A Radical Interpretation of Genocide for Holocaust Memorial Day

Final Solutions: Human nature, Capitalism, and GenocideAs the year rolls around again, we return to the hard task of remembering the victims of the Nazi genocide on Holocaust Memorial Day. This year’s anniversary marks the 69th year of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and as the number of living survivors diminishes, the task of remembrance and understanding grows ever more vital. Fascism is still playing an ugly part in the modern political landscape in Greece, Hungary and beyond, and genocides continue. The radical left has addressed the issue over the past decades, producing a variety of analyses. Recently published, Sabby Sagall’s book Final Solutions: Human Nature, Capitalism and Genocide provides a new way of looking at the Holocaust and other genocides including those of the Native Americans, the Armenians, the Jews and the Rwandan Tutsis. His analysis draws on the Frankfurt School of thought to provide an innovative combination of Marxism and psychoanalysis in this context. What is shown is how the denial of human needs and the ensuing feelings of isolation and powerlessness propel groups to project their impotent rage, hatred and destructiveness engendered by these defeats on to the ‘outsider’ and the ‘other’.

‘Disturbing yet enlightening… The great merit of Sagall’s work is that he reveals both the differences and the commonalities that mark the history of genocide. His thesis is that neither a socio-political nor a psychological analysis will suffice, but that a combination of the two is needed. On this basis, Sagall reveals the overarching structures and logics that unite the various events he examines, but also the unique internal history of each episode and the terror lying as its core.’ – Kevin Kenny, Professor of History, Boston College

Read a full review of the book by Neil Faulkner here.

Copies are available from the Pluto Press website.

Bookmarks Bookshop is holding a Holocaust Memorial Day Event on February 1st with Michael Rosen and John Rose. Copies of Final Solutions: Human Nature, Capitalism and Genocide will be available to buy. More details about the event can be found here.

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