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Daily Archives: April 28th, 2012

We Are the Crisis

ONLINE UNIVERSITY OF THE LEFT

Why a Marxist School?

Karl Marx’s ideas are a common touchstone for many people working for change.  His historical materialism, his many contributions to political economy and class analysis, all continue to serve his core values–the self-emancipation of the working class and a vision of a classless society.  There are naturally many trends in Marxism that have developed over the years, and new ones are on the rise today.  All of them and others who want to see this project succeed are welcome here.

Founder: Carl Davidson

Initial Core Group: Linda Alcoff, Mark Alper, Gar Alperovitz, Burton Lee Artz, Salvatore Babones, Rose Brewer, Renate Bridenthal, Roderick Bush, Dominique Caouette, Orlando Caracas, Dana Cloud, Michael Duff, Jon Gobeil, Larry Hanley, Jerry Harris, Richard Huggins, David Fryett, Mark Johnson, Timothy Johnson, Athina Karatzogianni, Gavin Kitching, Lauren Langman, Marnia Lazreg, Kathy McAfee, Peter Mclaren, Bharat Mehra, Hannah Miyamoto, Gregory Morales, Joshua Morris, Kathleen Newman, Jonathan Nitzan, Juan Pablo Ochoa, Tom O’Donnell, Teresa Pac, William Pelz, Sanjay Perera, Frank Phelan, Garry Potter, Melvin Rothenberg, Saskia Sassen, Ellen Schwartz, Justin Schwartz, David Schwartzman, David Schweickart, Navin Singh, Geoffrey Skoll, William Tabb, Harry Targ, Bharat Thakkar, Joseph Varga, Rob Watts, Richard Wolff.

“This is a radical education and left unity project. All on the left willing to work cooperatively for its success are invited to join and lend a hand” — CARL DAVIDSON

Online University of the Left: http://ouleft.org/

This is a tremendous development — Glenn Rikowski

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Social Class

Social Class

HOW CLASS WORKS – CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

The How Class Works – 2012 conference schedule, registration, housing, and other information are all up on the Center for Study of Working Class Life Website: http://www.stonybrook.edu/workingclass/conference/2012/

The conference opens the evening of Wednesday June 6 with poetry and music.  The sessions begin Thursday morning and go through Saturday afternoon, June 9.  There are over 50 sessions with almost 200 presentations by participants from 15 countries on all continents but Antarctica – graduate students and senior scholars, artists, union and social movement activists.

Discount registration rates are available through April 30.  

Registration rates rise by about ten percent thereafter.

 

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‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

WALL STREET-INFLATED STUDENT DEBT BUBBLE HITS $1 TRILLION: DEBTORS RALLY FOR RELIEF

By Sarah Jaffe

 

The collective weight of American student debt is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy.

April 24, 2012   

You could call it a bubble, but it’s more like a ball and chain. Bubbles are, after all, light and airy.

The collective weight of American student debt is now over $1 trillion, and that weight is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy. It’s hard to calculate exactly, because the lenders are notoriously unwilling to hand over their data, and with students defaulting at ever-higher rates, interest rates and fees are always changing, adding constantly to the weight of the burden college graduates (and those who didn’t graduate but still have to pay off the loans they took out in more hopeful times) carry.

Around the country, activists are marking the date with actions; in New York, a rally and march will be the centerpiece of what the Occupy Student Debt Campaign has dubbed 1-T day; the day the amount of debt we’re carrying to pay for our education officially got too big to bear silently. The rallies aim to end the isolation that debtors often feel, to bring people together to understand that the problem they have is shared by millions of others—and that it calls for political solutions.

“I think that we in America have become so separated from one another, partially due to this debt,” Pam Brown, an organizer with the Occupy Student Debt Campaign, told AlterNet. “The debt makes us very individual; we can’t afford to help someone else, we can’t afford to spend our time in a way that’s not productive.”

How did we get here, with more student debt than credit card debt, with student loans rising twice as fast as mortgage debt at the height of the housing bubble? Recent graduates face terrifying unemployment numbers—ThinkProgress reported that over half of all college grads under the age of 25 are either jobless or underemployed and median wages for grads with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000—and delinquencies on debt is steadily climbing.

Those are complicated issues, because student lending is a complicated industry, one that highlights the degree to which the government is entwined with Wall Street, and state and federal policy play off one another to push students to ever greater levels of borrowing. As students and debtors rally to shake the stigma off their debt burden and call attention to the involvement of big finance in their education, let’s take a look at the system that led us to a trillion dollars in debt.

The Politics of Debt

You know you have a problem when even Mr. 1 Percent himself, Mitt Romney, is declaring his support for a move to hold student loan interest rates low. “I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of — as a result of student loans, obviously — in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market,” Romney said this week, probably in an attempt to blame President Obama for the lousy conditions young workers are facing. (Romney has also said he supports Paul Ryan’s budget, which allows student loan interest rates to go back up to 6.8 percent from the 3.4 percent current rate for new loans. Ryan’s budget also slashes Pell grants, the government’s method of giving rather than lending money to low-income students.)

On the campaign trail, Obama has pounded the issue by calling for Congress to temporarily extend the low interest rates. Members of Congress have introduced legislation to permanently keep the rate at which the government lends money at 3.4 percent. Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konzcal has noted that the government borrows at a far lower rate than that, which raises the question of why it is not investing more robustly in young people.

Konczal pointed out that the government makes a profit somewhere around 13 percent for each dollar of loans, and because the loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and Social Security payments can even be garnished to make them up, default may even be more profitable for lenders than borrowers making payments on time. There’s almost no risk of losses, which are the reason for high interest in the first place. Keeping interest rates low won’t cost the government money, it will simply cut into its profit margin a little bit. While the big banks that crashed the economy continue to enjoy ultra-low interest rates, there’s no reason to let the rates get any higher.

Original Source, AlterNet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/155133/wall_street-inflated_student_debt_bubble_hits_%241_trillion%3B_debtors_rally_for_relief

Relayed by CCDS Links, April 27 2012

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‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Capitalist Crisis

Capitalist Crisis

CAPITALISM, CRISIS AND ALTERNATIVES

Book Launch with Ozlem Onaran, Sean Thompson and Susan Pashkoff

Meet and hear some of the authors of the new title from Resistance Books:

Ozlem Onaran, Sean Thompson and Susan Pashkoff

WEDNESDAY 2 MAY, 7:30pm

Community Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB

(Kings Cross and Russell Square tubes)

 

Four years on from the start of the crisis, there is no recovery in sight. The Cameron-Clegg government may claim thatBritainis on the mend, but for the 99% of us the prospect for years to come is falling real incomes and insecurity. Meanwhile the Eurozone crisis rumbles on, with no strategy except deep austerity for countries like Italy and Spain, let alone Greece and Portugal.

This new book analyses the crisis in different regions and is a contribution to the debates about alternatives. In addition to a general analysis of the crisis including how it affects women, contributions coverBritain, the European Union, there are also contributions on the eco-socialist alternatives to capitalism.

 

CAPITALISM – CRISIS AND ALTERNATIVES 280 pages, £9 (inc p&p)

Available from Resistance Books, PO Box 62732, London, SW2 9GQ

 

Contents:

WHERE IS THE CRISIS GOING? Michel Husson

THE CRISIS IN BRITAIN, Andy Kilmister

AUSTERITY AND THE LIES THAT IMPOVERISH, Susan Pashkoff

A GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, Sean Thompson

MARXISM AND THE CRISIS, John Rees

A FISCAL CRISIS OR A CRISIS OF DISTRIBUTION? Ozlem Onaran

THE DEBT IN THE NORTH: SOME ALTERNATIVE PATHS, Eric Toussaint

WOMEN’S CRISES, Sandra Ezquerra

EASTERN EUROPEFACED WITH THE CRISIS OF THE SYSTEM, Catherine Samary

CHINA’S RISE AMIDST THE CRISIS, Jean Sanuk

LATIN AMERICA’S CRISIS, Claudio Katz

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM: THE DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION, Eric Toussaint

 

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‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Ruth Rikowski

Ruth Rikowski

STRIKE: ‘GREENWICH LIBRARIES STAFF TO STRIKE OVER GLL TAKEOVER’

“Unite union staff working at Greenwich Council’s libraries are to strike for five days in protest at the council’s decision to hand over the running of its libraries to GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd).

The switch to GLL management is due to take place from Monday 30 April but union representatives fear cuts to workers’ pay and conditions, and are also angry about the lack of consultation over the move.

Strikes will take place on Friday 27th April, Saturday 28th April, Mondy 30th April, Tuesday 1st May, and Friday 11th May.”

For some of the background to this, see Ruth Rikowski’s blog at:  http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/diana-edmonds-head-of-libraries.html

As Ruth Rikowski notes:

“The predictions I outlined in my Globalistion book, ‘Globalisation, Information and Libraries’ (Chandos Publishing: Oxford, 2005) are coming to pass (though later than I originally figured) – libraries gradually being taken out of state control, firstly being run by trusts, charities and voluntary organisations, which paves the way for eventual and total privatisation.

How long will it take before the ‘penny finally drops’? And how much will we have lost in the process and how much poorer will we be, before the ‘penny finally drops’?”

For more information and comments about it all, see: http://853blog.com/2012/04/25/greenwich-libraries-takeover-gll-boss-speaks-out/#comments

Ruth Rikowski (2005) Globalisation, Information and Libraries: The Implications of the World Trade Organisation’s GATS and TRIPS Agreements (Chandos Series for Information Professionals), Oxford: Chandos Publishing

At Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Globalisation-Information-Libraries-Organisations-Professionals/dp/1843340844/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335603744&sr=1-3

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

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

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com