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Socialism and Hope

SOCIETY FOR SOCIALIST STUDIES

New Scholars Session
Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Fredericton, Canada 31 May – 03 June 2011

Call for Papers

The most recent crisis of capital poses an immense set of challenges. Neoliberalism is deepening, chronic hunger is widespread and ecological degradation continues apace. Opportunities have nevertheless emerged. Student movements are organizing across Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, while creative projects and struggles are proliferating across the world.

To make sense of all of this, the Society of Socialist Studies invites graduate students to submit paper proposals for the New Scholars Session at the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Submissions are welcome from those who have yet to complete their Masters degree. Perspectives from a wide array of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields are welcome, including history, political science and sociology, among others. Paper topics are encouraged from socialist, feminist, anti-racist and ecological points of view. Paper proposals could be in any of these areas, as well as on topics relating to the Society’s theme, “Continental Shifts, Divisions, and Solidarities.”

The theme marks an attempt to grapple with global shifting and fragmentation of capital and power. Like other changes in the past, “Continental Shifts, Divisions, and Solidarities” is an attempt to challenge to the ways we understand the world(s) around us. This is a time to rethink established epistemologies, theories and underlying philosophies.

Please submit abstracts (maximum of 100 words) by January 31, 2011 to: Matthew Brett, New Scholars chair, brett.matthew@yahoo.ca   

Contact Matthew for more information, or visit http://www.socialiststudies.ca

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Global Economy

THE POLITICS OF LABOUR AND DEVELOPMENT

The Global Labour University is pleased to announce a call for papers for the 2011 conference on “The Politics of Labour and Development” to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 28 to 30, 2011.

The global economic crisis has had a particularly hard-hitting impact on working people, their families and communities throughout the world. What is more, they also face an environmental crisis that is closely linked to the economic crisis. Together, these crises have intensified the dispossession of the commons (including both local resources and public goods such as health and education), the informalisation of labour, unemployment, national and global social inequality, and the “slummification” of cities.  Declining biodiversity, climate change and pollution are evidence of the impact of the crisis on the planet itself. Environmental degradation threatens viable livelihoods and endangers public health. Meanwhile the market imperatives get defining power over daily life, business interests tighten their stranglehold on the state logic and power is transferred to supranational institutions with limited democratic accountability, simultaneously narrowing electoral choices, and increasingly restrictions on protest.

Labour, as a key social force of the excluded majority, has a crucial role to play in countering the destructive logics of capitalism.  The politics of labour is about altering the balance of power away from capital and unelected bureaucracies toward labour and broader society.  The politics of labour is also about overcoming the multiple relations of power and oppression, including the economic, political, gender, ethnic and cultural, that contributes to and reproduce the power of the few and the subordination of the many. This has the
following dimensions:

1)      The workplace imperative: Labour’s attempts to reverse the declining wage share and extract as much of the social surplus created through mobilisation for higher wages and better working conditions, as can be seen in the recent strike wave in South Africa and other parts of the world. This is especially important as rising inequality has devastating effects on society, as more and more people are pushed to margins of production and consumption patterns.  For example, this includes issues of the distribution of productivity growth, minimum wages and basic income grants as well as policy issues of taxation and redistribution.

2)      New forms of power or leverage: With rising unemployment and increasing numbers of workers pushed into precarious forms of work, traditional sources of power are eroded, but new forms of power are being explored, often by the most marginalized and sectors traditionally ignored by labour movements.  Labour’s links to other social forces is crucial here.  This also raises questions about who constitutes the working class, with wider understandings of labour increasingly finding salience in innovative movements around the world.  The development of transnational linkages and networks is also an important dimension to the development of new forms of power and leverage.

3)      The policy imperative: Labour’s attempts, often in alliance with other groups in civil society, to pressure governments to  increase the social wage (public health, education, transport, housing, etc.), increase employment and change economic (and slowly environmental) policy accordingly.  For example, what would a “green new deal” look like? We also encourage papers that look at the conversion of industrial production into alternative forms of production and consumption as well as papers looking at ecological issues.

What are the most effective ways to develop pro-working class policy? Corporatism seems to have spread, rather than declined, in the neo-liberal era: what is its balance sheet?

4)      Political parties, alliances and trade union organizations, and political power: Labour’s attempts to directly alter the balance of state power, either

a.      through alliances with ruling political parties,

b.      through the reorganization of trade union organizations and strategies,

c.      through the development of alternative organizations and alliances with other movements in civil society, or

d.      through building movements that refuse to participate in the state, but are willing to pressure it for reforms.

This raises questions about the role of labour—as a reforming force, as a legitimating function that hinders more radical challenges to state power, or as a central actor in building an alternative to the destructive logic of capitalist development.  The nature of political alliances and forms of mobilizing are vital issues that are being experimented on in various regions of the world (e.g., many movements in Latin America, South Korean marginalized workers, etc.). It also raises questions about international approaches to global governance.

5)      The economic imperative. Within the neoliberal framework, competitiveness becomes more aggressive and self-destructing through currency manipulation, quantitative easing, wage dumping, trade barriers, devaluation etc. Is there space for economic policy nationally and internationally that avoids the disadvantages of a competitive race to the bottom or a retreat in isolated economic nationalism?

6)      Alternative forms of production, consumption and redistribution: This raises questions about what are alternative forms of production and consumption.  For example, worker cooperatives, microcredit / microfinance projects (including its problems for informal sector workers), local agricultural production, and solidarity economy alternatives have emerged around the world.

We welcome submissions for papers on any of these themes.  While we  encourage submission of papers that broadly fit into the themes, we will also consider papers that do not fit directly into one of the themes as long as they address the broad focus of the conference. The GLU encourages policy orientated research and therefore welcomes submissions that not only analyses the problem, but also offer some policy initiatives and solutions for debate.

Please send a one page abstract (which includes your methodological approach) by January 30, 2011 to Pulane Ditlhake at Glu.SouthAfrica@wits.ac.za  and Michelle Williams at michelle.williams@wits.ac.za

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Civilization

CIVILIZATION CRISIS OR CRISIS OF CAPITAL?

IV Seminar Cemarx – UNEB

Civilization Crisis or Crisis of Capital?
Date – 09 to 12 November 2010

Venue – Auditorium Aduneb
Campus of the University of Bahia-UNEB, Brazil: http://www.uneb.br

Day 09:11:10
Opening conference – 14:30
The Marxist Reflection About the Current Impasses
Prof. Virginia Fontes (UFF / Fiocruz)

Day 10:11:10
Table 01 – 14:00
State, Power and Social Conflicts

Milton Pinheiro (UNEB / PUC-SP)
Marcelo BUZETTO (MST / ENFF)
Jairo Pinheiro (UNESP)

Day 11:11:10
Table 02 – 14:00
Imperialism, Globalisation and Crisis

Sofia Manzano (USJT / UNICAMP)
Marcelo Fernandes (UFRRJ)
Muniz Ferreira (UFBA)

Day 12:11:10
Table 03 – 14:00
Civilization or Barbarism

Mauro Iasi (UFRJ / ICP)
Lúcio Flávio R. de Almeida (PUC-SP)
Osmar Moreira (UNEB)

Promotion: Cemarx / Uneb

Sponsor: Institute Caio Prado Jr. (ICP) and CMMG

Coordination:

Milton Pinheiro (Uneb)
Muniz Ferreira (UFBA)
Ricardo Moreno (Uneb)

Release of books and magazines:

Brasil e o capital-imperialismo
Virginia Fontes
Ed EPSJV / UFRJ Editora Fiocruz and

Outubro e as experiências socialistas do século XX
Milton Pinheiro (Org.)
Ed Quarteto

Revista Novos Temas (ICP)
Number 02

Revista Lutas Sociais (NEILS)
Number 24

For more details: sofiamanzano@hotmail.com

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Karl Marx

MARXIST PERSPECTIVES ON IRISH SOCIETY CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

University of Limerick

October 22nd – 23rd 2010

Supported by:

The Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS)

The Department of Sociology

The Department of History

The Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies  

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The Postgraduate Student Association Programme

Friday October 22nd, ROOM SR3006 (Schrodinger Building)

11:00: Conference Opening Address – Professor Helena Sheehan

11.30: Plenary – Dr. Kieran Allen (Deptartment of Sociology, UCD)

Aftershock:  Ireland’s Economic Crash and the Global Recession

Abstract

The people of Ireland have suffered one of the worst declines in living standards of an industrialised country since the Second World War.  Yet its elite are being hailed as pioneers of a revived neo-liberalism. When other governments were embarking on stimulus programmes in a half hearted return to Keynesianism, Ireland boldly adopted a strategy of wage cuts and public sector reduction. It boasted that it was able to do so without significant social upheaval. This example was used by other countries, who subsequently adopted a deficit reduction strategy after the last G20 meeting.

This paper argues that the Irish government’s strategy has, in fact, been a failure and that the long term prospects for Irish capitalism are bleak.  Ironically, its own example of a ‘successful’ austerity will help to reduce the very export markets that it pinned its hopes on. The bank bail outs were designed to buttress support for capturing a niche market in global financial services. This, however, is only a further recipe for leaving the country open to more financial turbulence.  The much hailed knowledge economy will be undermined by lower levels of investment in education. In reality it is intimately tied to maintaining FDI from the pharmaceutical industry but this is by no me means guaranteed.

The paper finishes by suggesting that the current global crisis will be protracted. Capitalism has entered a major systemic crisis and, due to the concentration and centralisation of capital, re-structuring via a crash has become more difficult. In this situation serious imbalances between different economies are also likely to increase state tension. The only viable alternative strategy has become resistance.

Chair: Dr Eoin Devereux

12.40– 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 14.50: Session I

Chair: Dr. Tadhg O’ hIfearnain

1. Dr. Andy Story (UCD):  The Great Gas Giveaway – The Political Economy of Plunder

2. Dr. Tom Turner (UL): Are Capital & Labour interests reconcilable under Market Capitalism? An Empirical Test.

3. Professor Terence McDonough (NUI Galway): The Celtic Tiger and its Crisis: A Social Structure of Accumulation Analysis

14:50-15:00: Short Break

15.00 – 16.20: Session II

Chair: Dr. John Logan

1. Terry Dunne (MIC): Class and Collective Action in Pre-Famine Ireland.

2. Stephen Ryan (UL): Class Conflict in Drumsna.

3. John McAnulty (Socialist Democracy Ireland): The Hunger Strikes – A defeat for Republicanism, a defeat for the working-class.

16:20-16:30: Short Break

16.30 – 17.50: Session III

Chair: Odette Clarke

1. Paul O’ Brien (ILHS): Marxism, History, and Culture: 1930 -1945.

2. Dominic Haugh (NUI Galway): A Lost Opportunity – The potential for Socialist Revolution in Ireland 1917 – 1922 and the role of Marxism in the workers movement during this period.

3. D. R. O’ Connor Lysaght (Socialist Democracy Ireland): The coming Revolution in Ireland.

Scholars Club

Saturday October 23rd

ROOM C1063 (Charles Parsons Theatre, Main Building)

10.00: Plenary – Professor Dave Hill (School of Arts & Education, Middlesex University)

Neoliberal/ Neoconservative Capitalist Globalisation, The Current Crisis, and Resisting the Capitalist Class War from Above in Ireland and other countries  in Western Europe.

Abstract

This paper puts forward a Marxist critique of neoliberal/ neoconservative capitalist globalization and its varying impacts. The paper develops from the series of books (Education and Neoliberalism, edited by Dave Hill) published by Routledge in 2009. I represent the analyses and findings of those books and develop them in the light of the 2008-2010 financial and legitimacy crises of neoliberal capitalism, and developing resistance to `the cuts’ in, and assault on, workers’ rights, pay and social wage/ benefits, across the capitalist world, and in Britain and Ireland.

The paper examines neoliberal impacts on equality, equal opportunities and access to schooling and education; impacts on democracy/democratic control of schools and education; impacts on critical thinking, and analytical skills among students and teachers/ lecturers; and impacts on the rights/pay and condition of education workers- in particular those in private sector schools and universities in spaces vacated by state provision.

I contest the legitimacy of neoliberalising government policy and its subordination to and participation in the neoliberal project of global capital, a project encompassing what David Harvey (2005) calls “the class war from above” (see also Dumenil and Levy, 2004), using what Naomi Klein (2007) has described as shock and awe’ tactics to `sell’ —the diversion and appropriation of welfare funding and wages into the pockets of a small minority of the super-rich, `the masters of the universe’, the capitalist class.

The current crisis of capital accumulation, as predicted by Marx and Engels [1847], and as amplified now in the current (2008-2010) crisis of Capital- is having amplified impacts across the capitalist world, for example in England and Wales, in France, in Portugal, in Greece- and , very notably, in Ireland. These encompass reductions in public expenditure (the social wage, including public/ state educational provision) as well as reductions in the actual wage of workers. These are capitalist responses to `paying for the bankers’ crisis.   The current crisis has led and, it is argued, will lead to the intensification of the extraction   of surplus value, the progressing global immiseration of workers, and the intensification of control of populations by ideological and repressive state apparatuses (Althusser, 1971; Greaves, Hill and Maisuria, 2007).

The paper concludes by examining forms and organisation of resistance to the `class war from above’, including past and current models and actions, and discussing the united front and popular front strategies, parliamentarism and direct action (Socialist Worker, 2010; Taaffe and Mulhearn, 2010; The Socialist, 2010; Trotsky, 1922).

Chair: Professor Helena Sheehan

11.10 – 11.30: Tea / Coffee Break

11.30 – 12.50: Session IV

Chair: Gabriella Hanrahan

1. Jean Bridgeman (NUI Maynooth): A matter of trust – “The politics of working-class self education”.

2. Kieran McNulty (People Before Profit): How does the Social Model of Disability challenge the notion of charity? 

3. Dr. Eamonn Slater (NUI Maynooth): Marx on Economic Distress and the State’s inability to alleviate that distress (among the wine growers of the Moselle region of the 1840s).

LUNCH: 12.50 -13.40

13.40 – 14.50: Plenary – Clare Daly (Socialist Party)

Privatisation – A disaster for workers & the economy?

Abstract

As the government gears up to sell off the state’s economic jewels, a barrage of propaganda will be unleashed to say that these assets are a drain on the economy, a luxury we can’t afford, a handy way of generating funds, and are crucial to improving our economic competitiveness. Meanwhile they bring into public ownership, the debts and liabilities of irresponsible banks. The legacy of Eircom and Aer Lingus has valuable lessons in the battle ahead against privatisation in order to defend public services, jobs and conditions.

Chair: Dr. Carmen Kuhling

14:50-15:10: Tea / Coffee Break

15.10 – 16.30: Session V

Chair: Dr. Joachim Fischer

1. Jill Wharton (Rice University USA): Seamus Heaney – Poetics of the Postcolonial?

2. Dr. Sinead Kennedy (NUI Maynooth): From Repudiation to Reconciliation – Marxism and Irish Modernism.

3. Professor Conleth Hussey (UL): Suppression of the Chromatic Rebellion – Mathematics in the Service of Universal Human Emancipation

16.30 – 16.50: Tea / Coffee Break

16.50 – 18.00: Plenary – Professor Hillel Ticktin (Critique)

Global Crisis and Dependent economies, like Ireland, in the Context of a Declining Capitalism

Abstract

This article argues that the logic of the present depression is one of disintegration. The logic is clear even if dismal. During a crisis the poles of the contradiction pull apart- use-value from exchange value, sale from purchase, department one from department two, and one sector from another. Unless there is a resolution to the crisis, for which none can be foreseen the logic is one of disintegration. The parts of the economy and society will continue to pull apart and be reflected and refracted in national and geographic disintegration. Nationalism, as opposed to a struggle against a national oppressor, in this context plays a reactionary role.

The only way out, for the whole population, is for the workers to become not just a class but the universal class, both socially and geographically.

Ireland is not an emerging country but it is a small country dependent on Anglo-American capital and Euro subsidies, which shares its subordinate role with those of the former colonies. It is now obvious that we are in a depression. The dynamics of capitalism are given by its dominant imperial power, its financial capitalist hegemon, the United States, and it is clearly in decline itself. Decline of capitalism and crisis are closely intertwined even at a superficial level. In a global context there is only one finance capitalist power, with Britain as a junior partner. The remainder of developed capitalist countries are subordinate. Although there is an industrial division of labour, it is still controlled by a few countries, the United States and Germany in particular. Given de facto world overproduction of crucial items like cars and today even of computers, other relatively industrialised countries are forced to find particular subordinated and de-industrializing roles. The concept of inter-imperialist rivalry used by some who hearken back to the days before 1914 has little purchase on reality.

The present crisis presents itself as a huge agglomeration of surplus capital, unable to find profitable outlets, acceptable to capital itself. The essential barrier remains- the fear that reflation will strengthen the working class. On the one side there is an ever bigger surplus of capital which cannot be invested and on the other increasing levels of unemployment. Marx’s famous statement about the greater the growth of capital, the greater the growth of surplus labour has now been extended to a global level.

Capital, itself, has no solution other than cutting the public sector, which can only intensify the downturn. The idea that emerging markets, so called, will pull the world out of the downturn is a chimera. Finance capital and its political offspring, neo-liberalism no longer have the same force. If economic forces cannot hold the system together the ruling class will use more authoritarian methods.

Chair: Dr Micheál O’ Flynn

Conference Link: http://limerickmarxistreadinggroup.webs.com

END

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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Andrew Kiliman

ANDREW KLIMAN ON CAUSES AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE CAPITALIST CRISIS

July 8th London Forum

Andrew Kliman speaks on the Capitalist Crisis

Andrew Kliman, author of ‘Reclaiming Marx’s Capital’, will be giving a talk in London on Wednesday 8th on ’causes and implications of the capitalist crisis’. The meeting takes place from 8pm at the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, near King’s Cross.

See: http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/july-8th-london-forum-kliman-speaks-on-the-capitalist-crisis/

Kliman, a member of the USA’s Marxist-Humanist Initiative, has argued that we have to see the current crisis as part of a wider structural crisis of capital, and moreover has argued that statist and Keynesian solutions to the crisis are a dead end for the working class. See our October interview with him here.

The meeting is being jointly hosted by The Commune and The Hobgoblin group.

Plenty of time for discussion

All welcome

Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more information

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Capitalist Crisis

CRISIS OF CAPITAL, CRISIS OF THEORY

A conference sponsored by Routledge

***************
Call for Papers
***************

Crisis of Capital, Crisis of Theory is the first in a series of student-organized conferences on heterodox political economy, seeking to develop new ways of understanding capitalism and power.

The conference, to be held Oct. 29 to 31 at York, will have a dual theme: to investigate the global financial crisis and to use the crisis to probe alternative theoretical frameworks in political economy.

Recent events have given political economists plenty to talk about: the bursting of the real estate “bubble”, the bailout of Wall Street, the collapse of global exports and more. Not only were most theorists unable to foresee the crisis and adequately explain its particularities and implications, they continue to employ concepts and categories that ha ve long-since been challenged.

The conference organizers believe there is great need for new ideas, concepts and analyses, and welcome both panels and individual papers. Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to casp.york@gmail.com by June 30.

FULL TEXT: http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/281/

***

Recent additions and updates to the Bichler & Nitzan Archives: http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/perl/latest

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Globalisation

Globalisation

THE GLOBALISATION LECTURES AT SOAS

 

THE GLOBALISATION LECTURES, 2009-2010
Organised by the Department of Development Studies
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
University of London
Convenor: Professor Gilbert Achcar

Tuesday 27 October, 6:30pm – Logan Hall, Institute of Education

CRISES AND THE UNIPOLAR MOMENT

PROFESSOR NOAM CHOMSKY
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Co-sponsored by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (SOAS)
Information at http://www.soas.ac.uk/events/event52739.html

Wednesday 25 November, 6:30pm – Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

THE AMERICAN EMPIRE IN LIGHT OF THE GLOBAL CRISIS – A DEBATE BETWEEN PROFESSOR ALEX CALLINICOS Director of the Centre for European Studies, King’s College London, and PROFESSOR LEO PANITCH, Distinguished Research Professor, York University, Toronto

Wednesday 27 January, 6:30pm – Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

FOR A GREEN AND JUST WAY OUT OF THE GLOBAL CRISIS

DR. SUSAN GEORGE
Board Chair of the Transnational Institute (tni.org)

Wednesday 3 March, 6:30pm – Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

HUMANITARIANISM AT THE RISK OF IMPERIALISM

DR. RONY BRAUMAN
Former President of 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winner Doctors without Borders (MSF, Paris)


Gilbert Achcar
Professor of Development Studies & International Relations
University of London – School of Oriental and African Studies
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
Phone +44 (0)20 7898 4557
Fax     +44 (0)20 7898 4759
http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff30529.php

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