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Greece: Driven into crisis

Workers in Greece protest government attacks on wages and benefits.

By Ingo Schmidt

April 27, 2010 -- The Bullet -- Neoliberal order reigns in the world. Stock markets are recovering from the crash in the fall of 2008. Private banks are no longer weighed down by bad loans that were added to public deficits. The latter were rising anyway because the economic crisis had sent tax revenues on a downward slide. Add further bailout money for financial companies and fiscal stimulus and you get a veritable fiscal crisis of the state.

Meanwhile, rating agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poor's cast judgement on the viability of fiscal deficits and public sector cuts, as if their assessments of the financial sector had nothing to do with the "manias, panics and crashes" that pushed a cyclical recession near depression in the first place. Public deficits between 12% and 13% of GDP in Britain and the US are bad, they say, but not so bad that the austerity measures they consider appropriate can't be left to Number 10 Downing Street and the White House.

Why global capitalism is tipping towards collapse, and how we can act for a decent future

"Random events, those happenings that nobody could foresee, always have a huge impact on historical outcomes."

March 15, 2010 -- This is an excerpt from an essay that forms the entire contents of the March 2010 edition of UNITY, Socialist Worker New Zealand's quarterly Marxist journal for grassroots activists. Following editions of the journal will expand on the crises which are converging to tip global capitalism towards collapse. To subscribe to UNITY journal, email Len Parker at office@sworker.pl.net. UNITY is posted to your letterbox four times a year. Price: $25 for NZ subscribers, NZ$40 offshore fastpost. This excerpt has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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By Grant Morgan

Part 1: History lessons

The fable behind the stereotype

China, capitalist accumulation and the world crisis

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

[A version of this article appeared in the South Korean journal, Marxism 21. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg’s permission.]

February 2010 -- The consensus among economists is that China’s post-1978 market reform policies have produced one of the world’s greatest economic success stories. Some believe that China is now capable of serving as an anchor for a new (non-US dominated) global economy. A few claim that the reform experience demonstrates the workability (and desirability) of market socialism. This paper is critical of these views.

United States: The rise of bagel capitalism

By Harry Targ

February 27, 2010 -- Diary of a Heartland Radical -- A long time ago Karl Marx theorised that in capitalist societies the class of people that own and control the means of production -- the machines, the factories, the workers -- constituted an economic ruling class. The only thing that workers owned was their ability to do work. The workers would sell their ability to do work for a wage. The capitalists would hire workers, work them hard, and sell the goods and services produced. The capitalists would sell the products and/or services for more than the workers would get paid. They would keep the difference and that is where profit came from.

Over time, Marx said, the number of capitalists would get smaller and smaller and what they owned and controlled would get bigger and bigger. Marx’s predictions pretty much have come to pass with a few hundred corporations and banks controlling about one-third of all that is produced on the face of the globe.

Beyond the World Social Forum ... the Fifth International

Eric Toussaint interviewed by Igor Ojeda for the Brazilian weekly paper Brasil de Fato. Translated from French by Judith Harris and Christine Pagnoulle.

February 2010 -- According to Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and one of the ideologists of the World Social Forum, now in its tenth edition, effective political action calls for the creation of a permanent national front of parties, social movements and international networks.

Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF), is in favour of the WSF becoming a platform of greater political influence in social struggles throughout the world. He is not particularly worried about the resistance of certain sectors within the forum who would prefer this event to retain its original form. For him, the solution is simple. “If the World Social Forum cannot accommodate it, we must build another instrument, without leaving or scrapping the forum”.

New Zealand: What has happened to real wages since1982?

By Mike Treen

Official data on wage movements in New Zealand point to a real wage decline of around 25% between 1982 and the mid-1990s that has never been recovered.

There have been two series measuring wages in the period – the Prevailing Weekly Wage Index (discontinued in June 1993) and its replacement the Labour Cost Index. I have created a continuous series based on the LCI series back to 1982 (by adjusting the PWWI numbers before December 1992 when PWWI at 1000 was equivalent to the LCI at 868). These numbers are in turn deflated by the CPI index covering the whole period.

What is revealed is that by the mid-1990s real wages had declined at least 25%. There has been no recovery since then and real wages remain 25% below their 1982 peak. This result can be directly attributed to the combination of the massive deunionisation as a result of the anti-union employment laws and the recession that accompanied it in the early 1990s.

System's defenders warn of 'collapse' of global capitalism

By Grant Morgan

October 22, 2009 -- Something molecular is changing in the DNA of capitalism. Look at these three recent quotes:

  • "The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today."
  • "Capitalism is near the tipping point, unprepared for a catastrophe, set up for collapse and rapid decline."
  • "There is a high probability of a crisis and collapse by 2012. The 'Great Depression 2' is dead ahead. Unfortunately, there's absolutely nothing you can do to hide from this unfolding reality or prevent the rush of the historical imperative."

What's particularly important about these quotes is who made them. Not socialists. No, they were made by ardent, intelligent and reputable defenders of capitalism. For more information, read the MarketWatch essay "America's soul is lost and collapse is inevitable".

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

John Bellamy Foster: Financial crisis, imperialism and environment -- `Socialism is humanity's best chance'

On September 17, 2009, John Bellamy Foster appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the financial meltdown, social change and democracy. Click HERE to read the transcript.

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A conversation with John Bellamy Foster, editor of the US-based socialist magazine Monthly Review, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (Monthly Review Press, 2009). He was interviewed by Farooque Chowdhury for the Bangladesh daily newspaper New Age. It was published on September 8, 2009.

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The free-market fallacies of Ayn Rand

By Phil Hearse

August 22, 2009 -- Marxsite -- Most people sympathetic to radical politics outside the United States have probably never heard of Ayn Rand, and a brief introduction to her ultra pro-free market views would doubtless be enough to convince them they haven’t missed anything. Yet 27 years after her death, Ayn Rand continues to be seriously debated in the US, her books sell hundreds of thousands each year, her views are propagated by right wing think tanks and foundations and – bizarrely – Charlize Theron is in discussions to turn Rand’s 1088-page magnus opus Atlas Shrugged into a TV mini-series.

The Times Educational Supplement claimed in July that the Ayn Rand revival is gathering pace on US campuses. According to the TES:

G8 and Africa: Some give, plenty of take

By Yash Tandon

July 16, 2009 -- Pambazuka -- The summit of the world’s richest and most powerful Northern countries that constitute the G8 took place in L'Aquila, Italy from July 8-10, 2009. In attendance also were the heads of state and government of a host of other minor or lesser countries, some of whom were admitted to the inner sanctum of the G8 summit, and some simply hovered around in the corridors at the call of the G8 waiting to be ``invited'' for ``breakfast meetings'' or press conferences or ``bilaterals''. At one of these ``breakfast meetings'' the G8 broadened their participants to take in the African countries of Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, as well as the IEA, World Bank, IMF, ILO, OECD, WTO and United Nations and the African Union Commission’s representatives. At this meeting the G8 graciously agreed to increase aid to Africa for food security and agricultural development from an earlier figure of US$15 billion to US$20 billion.

South Africa: At the end of the wage

By Dale T. McKinley and Ahmed Veriava, Johannesburg

“I'm collecting a register for the indigent people and I had 37,000 applications from Emfuleni only. Each and every day I come across children who are left in their homes -- the parents are deceased -- they are hungry. When I knock at the door, I say how you are surviving and they say we have been hungry for three days, we haven't got food. You wouldn't think it's a reality in an urban area like this but it is a reality. People are unemployed, a lot of people are unemployed.”

-- Priscilla Ramagale-Ramakau, government social worker in Sebokeng

July 5, 2009 -- It wasn't always this way for Sebokeng, one of the older urban ``townships'' in South Africa, a place synonymous with the early settlement and subsequent massive growth of the black industrial working class.

Patrick Bond, Adam Hanieh: World slump and class struggles in the global South


Part 1: Adam Hanieh.

Toronto, June 28, 2009 - Left Streamed -- The political period that has opened up since the financial turbulence of 2007 began to grip the world market has led to both a crisis of neoliberalism and an attempt to reconstruct it. The overaccumulation of capital in key sectors in the US and Europe, particularly in real estate markets, auto production and financial services, has led to an economic contraction that has spread across global capitalism.

Trade unions and New Zealand’s economic crisis

By Grant Brookes

Unity, May 2009 -- Comparisons now abound between the global economic crisis of 2009 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Naturally, there are similarities and differences. The following bleak assessment of the role of trade unions in the early 1930s comes from the best-known book by one of New Zealand’s foremost social historians of the 20th century:

Adam Smith was closer to Karl Marx than those showering praise on Smith today

Adam Smith and Karl Marx agree that workers not bosses create value.

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Charles La Via in collaboration with Christine Pagnoulle.[1]

In the following citations, we discover that what Adam Smith wrote in the 1770s is not so distant from what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would write 70 years later in the famous Communist Manifesto.

Rick Wolff: GM -- The system strikes back; Michael Moore: `Convert the factories to build trains, buses, windmills'

By Rick Wolff

June 5, 2009 -- The greatest tragedies among many in the collapse and bankruptcy of General Motors (GM) concern what is not happening. There are those solutions to GM's problems not being considered by Obama's administration. There are the solutions not being demanded by the United Auto Workers Union (UAW). There are all the solutions not even being discussed by most left commentators on the disaster. Finally there are crucial aspects of GM's demise not getting the attention they deserve.

Neoliberal economic policies in the United States: The impact of globalisation on a `Northern’ country

By Kim Scipes

Most contemporary discussions of globalization, and especially of the impact of neoliberal economic policies, focus on the countries of the Global South (see, for example, Bond, 2005; Ellner and Hellinger, eds., 2003; a number of articles in Harris, ed., 2006; Klein, 2007; Monthly Review, 2007; and, among others, see Scipes, 1999, 2006b). Recent articles arguing that the globalization project has receded and might be taking different approaches (Bello, 2006; Thornton, 2007) have also focused on the Global South. What has been somewhat discussed (see Giroux, 2004; Piven, 2004; Aronowitz, 2005) but not systematically addressed, however, is what has been the impact of globalization and especially related neoliberal economic policies on working people in a northern country?[i]

Capitalism in Wonderland: Why mainstream economists can't deal with the ecological crisis

By Richard York, Brett Clark and John Bellamy Foster (posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission)

In a recent essay, “Economics Needs a Scientific Revolution”, in one of the leading scientific journals, Nature, physicist Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, a researcher for an investment management company, asked rhetorically, “What is the flagship achievement of economics?” Bouchaud’s answer: “Only its recurrent inability to predict and avert crises”.[1]

Anti-capitalist European Left: capitalists not workers must pay for the crisis

May 6, 2009 -- British left groupings Socialist Resistance and the International Socialist Group have joined the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Scottish Socialist Party and others of the European anti-capitalist left in endorsing this statement for the European elections. The statement was agreed at a conference in Strasbourg on April 3, 2009.

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It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

The next European elections will be held during the worst crisis capitalism has known since 1929. Economic, social, financial, banking, food, climatic, it is a global, general crisis.

Once again, the ruling classes want to make workers and peoples pay for the crisis. Governments have given hundreds of billions to banks but at the same time millions of layoffs fall on employees. Unemployment is going through the roof. The purchasing power of wages is falling. The destruction of public services continues.

It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

This policy of European Union institutions has been rejected by the "No" votes in France, the Netherlands and Ireland.

We reject the plans of EU governments that save banks and not people.

We put forward an emergency social and democratic plan:

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