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World Crisis

PAUL MASON: ‘FROM TEHRAN TO MADISON – WHAT IS NEW IN THE GREAT UNREST OF 2011?

Tuesday, 12th April 2011, 11am – 12.15
Venue: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London (Mile End Campus)
Paul Mason is BBC Newsnight’s Economics editor and author of ‘Live Working or Die Fighting – How the Working Class Went Global’ and ‘Meltdown – The End of the Age of Greed.’

Christian Marazzi: ‘The Common and Money’
Wednesday, 13th April 2011, 1pm – 2.45
Venue: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London (Mile End Campus)
Christian Marazzi is Professor and director of socio-economic research at the Scuola Universitaria della Svizzera Italiana and author of ‘The Violence of Financial Capitalism.’

Both events are free and open to all and are part of the 14th Annual Conference of the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN): http://www.busman.qmul.ac.uk/newsandevents/events/items/43116.html

Contact and further info: a.alele@qmul.ac.uk

Maps and directions here: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/about/howtofindus/mileend/index.html
http://www.cfep.org.uk

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Crisis Theory

PAUL MASON VIDEO ON THE GLOBAL WORKING CLASS AND THE CURRENT CRISIS OF CAPITAL

Haymarket author and BBC Newsnight’s Economics Editor Paul Mason appeared Friday morning, September 24, on Democracy Now! (http://www.democracynow.org/).

Mason on Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global

The Census Bureau latest report shows that the numbers of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance have skyrocketed. 43.6 million people-about one in seven-lived below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four in 2009, pushing the national poverty rate to a fifteen-year high of 14.3 percent. We speak with British journalist Paul Mason about his new book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.

The video is at: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/24/paul_mason_on__live_working

Paul Mason is the author of:
Live Working or Die Fighting
How the Working Class Went Global
Haymarket Books
Published: 07/01/2010
978-1-60846-070-0 | $17.00 | Trade Paper
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Live-Working-or-Die-Fighting

—END—

‘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)

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Capitalist Crisis

Capitalist Crisis

ROBERT BRENNER ON THE ORIGINS OF THE CURRENT CRISIS

 

A paper by Robert Brenner (Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, UCLA) on What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Good for America: The Origins of the Current Crisis (18th April 2009) is now available at: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/issr/cstch/papers/BrennerCrisisTodayOctober2009.pdf

 

It’s 74 pages long – so stock up with ink and paper.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Capitalist Crisis

Capitalist Crisis

RICHARD WOLFF – CAPITALISM HITS THE FAN

 

A message from Rick Wolff

Dear Friends

You might find interesting and useful (and especially for teaching purposes) an inexpensive ($18 or less if ordered via http://www.rdwolff.com) new book of short, 1000-word essays on the history and dimensions of the current economic crisis as well as government responses and political implications. The essays were published from 2005 through mid-2009 on the Monthly Review webzine and are here edited with new introductions for maximum clarity, brevity, and accessibility to many audiences. The book can already be ordered and will begin shipment Sept 30, 2009.

Rick Wolff

http://www.rdwolff.com
*********************************

Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It

Richard Wolff

Published 2009 • 6” x 9” • 256 pages • charts ISBN 9781566567848 • paperback • $18.00

A breathtakingly clear analysis that breaks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis

 “With unerring coherence and unequaled breadth of knowledge, Rick Wolff offers a rich and much needed corrective to the views of mainstream economists and pundits. It would be difficult to come away from this… with anything but an acute appreciation of what is needed to get us out of this mess.” —Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education, City University of New York

Capitalism Hits the Fan chronicles one economist’s growing alarm and insights as he watched, from 2005 onwards, the economic crisis build, burst, and then dominate world events. The argument here differs sharply from most other explanations offered by politicians, media commentators, and other academics. Step by step, Professor Wolff shows that deep economic structures—the relationship of wages to profits, of workers to boards of directors, and of debts to income—account for the crisis. The great change in the US economy since the 1970s, as employers stopped the historic rise in US workers’ real wages, set in motion the events that eventually broke the world economy. The crisis resulted from the post-1970s profit explosion, the debt-driven finance-industry expansion, and the sequential stock market and real estate booms and busts. Bailout interventions by the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury have thrown too little money too late at a problem that requires more than money to solve.

As this book shows, we must now ask basic questions about capitalism as a system that has now convulsed the world economy into two great depressions in 75 years (and countless lesser crises, recessions, and cycles in between). The book’s essays engage the long-overdue public discussion about basic structural changes and systemic alternatives  needed not only to fix today’s broken economy but to prevent future crises.

Richard Wolff has been a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst since 1981. He has been a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs, at the New School in New York since 2007. Wolff’s major recent interests and publications include studies of US economic history to ascertain the basic structural causes of the current economic crisis and the examination of how alternative economic theories (neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian) understand and respond to the crisis in very different ways. His past work involves application of advanced class analysis to contemporary global capitalism. He has written, co-authored, and co-edited many books and dozens of scholarly and popular journal articles. His recent analyses of current economic events appear regularly in the webzine of the Monthly Review. In 2009, Capitalism Hits the Fan, the documentary on the current economic crisis, was released by Media Education Foundation (http://www.mediaed.org). Visit http://www.rdwolff.com for more information.

Olive Branch Press
http://www.interlinkbooks.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I: Roots of a System’s Crisis
The Political Pendulum Swings, the Alienation Deepens
Dividing the Conservative Coalition
Economic Inequality and US Politics
Reform vs. Revolution: Settling Accounts
Exit-Poll Revelations
Real Costs of Executives’ Money Grabs
The Decline of Public Higher Education
Reversing the American Dream   
Old Distributions, New Economy (co-author Max Fraad-Wolff)
Today’s Haunting Specter, or What Needs Doing
Twenty Years of Widening Inequality
Neoliberalism in Globalized Trouble
Evading Taxes, Legally
Consumerism: Curses and Causes
Nominating Palin Makes Sense

Part II: The Economics of Crisis
1    Capitalism as a Crisis-Prone System
Capitalism’s Three Oscillations and the US Today
Financial Panics, Then and Now
Neoliberal Globalization Is Not the Problem
Economic Blues
Capitalist Crisis, Marx’s Shadow
Wall Street vs. Main Street: Finger Pointing vs. System Change
Capitalism’s Crisis through a Marxian Lens
It’s the System, Stupid
GM’s Tragedy: The System Strikes Back
Crises in vs. of Capitalism
2    The Role of Economic Theory
Evangelical Economics
Flip-Flops of Economics
3    Markets and Efficiency
Oil and Efficiency Myths
The Rating Horrors and Capitalist “Efficiency”
Market Terrorism
4    Wages, Productivity, and Exploitation
US Pensions: Capitalist Disaster
The Fallout from Falling Wages
Reaping the Economic Whirlwind
Our Sub-Prime Economy
5    Housing and Debt
Personal Debts and US Capitalism
US Housing Boom Goes Bust
What Dream? Americans All Renters Now!
6    Government Intervention in the Economy
 Bernanke Expectations: New Fed Chairman, Same Old, Same Old
Federal Reserve Twists and Turns
As Rome Burned, the Emperor Fiddled
Policies to “Avoid” Economic Crises
Lotteries: Disguised Tax Injustice
7    International Dimensions of the Crisis
Immigration and Class
Global Oil Market Dangers
China Shapes/Shakes World’s Economies
Globalization’s Risks and Costs
Foreign Threat to American Business?
US Economic Slide Threatens Mexico

Part III: Politics of the Crisis
1    Reforms and Regulations as Crisis Solutions
Economic Reforms: Been There, Done That
Regulations Do Not Prevent Capitalist Crises
2    Debates over “Socialist” Solutions
Economic Crisis, Ideological Debates
Socialism’s New American Opportunity
Those Alternative Socialist “Stimulus” Plans
Wanted: Red-Green Alliance for Radically Democratic Reorganization of Production
Capitalist Crisis, Socialist Renewal
3    Anti-Capitalist Politics
Europe: Capitalism and Socialism
The Urban Renewal Scam for New Orleans
France’s Student-Worker Alliance
Lessons of a Left Victory in France
The Minimum Wage, Labor, and Politics
French Elections’ Deeper Meaning
Mass Political Withdrawal
Capitalism Crashes, Politics Changes

Index

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

 

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

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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

 

I See You!

I See You!

SITUATIONS

 

The latest edition of the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination is now out.

 

Vol 3, No 1 (2009)

Table of Contents

Scholarship With a Purpose – Liberation Technology: Marcuse’s Communist Individualism
Alberto Toscano

The Financial Meltdown: Facing the Economic Crisis
Stanley Aronowitz

The Biggest “October Surprise” of All: A World Capitalist Crash
Loren Goldner

Leveraging ourselves out of Crisis – Again!
Aida Sy and Tony Tinker

Class and Political Philosophy
Stanley Aronowitz

Time is on Our Side: Rewriting the Space of Imagination
Eric J Weiner

Leftist Travelogues: The Whole World on a Plate
Susan Willis

 

Situations current issue: http://ojs.gc.cuny.edu/index.php/situations/issue/current

 

Situations Home Page: http://ojs.gc.cuny.edu/index.php/situations/index

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

POLITICS AFTER THE CRASH

FIFTH SOUNDINGS EVENT: POLITICS AFTER THE CRASH
10.30am-4.30pm, Saturday 20 June 2009
120 Belsize Lane, London NW3

(nearest tube stations Belsize Park and Finchley Road)
Speakers include LYNSEY HANLEY, MIKE KENNY (TBC), PAUL MASON, DOREEN MASSEY (TBC), JONATHAN RUTHERFORD, LEANNE WOOD,

As the political fault lines of a new era take shape, what will be the defining politics of the next decade?

In the wake of an era of social dislocation and rapid change one response will be a popular search for belonging and cultural familiarity. Our discussion will explore the popular reactions to the social fragmentation, inequalities and cultural destruction of ways of life that have resulted from the decades of economic restructuring as well as from the recession. This is already evident in the rise of the BNP in certain areas, and the alienation of younger generations from electoral politics. A new political culture will need to articulate the social goods that give security, meaning and value to people: home, family, friendships, good work, locality and imaginary communities of belonging. The way people give priority to these, and the reaction to the threats against them, will shape the post-crash political landscape.

Registration: £25 (includes an excellent lunch).

To reserve a place, go to:  http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/events/seminar5.html
Or send a cheque payable to ‘Soundings’ to FREEPOST, LON 176, London, E9 5BR (no stamp is needed).

Places are limited so early booking is advisable.

TIMETABLE
10.30 – 11.45 Plenary 1: How the forces of global capital have been shaping people’s lives and livelihoods, with Paul Mason and Doreen Massey (tbc)

12pm to 1pm Plenary 2: Culture and belonging in an insecure world
Lynsey Hanley, further speaker tbc

1pm – 2pm lunch

2pm – 3pm
Workshop 1: The appeal of the BNP and how to counter it (speaker tbc)
Workshop 2: Gangs, territory and class (speaker tbc)

3.30 – 4.30pm Closing Plenary: political and policy engagement for a new socialism
Mike Kenny (IPPR) (tbc)
Leanne Woods (Plaid Cymru MWA)
Jonathan Rutherford

For more information on Soundings go to: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/soundings/contents.html

 

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The Rouge Forum – Update 9th April 2009

 

A Message from Rich Gibson

 

Dear Friends:


For those teaching or learning about the current depression, here are some more good sources:

* Lewis Corey’s outstanding 1934 book, Decline of American Capitalism, is online free at:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/corey/1934/decline/index.html
   

* How Goldman Sachs was at the Center of the Oil Trading Fiasco that Bankrupted SemGroup: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0413/096-sachs-semgroup-goldman-goose-oil.html
        

* The auto crisis, likely leading to the bankruptcy of GM (and the end of retiree health benefits, etc.) but this is also an indicator of the power of finance capital over industrial capital and the shift to the corporate state as US society decays: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/business/31assess.html?_r=1&hp
        

* Stiglitz on State Capitalism as Robbing Workers: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/opinion/01stiglitz.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print
        

* Updated interview with John Bellamy Foster: http://democracyandclassstruggle.blogspot.com/2009/03/interview-with-john-bellamy-foster-of.html
        

* Bello’s Primer on the Meltdown: http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/bello031008.html
        

* The Economist on the Huge Fraud Beneath the Fiscal Crisis: Missing the Deeper Fraud; Exploited Labor:
http://rawstory.com//printstory.php?story=15090
        

*Five Million Jobs Lost So Far This Depression: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/business/economy/04jobs.html

Current Developments:

 

* Centinela CalfiorniaTeachers Wildcat Strike:  http://www.dailybreeze.com/latestnews/ci_12034343    

* Al Sharpton and the Ruling Class: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2009/04/pols_press_part.php
        

* Labor Bosses Forge Unity Committee:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/07/AR2009040703222.html The plum here is the dues from 3.5 million education workers, members of the National Education Association who will quickly learn that they are funding yet another layer of enemies.

Criticism of “Progressive” Warmongers:

 

The term “progressive” may have no meaning anymore. If it is Move.on, that means slavish support for the demagogue, Obama. If it is United For Peace and Justice, it means the same thing in shifty terms.  

UFPJ’s recent Wall Street demos,

deliberately set up to counter demands from rank and filers to demonstrate on the anniversary of the war, failed completely. This is nothing to gloat about even though we said, years ago, that following UFPJ would do just this. Still, it is tragic.       

 

Less than 10,000 people demonstrated, down from the one million who hit the streets six years ago. But numbers are not everything. UFPJ trumped that by teaching people nothing at all important about why things are as they are, what to do in order to develop grand strategy (peace, justice, equality, freedom, etc.) or strategy (how to understand specific local circumstances and to seek out choke points where people can use powerful direct action moves) and tactics (particular actions that link these three elements).  

Why would that be? Because UFPJ is run by remnants of the Communist Party USA, people who have never sought to build a mass class conscious movement and who have always fought those who try. The current Rouge Forum News has a very fine article by Tom Suber about the wreckage that UFPJ leadership is creating. http://blogs.ubc.ca/ross/2009/04/rouge-forum-news-issue-13/

Let us be clear. The core issue of our time is accelerating color coded inequality met by the potential of organized mass class conscious resistance. Neither the CP nor UFPJ want any part of that.  

Here is a sampling of UFPJ’s failures:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/04/content_11129335.htm
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jPati7jbLo532dVb5D55XbX9T3bgD97B8IUG0
http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKN0335443120090403

The task at hand is ours. The $10.9 trillion dollars the corporate state just printed for the banks and insurance companies is going to come from the lives and labor of someone. Either it will come from the ruin of hundreds of thousand of poor and working people, or, if we fight back, it can come from the rich. Let them suffer and pay, as they should. The degree of the pain will be determined by the levels of our real resistance in schools, in communities, at work places, and in the military. When they say Cut Back; We should say Fight Back.

This is a critique from Antiwar.com: Progressive Warmongers:

We note with sadness the death of a friend, Janet Jagan:

http://www.rougeforumconference.org/

Rich Gibson

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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