Robin Blackburn

Robin Blackburn teaches at the University of Essex. The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights will be published this year.

Diary: In Haiti

Robin Blackburn, 8 October 2009

I arrived after dusk at Toussaint Louverture Airport and was relieved to see someone holding a board with my name on it. The State Department and Foreign Office websites had been very discouraging. A taciturn young man from Sécurité whisked me through passport control and into a tacky VIP lounge, then down some steps to an exit, watched over by an unsmiling female security guard....

When I’m 65: a reply to Martin Daunton

Robin Blackburn, 19 February 2004

The origins of state pensions are to be found in market failure. States have intrinsic advantages over companies as pension providers: because they have the power to tax, and are around for a long time, they can count on those not yet born to pay for the pensions of those not yet retired. Today’s contributions are used to pay today’s retirees (a company that did this would be...

Publishers are usually well-advised not to complain about reviewers, but I would like to breach this convention to vindicate not so much the two Verso books concerned as the political experience and thought which has received such cavalier treatment in your pages. Mary Beard (LRB, 26 October 1989) and R.W. Johnson (LRB, 8 February) are united in dismissing the thinking of the British New Left as of...

Dear Prudence: The pension crisis

Martin Daunton, 19 February 2004

The trend in most industrial societies is away from the public funding of pensions and towards private, commercial provision. Robin Blackburn describes the finance companies selling pension...

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It is more than 130 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, but Americans have yet to arrive at a generally agreed understanding of either the history or the legacy of slavery. When a...

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Bring on the hypnotist

Neal Ascherson, 12 March 1992

The revolutions of 1989 were ‘the end of an era in which world history was about the October Revolution ... Those of us who believed that the October Revolution was the gate to the future...

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Slavery has been ubiquitous in history, with innumerable forms and functions: something of the truth of human nature is revealed by this fact. Horace saw nothing wrong in it, though himself the...

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