Review by Barry Healy
Imperialism and Global Political Economy
By Alex Callinicos
October 2, 2010 -- The topic of “imperialism” greatly occupied the minds of late-19th and early-20th century socialists. Some of the tradition’s greatest minds toiled mightily to discern the fundamental changes in capitalism that were occurring before their eyes.
Capitalism, as analysed by Karl Marx, had grown fat in its European heartland through the ruthless exploitation of colonies and the brutal factory system in its coal dark cities. But suddenly new phenomena started to appear in the late 1800s.
Banking capital moved from being a support for industrial capital, first merging into and then dominating manufacturing. This agglomeration of money power created massive industrial complexes, like Germany’s famous Krupps steelworks.
The colossal scale of these industrial works dwarfed human beings.
By Andrey Kolganov and Aleksandr Buzgalin, translated by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s Renfrey Clarke
By Tony Iltis
August 27, 2008 -- Since the European Union-brokered ceasefire brought the shooting war between Georgia and Russia to an end on August 12, there has been a war of words between Russia and the West. One point of contention is the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia-proper (that is, Georgia excluding the de facto independent territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), in particular the towns of Gori, Zugdidi and Senaki and the port of Poti.
The war began with Georgia’s August 7 attack on the territory of South Ossetia. Russia responded with a military assault that first drove Georgian troops out of South Ossetia, then continued to advance within Georgia-proper.
Russia agreed to withdraw when it signed the ceasefire and has since indicated that it is doing so — but slowly, and not before systematically destroying Georgia’s military capacity.
A bigger difference, based on competing interpretations of what is and isn’t Georgian territory, is Russia’s stated intention to maintain a beefed-up peacekeeping presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
By Tony Iltis
August 16, 2008 -- On August 7, after a week of border clashes, Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili launched a military attack against South Ossetia.
South Ossetia, while internationally recognised as part of Georgia, has been predominantly under the control of a pro-independence administration since Georgia separated from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Since a 1992 ceasefire, the South Ossetian statelet has been protected by Russian peacekeepers.
Within 24 hours, Georgian troops had taken the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, after destroying much of it with artillary. More than 30,000 refugees (out of a population of 70,000) fled across the border to the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, which is part of the Russian Federation.
Using this, and the killing of 20 Russian peacekeepers, as pretexts, Russia intervened in full force: bombing targets throughout Georgia, driving the Georgians out of South Ossetia (including territory not previously held by the South Ossetian administration) and crossing into Georgia-proper to take the town of Gori.
Bad habits are contagious
By Boris Kagarlitsky
August 14, 2008 -- Georgia has resolutely condemned Russia's actions in Chechnya. Russia has severely criticised NATO actions towards Serbia. Later on the Georgian authorities tried to do the same thing in South Ossetia as the Russian authorities had done in Chechnya. Moscow decided to treat Georgia in the same way as NATO had treated Serbia. Bad habits are contagious.