"Even though the construction of the future and its completion for all times is not our task, what we have to accomplish at this time is all the more clear: *relentless criticism of all existing conditions*, relentless in the sense that the criticism is not afraid of its findings and just as little afraid of the conflict with the powers that be."
Immanuel Wallerstein, currently a senior research scholar at Yale University, is among the greatest living sociologists and one of the most appropriate scholars to discuss the current relevance of Marx. He has been a reader of Marx for a long time, and his work has been influenced by the theories of the revolutionary born in Trier on May 5, 1818. Wallerstein has authored more than 30 books, which have been translated into several languages, including his very well known The Modern World-System, published in four volumes between 1974 and 2011 Read Marx, says Wallerstein An interview
Alan Sugar is a representation of what is low, crass, agressive, and disgusting in doing business. He is the opposite of what human ingenuity, innovative skills, and energy is and what should be invested in. He has been promoted as an example to emulate, someone who embodies the spirit of self-made man and entrepreneur. Many British and non-British love him though. But that says a lot about the type of the economy and 'ideology' of the last 40 years and the power relations fostered and perpetuated to obfuscate reality. It is not a surprise then that he considers this a joke. He is in fact an embodiment of those capitalists who would fight against the existing order tooth and nail, and fight against any small progressive change.
Erotica Nowadays credited to a fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath called Jalal adʹDin al-Suyuti, "The Book of Exposition" is an exploration of promiscuity under the societal constraints of the Arab-Islamic world, using bawdy and salacious scenarios to stimulate and evoke fantasies in the readerʹs mind. The Book of Exposition by al-Suyūti
English schools: on the footsteps of the French ones? Mr Courtney was referring to a speech in February in which Ms Spielman said: "School leaders must have the right to set school uniform policies in a way that they see fit, in order to promote cohesion." By "cohesion" Ms Spielman means conformity. What we are speaking about hear is the headscarf not the veil. The latter covers the whole face not the first. Banning the headscarf at school is considered
"The global community has done little to intervene in the ongoing genocide." Is there such a thing as a "global community" or "international community"? What we have, in fact, is big powers and regional ones decide who is worth "saving" and who is a collateral in geopolitics. Think, for example, of Bosnia vs. Rwanda and Syria.
"For the most part, there has been confusion about who the Rohingya are and why they are being targeted by the Myanmar regime. Azeem Ibrahim, an international research fellow affiliated with Harvard, Yale, and the U.S. Army War College, argues that the persecution of the Rohingya is historically rooted in the situation of postcolonial Myanmar and the normalized “otherness” of the Rohingya people within the country’s culture. Ibrahim’s new book The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Genocide traces this troubling history of persecution and explains its origins."
The Labour Party, Israel, and anti-semitism So not to confuse a crude depiction with serious opposition to the crimes of the Israeli state as a settler, colonial, apartheid and imperialist state. And not to use the anti-semitism exploited by the Western imperialist state to silence any oppsition to the Israeli state or deflect attention from an alternative, small as it is, to the status quo, exploitation, austerity, plunder, wars, oligarchy, corruption, stduents debt, neoliberalism, obscene inequality, cuts in social services, xenophobia, hypocrisy, double standard, attacks on pensions, teaming with autocrats for financial and geopolitical interests, etc.
Hungary Centrists/liberals, who like wars, austerity and status quo, and who presided over obscene inequality, and exploitation at hime and abroad, want to save "liberal democracy" even if that meant advocating an alliance with the neo-Nazis. Is this new?
"Just 3% of Americans own half of the guns in America. And that 3% isn’t just anyone. According to a Harvard study flagged by Scientific American this month, the person most likely to stockpile guns in this country is an older, white man from a rural conservative area. And an alarming body of research shows that they’re motivated by racial anxiety and a fear of emasculation." No comment.
"In this short book, I argue that Marx developed three key laws of motion of capitalism, around which a clear analysis of the nature of modern economies can be understood. From these laws, we can understand why capitalism cannot escape being subject to regular and recurring slumps; causes vicious rivalry among national states that leads to perpetual wars; and engenders uncontrolled and wasteful use of natural resources that now threatens the destruction of the planet itself." Marx 200
There were real differences between neoliberals and conservatives on the family. Although they converged around the idea of family responsibility, there were different motivations and different inflections to this convergence. Social conservatives saw the family and its moral order as foundational to any social and economic order. Even when they became converts to the free market, as was the case with Irving Kristol, they saw the family as the necessary foundation on which market freedom needed to rest. They were also more often than not invested in a particular vision of the family – patriarchal, heteronormative, monogamous. Ideas about responsible fatherhood and the need to reinstate the place of men within the family come from this conservative tradition.
Neoliberals had a more minimalist understanding of family responsibility. For them, family responsibility meant that the family or the couple should be the primary source of economic security and in this way function as a substitute to the welfare state. They were in general much less normative about the particular form of these relationships and as I detail in my analysis of the neoliberal response to the AIDS crisis, were some of the first advocates of same-sex marriage, which they understood as a kind of mutual insurance contract. Alternative kinship relations were not a problem for them as long as these relationships could successfully internalize the health and welfare costs of partners and children. When people failed to internalize these costs, the neoliberals thought that kinship relations should be legally enforced in the form of family responsibility rules. Foucault was half right: neoliberals were not at all attached to the normative disciplines that grew up around the 20thcentury welfare state, the sciences of deviance and perversion that informed everything from eugenics to psychology and criminology. They were variously in favour of decriminalizing prostitution, sodomy and recreational drugs. But Foucault misses the big proviso that goes along with all of this. All social costs (the costs of raising children, the economic fallout from divorce, health care costs, STIs) need to be internalized by the parties to the sexual contract – kinship relations, marriage and parenthood, are the legal means through which the state can enforce these costs. What Foucault called “care of the self” is a central imperative of neoliberalism, but it would be better defined as “care of kin.”
But this will not change the position of those liberals and leftists who have supported the Syrian regime or have remained silent. The formers because they prefer a "secular", "Western-oriented", "liberal" (and neoliberal) man (and his wife) to those long-bearded men. The latters who think that there are a few progressive elements in the Syrian regime worth defending, and the Russian state, is a counter balance to western imeprialism.
Britain I say: Israel is "neo-colonialist, imperialist power, associated with the US, oppressing Palestinians." The mural is about "class and privilege." I don't buy pomegranate from Lidl supermarket because they come from Israel. Is that enough to make me anti-semitic? If a Jew, a Zionist or any other person defends the Isreali colonial settler-state and its imperialist nature, s/he is complicit in crimes and oppression. Is that enough to make me anti-semitic?
Britain However radical Labour’s 2017 manifesto was in many ways, it said nothing about rolling back the mechanisms bequeathed by the “war on terror.” This reflects a major historical weakness for Labour, which was always its loyalty to the constitutional status quo. This Veritable Arsenal
The underpopulated countries of Africa are in general underpolluted. The quality of the air is unnecessarily good compared with Los Angeles or Mexico. Polluting industries should be encouraged to move to the less-developed countries. A certain amount of pollution exist in countries where salaries are low. I think that the economic logic whereby tons of toxic waste can be dumped in places wehre salaries are low is irrefutable ... Any concern [about toxic products] will anyway be much greater in a country where people live long enough to develop cancer than in a country where the infant mortality rate is 200 in 1,000 by the age of five.
— Lawrence Summers*, internal memo of the World Bank, December 13, 1991. Quoted in Toussaint and Millet, 2010, pp. 255-6
*Summers was at the time chief economist and vice-president of the World Bank. He later became Secretary of the Treasury in Bill Clinton's government, before becoming the president of Havard University, until June 2006. The extracts were published in The Economist (February 8, 1992) and by The Financial Times (February 10, 1992) with the title "Save the Planet from Economists."
In 2015, researchers based in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Norway and the USA published Financial flows and tax havens: combining to limit the lives of billions of people, which they fairly claim to be “the most comprehensive analysis of global financial flows impacting developing countries compiled to date.” Their report calculates ‘net resource transfers’ (NRT) between developed and developing countries, combining licit and illicit inflows and outflows—from development aid and remittances of wages to net trade receipts, debt servicing, new loans, FDI and portfolio investment and repatriated profits, along with capital flight and other forms of financial chicanery and outright theft. They found that in 2012, the most recent year for which they could obtain data, what they call ‘developing and emerging countries’ (which of course includes China) lost $2.0 trillion in net transfers to rich countries, equivalent to 8% of emerging nations’ GDP in that year—four times larger than the average of $504 billion in NRT transferred annually from poor to rich countries during the first half of the 2000s. When informed estimates are included of under-invoicing and other forms of rip-off and criminality that leave no statistical trace, NRT from poor countries to imperialist countries in 2012 exceeded $3 trillion, around 12% of poor nations’ GDP.
More generally, they report that “both recorded and unrecorded transfers of licit and illicit funds from developing countries have tended to increase over the period 1980-2011”. As for Sub-Saharan Africa, they report that NRT from this continent to imperialist countries (or tax havens licensed by them) between 1980 to 2012 totalled $792bn, that illicit transfers from Africa to imperialist countries as a proportion of GDP are higher than from any other region, and that capital flight from Sub-Saharan Africa is growing by more than 20 percent per annum, faster than anywhere else in the world.
It’s also likely that the Kremlin wants to have total control over the Left in much the same way it does the right wing. While ethnic supremacist, fascist forces were once ascendant in Russia,many of those parties and organizations have been outlawed, their leaders imprisoned, exiled, or killed, their rank and file scattered to the wind. And now, Russia maintains a Kremlin-friendly, compliant fascist right wing that can be counted on to defend the Kremlin’s positions from Ukraine to Syria and beyond. Similarly, on the Left, the Kremlin may seek to smash the far left that, unlike the official Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) – a deeply reactionary communist organization that upholds chauvinist social policies combined with worship of Stalin and obedience to Putin – is not under the thumb of Putin and his clique. The repression of the radical left in Crimea
"It is imperative to ask why and how this obscure Canadian academic, who insists that gender and class hierarchies are ordained by nature and validated by science, has suddenly come to be hailed as the West’s most influential public intellectual." Jordan Peterson and Fascist Mysticism
Britain In December 1989, Corbyn was one of only four MPs to sign a parliamentary motion congratulating the “magnificent outburst” by striking workers in Czechoslovakia “against the corruption and mismanagement of the Stalinist bureaucracy”. “Even though Russia is no longer communist, there is still this assumption on many parts of the left that it is anti-imperialist, and they’re willing to turn a blind eye to things Russia does in other countries,” Greenberg said. “There’s a continuity between that part of the left’s attitudes back then to Czechoslovakia and its dissidents and its attitudes now to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its involvement in Syria. Those old attitudes are still there.” "Corbyn, the spy, and the cold war long shadow"
No one knows for certain how many
Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible
estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence
again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a
“blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime. Those who perpetrated
it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the
horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago, I watched Mr.
Bush on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.)
The pundits and “experts” who sold us the war still go on doing what they do. I
never thought that Iraq could ever be worse than it was during Saddam’s reign,
but that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.
Non-violence? "terrorism"? The writer, an ex-soldier, refers to the Palestinian violence as "terror" and "terrorism", but no where he use use the same words to refer to the structural violence of the settler-colonial state. Apartheid, occupation, oppression, etc are all fine but "terrorism" is restricted to those who retaliate against "democracies".
"The use a loan is put to is not fundamnetal for characterizing the debt as odious. Financial support for a criminal regime, even if it happens to build a school or a hospital, amounts to consolidating the said regime. The nature of the regime aside, the use of funds should suffice to qualify debts as odious whenever these funds are used against the populations's major interests or when they directly enrich the regime's inner circle. Thus, debts incurred within the framework of structrural adjustments fall into the category of odious debts, since the destructive character of the SAP [Structural Adjustment Program] has been clearly shown, including by UN agencies." Toussaint and Millet, 2010, pp. 249-50
A good take on Putin's Russia with no mention of Syria. A bit soft on the American-led political-economy of "inevitability". "Americans and Europeans have been guided through our new century by what I will call the politics of inevitability – a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done. In the American, capitalist version of this story, nature brought the market, which brought democracy, which brought happiness. In the European version, history brought the nation, which learned from war that peace was good, and hence chose integration and prosperity." "Vladimir Putin's politics of eternity"
"Facebook let a firm called GSR scrape 50 million user profiles and sell the data to another firm, Cambridge Analytica, whose express purpose was to manipulate electoral behaviour in favour of Donald Trump. That’s the one-paragraph summary of a story that will unfold with increasing complexity this week.
Cambridge Analytica will be in the frame, basically, for lying to British MPs – and is now being investigated by the authorities in Massachusetts where it are based. But the scandal is just the latest in a series for Facebook, creating an existential moment for the world’s biggest social media corporation."
"Fuck neliberalism" by Simon Springer "while a
quieter and gentler name for this paper could tone down the
potential offence that might come with the title I’ve chosen,
I subsequently reconsidered. Why should we be more
worried about using profanity than we are about the actual
vile discourse of neoliberalism itself? I decided that I wanted
to transgress, to upset, and to offend, precisely because
we ought to be offended by neoliberalism, it is entirely
upsetting, and therefore we should ultimately be seeking
to transgress it. Wouldn’t softening the title be making
yet another concession to the power of neoliberalism?
I initially worried what such a title might mean in terms
of my reputation. Would it hinder future promotion or
job offers should I want to maintain my mobility as an
academic, either upwardly or to a new location? This felt
like conceding personal defeat to neoliberal disciplining.
Fuck that." — Simon Springer. Well, that absolves capitalism of its 'sins'. Now, let's have another form of capitalism, one that is humane!
What, then, explains Brexit? Mass immigration is another fear across the EU, and it was whipped up in the UK by the Leave campaign, in which Nigel Farage was a conspicuous speaker and organiser, alongside prominent Conservatives. But xenophobia on its own is by no means enough to outweigh fear of economic meltdown. In England, as elsewhere, it has been growing as one government after another has lied about the scale of immigration. But if the referendum on the EU had just been a contest between these fears, as the political establishment sought to make it, Remain would have no doubt won by a handsome margin, as it did in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. There were further factors. After Maastricht, the British political class declined the straitjacket of the euro, only to pursue a native neoliberalism more drastic than any on the continent: first, the financialised hubris of New Labour, plunging Britain into a banking crisis before any other European country, then a Conservative-Lib Dem government of an austerity more drastic than any generated without external constraint in Europe. Economically, the results of this combination are unique. No other European country has been so dramatically polarised by region, between a bubble-enclosed, high-income metropolis in London and the southeast, and an impoverished, deindustrialised north and northeast where voters felt they had little to lose in voting for Leave (crucially, a more abstract prospect than ditching the euro), whatever happened to the City and foreign investment. Fear counted for less than despair. Politically, too, no other European country has so blatantly rigged an electoral system: UKIP was the largest single British party at Strasbourg under proportional representation in 2014, yet a year later, with 13% of the vote, it gained just a single seat at Westminster, while the Scottish National Party, with under 5% of the vote, took 55 seats. Under the interchangeable Labour and Conservative regimes produced by this system, voters at the bottom of the income pyramid deserted the polls. But suddenly granted, for once, a real choice in a national referendum, they returned in force to deliver their verdict on the desolations of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. Finally, and decisively, came the historical difference separating Britain from the continent. For centuries, the country was not only an empire dwarfing any European rival culturally, but unlike France, Germany, Italy or most the rest of the continent did not suffer defeat, invasion or occupation in either world war. So expropriation of local powers by a bureaucracy in Belgium was bound to grate more than elsewhere: why should a state that twice saw off the might of Berlin submit to petty meddling from Brussels or Luxembourg? Issues of identity could more readily trump issues of interest than in the rest of the EU. So the normal formula — fear of economic retribution outweighs fear of alien immigration — failed to function, bent out of shape by a combination of economic despair and national amour-propre." — Perry Anderson, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2017
"We have flags, a national anthem, but everything else is decided by the West. It's all wrapped up in nice words, under cover of aid extended by such bodies as the WB nd the IMF, that are nothing more than instruments of torture invented by the West to continue its domination." — Ahmed ben Bella, president of the Algerian Republic, 1963 to 1965. Quoted by Toussaint and Millet, 2010.
"Repaying the debt is an essential obstacle to satisfying basic human needs, such as access to clean water, decent food, basic health care, primary education, decent accomodation, and satisfactory infrastructure. Without any doubt, the satisfcation of basic human needs must take priority over all other considerations, be they geopolitical ot financial. From a moral point of view, the rights of creditors, shareholders, or speculators are insignificant in comparison with the fundamental rights of five billion citizens. Debt is one of the main mechanisms through which a new form of economic colonization operates to the detriment of the developing countries. It is one more brick in the edifice of historic abuses, also carried out by the rich countries: slavery, pillage of raw materials and cultural goods, extermination of indigenous populations, and colonial servitude. The time is overdue to replace the logic of domination by the logic of redistribution of wealth in the name of justice. The G8, the IMF, the World Bank, and the Paris Club impose their own truth, their own justice, where they call the tune. The time has come to put an end to this phoney justice of conquerors and oppressors. Let us risk a comparison. The activists who fought against slavery were moved by an ideal of justice and were fiercely opposed to this abominable practice. The time came when the balance of power shifted and the abolition of slavery became unavoidable, despite the forcasts of economic disaster made by those who defended slavery. In the case of the external public debt of the developing countries and the turn of events since 1980, the situation is comparable (though not identical). The debt has become a mighty mechanism of domination. The struggle of citizens revolted by domination and its human ravages must be waged even more intensely if the diktat is to be broken." Demanding the total cancellation of the public external debt for all developing countries is central to today's abolitionist movement. Just as was the case for slavery, cancellation must be complete, for slavery cannot be amended, nor can it be reduced: it has to be abolished." — Toussaint and Millet, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, 2010, pp. 239-41, 2010 Good. However, without overthrowing the existing allies of the Western ruling classes, i.e. the bourgoeis regimes of the poor countries, there is no way that the people in the poor countries could cancel the public debt. For example, a future Arab revolution must combine the political and the economic in order to break free from many yokes of domination, including the yoke of debt as a mechanism of domination. It has to overthrow the existing regimes, be they a weak bourgeois-liberal like the Tunisian regime, or monarchy and petrodollar autocracies (e.g. the UAE and Saudi Arabia) which are part of the international finance circuit and complicit with imperialism in enslaving their fellow brothers and sisters, or "secular" capitalist dictatorships (e.g. Egypt, Algeria, Syria), to be able to control the wealth the region has and to employ it for real development and the basic needs of its citizens.
Note: Saudi Arabia in heavily involved in the Yemn war. The UK High Court has ruled that selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is lawful. When they (Russian and Syrian regimes) do it, it is a crime. When we do it, it is legal. The reversal of a fact: students are taught that "democracies" retaliate when a violence is inflicted on their citizens. The fact is: individual terrorists retaliate against the structural violence of imperialist and local states. Students are taught that the Western rich states, the World Bank and other institutions are helping in developing the poor countries. The fact is: through blunder and exploitation by multinationals, debt, support of dictatorships, and other mechanisms, the poor countries are developing the rich countries.
By authors of The Global Political Economy of Israel The authors acknowledge that their analysis/perspective is "unique". I find it so, but it is very interesting.
On the one
hand, the differential profits of the oil companies and the revenues of the oil-producing
countries remain tightly correlated with the relative price of oil: over the past decade
or so, both have plummeted in tandem. So this side of the theory still works. On the
other hand, the synchronized decline of prices and earnings has occurred despite ongo-
ing regional conflict and plenty of violence. On this count, the theory seems incon-
sistent with recent events.
Is this partial breakdown a sign of things to come? Will the differential profits of
the Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition continue to stir Blood and Oil in the Orient, as
Essad Bey (1932) poetically called it – or are we witnessing the end of an era?
With a few rare exceptions, "most governments [of the developing countries] have not been willing to act counter to neoliberal policy. The links between the leaders of these countries and the hub of decision making in most industrial countries are multifarious. Some of the ruling presidents, in particular in Africa, were brought to power during the Cold War, or owe their positions to it. Some are in power because they helped the elimination of or allowed the overthrow of heads of states who, like Thomas Sankara, the President of Burkina Faso and assassinated in 1987, wanted to commit their country to alternative, locally generalised development and social justice. Others simply prefer to follow the neoliberal current for fear of being destabilized or overthrown. But there is another factor of conservatism that works in favour of large debt and should not be underestimated. Most governments, both left and right wing, try to gain the goodwill of the local capitalists who have every interest in seeing the debt mechanism continue. This mechanism assures them (as it does for the capitalists in the North) a juicy profit because they lend money to the state which then pays them back at very advantageous rates of interest. It is extremely rare to find a recent case in which a state has repudiated its public debt to local bankers. So most bankers prefer to lend to the state and to other public institutions where their loans are guaranteed by the government, rather than to local producers—especially if they are small or medium-sized producers. Lending to the governmnet is far less risky and far more profitable. Several presidents in power today have been elected promising to reduce social inequality. They promised to put an end to the parasitic rent-collecting bankers and to free the country from the yoke of the international creditors. Brazil's experience is a case in point. Today , bankers and the rest of the capitalist class are rubbing their hands in glee under friendly governments of the party in power—the Workers' Party!—and President Ignacio Lula Da Silva. To complete the picture, many of the top leaders in the countries of the South are graduates of the top business schools or universities of the North (Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, HEC Business School in Paris) and have been educated in the liberal mold..." Toussaint and Millet, Debt, the IMF, and World Bank, pp. 228-30, 210
Michael Roberts replies to the Financial Times' "Activist Manifesto" Recent empirical work on the US class division of incomes has been done by Professor Simon Mohun. Mohun analysed US income tax returns and divided taxpayers into those who could live totally off income from capital (rent, interest and dividends) – the true capitalists, and those who had to work to make a living (wages). He compared the picture in 1918 with now and found that only 3.8% of taxpayers could be considered capitalists, while 88% were workers in the Marxist definition. In 2011, only 2% were capitalists and near 84% were workers. The ‘managerial’ class, ie workers who also had some income from capital (a middle class ?) had grown a little from 8% to 14%, but still not decisive. Capitalist incomes were 11 times higher on average than workers in 1918, but now they were 22 times larger. The old slogan of the 1% and the 99% is almost accurate." From communism to activism?
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." — Harper Lee, author of Killing a Mocking Bird
Yet Lee met George W. Bush, a war criminal, and received a medal from him in 2007. Also he was a president who maintained the biggest incarceration system with most of the incarcerated are blacks as well as Guantanamo Bay, defending torture and waterboardng, etc.
Replaçant le problème de l’endettement public dans l’histoire longue du capitalisme, l’auteur montre les pays impérialistes utilisent la dette publique comme arme de domination des pays pauvres depuis le début du XIXe siècle, avec la complicité de leurs bourgeoisies respectives. Arguments juridiques et historiques à l’appui, il donne aussi des pistes pour se débarrasser de ce carcan. "La dette, une arme de domination politique depuis deux siècles"
"Since 1988 each debt relief scheme for the poorest countries results in another, always too late and always ill-adapted. It must not be forgotten that debt is much mroe than finnancial mechanism: it is a powerful instrument of dimination that for decades has allowed the leaders and big business of rich countries, with the complicity of the South's ruling class, to impose an economic model that serves their interests." Toussaint and Millet, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, 2010
"In a context of a system as violent and iniquitous as neoliberal globalization, micro-credit certainly play an attenuating role, but it is not an alternative. It applies bandages haphazardly on some cuts while an actual economic war rages one. Though its real impact is difficult to evaluate, the notion of micro-credit is recuperated by the finance establishment. By definition, micro-credit uses the same mechanisms as the logic of indebtedness and organizes and transfers wealth from the populations of the South to the creditors. Far from modifying social relations, it articulates with the capitalist system, in which it integrates perfectly." — Toussaint and Millet, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, 2010, p. 206
Illuminating ... in understanding the social forces in Today's Iran This was written in 2010, after "The Green Movement" protest of 2009
Revolution is not a closed history. The objective puzzle
around which the terms of the social antagonism are
organized resides in the way the material conditions
of life are organized, the way value is produced and
circulates in a distributive system."
England Sell, sell, sell.. Never take anything for granted. Anything could be sold. Anything could be privatised. Ordinary people have been paying for the cuts in public services, from hospitals to libraries. Those who triggered the crisis and imposed austerity have been getting richer. But I am still opitmistic that some of the £100 billion deals with our autocratic friends, the Saudis, will trickle down to the NHS, for example :) It is a kitchen of thieves, but they called a "democracy".
Sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant launched a 2001 protest against what they called “a strange Newspeak,” or “NewLiberalSpeak” that included words like “globalization,” “governance,” “employability,” “underclass,” “communitarianism,” “multiculturalism” and “their so-called postmodern cousins.” Bourdieu and Wacquant argued that this discourse obscures “the terms ‘capitalism,’ ‘class,’ ‘exploitation,’ ‘domination,’ and ‘inequality,’” as part of a “neoliberal revolution,” that intends to “remake the world by sweeping away the social and economic conquests of a century of social struggles. This is a society characterized by the deliberate dismantling of the social state and the correlative hypertrophy of the penal state, the crushing of trade unions and the dictatorship of the ʻshareholder-valueʼ conception of the ﬁrm, and their sociological effects: the generalization of precarious wage labour and social insecurity, turned into the privileged engine of economic activity.
The fuzzy and muddy debate about ʻmulticulturalismʼ is a paradigmatic example.
The term was recently imported into Europe to describe cultural pluralism in the civic sphere, whereas in the United States it refers, in the very movement which obfuscates it, to the continued ostracization of Blacks and to the crisis of the national mythology of the ʻAmerican dreamʼ of ʻequal opportunity for allʼ, correlative of the bankruptcy of public education at the very time when competition for cultural capital is intensifying and class inequalities are growing at a dizzying pace. Through a symbolic reversal based on the naturalization of the schemata of neoliberal thought, the reshaping of social relations and cultural practices after the US template, which has been forced upon advanced societies through the pauperization of the state, the commodiﬁcation of public goods and the generalization of job insecurity, is nowadays accepted with resignation as the inevitable outcome of national evolution, when it is not celebrated with sheep-like enthusiasm"
...It is so much, so many tombs, so much martyrdom, so much galloping of beasts in the stars! Nothing, not even victory will erase the terrible hollow of the blood: nothing, neither the sea nor the passage of sand and time, nor the geranium flaming upon the grave. — Pablo Neruda, 1937
Scotland It’ll be entirely dependent on the stock exchange, and various investments that go into our pension, so you could retire at the age of 66 and find that your pension is several tens of thousands less than you’d been anticipating. What you’ve got up to now is preserved; what you earn from now on will be subject essentially to the vagaries of the stock market, and that’s obviously going to hit younger academics, with more of their career ahead of them, more than it does older ones like me. University College Union strike An interview with Neil Davidson
This is not the first time the Financial Times, a leading paper in denfence of the system, writes about Marxist ideas. In order to save the system a few things have to be done, including a warning on inequality and the "excesses of the free market", and co-opting any potential movement that might threaten the existing power relations. In fact, what the bourgeoisie fear most not the "Activism", or even socialism, but the slipping away of their power to the far-right, or worse, to barabrism.
"Neoliberal globalisation signifies, above all, a new stage in the globalisation of the capital labour-relation. It pitches the workers of the dominant nations and the workers of the global South together, in competition with each other and yet bound together in mutual interdependence, connected by globalised production processes, exploited with different intensities by the same capitalists. But this qualitative, new stage in the evolution of the capital/labour relation possesses a very specific quality: the imperialist division of the world was inherited by capitalism; it is now inherent. In other words, the globalisation of the capital/labour relation, in the context of and on the foundation of a pre-existing division of the world into oppressed and oppressor nations, entails the internalisation of this division. Neoliberal globalisation is, therefore, the unfolding of the imperialist form of the capital relation.
As a result, this latest stage of capitalist development has been leading not to convergence of the oppressed nations with the ‘advanced’ countries and the supersession of the North-South divide but to something meriting the term global apartheid, in which the southern nations have become labour reserves for super-exploitation by northern capitalists, producing industrial inputs and consumer goods, sustaining the western ‘consumer society’. This is imperialism on an entirely capitalist basis, in an advanced stage of its development, in which the globalisation of the capital/labour relation has taken place on the basis of inherited imperialist division of the world. In the neoliberal era, capitalism has fully sublated the old colonial division of the world; discarding all that is inimical to it and preserving and making its own all that promotes its continuation and expansion.
The dismantling of the colonial empires and the attainment of formal sovereignty by the subject nations, advances made possible by the multitudes who joined hard-fought struggles for national liberation; and by the imperialists’ greatest fear, the increasing propensity of these movements to take a revolutionary socialist path, as shown on countless occasions from Korea to Algeria to Nicaragua. The new relationship of forces obliged imperialist powers to reorganise their relations with emerging capitalist elites within the subject nations, allowing their protégés to hold the reins of power while never letting go themselves. The end of colonialism and the attainment of formal sovereignty may have emancipated the national bourgeoisies, but the great majority—those left with nothing but their labour-power to sell, in a word the proletarianised peoples of these countries—still await their emancipation. The world continues to be divided into ‘oppressed and oppressor nations’, but now the national bourgeoisies act as intermediaries and accomplices in the imperialist plunder of their nation’s nature and living labour."
Iran This time around, protesters chant against all factions and cliques: reformists, conservatives, middle classes and the whole governing class have been called into question. It's the economy, stupid!
"Je pense que le monde est devenu un petit village. Dans le monde musulman, une nouvelle génération a vu le jour, depuis presque 4 décennies. Cette génération a compris que le monde musulman a connu, depuis le XIXe siècle, une chute suite à la domination de l'Occident. Les colonisateurs sont retournés chez eux, mais n'ont pas cessé d'intervenir sur les affaires des pays musulmans. Cette génération de musulmans croit que les pays musulmans sont dépourvus de la civilisation et de la force militaire." Entretien avec Hichem Djaït
The IMF and the World Bank The myth of "helping the poor" and "development" "The joint IMF–World Bank comprehensive approach to debt reduction is designed to ensure that no poor country faces a debt burden it cannot manage. To date, debt reduction packages under the HIPC Initiative have been approved for 36 countries, 30 of them in Africa, providing $76 billion in debt-service relief over time. Three additional countries are eligible for HIPC Initiative assistance." Back in 2008, some analysts showed that the HIPC initiative had failed, and failed miserably. Let's take just one aspect behind the failure. "The creteria used for country selection excluded the mostly highly populated developing countries (for example, Nigeria — 120 million inhabitants — which was on the very first list in 1996) and kep only small countries that are both very por and heavily indebted... The countries where the majority of the world's poor people live are not included: China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the like. In fact, the initiative concerns only 11 percent of the total population of developing countries..." It must be noted "that to benefit from the HIPC initiative, the countries concerned had to be free of arrears to the IMF and the World Bank.." "Countries applying for the HIPC initiative must adopt a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), under the auspices of the IMF and the World Bank. This document must indicate the use that will be made of the resources made available by this initiative, and contain a certain number of commitments relating to the implementation of classical structural adjustment measures: privatisation if public companies, reduction of the salaried workforce, reduction of grants, elimination of government subsidies, deregulation of the labour market. In other words, the whole arsenal of ultra-liberal mesaures which have contributed to the impoverishmnet of African populations, to the degradation of social services, to fall in life expectancy of over seven years, to the return of diseases we had thought eradicated, to increased unempoyment for young graduates, to setting back industrialisation, and to the creation of chronic food shortages." — Moussa Tchangari,"Un projet néo-libéral pour l'Afrique" Source: Toussaint and Millet, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, 2010, p. 178-186
Spain and beyond The BBC reporting on "the feminist strike in Spain": The 8 March Commission is behind the strike. Its manifesto calls for "a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence" and says: "We do not accept worse working conditions, nor being paid less than men for the same work. Yes, this opens possibilities, but 1. The socialist origins of Women's Day (Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin) have be rediscovered. 2. The neoliberal capitalism has coopted and contained the emanciptaory movement. 3. Even adjectives like "radical" and "revolutionary" have been emptied of their meanings. 4. There should be no illusion that the Beyonces, the Jolies, the Obamas, the Clintons, the Mays, and the marketing of Malala, or the colouring of the elite, could be part of a real change to "end sexist oppression, exploitation and violence". They have been perpetuating the commodification of women. 5. The fundamental change has to come in the socio-economic structure of ownership and power. 6. There has been a criminal silence towards what women in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, Africa, etc have been subjected to. There has been selective solidarity, and even tacit and passive support of the "secular" Al-assad regime. There has been complicity of most Western women when they do nothing when a dictator or an autocrat visits Washington, Paris or London, for example. 7. The "feminist" movement has to be part of a class and race movement of the oppressed, and global. The fact is that the neoliberal regimes of recognition have also been neoliberal regimes of fragmentation; a successful hegemonic power of fragmenting social movements. I am not optimistic, though. Neoliberal capitalism is still entrenched, and has emerged largely unschathed from the crisis and the tide, for now, is with the far-right.