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Call for Papers

Crisis & Critique of the State
Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference 2013
25 – 26 October 2013, Goldsmiths, University of London

Keynote Speakers:
Sara Farris, Goldsmiths, University of London
Bob Jessop, Lancaster University
Massimiliano Tomba, University of Padua

The ongoing crisis poses the question of state and democracy anew. While many commentators mourn the vanishing sovereignty of the state in the face of financial markets and globalisation, and declare our times to be post-democratic, their nostalgic image of the glorious days of democracy and sovereignty as bulwarks against capitalism is profoundly problematic. We consider it therefore not only necessary to discuss the question of the state and democracy again, but with Negri we could even say that “there must be a structural theory of the State-capital-society relationship and a political strategy adequate to the structural character of these interrelations.”

Revisit concepts and discussions…
The goal of the conference is to debate critical materialist notions of the state, which do not fall back into vulgar conceptions that see the state simply as the tool of the ruling class, but also refuse the common liberal position in which the state becomes the mere mediator of conflicting interests. We consider Poulantzas’s notion of the state as “the specific material condensation of a relationship of forces among classes and class fractions” to be a fruitful starting point. From Poulantzas’s perspective, which critically incorporates Althusser’s earlier attempt to complexify a materialist concept of the state, the state is the product of existing power relations; however, it can gain a relative autonomy from those structures and in turn transform them. That is also the backdrop against which democracy within capitalist societies can be discussed productively. But the question of democracy goes beyond the analysis of the existing: philosophical, social and empirical notions of democracy, sovereignty and the political are key to any present discussion of emancipatory politics.

…to address questions of the present.
We want to tie in with existing materialist conceptions and critiques of the state and think through their relevance to the present. What does it mean for the state to be the “ideal collective capitalist” (Engels) in times of the economic crisis? Is there a notion of the state that we should defend and what would it look like? What is a feminist critique of the state in the face of the crisis (of reproduction)? These are only a few of the many questions we hope to discuss from various disciplinary, theoretical as well as empirical, perspectives.

Topics include but are not limited to:
– (materialist) state theories
– state-form, sovereignty and the law
– the crisis and critique of democracy, representation and popular sovereignty
– critiques of the nation state, citizenship and immigration policies
– the state and race
– feminist critiques of the state
– governmentality / management and resistance in the economic crisis
– the politics of austerity and their cultural and economic implications
– the role of the state and political economy
– (post-)politics and the political
– the relationship between democracy, populism and fascism
– revolution and the state
– the relation of philosophy and politics vis-à-vis the state
– violence, repression and the state: “policing the crisis”
– state & the commons

The call is primarily addressed to postgraduate students, young researchers, activists, etc. We plan to have panels with academics from Goldsmiths and other universities responding to the presentations.
Please send abstracts of not more than 500 words to by Monday, 29th of July 2013. We also invite proposals for possible panels.


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Capitalist Crisis


The Crisis in Europe: Depression economics –social crisis – state policy –alternatives

International workshop by transform! europe
Vienna, 15th/16th January 2010

Please see: 


Friday, January 15th


Welcome and opening by Elisabeth Gauthier (transform! europe)


Joachim Bischoff (editor of the monthly review Sozialismus): Overaccumulation of capital: what does it mean for the understanding of the current crisis?

14.45–15.00h : Break


Bob Jessop (Lancaster University): The role of the state today: internationalization and the nation state

16.30–17.00h: Break


Francisco Louça (Lisbon, tbc): Europe in the world economic crisis: comeback of Keynesian politics or launching of a ‘financial coup d’état’ (D. Harvey)?

Interventions by Euclides Tsakolotos (University of Athens), Peter Fleissner (Univ. prof. em., Vienna), Jiri Malek (transform!Czech Republic) and others (Spain, Italy…)

Saturday, January 16th


Maria Karamessini (University Pantheion, Athens): The social crisis in Europe: politics of precariousness or shift to a new social model of regulation

Interventions by Stephen Bouquin (University Amiens France), Asbjörn Wahl (Norway, Trade unionist, tbc), Lutz Brangsch (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin)

11.30–12.00h: Break


What are the lessons of the crisis and how can they be communicated?

Proposals and projects of ‘the left of the left’

Round table with: Thomas Händel (MEP) Jürgen Klute (MEP) Miguel Portas (MEP) Francis Wurtz (former leader of GUE/NGL in EP)

Inputs from transform!, European Left Party and members of GUE/NGL-Group

Walter Baier (transform!) is chairing the debate

Languages: English, German, French

Important: registration until December, 20th via E-Mail: transform!
Gußhausstraße 14/3, A-1040 Wien

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Rethinking Imperialism

Rethinking Imperialism



Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist RulePalgrave-Macmillan 2009


By John Milios, and Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos

For over a century, “imperialism” has been a key concept in Left theory and politics, connoting both the aggressiveness and the characteristics of modern capitalism. This book aims at presenting and assessing imperialism as a theoretical concept. Since a variety of different definitions are assigned to the concept of imperialism, it is necessary to put to the test the rigour of these definitions. The authors of this volume provide a comprehensive evaluation, focusing especially on the tension between Marx’s theoretical system of the Critique of Political Economy and the theories of capitalist expansion and domination that emerge out of the various discourses on imperialism.

The book critically reviews all major (classical and contemporary) theories of imperialism. The authors embark on a critical interrogation of all innovations introduced into theoretical Marxism by theories of imperialism (for example those concerning the stages of historical evolution of capitalism, the capitalist state, internationalization of capital, crises etc.). They show that most of these theories deviate from the theoretical system formulated by Marx, especially in Capital and his other mature economic writings.

Furthermore, these theories seem to poorly interpret historical development. Is there a theory of the capitalist state to justify the thesis that the collapse of colonialism after World War II is so insignificant to the periodization of international capitalist relations (or “global capitalism”) that the “final stage” of capitalism commencing in the last decades of the 19th century is arguably still continuing? To pose the same question differently: on what theoretical grounds can the “early” colonialism, as opposed to the late colonial era (from the late 19th century to World War II), be bracketed off as a distinct period in the history of capitalism? On grounds of Marx’s theory of the CMP this period now has to be revisited. Why does the second colonial period have more affinities with the present-day non-colonial post-World War II era than with the era of early colonialism? Last but not least, is there a tendency towards expansionism that is innate in every form of capitalist domination, i.e. also in the less developed capitalist states that are not to be classified as being in the supposedly “ripe” or “monopoly capitalist” stage?

The authors propose a conceptualization of the international level which comes into a striking contrast with the majority of contemporary approaches of globalization or “new imperialism”. Their interpretation perceives the international level as a complex interlinkage of different (national-state) economic and social structures, each of which evolves at a different and unequal rate as a result primarily of the different class and political correlation of forces that have crystallized within it.

The book addresses the contemporary contradictions and trends of development of the “international capitalist system” and the evolving global economic crisis, formulating a fundamental reinterpretation of imperialism. Important in this line of reasoning remains the notion of imperialist chain, which is formulated in accordance with Marx’s concept of social capital and his theory of the capitalist mode of production. It thus defends the thesis that internal-national relationships and processes always have priority over international relations.

It is precisely the fundamental discovery of Marxism that the class struggle (which is at the same time economic, political and ideological and is thus consummated within each national-state entity) is the driving force of history. It is through these class correlations and relations of domination that international relations, with all the concomitant interdependence on other social formations, take effect. If imperialism is a permanent possibility emerging out of the structures of the capitalist mode of production, the historical form it will ultimately acquire for a particular social formation depends on the way in which the “external” situation (that is to say the international correlation of forces) over-determines but also constrains the practices that emerge out of the evolution of the internal class correlations.

* Classical Theories of Imperialism: A New Interpretation of Capitalist Rule, Expansionism, Capital Export, the Periodization and the “Decline” of Capitalism.
* Post World-War II “Metropolis-Periphery” Theories of Imperialism.
* Theories of Imperialism as Alternatives to Classical and Metropolis-Periphery Approaches.
* The State as a Vehicle of both Capitalist Expansionism and Decolonization: Historical Evidence and Theoretical Questions.
*Capitalist Mode of Production and Social Formation: Conclusions Concerning the Organization of Capitalist Power.
* Capitalist Mode of Production and Monopolies.
* Is Imperialism the Latest Stage of Capitalism? Reflections on the Question of Periodization of Capitalism and Stages of Capitalist Development.
* Internationalisation of Capital.
* Financialization: Market Discipline or Capital Discipline?
* The “Global” Level and the Concept of Imperialist Chain.
Epilogue: Rethinking Imperialism and Capitalist Rule.

John Milios, is Professor of Political Economy and the History of Economic Thought at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. He has authored more than two hundred (200) papers published or forthcoming in refereed journals (in Greek, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish), and has participated as invited speaker in numerous international conferences. He has also authored or co-authored some eleven scholarly books. He is director of the quarterly journal of economic theory Thesseis (published since 1982 in Greek) and serves on the Editorial Boards of several scholarly journals.

Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos is Visiting Lecturer of Political Economy at the Department of Sociology, University of the Aegean, Greece. He has published papers in refereed journals (in Greek, English and German). His research interests include: theories of Political Economy, theories of Imperialism, theory of Value and Money. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the quarterly journal of economic and political theory Thesseis (published since 1982 in Greek).

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Wall Street

Wall Street



A special lecture by
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, 25 November 2009, 14:00 – 16:30
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, dozens of walls have been erected between and within nation-states. Why? What are these walls doing–materially, performatively, symbolically? What is their relationship to the erosion of state sovereignty? What is the nature of state and popular investments in them, especially when they don’t ‘work’?

Professor Brown’s lecture will include responses from:

Professor Stuart Elden, Department of Geography, Durham University
Dr Raia Prokhovnik, Department of Politics and International Studies, Open University.

A reception will follow this event from 4.30pm onwards.

All are welcome; attendees should RSVP to Sarah Batt at

Further details, including a flyer for the event, can be seen at:

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