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capitalism

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.

Michael Lebowitz: `The Four Rs' of global capitalism

By Michael A. Lebowitz

February 19, 2010 -- Correo del Orinoco -- In Venezuela, people know what the 3Rs stand for: revise, rectify and re-impulse. Like Karl Marx, who stressed that the revolution advances by criticising itself, President Hugo Chavez has argued that it is necessary to recognise errors and to go beyond them in order to advance.

Vancouver Winter Olympics: A festival of corporate greed

Graphic from No2010.com.

By Roger Annis

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Socialist Voice -- On February 12, 2010, the corporate sporting behemoth known as the 21st Winter Olympic Games will open to great fanfare here. In a time of economic hardship and government cuts to social programs across Canada, huge sums of public money have been spent to stage this uber spectacle.

Billions of dollars have been spent constructing venues, a new convention centre and airport terminal; widening and paving untold kilometres of roads and highways; building a hugely expensive rapid transit line connecting the city’s airport to its downtown; and erecting new hotels to serve the influx of corporate sponsors and spectators.

The hotel, travel, restaurant and real estate industries hope to make a killing off the influx of out-of-town spectators and partygoers. Construction companies have already earned hundreds of millions of dollars during the years of preparation furiously pouring concrete and asphalt. The official line says there will also be lots of long-term tourism dollars to be made, though this has not happened in other host cities.

Reconstructing Haiti: Time to break with foreign interference

Sweatshop in Haiti.

By Regan Boychuk

January 26, 2010 -- Haitians’ incredible plight has always been difficult to fully appreciate. Then the earthquake struck: hundreds of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands more hurt, a million homeless, and two million in need of food. It defies imagination.

And according to a journalist just returned from Haiti, even the heart-rending footage we’ve seen here on television fails to “portray the magnitude of the tragedy that has happened – and the degree to which the Haitian people are suffering. When looking at images from the disaster,” writes Steven Edwards, “we need to multiply by ten times our reaction of horror – only doing that can give you a true picture of what is going on in a place that has become hell not far from our shores.”[i]

John Bellamy Foster: The crisis of capital: economy, ecology and empire

From pdxjustice Media Productions on Vimeo.

Professor of sociology and editor of Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster, talks about the triple crises in the economy, the environment, and the imperial wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond..

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010: Howard Zinn interviewed by Dave Zirin

On May 2, 2009, the US International Socialist Organization invited Dave Zirin to sitdown and interview renowned historian Howard Zinn.

John Bellamy Foster: Why ecological revolution?

By John Bellamy Foster

January 2010 -- Monthly Review -- It is now universally recognised within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

Copenhagen: Why the West tries to blame China and the poor for COP15 fiasco

Protest in Copenhagen.

By Roy Wilkes

December 27, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- Something rotten happened in Denmark. The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), in which so many had invested so much hope, began as farce and ended in tragedy. Anyone who still had the faintest illusion that the climate crisis could be resolved within capitalism has now seen it fatally dashed against the rocks of Copenhagen.

Of course, our rulers cannot blame themselves for this fiasco. So, who then is to blame? “China”, screams a furious Ed Milliband [the British Labour government's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change] upon his return to London, with the media machine joining the chorus. Blame China! Blame Venezuela! Blame the poor countries who obstructed "The Deal"! Blame the victims who dared to ask for a 1.5 degree C limit, those unrealistic fools who dared to ask to be allowed to live.

Copenhagen: Morales and Chavez a `smashing success' -- an insider's report from the ALBA delegation

Evo Morales.

[See the ALBA countries' declaration on the Copenhagen talks below.]

By Ron Ridenour

December 23, 2009 -- “Nobel War Prize winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.” So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Copenhagen climate conference (COP15).

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism”, Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

Excellent news from Copenhagen: Capitalist politicians exposed, foundations laid for mass movement

By Daniel Tanuro 

December 19, 2009 -- International Viewpoint -- We knew the United Nations summit in Copenhagen would not conclude with a new international treaty but a simple statement of intent – just one more. But the text adopted at the end of the meeting is worse than anything we could imagine: no quantified objectives for carbon-emissions reduction, no reference year for measuring them, no deadlines, no date!

The text included a vague promise of US$100 million yearly for adaptation in developing countries, but the formulas used and various comments lead us to fear that these will be loans administered by major financial institutions rather than true reparations paid by those responsible for the mess.

Democracy Now! interview: Hugo Chavez on how to tackle climate change: `We must go from capitalism to socialism'

December 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. “We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet,” Chavez says. “That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.”

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year.

Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes.

Hugo Chávez: `La Batalla de Copenhague'

Foto: Prensa Presidencial.
por Hugo Chávez Frías
I

Caracas, 20 Dic. ABN -- Copenhague fue el escenario de una batalla histórica en el marco de la XV Conferencia del Convenio Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático. Mejor dicho: en la bella y nevada capital de Dinamarca, comenzó una batalla que no concluyó el viernes 18 de diciembre de 2009. Quiero reiterarlo: Copenhague fue apenas el comienzo de la batalla decisiva por la salvación del planeta. Batalla en el terreno de las ideas y en el de la praxis.

Hugo Chávez writes on `The battle of Copenhagen'

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, translated by Kiraz Janicke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

December 20, 2009

``I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world's most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation." – Hugo Chávez

I

Copenhagen: Democracy Now! interview with Evo Morales -- `We cannot end global warming without ending capitalism'

December 17, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales joins us in Copenhagen to talk about the UN climate talks, capitalism, climate debt and much more. “Policies of unlimited industrialisation are what destroys the environment”, Morales said. “And that irrational industrialisation is capitalism.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. It’s Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from inside the Bella Center [in Copenhagen].

It’s just one day before the COP15 UN climate summit comes to a close. The summit has been described as the biggest gathering on climate change in history. And now, ten days after it started, are the talks on the brink of collapse?

Countering the critics of Annie Leonard's `The Story of Cap and Trade'

By Patrick Bond

December 16, 2009 -- Eight million people viewed Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff video since December 2007 and her new nine-minute Story of Cap and Trade has received 400,000 hits in the two weeks since its December 1 launch.

The film, produced by Free Range Studios, was developed in collaboration with the Durban Group for Climate Justice and Climate Justice Now! networks, which joined Climate Justice Action and other networks to put tens of thousands of activists on the streets of Copenhagen, London and dozens of other cities in recent days, demanding large carbon emissions cuts, the payment of ecological debt to climate victims and the decommissioning of carbon markets.

But critics abound, so what trends can we discern from the sometimes venomous feedback to Story of Cap and Trade, and what do these tell us about US and global climate politics? Let's consider three categories of critics:

  • libertarian climate change denialists;
  • Big Green groups and other carbon trading supporters; and
  • self-interested green capitalists.

To start, right-wing extremists are easiest to dismiss because they deny that climate change is a product of human/economic activity -- but there's a schizophrenic double agenda. For although they're pro-business, libertarians like Fox TV's Glenn Beck oppose market-based cap-and-trade schemes.

Copenhagen: Full speech -- Chavez salutes protesters, calls for system change to save planet

Hugo Chavez speaking to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. Photo from Telesur.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

December 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – During his speech to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP15) in Copenhagen, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez slammed the “lack of political will” of the most powerful nations to take serious action to avert climate change, and called for systemic change to save the planet.

`The main issue for us is Mother Earth' -- Bolivia's delegation to Copenhagen climate talks

`Repay the climate debt!'

December 9, 2009 -- Democracy Now!

ANJALI KAMAT: Angelica, maybe we can start with you. Talk about the Danish text and your reaction.

ANGELICA NAVARRO, chief climate negotiator for Bolivia: Well, I have to say that everybody was taken a little bit by surprise, but I also want to congratulate the very good work that the press has been doing, because we have learned it from the press, actually. And the reaction has been quite straightforward from the G77, and in two accounts: on process and on the content.

And on the process, I have to say that we are quite surprised, because this is not what we were expecting. One hundred and ninety-two countries are united here to try to come to a deal. And there is this pallid process that basically seems to be untransparent, undemocratic, nonparticipatory, top down, that it seems to be imposing itself on what we are trying to achieve with 192 countries. We think that we have to come back to the real track, and that is a track with participation, inclusiveness and democracy. That is for the process.

Debate: A Green New Deal -- dead end or pathway beyond capitalism?

December 8, 2009 -- Turbulence -- A Green New Deal is on everybody’s lips at the moment. US President Barack Obama has endorsed a very general version of it, the United Nations are keen, as are numerous Green parties around the world. In the words of the Green New Deal Group, an influential grouping of heterodox economists, Greens and debt-relief campaigners, such a ‘deal’ promises to solve the ‘triple crunch’ of energy, climate and economic crises.

Video: `The Story of Cap and Trade' (aka carbon trading), from the makers of `The Story of Stuff'

The Story of Cap & Trade from Story of Stuff Project on Vimeo.

December 1, 2009 -- The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at the climate talks in Copenhagen. Cap and trade is also variously described as ``carbon trading'' and ``emissions trading''. In Australia, the federal Labor government is trying to push a variation of this through the Senate called the ``Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme''.

China today: socialist or capitalist?

By Chris Slee

November 13, 2009 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a number of articles on the Chinese Revolution and the subsequent restoration of capitalism in China.[1] This article aims to give more detail on the current situation, including the Chinese government's efforts to ameliorate some of the harmful effects of capitalism. But first I will briefly recount the process of capitalist restoration.

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