Alt-text is missing.

Contesting Cannibal Capitalism

On the destructive nature of our system, the need for transformative critique, and new forms of class struggle

Gespräch mit Nancy Fraser

English Issue of Luxemburg Magazine about Rosa Luxemburg

Alt-text is missing.

End Green Grabbing

The energy transition goes hand in hand with a growing demand for natural resources. Similar to colonial times, the focus is on the resources of the Global South. 

Interview about femicide and its political meaning

Gespräch mit Alex Wischnewski

In leftist debate, queer identity politics and class politics tend to be dealt with separately. In real life, however, things are more complicated, as queer subjects always belong to social classes too. The precarious are neither all heterosexual, nor can they always be assigned to just one of two binary genders. Even in debates about connective class politics, queer perspectives are generally ignored. One problem in determining new class politics lies in the restrictedness of conceptualisations of (working) class subjects. Politics of representation – with their scope from aesthetic to political representation (Schaffer 2008, 83) – play an important part in this: Representation means depiction (Darstellung), conception (Vorstellung), and standing in for someone or something (Vertretung). These meanings are inextricably intertwined, inconceivable individually.

Alt-text is missing.

Holy Shit

Gender as a unifying theme for the Right

Alt-text is missing.

Reflections on the Hungarian Election

The results of Hungary’s April 8 elections were the product of a complex process encompassing institutional elements, the fragmented state of the political opposition, the ongoing campaign against refugees, and the delegitimization of democracy against the backdrop of capitalist transformation in Eastern Europe. Hungary’s electoral laws were amended by the previous Orbán government in 2012, mixing direct elections in individual constituencies and a proportional system elected through party lists with a compensation system by which the votes of direct elections are added to the list vote according to a predefined key.[1]

The current debate about immigration is polarized and racially charged. The political right is successful at presenting the pending challenges of an immigration society as a relation of competition and a conflict of distribution between “us Germans” and “the immigrants”. By posing the social question along ethnic lines, they connect with extant modes of thinking and present supposed solutions: the community of natives with corresponding preferential rights for the well-established. Interwoven with this narrative is the neoliberal tale of personal success, available to everyone, if he or she just properly strives for it.

Alt-text is missing.

The Impositions of Class: Manifold Identities and Socialist Class Politics

The recent success of authoritarian-populist politicians and the critique of globalisation, unemployment and social insecurity they advocate has prompted renewed attention to the question of class. In Germany, this debate has been accompanied by discussions surrounding the publication of Didier Eribon’s recent book, Returning to Reims. From afar, these debates could leave one with the impression that the left had abandoned the social question in recent years in favour of an exclusive focus on questions of social recognition and “identity”, e.g. questions of gender and sexual emancipation, or the struggle against racism and nationalism. This line of argument also tends to imply that these concerns are the domain of the urban, well-educated petite bourgeoisie, open to new communicative and cultural practices while consuming expensive, fair-trade organic products, yet blinded to the living conditions of the overwhelming majority by their own bourgeois Lifestyle.

Alt-text is missing.

“Feminism Is for Everyone” – Perspectives for a Feminist Class Politics

2017 began with a global wave of feminist protests. Opposition to Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States was expressed most visibly by the Women’s Marches – and not only in the US itself. In Poland, resistance to restrictions on reproductive rights by the country’s right-wing government continued, while 8 March brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets from Buenos Aires and Istanbul to New Delhi. In Germany, as well, International Women’s Day witnessed demonstrations the likes of which we had not seen in decades.

The austerity measures dictated to Portugal by the Troika’s Memorandum are nearing completion and should be fully implemented by May 2014. The impact on Portuguese society is huge. As a consequence of these policies unemployment has risen, the phenomenon of emigration has returned, the social state has been dismantled, and all major public enterprises sold off.

The austerity measures dictated to Portugal by the Troika’s Memorandum are nearing completion and should be fully implemented by May 2014. The impact on Portuguese society is huge. As a consequence of these policies unemployment has risen, the phenomenon of emigration has returned, the social state has been dismantled, and all major public enterprises sold off. In what follows we will try to convey what is happening in Portugal. After laying out the context, we will discuss the austerity measures and their consequences and then outline Portugal’s political scenario and the activity of its social movements. Finally, we will discuss the European elections within Portugal and the strategy of left parties.

Alt-text is missing.

Vote NO! and the Meaning of Twenty Years Of Democracy

Pick up any newspaper or tune into any radio broadcast and before long you are likely to hear discontent about the state of the Nation and in particular the ANC. This is expressed through the militancy of strike action, campaigning outside government buildings, booing the powerful, and community protest actions ranging from tire burning, to stone throwing and even setting fire to government buildings. These are almost an everyday occurrence. Increasingly these expressions of discontent are coming from those who once (and some still do) identify with ANC.

Inequality and redistribution in the Greek crisis

Historical experience has shown that under capitalism a banking crisis is followed by an economic crisis, reducing the size of an economy, increasing unemployment.1 It has further shown that in such a situation, public expenditure increases, as a result of the automatic stabilizers coming into play, while public receipts decline, due to the drop in output. Thus, a banking crisis leads to deteriorating public finances.2

Bonapartist Coup in Egypt!

The near equality in strength of the two camps contending for power in Egypt led the army to stage a Bonapartist coup. It is not only the recent episode of unprecedented crowds in the millions coming out on 30 June that has made the army move. This struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood government of now deposed President Mohamed Morsi, on the one hand, and the opposition, represented by the National Salvation Front, and more recently by the Tamerod (Rebel) movement, on the other, has been going on since last November. This is, in fact, the third wave of spectacular demonstrations by the opposition within a cycle of the Egyptian revolution that has been going on since November.

by Marica Frangakis[1] [caption id="attachment_2226" align="alignright" width="300"] Auf dem Markt in Athen, Foto: Ed Yourdon[/caption] In the 1980s, and especially in the 1990s, the European countries went through a phase of privatization, which radically reduced the reach of the post-WWII welfare state.  The rationale for such an exercise varied, as did the forms of privatization across sectors, countries and time.  Irrespectively of such variations, however, privatization has been described as “… a stage in the evolution of capitalism … (representing) a shift in the relations between the state, society and the economy which is a pervasive process in political, social and economic terms” (Frangakis et al, 2009:10)[2].  The public debt crisis has deepened this shift in favour of private sector interests, as the Greek experience amply demonstrates.

by Panagiotis Sotiris [caption id="attachment_2239" align="alignright" width="300"] Athen, November 2011, Foto: Ed Yourdon[/caption] In the past two years Greek society has been under constant attack. The sovereign debt crisis has led to the imposition of severe austerity packages that have already created something very close to a social disaster. Average wages are already down by more than 20%,[1] schools and hospitals are facing difficulties to function properly, the official unemployment rate already exceeds 20%. Soup kitchens, homelessness and other manifestations of poverty are becoming integral parts of the urban landscape.

By Immanuel Ness The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD) held its biannual conference in Baltimore, Maryland from 8-10 July, focusing on the effort to expand and consolidate a national network of worker cooperatives. The meeting was attended by more than 200 participants who were committed to expanding the conference for workers democracy in the US and Canada. At a time when organized labor in the US is at its unprecedented nadir, a central theme emerged from the conference: As traditional trade unions are declining it is vital to build new forms of worker organization rooted in the concept of democracy and equality.

What is ‘Socialist’ about ‘Green Socialism’?

by Mario Candeias „Another grand, left-wing concept with an adjective… Shouldn’t we rather work on concrete social-ecological projects – on initiatives for conversion, a process of ‘energy transition’, or free public transport?” Undoubtedly, many problems of the left have resulted from its tendency to create grand utopias and attempt to bring social reality in line with them. Transformation starts with concrete entry projects, but where does this road go to? What is the common ground, the common direction of manifold initiatives? Ultimately, we need an antidote to pragmatism – American activists call it a “vision”.

By Florian Becker & Christina Kaindl. There is no question that immediate economic crises can in themselves not bring about fundamental changes; they can only prepare more favorable ground for the diffusion of certain approaches for thinking through, posing and solving, the questions that are decisive for the whole further development of the life of the state. – Antonio Gramsci, Analysis of the Situation: Relations of Force. Prison Notebooks, 13th Notebook, § 17 When the public became aware of the economic crisis through the collapse of some of the big banks in the Fall of 2008, it took a while before the left and social movements took up the challenge of posing fundamental questions, of shifting “the further development of the life of the state” (Gramsci). Neoliberalism’s legitimation was undermined; still, the question of whether capitalism itself was in crisis was more typically discussed in bourgeois Sunday supplements than in influential groundbreaking strategy papers of the left and social movements.

by Franco "Bifo" Berardi We have to be prepared to the prospect of a long period of monastic withdrawal, but also to the prospect of a sudden reversal of the global political landscape. A moral rebellion began in Seattle in November 1999: after the act of disruption of the WTO summit millions of people all over the world declared that capitalist globalization causes social and environmental devastation. For two years the global movement produced an effective process of critique of neoliberal policies, giving way to the hope of a radical change.

by Ulrich Brand I agree with Bifo Beradi’s assumption that we find ourselves in a condition of global war, and that the emancipatory global social movements, the world-wide anti-war demonstrations on February 15 2003 notwithstanding, are unable to do much about it. I also share the diagnosis that the movements in Western Europe have achieved little in terms of alternative forms of sociality, as can be seen by the political responses to the current crisis which have barely been able to intervene into the neoliberal relations of forces. If we look at developments in Latin America, however, this is not the case. In contrast to Beradi, I do not believe the condition of war to be dominant in all societies. An attempt to advance an emancipatory politics in Baghdad, for example, takes place in different conditions than it would in La Paz, or Vienna.

From a fragmented left to mosaic

From the dissonant constellations in which everybody is caught, it is, in order to recover agency, necessary to work out a generalization (instead of ‘unification’) of interests that respects differences. Specific interests must be newly connected and solidarity must be developed.

Introduction: Ten years after Seattle – Challenges for Global Social Movements Today

[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Foto: Dang Ngo"][/caption] Close to the anniverary of the spectacular 30 November 1999 protest against the World Trade Organization in Seattle we received the manifesto by Franco "Bifo" Berardi, Italian activist and intellectual, "Ten years after Seattle. One strategy, better two, for the movement against war and capitalism". Seattle was a welcome surprise for its militant, broad based protests and rebellion. Another treaty privileging the North failed; the movements suceeded in scandalizing the economic and social consequences of neoliberal globalization. Since then ‚Seattle’ stands in as a symbol of the powerful re-vitalization of global struggles against capitalist globalization. Today – ten years later – Beradi positions himself radically against this narrative of success. Sure, he also regards ‚Seattle’ as a successful rebellion against the promises of neoliberalism. However, according to Berardi, social movements in general have not changed much about global capitalism, to the contrary, global wars and and militant fundamentalisms have proliferated.

From Seattle to Copenhagen: Will Africans again block a bad deal?

by Patrick Bond The decade since Seattle should have taught civil society activists and African leaders two powerful lessons. First, working together, they have the power to disrupt a system of global governance that meets the Global North’s short-term interests against the Global South, and against the long-term interests – and survival - of the people and planet. Second, by disrupting global governance, major concessions can be won.

Nicola Bullard:There’s no redemption in a monastery

by Nicola Bullard It is so interesting to look back at the issue of Focus on Trade that we published just after the collapse of the WTO talks in Seattle in early December 1999. (In case you are interested, it’s number 42.) In the lead article by Walden Bello, what is striking is not the triumphant heralding of the arrival of the anti-globalisation movement, but a rather tame recounting of the collapse of the talks over issues of transparency, attempts to introduce environment and labour standards, and a disgruntled African delegation.