Category: Political Economy
review

An Economist’s Case for Socialism

It is all too rare that an economist makes the case: socialism or barbarism. Or, in Alan Nasser’s more piquant alternatives, socialism or fascism. Economics is a hedging profession of carefully detailed countervailing forces and measured equivocation. Even the seemingly . . .

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How NGOisation Provides Cover for the Murder of Shack Dwellers

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In South Africa ten members of a militant shack dwellers organisation have been assassinated in the past six years. Yet many progressive organisations have distanced themselves from these militants. Jared Sacks exposes the complicity of a mainstream NGO that could have played an important role defending the movement against these political assassinations. Sacks argues that when movements refuse co-optation, repression, including assassination, become necessary to maintain power.

Marx Turns 200: A Mixed Gift

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A World to Win: The Life and Works of Karl Marx
By Sven-Eric Liedman
Translated by Jeffrey N. Skinner
Part of the Marx 200 series
Verso Books, 2018, 768 pages, $40 hardcover.

AMID AN OUTPOURING of discussion and new works marking the bicentennial of Karl Marx, Sven-Eric Liedman’s imposing A World to Win: The Life and Works of Karl Marx is a mixed offering. The “life” part is a success; the “works” portion is not.

Brazil’s Racial Capitalism at a Turning Point

Rising Militarization after Two Decades of Workers’ Party Government

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In February, I published an article in the International Marxist-Humanist reporting that the political scene was horrible in Brazil. Five months ago, I had in my mind how fascism was growing quickly under the hegemony of identity politics, especially with social movements’ fragmentation, and the increase of anti-communist thought, with slanders against Marx as totalitarian, Eurocentric and colonial. I said that all of this, in addition to the legacy of almost 15 years of Workers’ Party government that ended via an institutional coup d’état in 2016, was leading to the destruction – ideological and material – of the left.

Globalists vs. Internationalists

ImageQuinn Slobodian. Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. Harvard University Press, 2018. 381pp.

Neoliberalism is dead, if it ever existed at all. Centrists and so-called moderates dismiss it as nothing more than a slur bandied around by leftists. On the left on the other hand, neoliberalism is at times portrayed as mere free market fundamentalism, or simply as a return to capitalism as it was intended, before the post-war social democratic hiatus. Thatcher and Reagan, the thinking goes, along with Milton Friedman and his “Chicago Boys”, wanted to unleash the full power of free markets’ self-regulating force.

The Fires This Time and Their Implications for Ecosocialists

Image“Deindustrialization.” That’s a word you virtually never hear in the debate around global warming. Not surprising. It’s a word that’s loaded with negative implications: economic collapse, mass layoffs, falling living standards. Who wants to think about those, let alone think about this as a strategy of suppressing CO2 emissions?

Why Humanism Matters in the Fight Against Capital

ImageDehumanization is the word that best captures our present moment. How else to describe separating children as young as two or three from their parents and throwing them in cages and detention centers just because their families are fleeing severe persecution? It isn’t just about Trump; it’s also about the tens of millions in the U.S. who are avidly supporting his policies. How could this be happening?

Race, Capitalism, and Resistance in the United States

 

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Introduction and My Experiences

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect one another other. We have nothing to lose but our chains”.

You may recognize this as the rallying cry for the Black liberation movement in the United States, as written by Assata Shakur.

Battleground Seattle

A Clash of Classes and a Brewing Perfect Storm

 

ImageLabor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration. – Abraham Lincoln

Inequality Was Increasing Before Trump

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The Federal Reserve Board, the bankers’ bank, has put out figures and reports showing that even before the Trump regime, the rich were acquiring a larger share of the nation’s total income and wealth. The September 2017 Federal Reserve Bulletin reports that “the distribution of income and wealth has grown increasingly unequal in recent years.”1 Other government reports show that many continue to live in poverty and lack shelter and an adequate amount of food.

The American Oligarchy: A Review

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Ron Formisano. American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2017. Notes. Index. $19.95

Consumers of left-wing media are well aware that America is an oligarchy, not a democracy. Everyone with a functioning cerebrum, in fact, should be aware of it by now: even mainstream political scientists recognize it, as shown by a famous 2014 study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. Nevertheless, it is important to continue to publicize the oligarchical character of the United States, in order to delegitimize the institutions that have destroyed democracy (insofar as it ever existed) and inspire people to take action to restore it. Ron Formisano’s book American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class (2017) is a valuable contribution to this collective project.

Cuba: note for a balance sheet of ten years of reforms

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I. Since, at the end of 2007, Raúl Castro called for a broad national debate, ten years have passed. It was a kind of "social catharsis" of all the problems of the country. This fact can be marked as the beginning of a transformation process that has affected all the spaces of economic, political, social and subjective life in Cuba.

Marx, Our Contemporary

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No one should underestimate the changes in the social world occurring since Marx’s day, or overestimate to what extent we find ready-made answers to contemporary issues in his writings. Nonetheless, Marx’s analysis uncovers essential features and defining tendencies of capitalism far better than alternative frameworks.

Democracy and Ecological Crisis

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Last fall 15,000 scientists issued a second dire notice to humanity that we are on a collision course with the limits of our planet. They concluded, “To prevent widespread misery, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual,” including “reassess[ing]… the role of an economy rooted in growth.” That means that we have to challenge capitalism; there is no capitalism without growth. Rosa Luxemburg’s statement on the eve of World War I that the choice is between socialism or barbarism was never more true. But today our struggle is about our very existence.

Developing Marx’s Mode of Production Theory

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It is not surprising that Karl Marx is having a comeback today, after the 2008 financial crisis, the growing awareness of capitalism’s propensity to crises and ecological problems, and the fact that global inequality has increased to an obscene degree – all of which Marx foresaw.

The Vision of the New Society in Marx’s "Capital"

ImageMarx’s Capital has been heralded for many things, but providing an exhaustive account of a future socialist society isn’t one of them.

Why class still matters: a reply to Paul Mason

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This article is a response to Paul Mason’s recent essay ‘Labour must become the party of people who want to change the world, not just Britain’, in which he argues that there can no longer be any privileged position for organised labour as an agent of socialist change. This reply will respond to that question specifically, leaving aside some other aspects of Mason’s essay, and argue that the working class remains the key strategic actor for overhauling capitalism.

Marx This Time

On the return of a Marxist political economy

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The path taken by political life around the globe since the end of the Cold War appears as if designed to crush the liberal optimism with which this period excitedly began. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism manifestly disturbs a concept of peace understood in terms of sovereign states. Economic disquiet persists nearly a decade after a financial crisis highlighted the epochal decline that had occurred in the world economy after the post-Second World War growth boom. American populism has seized the allegiance of vast masses, led to a spontaneous storming of Wall Street, emboldened proud neo-Nazis to take to the streets, and wracked the nerves of liberals at home and abroad as it saw Donald Trump descend an ill-advisedly gaudy escalator to the White House.

review

The Misrule of Global Capitalism

      Social Inequality is not for the faint-hearted. It covers the major political-economic issues of our time, from the structural changes in the economics of capitalism, to class structure, the imperialist state, and the distortions of capitalist culture. The author, a veteran scholar-activist of the New Left generation who now lives in Costa Rica,1 ends with a plea for resistance to our oligarchic “hegemon” and suggests a series of tactics to help us on the road.

review

Keynes, the Rabble, and Revolution

     IN 1942 British economist John Maynard Keynes got an advance preview of Lord William Beveridge’s report, Social Insurance and Allied Services. In it, Beveridge proposed a comprehensive system of social security that ran the gamut from full employment to national health care so as to eliminate “Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness” from the United Kingdom.

It's Still Fried Ice: On "Market Socialism"

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In “Our Road to Power,” an article from the most recent issue of Jacobin, Vivek Chibber makes some very familiar arguments about socialism and “central planning.” One hardly has to quote him—they’ve been repeated many times since Alec Nove’s The Economics of Feasible Socialism appeared in 1983.

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