern about the idea of selectively breeding humans, and preventing some from breeding.
Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.


Problems 44 – Coolhearts in a Sickening World.

‘Being cool’ was floated as an ideal, after the naïve optimism of 1960s radicalism bumped into some harsh realities.  ‘Being cool’ can sound very clever.  ‘Coolheart’ sounds like an insult.  And is meant as such.
Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.


Problems 43 – Why Spontaneous Politics Mostly Fails

Did our 1960s heritage of anti-state attitudes caused the rise of the New Right?

Plus a deep study how how Artificial Intelligence can change everything.

Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.


Problems 42 – Tory Sympathy for Fascism in the 1930s

2020_06_200100 Mussolini

Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.

  1. Tories Made a Europe Fit for Fascists.
  2. Black Lives and Other Past Victims.
  3. Michael Foot on Tory Support for Mussolini. Extracts from a forgotten wartime book by former Labour leader Michael Foot.
  4. Orwell’s Review of Foot’s Work.
  5. Orwell on British Jews. This details widespread anti-Jewish feeling among ordinary Britons fighting the Nazis,
  6. Churchill in 1927 Praising Mussolini’s Italy.
  7. Fascism and Union Jackery.  Mainstream British Thinkers Close to Fascism.

Problems 41 – LabP41 frontour and Young Voters.  Free Will and the Coolheart Generation.

Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.

Why Labour should not risk losing the younger voters who joined when Corbyn was leader.
And a look at the successes and failures of the Baby Boomer generation.  How ‘Coolheart’ would be a fair summary of those who went from Radical to Thatcherite.

Problems 40 – Marxism and the Wrong Turning of 1987 to 1995.

Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.


Problems 39 – The West Fails in Five Civilisations

Western media accurately report that things are going wrong for them globally.  But try to avoid blame.  Also available as a PDF, Problem 39 – West Failing in Five Civilisations.P39-1


Problems 38 – Thinking About Thinking
A criticism of the whole Socratic school of philosophy.  Plus the idea of working-class Public Schools and a debate about the nature of numbers.  Also available as a PDF, Problem 38 – Thinking About Thinking.


Problems 37 – The End of the Road for New Right Ideas.
Also available as a PDF: Problems 37 – New Right Errors.



Problems 36Post-Liberalism.
Speak of ‘Our Freedoms’ rather than ‘The Freedom’.
How ‘Liberalism’ has been a name for many different things, some way outside of acceptable modern ideas.
Why Israel since the Six Day War has been breaking Western norms.  And got worse from the 1990s.
And why Xi’s China is an excellent prospect for the future.

Also available as a PDF: Problem 36 – Post-Liberalism

Problems 35Balfour on Cobden and Progress

If we stand on the shoulders of cannibal giants, it is embarrassing. An inconvenient truth that we need to face up to. We must also ask if thereProblems 35 a better way?
Except for those way out of tune with modern life, the answer would mostly be ‘no’.
Arthur Balfour was a late-blooming version of the original Enlightened Aristocrats. He’d have made a good Enlightened Autocrat, had the times been suitable. As things were, he was called ‘Bloody Balfour’ for his repression of Irish Nationalism. Much less well-known is his successful curing of the Irish Land Question by buying out the landlords.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 35 – Balfour on Cobden and Progress

Problems 34: Freedom as Misunderstood by Liberals

  • How Gorbachev Wrecked the Soviet Union
    • Looking at how the man messed up.
    • A reminded that the Soviet Union worked well in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Notes on Asocialism
    • People go wrong by imagining themselves as autonomous individuals who could and should exist independently of the wider society.
    • How the New Right took advantage of moral uncertainty following the radical and necessary changes demanded by 1960s radicals and protestors.
    • Why the unregulated internet is not an answer.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 34 – Freedom Misunderstood

Problems 33: How Humans Became Citizens

  • The past is never the dead past.  It lives on in habits that make us human
  • The ‘Neolithic Revolution’ happened bit by bit across 3000 years
  • The famous Catalhoeyuek was a dead end, with oddities like not keeping cats to deal with the mice that plagued them
  • The chariot and a class structure that included born warriors caused a vast expansion of speakers of Indo-European languages.  Who probably began in what is now South Russia
  • The historic Troy was a minor place.  A hybrid of Greek and Hittite culture.  Prince Paris was also known by the Greek name Alexander
  • The original legend was probably ‘The Tragedy of Priam’ – Greek legends have him survive an earlier sack as a young man
  • Even that was not history.  Troy was a small place.  Its main decline was due to an earthquake.  Its people were weak ruin-dwellers when it was later sacked.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 33 – How Humans Became Citizens

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.
      This was the first in a ten-part series.  The link takes you to the first three, and on to the others.
  • The Bolsheviks and Orthodox Christianity by Peter Brooke
    • How the Bolsheviks tried variously to suppress, discourage or incorporate Russia’s traditional religion

Also available as a PDF, Problems 32 – The October 1917 Revolution

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.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 31 – Feed-the-Rich Economics

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

Also available as a PDF, Problems 30 – the 13th Chancellor

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.

Also available as a PDF, Problems 29 – Genocide in the British Empire

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.  British Guilt for World War One.  From the late 19th century through to 1914, many Britons feared Germany’s growing success in world trade.  Some politicians and officials made secret arrangements to weaken Germany by a war.  These were hidden even from most Cabinet ministers.
This page is on another website.  Also available here as a PDF, Problems 19-20.

Problems 17-18How Mao Greatly Strengthened ChinaDeng build on the foundations made by Mao.  The economy tripled during Mao’s rule, and life expectancy increased more than for equivalent poor countries.  Also available as a PDF, Problems 17-18 – China’s Maoist Foundations.

Problems 15.  Iraq and International Law.   The United Nations as a 20th Century Myth.   The United Nations War on Iraq in 1991.   Encouraging Iraqi Rebels in April 1991.   Looking Back in 1991 at East Germany’s collapse.   The Failed Russian Coup of 1991Warning in 1991 About a War Against Serbia.  (Republication of articles by Brendan Clifford.  Judgements that have stood the test of time.)
Available as a PDF: Problems 15-16.

Problems 14.  Why the Anglosphere Can’t Impose Democracy;   What We Owe to Vietnam’s General Giap.  Also available as a PDF: Problems 14.

Problems 13.  British Distortions of German Motives in World War One.  How Pan-Germanism was not what British writers claimed,
Available as a PDF: Problems 13.

PDFs and web-page links for Older Issues here.

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