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Social Movments

Social Movments



Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements

Issue 7/1 (November 2015), deadline May 1 2015

Theme editors: Jiří Navrátil, Elizabeth Humphrys, Kevin Lin, Anna Szolucha

The November 2015 issue of the open-access, online, copyleft academic/activist journal Interface: a Journal for and about Social Movements ( invites contributions on the theme of Movements in Post/Socialisms as well as general submissions.

The 20th century saw the establishment of, and experimentation within, socialist states across the globe. These efforts were variously lauded, critiqued, condemned and their ‘socialist’ nature disputed. This call for papers asks about the movements that have come in the wake of the collapse and transformation of these diverse regimes.

A quarter of century ago, a massive wave of political protest shook state socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and Asia. In many countries these events paved the way for far-reaching societal transformation, embedding Western-style capitalist economies and representative democracy. In some locations the existing regimes succeeded in taming the efforts around economic and political liberalisation, in other locations they did not. Social movements were central in these processes and followed different paths, including: they led the transformative events and became part of new elites/regimes/states; they pulled back to the realm of civil society after they initiated regime change; they resisted the efforts for regime change; and they were repressed and demobilised when the regime succeeded in maintaining the status quo.

Not only did movements participate in and resist ‘eventful protests’ in 1989, but they were also influenced by these events in the following decades. Again, different trajectories were observed in different locations. Eastern Europe became dominated by anti-utopian ideologies, which effectively paralysed any attempt for transgressive critiques of the newly established political economic order. Furthermore, the spread of ‘development aid’ for ‘underdeveloped’ post-communist civil societies — provided by United States, European Union and private foundations — contributed to the NGO-isation of civil society organisations and the import and emulation of new forms and agendas of activism. This ‘new’ or ‘proper’ civil society activism started to gain political relevance at the expense of grass-root, radical and other dissident movements.

On the other hand, the rapid economic and political transition of a number of Eastern countries provoked mobilisation — from the episodic global justice and anti-war movements, to mass social solidarity mobilisations that had lasting effects on elites’ strategies for economic and political transformation.

For Asian socialism, the ruling ‘communist’ regimes in Vietnam and China have presided over a transition to capitalist economies while also resisting social movements for political democratisation. Yet the capitalist transition has thrown up social and political contradictions, such as social inequality, abuse of political power, labour exploitation, land dispossession and environmental degradation — all of which have seen the rise of diverse activism and movements. Fearful of autonomous organising, these regimes have kept a tight grip over civil society and independent organisation. Consequently, social movements have to operate under repressive conditions and adopt clandestine and informal organising methods and strategies. Nonetheless, in Vietnam and China, for example, we have seen some of the highest global concentration of autonomous labour organising and strikes in recent years.

Apart from regions where the 1989 events directly took place, their effects spread well beyond. The fall of the Eastern bloc both directly and indirectly affected the political landscape of Western Europe, with old left movements beginning to orient themselves along different ideological principles. Consequences can also be seen in Latin America, with sites of state socialism, such as Cuba, faced with the transformation of the former Eastern bloc as well as internal movements to transform the national political economy — including the repression of those movements. In Venezuela, the new century has seen Hugo Chávez implement a process of socialist reform in the wake of mass social and political movements that brought him to power, a route he called the ‘Bolivarian process’. Related but distinct processes took place in other countries — Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia. Many have called this the socialism of the 21st century, following and diverging from the socialism of the 20th century in the Eastern Bloc and Asia. However, others have criticised such regimes as authoritarian or ‘neo-extractivist’.

For this special themed section of Interface 7/1 we are interested in articles by researchers and activists on the movements and events of 1989, their impacts and trajectories and other questions of post/socialisms. We are seeking standard refereed articles as well as material in other formats, such as: action notes on organising methods; activist biographies; book reviews; conversational roundtables; analyses of movement events; and more. Submissions should be written in such a way as to be of interest or use also to readers outside Eastern Europe or Asia.


Contributions might address such topics as:

– Post/anti/new socialist movements

– New trade unions and labour movements in Asia

– Activism in post/socialist settings

– Memories and visions of socialism/communism in contemporary collective action

– Importing and exporting social movements and activism

– Effects of the fall of state socialisms in Eastern Europe and Asia on other locations

– What is socialism in the 21st century?

– The persistence of social movements during the regime change from state socialism to capitalism

– Movements as regime-builders / movements as regime-breakers

– Comparing Cold War social movements between East and West

– Other questions relevant to the special issue theme


As in every issue, we are also very happy to receive contributions that reflect on other questions for social movement research and practice that fit within the journal’s mission statement (

Submissions should contribute to the journal’s mission as a tool to help our movements learn from each other’s struggles, by developing analyses from specific movement processes and experiences that can be translated into a form useful for other movements.

In this context, we welcome contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research. Our goal is to include material that can be used in a range of ways by movements — in terms of its content, its language, its purpose and its form. We thus seek work in a range of different formats, such as conventional (refereed) articles, review essays, facilitated discussions and interviews, action notes, teaching notes, key documents and analysis, book reviews — and beyond. Both activist and academic peers review research contributions, and other material is sympathetically edited by peers. The editorial process generally is geared towards assisting authors to find ways of expressing their understanding, so that we all can be heard across geographical, social and political distances.

We can accept material in Afrikaans, Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Danish, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Zulu. Please see our editorial contacts page ( for details of who to submit to.

Deadline and contact details

The deadline for initial submissions to this issue, to be published November 1, 2015, is May 1, 2015. For details of how to submit to Interface, please see the “Guidelines for contributors” on our website. All manuscripts, whether on the special theme or other topics, should be sent to the appropriate regional editor, listed on our contacts page. Submission templates are available online via the guidelines page and should be used to ensure correct formatting.



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A Crisis of Capital

A Crisis of Capital




Journal of Australian Political Economy (JAPE) 
Issue no 70, Summer 2012/13!current/c1cok

The special issue includes:

– Introduction by Elizabeth Humphrys and Jonathon Collerson (Guest Editors)
– Mike Beggs on zombie Marx and modern economics
– Humphrey McQueen on the ‘massiness’ of capital and David Harvey
– Thomas Barnes Damien Cahill overview recent Australian scholarship on class
– John Pardy looks at class and schooling in Australia
– Marcus Banks provides a Marxist analysis of Workfare
– Elizabeth Humphrys looks at unfree labour in the early Australian colonies and whether the colonies can be considered ‘capitalist’ from inception
– Mike Donaldson writes on socialist strategy, modes of production and social formations in ‘Capital’
– Thomas Barnes looks at Marxism and informal labour
– Alan Freeman asks how to integrate financialisation into Marxist accounts of the rate of profit
– Jean Parker looks at neoliberalism through the prism of Marx
– Don Munro looks and land and ‘Capital’
– Richard Westra writes on ‘Capital’ as dialectical economic theory
– Andy Higginbottom looks at ‘structure and essence’ in ‘Capital’ Vol 1 — extra surplus-value and the states of capitalism


First published:

 Capitalism 3



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Capital’ Against Capitalism – New Website

Saturday June 25 -Central Sydney

It seems significant, and hardly coincidental, that the impasse that politics fell into after the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the eclipse of Marx and the research project of historical materialism. Social democracy, various left-wing melancholies and/ or the embrace of dead political forms has stood-in for these absent names. Returning to Marx, to Capital and to the various traditions tied-up with these names may present a way to cut across this three-fold deadlock.

The papers at Capital Against Capitalism will respond to contemporary politics from a range of historical materialist perspectives. We want to bring together the theoretical discussions and debates occurring in Capital reading groups, PhD study circles, and Marxist political organisations and networks. Our conjuncture – its manifold crisis – urges new analyses, new strategic orientations and the engagement of activists and academics alike on these questions.

‘Capital’ Against Capitalism:

Provisional Timetable


9.00 – 9.15

9.15 – 10.45
Speaker: Rick Kuhn, on his book, with Tom Bramble, Labor’s Conflict: Big business, workers and the politics of class (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Respondents: Geoffrey Robinson and Tad Tietze

10.45 – 11.00
Short morning tea

11 – 12.30
Roland Boer: ‘The Religion of Everyday Life’: Capital as Fetish
Tamara Prosic: Orthodox Christian Theology and Social Change
Remy Low: Religion and Revolutionary Praxis: Theologies of liberation in retrospect and prospect

Tom Barnes: From ‘surplus populations’ to informal labour: Is Capital relevant to class formation in the Global South?
Paul Rubner: Deciphering the Dialectic in Marx’s Capital
Mike Beggs: Zombie Marx and modern economics

12.30 – 1.15

1.15 – 2.15
Jess Gerrard: Hegemony, Class and Culture
John Pardy: Patterns of schooling in Australia: Toward a historically materialist explanation.

Mark Steven: The Silliest Insurrection: On Marxism and the Marx Brothers
David Lockwood: Marxism and the Bourgeois Revolution

2.15 – 3.45
Jess Whyte: Leaving the ‘Eden of the innate rights of man’: Marx’s Critique of Rights
Richard Bailey: Strategy, rupture, rights: law and resistance in Australian immigration detention
David McInerney: To read and speak the law: Althusser on Montesquieu

Marcus Banks: How does workfare produce value?
Humphrey McQueen: Labour time
Ben Reid: Is there Australian Exceptionalism? Scenarios for capital accumulation and crises after the second great contraction

3.45 – 4.15
Afternoon tea

4.15 – 5.15
Plenary 2 – MARX’S CAPITAL
Speaker: Nicole Pepperell on the key ides of her PhD thesis and forthcoming book on Marx’s Capital (Brill/Historical Materialism Book Series 2011)
Respondent: Dave Eden

5.15 – 5.30
Wrap Up

More information

For more information contact:

Elizabeth Humphrys:  

Jonathon Collerson:

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Social Movements


Interface – A Journal For and About Social Movements


Interface is a new journal produced twice yearly by activists and academics around the world in response to the development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years – and the immense amount of knowledge generated in this process. This knowledge is created across the globe, and in many contexts and a variety of ways, and it constitutes an incredibly valuable resource for the further development of social movements. Interface responds to this need, as a tool to help our movements learn from each other’s struggles, by developing analyses and knowledge that allow lessons to be learned from specific movement processes and experiences and translated into a form useful for other movements.

We welcome contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research. Our goal is to include material that can be used in a range of ways by movements – in terms of its content, its language, its purpose and its form. We are seeking work in a range of different formats, such as conventional articles, review essays, facilitated discussions and interviews, action notes, teaching notes, key documents and analysis, book reviews – and beyond. Both activist and academic peers review research contributions, and other material is sympathetically edited by peers. The editorial process generally will be geared towards assisting authors to find ways of expressing their understanding, so that we all can be heard across geographical, social and political distances.

Our third issue, to be published in May 2010, will have space for general articles on all aspects of understanding social movements, as well as a special themed section on crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations.


“In every country the process is different, although the content is the same. And the content is the crisis of the ruling class’s hegemony, which occurs either because the ruling class has failed in some major political undertaking, for which it has requested, or forcibly extracted, the consent of broad masses … or because huge masses … have passed suddenly from a state of political passivity to a certain activity, and put forward demands which taken together, albeit not organically formulated, add up to a revolution. A “crisis of authority” is spoken of: this is precisely the crisis of hegemony, or general crisis of the state”

So wrote the Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci from behind the walls of Mussolini’s prison, in his famous notes on “State and Civil Society”. His words aptly describe the trajectory of crises in modern history – these are periods when the wheels of economic growth and expansion grind to a halt, when traditional political loyalties melt away, and, crucially, when ruling classes find themselves confronted with popular movements that no longer accept the terms of their rule, and that seek to create alternative social orders.

The clashes between elite projects and popular movements that are at the heart of any “crisis of hegemony” generate thoroughgoing processes of economic, social and political change – these may be reforms that bear the imprint of popular demands, and they may also be changes that reflect the implementation of elite designs. Most importantly, however, crises are typically also those moments when social movements and subaltern groups are able to push the limits of what they previously thought it was possible to achieve in terms of effecting progressive change – it is this dynamic which lies at the heart of revolutionary transformations.

Gramsci himself witnessed, organised within and wrote during the breakdown of liberal capitalism and bourgeois democracy in the 1910s through to the 1930s. This was a conjuncture when tendencies towards stagnation in capitalist accumulation generated the horrors of the First World War and the Great Depression. Movements of workers and colonized peoples threatened the rule of capital and empires, old and new, and elites turned to repressive strategies like fascism in an attempt to secure the continuation of their dominance.

Today social movements are once again having to do their organizing and mobilizing work in the context of economic crisis, one that is arguably of similar proportions to that witnessed by Gramsci, and a political crisis that runs just as deep. The current crisis emerged from the collapse of the US housing market, revealing an intricate web of unsustainable debt and “toxic assets” whose tentacles reached every corner of the global economy. More than just a destruction of “fictitious capital”, the crisis has propelled a breakdown of world industrial production and trade, driving millions of working families to the brink and beyond. And, far from being a one-off, this crisis is the latest and worst in a series of collapses starting with the stock market crash of 1987, the chronic stagnation of the once all-powerful Japanese economy, the Asian financial meltdown of 1997 and the bursting of the bubble.

The current conjuncture throws into question the fundamentals of the neoliberal project that has been pursued by global elites and transnational institutions over the past three decades. Taking aim at reversing the victories won by popular movements in the aftermath of the Second World War, neoliberalism transferred wealth from popular classes to global elites on a grand scale. The neoliberal project of privatizing the public sector and commodifying public goods, rolling back the welfare states, promoting tax cuts for the rich, manipulating economic crises in the global South and deregulating the world’s financial markets continued unabated through the 1980s and 1990s.

As presaged by Gramsci, neoliberal policies have whittled away the material concessions that underpinned social consensus. Ours is a conjuncture in which global political elites have failed in an undertaking for which they sought popular consent, and as a consequence, popular masses have passed from political passivity to a certain activity.

Since the middle of the 1990s, we have seen the development of large-scale popular movements in several parts of the globe, along with a series of revolutionary situations or transformations in various countries, as well as unprecedented levels of international coordination and alliance-building between movements and direct challenges not only to national but to global power structures. The first stirrings of this activity were in the rise of the Zapatistas in Mexico, the water wars in Bolivia, and the protests on the streets of Seattle. On a global scale we saw dissent explode in the form of opposition to the wars waged by the US on Afghanistan and Iraq. In terms of sheer numbers, the mobilisation of against the latter invasion was the largest political protest ever undertaken, leading the New York Times to call the anti-war movement the world’s “second superpower”.

Each country has had its own movements, and a particular character to how they have moved against the neoliberal project. And for some time many have observed that these campaigns, initiatives and movements are not isolated occurrences, but part of a wider global movement for justice in the face of the neoliberal project. An explosion of analysis looking at these events and movements has occurred in the academic world, matched only by extensive argument and debate within the movements themselves.

In this issue of Interface, we encourage submissions that explore the relationship between crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations in general and the character of the current crisis and how social movements across different regions have related and responded to it in particular. Some of the questions we want to explore are as follows:

– What are the characteristics of the current economic and political crisis, what roles do social movements – from above and below – play in its dynamics, and how does it compare to the political economy of previous cycles of crises and struggle?

– What has been the role played by social movements in moments of crisis in modern history, and what lessons can contemporary popular movements learn from these experiences?

– What kinds of qualitative/quantitative shift in popular mobilisation we might expect to see in a “revolutionary wave”?

– Are crises – and in particular our current crisis – characterized by substantial competitions between different kinds of movements from below? How does such a dynamic affect the capacity to effect radical change?

– What goals do social movements set themselves in context of crisis and what kinds of movement are theoretically or historically capable of bringing about a transformed society?

– What are the criteria of success that activists operate with in terms of the forms of change social movements can achieve in the current conjuncture?

– Is revolutionary transformation a feasible option at present? Is revolution a goal among contemporary social movements?

– What are the characteristic features of elite deployment of coercive strategies when their hegemony is unravelling?

– How have global elites responded to the current crisis in terms of resort to coercion and consent? Have neoliberal elites been successful in trying to reestablish their legitimacy and delegitimizing opponents?

– Are we witnessing any bids for hegemony from elite groups outside the domain of Atlantic neoliberalism?

– How is coercion in its various forms impacting on contemporary social movements and the politics of global justice?

The deadline for contributions for the third issue is January 1, 2010.

Please contact the appropriate editor if you are thinking of submitting an article. You can access the journal and get further details at:

Interface is programmatically multilingual: at present we can accept and review submissions in Afrikaans, Catalan, Croatian, Danish, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Maltese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Zulu. We are also willing to try and find suitable referees for submissions in other languages, but cannot guarantee that at this point.

We are also very much looking for activists or academics interested in becoming part of Interface, particularly with the African, South Asian, Spanish-speaking Latin American, East and Central European, Mediterranean, Oceanian and North American groups.

Editorial contacts

Interface is not a traditional, centralised journal with a single key editor! Because we are a global journal, and movements (and their relationships to academia) are organised so differently in different parts of the world, the basic structure of the journal is as a network of regional or linguistically-defined groups, each of which organises its own editorial processes and tries to find an appropriate way of working with its own local realities. Articles and queries should go to the contact person listed below for the relevant region:

Movements in Africa: Please submit papers in Zulu, Afrikaans or English to Richard Pithouse; in English to Mammo Muchie; and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves

Movements in the Arab world: Please submit papers in Arabic or English to Rana Barakat or Abdul-Rahim al-Shaikh; or in Arabic, English, German or Hebrew to Magid Shihade

Movements in Central and South America: Please submit papers in Spanish to Sara Motta or Adriana Causa and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves

Movements in Eastern Europe: Please submit papers in Croatian, English, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian or Turkish to Steffen Böhm or Andrejs Berdnikovs

Movements in North America: Please submit papers in English to Ray Sin or Lesley Wood

Movements in South Asia: Please submit papers in English to Alf Nilsen . We are currently looking for another regional editor to work with Alf.

Movements in Southeast Asia and Oceania: Please submit papers in English to Elizabeth Humphrys, in Spanish to Cristina Flesher Fominaya and in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves

Movements in Western Europe:
Please submit papers:
* in English to Cristina Flesher Fominaya or Laurence Cox or
* in French or Italian to Laurence Cox or
* in German to Steffen Böhm or Laurence Cox
* in Portuguese to Ana Margarida Esteves
* in Spanish to Cristina Flesher Fominaya
* We can also accept papers in Catalan, Maltese and Norwegian: please contact Laurence Cox in relation to these.

Transnational Movements:
Please submit papers in English, Dutch, French and Spanish or with special reference to labour or social forums, to Peter Waterman; in English, with special reference to dialogue-based movements, to Richard Moore; in Arabic, English, German or Hebrew to Magid Shihade; or in English, French, Italian or German to Laurence Cox

Book reviews: In English: please contact Aileen O’Carroll

Movements in Central Asia and East Asia: We are hoping to expand our intellectual and linguistic capacity to include these areas, but at present do not have sufficient editorial expertise to review papers on movements in these regions. Expressions of interest from potential regional editors, willing to help assemble a regional subgroup of academics and activists to review papers on movements in any of these regions, are very welcome.

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