Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

capitalism

The prospects for socialism (or barbarism)

By Boris Kagarlitsky

Not long before the European elections, in which the social democratic vote collapsed, two of the most authoritative social democratic leaders, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder, published a letter in which they formulated the principles of the so-called "new centre" (neue Mitte). These principles could be summed up as arguing that the traditional ideas of social democracy (redistribution, a mixed economy and state regulation in the spirit of Keynes) needed to be replaced by new approaches in the spirit of neo-liberalism.

True, the authors of the letter took their distance from neo-liberalism itself, stating that they did not share its illusions that all problems could be solved through market methods. At the same time, they proposed to solve the problems of world trade by liberalising it further. Instead of solidarity, they called for increased competition, and instead of job creation, for preparing young people better for life under the conditions of a constantly changing market conjuncture.

US labour and the new movement against capitalist globalisation

By Barry Sheppard

In the demonstration in Seattle at the close of 1999, a new generation of radicalising youth emerged to take on the World Trade Organisation. Tens of thousands of trade unionists also participated, demonstrating that there is a potential for this movement to begin to mobilise working people.

The targets of this new movement are globalising corporations and the international financial and trade organisations dominated by the rich countries, above all the United States. Clearly, these young people have deep internationalist sentiments, and wish to fight for better conditions for the world's poorest people exploited by these corporations and institutions. This anti-corporate consciousness can rapidly deepen into anti-imperialism, and can begin to question capitalism itself.

The participation of trade unionists in Seattle reflects the fact that the radicalising youth have a natural ally among working people and the trade unions. But the participation of the major US trade union federation, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) was marred by the political line it sought to bring to the action. As the editors of the July-August 2000 issue of the independent socialist magazine Monthly Review put it:

 

Facing the crisis

By Boris Kagarlitsky

The first years of the twenty-first century are not bearing out the hopes of the global elites. As is often the case, the pompous ceremonies have been followed by major setbacks. A warning that should have been heeded was the Asian crisis of 1997-98, the consequences of which were overcome only at vast cost. Ideologues and journalists, however, reassured the world with references to the peculiarities of the “new economy” that had triumphed in the late twentieth century in the US and Western Europe. According to this theory, we have entered a new phase of history in which the main factor of development is becoming a talent for innovation which in theory is organically present in Western culture. The Asian countries, oriented toward industrial production, are held to be simply incapable of entering this beautiful new world.

Back to good old Marx in the brave new world of globalisation

By Dipankar Bhattacharya

A decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is now an established fact that capitalism rules the roost in the world. The supremacy of capitalism as the dominant system does not face any immediate challenge. Yet the dominant voice of capitalism is no longer one of euphoria. The triumphalist cries of a few years ago are increasingly giving way to notes of caution and uncertainty. More and more people now realise that what collapsed with the demolition of the Berlin wall or the disintegration of the Soviet Union was not just Soviet-style socialism but also the edifice of what had come to be known as the welfare-state version of capitalism. The end of the Cold War period has come to signify the beginning of a new era of great uncertainties in which even good old capitalism looks increasingly unfamiliar.

'Political capitalism' and corruption in Russia

By Boris Kagarlitsky

Boris Kagarlitsky is a contributing editor of Links. His books include Square Wheels: How Russian Democracy Got Derailed and The Mirage of Modernisation.

The Western press discovered corruption in Russia in the late 1990s. At this time, the Western reader was deluged with reports describing not just the crimes of the "Russian mafia"—whose origins were invariably traced back to the old political police, the KGB—but also bribe-taking, embezzlement and illegal transfers of funds abroad by top-ranking bureaucrats. The high point of the criticism was a scandal, which the press termed "Russia-gate", concerning Russian accounts in the Bank of New York. The family and close associates of President Boris Yeltsin were linked to the illegal transfer of funds to the West. Later, former Kremlin chief of staff Pavel Borodin was even arrested in the US on charges brought against him in Switzerland during the heat of Russia-gate. The Russian prosecutor's office, however, was clearly reluctant to collaborate with its Swiss and US counterparts, and the affair began to dissipate.

Principles, strategies and tactics of decommodification in South Africa

By Patrick Bond

Patrick Bond is the author of two recent books: Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest and Fanon's Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Both are available from Africa World Press (http://www.africanworld.com). His 2001 book Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance, will be republished by Zed Press this year, as will a new edition of Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa from Pluto Press.

Engels and the theory of the labour aristocracy

By Jonathan Strauss

I. The theory of the labour aristocracy

II. Marx and Engels on the labour aristocracy in 19th century England

Notes

The theory of the labour aristocracy argues that opportunism in the working class has a material basis. The superprofits of monopoly capital support the benefits of a stratum of relatively privileged workers, whose interests in this are expressed by class-collaborationist politics. Marx and, especially, Engels, first developed this theory. It is most closely associated with Lenin, however, for whom it became "the pivot of the tactics in the labour movement that are dictated by the objective conditions of the imperialist era".1

Many revolutionaries who claim Lenin as an influence nevertheless reject the theory. They deny the character of imperialism as monopoly capitalism, the existence of the labour aristocracy or the stability of opportunism. Their method mimics the empiricism of bourgeois economics, political science and sociology rather than following Marx and Engels' injunction to study history. Their acceptance of the results of this reflects the very often dominant position of opportunism in the working-class movement.

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet