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Daily Archives: September 8th, 2009

Global Crisis

Global Crisis

THE GLOBAL CRISIS AND AFRICA: STRUGGLES FOR ALTERNATIVES

 

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Call for contributions

CONFERENCE on The Global Crisis and Africa: Struggles for Alternatives

A conference organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in cooperation with its partners in Africa

To be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 19-21 November 2009

While the current world economic crisis in its complexity is unprecedented, crises are inherent to capitalism and more often than not the South has borne the brunt of these crises. For the first time in history however a crisis in the financial markets and its repercussions in the real economy have coincided and mingled with a socioecological crisis which stand to seriously affect the basic living conditions of mankind. Emerging from the financial crisis in the US, it has been raging through the G8 countries and is now extending its impact to all corners of the world, including Africa.

Much can and will be said about the negative effects of the crisis on Africa; however the conference will approach it from the angle of the search and struggle for alternatives. What different alternative responses have been or are being developed; for example an Ecological Solidarity Economy, Economy of the Commons, Ecological Socialism, Marxist instead of Keynesian concepts, a different global financial system? What struggles are being fought already and how can we better link these struggles in pursuit of such alternatives?

The conference will be structured along these lines:
1. Which basic tenets have to be changed?
2. Spaces of alternatives & sites of struggle
3. Linking struggles

The conference aims at linking the local, national and global quest for alternatives by social movements, NGOs, trade unions, political parties both in North and South and other global actors.

While we want to offer enough space for different issues and interests of the respective participants the focus during the conference itself will be on crucial, overarching problems with the ultimate aim of developing common strategic perspectives for the left in both South and North.

The conference will bring together contributions from union, social movement and NGO activists as well as academics. Participants are therefore kindly invited to send in contributions on any of following themes:
* the impact of the present crisis (e.g. in the areas of food production and food prices, energy, climate, trade/production, debt and development aid); * responses by various stakeholders in both North and South; * overall utopian views like an economy of the commons, climate justice, food security, de-globalisation; * critical analysis of reactions to the crisis like the G-20, the UN Stiglitz Commission, the EU EPA negotiations, the New Green Deal, the new role of the BRIC states.

Contributions might be traditional academic papers, but any other forms (statements, petitions, video, audio etc.) are more than welcome. Registered participants will be informed about the detailed programme in due course.

Registration and offering of contributions are requested before 25th October 2009.

For more information please contact the office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa by e-mail: esther@rosalux.co.za or jos@rosalux.co.za or at the Berlin Office: hopfmann@rosalux.de.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

 

Capitalism in Crisis

Capitalism in Crisis

CAPITALIST CRISIS

 

 

FALL-SPRING STUDY GROUP ON CAPITALIST CRISIS

Following our (just concluded) summer class, Howie Seligman and I (Loren Goldman) will again be doing a study group in the New York City area on Marxian theory and the current crisis. If you are interested, read on.

All applicants welcome.

TENTATIVE PLAN

Loren Goldner and Howie Seligman will be organizing a study group, starting in October,  for New York City-area people on Marx’s Capital (and other writings), linking Marx’s critique of political economy to the current crisis of the world capitalist system.

The group will meet twice a month (day to be determined, based on people’s availability) , through May-June of next year, in a convenient Manhattan location (to be determined).

Space will determine the number of participants, but we aim for between 10 and 25 participants, depending on interest.

If you wish to participate, please contact Loren Goldner asap at: lrgoldner@yahoo.com

Participants should be committed to regular attendance and to keeping up with 50-100 pages of reading per meeting. Barring a need to change venues, the class will be free of charge, except for occasional contributions for photocopy expenses, refreshments, etc.

Readings will consist of selections from Marx’s Capital, and articles (to be decided in consultation with the group) on contemporary developments.

The events of the past two years in particular have re-awakened a serious interest in both Marx’s critique of political economy and in “current events” in the world economy. Goldner and Seligman will cooperate in putting the crisis into a Marxian theoretical perspective (Goldner), as well as providing insight into the more technical side of world market meltdown (CDO’s, hedge funds, Ponzi schemes, etc.) (Seligman). The approach will not be merely “economic” (the Marxian CRITIQUE of political economy is not another variant of “economics”) but will elucidate the impact of the crisis on ordinary working people, on developing actions against capitalist austerity in the US and around the world, and on the solution: abolition of the capitalist mode of production.

If successful, the study group will continue through May-June 2010.

In order to put together a viable group, we would like interested people to write something brief (200-300 words) about their background, the level of their knowledge of Marx and of the world economy,  where they are coming from politically, and anything else they might consider relevant.

We are oriented above all to educating present and future activists, and will give such people priority in participation. We also hope to have a predominance of young people who are new, or relatively new, to Capital and Marxist theory generally, but that will of course be determined by the response.

Loren Goldner is a long-term independent writer and political activist. His work is available on the Break Their Haughty Power web site at: http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner   He has spent much of the past four years in South Korea, involved in the workers’ movement there.

Howie Seligman recently taught a course on Taxation and Finance at the NEW SPACE in New York City. Here is the course description and a biography.

Taxation and Finance: Howard F. Seligman:

The course will begin with a brief tutorial on conventional accounting, bookkeeping and financial theory.  This will involve some hands on practical training, although the main emphasis will be on the history of the evolution of the theory from its original conception to the current methodologies. This will be followed by an examination of basic economics (price theory) and its use and abuse of (accounting/ finance) statistics. Again, the history of the theory from its roots in philosophy and the social sciences to its current state of being applied mathematical models will be scrutinized. We will then survey the U.S. Income Tax System beginning with its history and moving on to its current state (of change) today. The focus will be on the behavioral implications of changes in the tax code and alternate systems being used in other countries (and being proposed by Congress today.)

Applying the building blocks of finance and taxation, we will then look at the American financial markets and the culture of the corporation.  Particular attention will be paid to ‘Wall Street’ and the ‘entertainment industry’ due to their growing influence in our everyday lives via the ‘information society.’

Emphasis will be placed on economic and non-economic forces that drive the markets and facilitate manipulation by the use of abstract numerical concepts. Finally, the natural symbiosis of private industry and governments will be the subject of specific anecdotes and case studies.

No requirements other than potential enthusiasm/interest.
 
Howard F. Seligman has been a self employed financial and tax consultant since 1984. Howard’s practice specializes in the arts and entertainment fields, and he serves as the treasurer to more than fifteen arts and cultural organizations. Howard has taught accounting and finance at The Pratt Institute. His hobbies include playing Howie Solo, a singer and stand up comedian who can host your local fundraising event. He is currently researching a book on the history of the Jewish gangster in America.

You can also see Howie in action at: http://www.blip.tv

search HOWIE SOLO

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Global Capitalism

Global Capitalism

WHAT IS THE COMMON?

 

An International Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS

10-11 October 2009, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Submission  deadline: September 5
Contact: info@kurrents.org

Keynotes: David Harvey, Yitzhak Laor, Jacques Rancière, Antonio Negri (unconfirmed)

New Sessions
• The Iranian Revolution 30 Years Later
• Constructing the Common in Contemporary China
• Conflictual Democracy and Institutional Production of Space

In the shadow of the global crisis of capitalism, the common, somehow obliterated in the recent past, has emerged as an indispensable and central notion. The conference addresses this notion both as a real movement and as an already present horizon, a dynamic principle, for societal life. It is a critical topic today, not only because the public, administrated by the state, is reduced to expendable assets for regulating a supposedly self-regulating machine called Market, but more importantly because the emerging forms of the common impose themselves with an unprecedented acuity and in opposition to the doxa of the private property.

The common refers not only to primary resources, such as water or ecological conditions on a planetary level, but it is at the same time a political force that traverses diverse fields of tension such as art and culture, law and gender relations. The question “What is the Common?” is addressed as a real agenda that conditions the thought. The conference is a program that extends over 4 years. Each year will treat two themes. The conference 2009 will welcome papers related to the following two axes:
1. The Common and the Economy
Which are the specific emerging forms of the common today and what defines its relation to the material conditions of production of values in contemporary capitalism? Under this axis, both theoretical discussions and case-specific investigations in areas such as autonomous popular organisations, regional movements or global changes in one specific economic sector are welcome.

2. The Philosophical Understanding of what the Common Is
The common has since Plato’s Republic been a central question for the philosophical thinking. What is the relation or non-relation between the common and the totality of social relations? In which form and based upon what ontological or existential categories does it emerge? What is the difference between the common as the name of a real movement and the nostalgies of the return to a simple life?

Submission Guidelines:
We are welcoming papers from all disciplines regardless of academic affiliation or other background. All Interested researchers are required to submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, not later than September 15. Submissions via email must be in MS Word, RTF, or PDF format. Presentations will be given in English. Presenters will each be given 30 minutes for their presentation, followed by a 15 minutes discussion with the floor. Each session will be appointed a chair. Please specify if you are interested to chair a session. Number of sessions are limited to 8. If accepted, you will be required to provide a complete version of your 10-15 page double-spaced paper by January 1, 2010. Your abstract should not include your name, but do include the following on a separate page: Name, paper title, affiliation (university, other), email address. 

Submissions should be sent either by electronic mail to: info@kurrents.org or as a paper copy to: Sylva Frisk, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Box 700, SE-405 30 Goteborg, Sweden.

About the Organization:
The conference is organized upon an original proposal by Dr Dariush Moaven Doust. He is also responsible for the organization of the conference and the head of the Scientific committee in which Tomas Jonsson, researcher at CEFOS, Professor emeritus Sven-Eric Liedman, History of Ideas, Professor Lennart Nilsson, CEFOS, Professor emeritus Jan Ling, Sylva Frisk, Director of Studies at the School of Global Studies participate. The host for the conference is the School of Global Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences.

Web site: http://www.kurrents.org/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Chipsdown

Chipsdown

BROWNDOWN MELTDOWN

 

There is an excellent article by George Monbiot in The Guardian today: ‘One financial meltdown, it seems, is just not enough for Gordon Brown’ (8th September, p.33).

Monbiot indicates Gordon Brown’s degree of responsibility for the current crisis of capital and his dysfunctional reluctance to attempt to place substantial restraints on banks and bankers’ activities – which have been ruinous for millions.

As Monbiot notes:

“So there will be no reckoning. There will be no firm restraint, no punishment, no measure sufficient to prevent a repetition of the crash. The only people who will not be harmed by the banking crisis are the bankers who caused it”.

See the article at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/07/financial-meltdown-gordon-brown-g20

Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk