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Capitalism’s accumulation crisis prompts attacks on wages and organised labour

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Irish Broad Left — The central driver of the capitalist system is the drive for capitalists to constantly increase profits – failure to do so can be a trigger for a crisis within the capitalist system.

Since the end of the long boom in the early 1970s, capitalism, particularly in the advanced capitalist countries, has entered a period of long-run crisis under which individual capitalists have sought to find ways to continue to expand profits during a period of chronic over-accumulation.

This crisis has prompted the search for new avenues for profitable investment and the attempt to maximise returns on the existing capital in circulation. Despite sporadic periods of temporary growth, the past 50 years have been punctuated by regular national, regional, and global crises.

United States: Racism, COVID-19 and the fight for economic justice

 

 

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — While the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the United States were triggered by recent police murders of unarmed African Americans, they are also helping to encourage popular recognition that racism has a long history with punishing consequences for black people that extend beyond policing.  Among the consequences are enormous disparities between black and white well-being and security.  This post seeks to draw attention to some of these disparities by highlighting black-white trends in unemployment, wages, income, wealth, and security. 

We had to tear this mothafucka up: The legacy of the LA Uprising

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene & Shalon van Tine

June 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — The L.A. Uprising began after the beating of African American construction worker Rodney King. On March 3, 1991, the LAPD pulled over King, and four police officers beat him within an inch of his life. What made King’s case unique compared to other examples of police brutality was that his beating was caught on tape. That footage quickly spread across the country. The police attempted to justify their abuse of power, falsely claiming that King was on PCP and that he had attacked them. Anger was so widespread that prosecutors charged the officers in question, hoping to appease the public outcry. 

In, out and round-about: the variegated terrain of labour responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

 

 

By Dale McKinley

June 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Society, Work & Politics Institute — Long before the Covid 19 (C-19) pandemic arrived in South Africa, the country’s broad working class was already in serious trouble. Whether permanent, casual or unemployed or whether part of trade unions, worker collectives or wholly unorganised, the worker ship had long been navigating treacherous waters.

Much of this journey has been framed by the cumulative, devastating impacts of 25 years of neoliberal onslaught; created, managed and implemented by the post-1994 power triumvirate of the state, capital and party (ANC). Further, the more immediate (post-NASREC) period under Ramaphosa has seen intensified attacks on unions, rising levels of casualisation and thus worker precarity as well as a more generalised increases in poverty and inequality amongst the working class majority.  

Capitalism and workers struggle in China

 

 

By Chris Slee

June, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThird edition; First edition: Resistance Books, 2010; Second edition: links.org.au/node/2349 (online only), 2011 — China is increasingly powerful, both economically and militarily, and increasingly influential in world affairs.  But what sort of society is it?

In the 1950s China adopted a policy of “transition to socialism”.  In the 1960s, Mao criticised the Soviet Union for seeking peaceful coexistence with the capitalist West.  Yet by the early 1970s Mao had done a deal with the United States at the expense of the Soviet Union and third world struggles.

Later China became a key location for transnational corporations producing for the world market.  Many Australian trade unionists now see China primarily as a place where workers are paid very low wages.  Few are aware of the widespread militant struggles by Chinese workers to improve their situation.

On the other hand, the rapid recovery of China after the 2008 world economic crisis has given some Australian socialists a more favourable impression of China.  The continued predominance of state-owned enterprises in some sectors of the Chinese economy is cited as a positive example, counterposed to the privatisation of nearly all public enterprises in Australia.

How Che Guevara taught Cuba to confront COVID-19

 

 

By Don Fitz

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version appeared in Monthly Review — Beginning in December 1951, Ernesto “Che” Guevara took a nine-month break from medical school to travel by motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. One of his goals was gaining practical experience with leprosy. On the night of his twenty-fourth birthday, Che was at La Colonia de San Pablo in Peru swimming across the river to join the lepers. He walked among six hundred lepers in jungle huts looking after themselves in their own way.

Coronavirus will not destroy neoliberalism – Only we can do that

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Irish Broad Left — Triumphalist comments about the end of capitalism or neoliberalism abounded in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008, just as there are many people today who believe that the current crisis is the end of neoliberalism or capitalism.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism and – more importantly – the capitalist system will not just end of their own accord. Both, while prone to crisis, are extremely resilient, and are adept at turning their own crises into a rationale for deepening rather than reversing their dynamic.

It is not inevitable that the current crisis will see a strengthening of capitalism and its dominant ideological frame – they can both be defeated, but their defeat will not just happen. It will be the result of conscious resistance, not happenstance or luck.

Vale Jack Mundey: Inspirational Australian union leader

 

 

By John Tully

June 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Jack Mundey’s passing was met with great sadness, tempered with the knowledge that his legacy will never die. Fifty years ago, Jack and his comrades recast the corrupt and ineffectual New South Wales branch of the Builders Labourers’ Federation[1] (BLF) into a fighting democratic organisation and were probably the world’s first ecosocialist union activists. According to the German Green Party founder Petra Kelly, use of the word “green” as a synonym for environmental politics stems from the BLF’s policy of “green banning” ugly, anti-social and polluting urban development.[2] Blacklisted after the union was crushed by an unholy alliance of the state, corrupt politicians, property developers and sectarian union opponents, Jack continued as an environmental activist until the end of his days. He is survived by his life partner, Judy, herself a lifelong left-wing activist.

It is right to rebel

 

 

By Ammar Ali Jan and Zahid Ali

May 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pakistan Left Review — At a time in history when human expectations of the future are beginning to resemble sci-fi reality, COVID-19 has abruptly disrupted these fantasies. The manner in which the mightiest empire appears helpless in front of a virus makes for both a terrifying and humbling spectacle. The sight of the greatest military and economic power in human history, the United States, spectacularly failing to protect its own population, reveals the limitation of a system that privileges corporate interest and military domination over adequate investment in health care and education.

Pakistan: How is Lenin relevant for politics today?

 

 

By Ammar Ali Jan & Zahid Ali

May 29, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pakistan Left Review — The untimely crisis of COVID-19 has melted away political, theoretical and ideological certainties held by many. Its sudden eruption has punctured a hole in existing knowledge revealing the vulnerable void upon which social, economic and political life is built. At a moment in which the coordinates of life itself are disrupted, how do we posit the relevance of Lenin, a political leader often accused of being the architect of a rigid model of politics exercised through the all-knowing vanguard party?

The dialectics of the historical and logical in Hegel and Marx

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

May 29, 2020 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  This essay is an exploration of Marx’s dialectical logic, in particular the question of the relationship between the historical and logical. This little-discussed aspect, like much else in Marx, is rooted in Hegel. But just as a tree cannot be reduced to its roots, so Marx’s view of the historical and the logical cannot be reduced to that of Hegel’s. There is a qualitative break between the two, and the logic of both does not coincide. A proper comprehension of them requires that they be grasped in their mutual exclusivity and interconnection. The essence of the following study concerns the question of scientific cognition as pioneered by Hegel and further developed by Marx.

 

Coronavirus Is the end of the End of History

 

 

By Lee Jones

May 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune — In 1989, the American pundit Francis Fukuyama presciently declared the ‘end of history’: the collapse of all existing alternatives to liberalism. That apparently unassailable order has been crumbling for years. Coronavirus is the final nail in its coffin.

Soaring beyond the Green New Deal

 

 

By Don Fitz

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When Stan Cox was writing his book, The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can, he scripted these prophetic words: “The oft-predicted national decline in use of fossil fuels is nowhere to be seen, and it is unlikely to occur on its own, at least until the next economic meltdown.” He became one of those few people who dare predict the future; but it was unfortunate for humanity that his prediction came true. Between the time that Cox foresaw the conditions under which fossil fuel usage would go down and his book appeared in print, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, production crashed in country after country, and CO2 emissions dropped even more than they did during the 2008 financial crisis.

The capitalist pandemic and socialist solutions

 

 

Speech by Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines, at PLM Webinar presentation, May 16, 2020

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — My main idea for this presentation actually comes from a reading of an article written by Simon Hannah, titled “Coronavirus has given us two visions of the future” published in Mutiny, an online paper of a group of socialists in the UK. Mutiny is a fine online paper, just Google it.

These are the points I would like to present in this Webinar:

Transforming our infrastructure systems to face pandemics

 

 Correlation Between Quality of Infrastructure and Health Security, Source: AIIB, March 2020

 

By Reihana Mohideen

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — In our response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are effectively undertaking a massive experiment where we disrupt our entire economy and how we work and live within it. This has implications for our health and infrastructure linked systems and social inclusion linkages.

The Communist movement at a crossroads: 1922-23

 

 

Introduction by John Riddell

 

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary — Posted here is the introduction to The Communist Movement at a Crossroads: Plenums of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, 1922-1923. Edited by Mike Taber and translated by John Riddell, the book is published by the Historical Materialism Book Series, and is available from Haymarket Books.

This volume is the latest in a series begun in 1983 under the general editorship of John Riddell. The aim of this series has been to present, in its own words, the record of the Communist International (Comintern) under Lenin, chronicling the development of this dynamic revolutionary undertaking and showing it as a vibrant and living movement embracing millions around the world.[1]

This latest volume is noteworthy in showing the Comintern taking up several questions of contemporary relevancy, among them the united front and fascism. For this reason, the book will be of special interest both to those studying the history of the world Communist movement as well as to activists seeking to examine key strategic questions that remain on the agenda today.

Mike Taber’s Introduction provides a good summary not only of the book but of the issues raised within it and the Comintern’s evolution in the period under study.

Human suffering during the pandemic and the need for a new society

 

 

By Raju J Das

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During the on-going pandemic, humanity’s suffering has increased enormously. By May 11, 2020, 4.2 million people in the world had contracted the coronavirus, and 285,000 had died. In the richest and most powerful country of the world, more than 1.4 million cases have been reported, with 81,000 deaths.[1] The pandemic is producing massive adverse impacts, including on income and employment opportunities (Davis, 2020; Toussaint, 2020).[2] The pandemic is forcing us to think about what kind of society we wish to live in. This article discusses the ‘consequences’ of the pandemic for people and what they say about the nature of the society we live in. The article then talks about what a different kind of society would look like, one that is worth fighting for now.

Bayer/Monsanto’s bioimperialism versus Cuba’s biosolidarity

 

 

By Don Fitz

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Genetically engineered crops are a form of food imperialism. This technology allows mega-corporations like Bayer/Monsanto to patent seeds, lure farmers into buying them with visions of high yields and then destroy the ability of small farmers to survive.

Genetic engineering produces an artificial combination of plant traits that often results in foods with less nutritional value while introducing health problems to animals and humans who eat them. It increases costs of food production, pushing millions of farmers throughout the world into poverty and driving them off their land. 

Agricultural corporations get control of enormous quantities of land in Africa, Latin America and Asia, which they use to control the world’s food supply and reap super-profits from the cheap labor of those who work for them, sometimes people who once owned the same land. These crops can be developed in open-field testing, which allows the novel pollen to contaminate wild relatives of the engineered crops.

How the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates existing gender inequalities

 

 

By Nalini E

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Everyone has been made to believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a public health issue. Now, a few months into life with coronavirus, and the threat of the associated coronavirus disease (Covid-19), it is now abundantly clear that this is not merely about health.

Reality strikes. The entire world’s economic, political and social structures are in a state of heightened anxiety and emergency. Now, while it is true that the coronavirus does not discriminate, the impact is most felt by society’s vulnerable, marginalised groups.

This article focuses on the strong and specific impact such a global pandemic has on gender inequalities, specifically women.

Workers’ power + renewable electrification of the whole economy: For a Red-Green New Deal in transport

 

 

By Asbjørn Wahl

May 14,2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — The transport sector represents one of the most serious challenges when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, which are increasing faster than from any other sector in society – and at an ever-increasing pace (over 120 per cent globally over the last 30 years – and still increasing in all parts of the world). In Europe, transport is the largest climate problem, accounting for 27 per cent of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017. It is also the only sector that has emissions above 1990 levels (Transport & Environment, 2018).

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