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Social Justice

MATERIALIST FEMINISMS IN AN AGE OF NEOLIBERALISM

Materialist Feminisms in an age of Neoliberalism; or, Would the critique of patriarchal capitalism please stand up?

A special issue of the online journal Politics and Culture (http://www.politicsandculture.org)

***Please Note: In addition to article-length contributions, we also solicit shorter interventions, provocations, or position papers (1500-2000 words) for two themed discussions 1) experiences and direction from elders in this work and 2) experiences and demands from junior scholars.

Liberal inclusion. Globalization and neoliberal crisis. Neoconservative backlash. We know that feminism has had many lives. We are especially attuned to the forms of imperialist, settler and liberal “feminism” that have motivated a great many social projects, most recently the ostensible concern over the status of women in Afghanistan that has played so well as a rationale for war. And yet, we live amidst a rapidly accelerating culture of neoliberal individualism, combined with the virulent cult of persecuted white masculinity that marks the neoconservative shift, the backlash against supposed minority gains, and the dogged attack by the state and corporate elite on the material and social protections won through decades of struggle. The need for anti-capitalist feminist foment has never been so dire.

From early noted thinkers such as Lucy B. Parsons, Rosa Luxembourg and Emma Goldman, to Marxist Feminist scholars such as Maria Mies, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Giovanna Dalla Costa, Angela Davis and Sylvia Federici, to anti-racist and anti-colonialist scholars such as bell hooks, Himani Bannerji, Patricia Monture Angus, Vandana Shiva, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Andrea Smith, to theorists such as Zillah Eisenstein, Wendy Brown, and Nancy Fraser, “structuralist” or “materialist” feminisms draw a lineage that views economics, capitalism and political struggles specifically through the lenses of gender, race and class, and anti-imperialist, anti-patriarchal, anti-heteronormative and anti-racist agendas. While the distinctions are far too subtle and complex to enumerate here, critical to Marxist, socialist, anarchist, materialist and other kinds of structuralist feminism is the notion that ending gender-based oppression requires (among other things) a reckoning of capitalist, colonial and patriarchal histories and organizations of power. We invite a forward-looking conversation that draws trajectories in the body of work we might broadly think of as structural or materialist feminisms.

Topics for consideration may include:
* In a neoliberal age in which the ecological collapse wreaked by capitalism’s rapacious appetite appears as an urgent horizon framing cultural politics, what is to be gained or lost by prioritizing gender as a category of analysis? What is the task ahead for materialist feminism?
* The contemporary backlash
* Where is the work of structural feminism taking place? Do you observe or practice it in the university, in the streets, in your creative work, in your everyday life relations and survival?
* Identity politics vs. anti-capitalist struggle: whose schism?
* Women and the gift, women for the land, women and the spirit
* Queer materialisms
* Is there a materialist feminism outside of struggle? And is there a struggle?
* From “Marxist feminism” to transnational, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial feminist?  There is a story that has been told many ways many times and yet not told nearly enough: history and future of structural feminisms? Revisiting feminist theory, women’s studies, institutionalization, ghettoization, backlash, disciplinarity

****In addition to article-length contributions, we also solicit shorter interventions or provocations (1500-2000 words) for two themed discussions 1) experiences and direction from elders in this work and 2) experiences and demands from junior scholars.

Please send 200 word abstracts and/or short queries to Alyson McCready (alyson.mccready@gmail.com) or Mary Ellen Campbell (campbeme@mcmaster.ca) by April 1st, 2011.

Submissions will be expected May 15th, 2011.
 
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Feminism

Rosa Luxemburg

ROSA LUXEMBURG AND THE CRITIQUE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY

Rosa Luxemburg and the Critique of Political Economy
Edited by Riccardo Bellofiore

This book analyzes the important contributions of Rosa Luxemburg to economic theory as well as devoting some space to her background as a left social-democratic politician and her personality.

The book’s main focus of attention is the theory of capitalist development and the theory of the crash, but its connection with the theory of value, the theory of the monetary circuit, the theory of distribution and the theory of international finance are also explored.

The contributors to the volume come from different theoretical perspectives, both from within and outside the Marxian tradition – Post-Keynesians, Kaleckians and Circuitists are all included.

Table of Contents

Rosa Luxemburg and the Critique of Political Economy, edited by Riccardo Bellofiore, Routledge Studies in the History of Economics, Routledge: Thirteen papers discuss Rosa Luxemburg’s contribution to Marxian critical political economy.

Papers explore:

Rosa Luxemburg’s on capitalist dynamics, distribution and effective demand crises (Riccardo Bellofiore);

Luxemburg’s critique of Karl Marx’s schemes of reproduction–a re-evaluation and a possible generalization (Meghnad Desai and Roberto Veneziani);

Where does the money and demand come from?–Rosa Luxemburg and the Marxian reproduction schema (Andrew B. Trigg);

The monetary circuit of capital in the Anti-Critique (Riccardo Bellofiore);

Late Marx and Luxemburg–opening a development within political economy (Paul Zarembka);

Rosa Luxemburg and finance (Jan Toporowski);

Economics, politics, and crisis theory–Luxemburg, Bukharin, and Grossmann on the limits of capital (Paul Mattick);

Luxemburg’s and Kalecki’s theories and visions of capitalist dynamics (Tadeusz Kowalik);

Imperialism today (Joseph Halevi);

Rosa Luxemburg on imperialism–some issues of substance and method (Roberto Veneziani);

Rosa Luxemburg’s The Accumulation of Capital: East and West (He Ping);

A very political political economist– Rosa Luxemburg’s theory of wages (Michael R. Kraetke);

Rosa Luxemburg on trade unions and the party–the polemics with Kautsky and Lenin—an assessment (Andrea Panaccione); and

Luxemburg–the woman, the revolutionary (Edoarda Masi).

Index

Riccardo Bellofiore is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Bergamo and Research Associate with the Centre for the History and Methodology of Economics at the University of Amsterdam.

June 2009: 216pp | Hardback: 978-0-415-40570-6 £70.00 DISCOUNTED PRICE: £56.00 €66.00

For more information visit: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415405706/

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Peter McLaren

WHAT DOES MARXIST-HUMANISM MEAN FOR TODAY?

Announcing an open forum in Chicago on…

What Does Marxist-Humanism Mean for Today?

Celebrating the Centenary of Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1987)

As the global crisis of capitalism deepens, so too does the search for alternatives to it. This brings to life the contributions of Raya Dunayevskaya, an uncompromising critique of capitalism in both its “free market” and statist forms. Born in Ukraine in 1910, she was Leon Trotsky’s Russian-language secretary during his exile in Mexico. After breaking from him, she developed the analysis of the USSR as a “state-capitalist” society, published the first English translation of parts of Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, and from the 1950s through the 1980s developed the philosophy of Marxist-Humanism in a number of path breaking works. Join us for a discussion of how her ideas speak to issues now being debated by feminists, critical race theorists, and many others searching for new pathways to liberation.

Convenor: Lauren Langman, Sociology, Loyola University

Chair: Marilyn Nissim-Sabat, author, Neither Victim nor Survivor: Thinking Toward a New Humanity

Speakers:

Peter McLaren, author, Life in Schools, University of California, Los Angeles

David Schweickart, author, After Capitalism, Loyola University

Sandra Rein, author, Reading Dunayevskaya: Engaging the Emergence of Marxist-Humanism, University of Alberta

Ba Karang, writer for Africa-Links, West Africa

Kevin Anderson, author, Marx at the Margins, University of California at Santa Barbara

Peter Hudis, co-editor, The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, Loyola University

Friday July 2
6:30 p.m.
Corboy Law Center
25 East Pearson, Room 0211 (1 block north of Chicago Ave; ½ block east of State St.)

Sponsored by Loyola University Department of Sociology and the U.S. Marxist-Humanists

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Cold Hands & Quarter Moon Profile: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/cold-hands-quarter-moon/

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Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski 

Raya Dunayevskaya

Daniel Bensaid

DANIEL BENSAID – OBITUARY

Daniel Bensaïd obituary
French philosopher and leading figure in the events of 1968
   
By Tariq Ali

The Guardian, 14th January 2010

Online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/14/daniel-bensaid-obituary

The French philosopher Daniel Bensaïd, who has died aged 63 of cancer, was one of the most gifted Marxist intellectuals of his generation. In 1968, together with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, he helped to form the Mouvement du 22 Mars (the 22 March Movement), the organisation that helped to detonate the uprising that shook France in May and June of that year. Bensaïd was at his best explaining ideas to large crowds of students and workers. He could hold an audience spellbound, as I witnessed in his native Toulouse in 1969, when we shared a platform at a rally of 10,000 people to support Alain Krivine, one of the leaders of the uprising, in his presidential campaign, standing for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR).

Bensaïd’s penetrating analysis was never presented in a patronising way, whatever the composition of the audience. His ideas derived from classical Marxism – Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, as was typical in those days – but his way of looking at and presenting them was his own. His philosophical and political writings have a lyrical ring – at particularly tedious central committee meetings, he could often be seen immersed in Proust – and resist easy translation into English.

As a leader of the LCR and the Fourth International, to which it was affiliated, Bensaïd travelled a great deal to South America, especially Brazil, and played an important part in helping to organise the Workers Party (PT) currently in power there under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. An imprudent sexual encounter shortened Bensaïd’s life. He contracted Aids and, for the last 16 years, was dependent on the drugs that kept him going, with fatal side-effects: a cancer that finally killed him.

Physically, he became a shadow of his former self, but the intellect was not affected and he produced more than a dozen books on politics and philosophy. He wrote of his Jewishness and that of many other comrades and how this had never led him, or most of them, to follow the path of a blind and unthinking Zionism. He disliked identity politics and his last two books – Fragments Mécréants (An Unbeliever’s Discourse, 2005) and Eloge de la Politique Profane (In Praise of Secular Politics, 2008) – explained how this had become a substitute for serious critical thought.

He was France’s leading Marxist public intellectual, much in demand on talkshows and writing essays and reviews in Le Monde and Libération. At a time when a large section of the French intelligentsia had shifted its terrain and embraced neoliberalism, Bensaïd remained steadfast, but without a trace of dogma. Even in the 1960s he had avoided leftwing cliches and thought creatively, often questioning the verities of the far left.

He was schooled at the lycées Bellevue and Fermat in Toulouse, but the formative influence was that of his parents and their milieu. His father, Haim Bensaïd, was a Sephardic Jew from a poor family in Algeria and moved from Mascara to Oran, where he got a job as a waiter in a cafe, but soon discovered his real vocation. He trained as a boxer, becoming the welterweight champion of north Africa.

Daniel’s mother, Marthe Starck, was a strong and energetic Frenchwoman from a working-class family in Blois, central France. At 18 she moved to Oran. She met the boxer and fell in love. The French colons were shocked and tried hard to persuade her not to marry a Jew. She was bound to get VD and have abnormal children, they said.

With France occupied by the Germans and a bulk of the country’s elite in collaborationist mode with its capital at Vichy, the French colonial administration fell into line. As a Jew, Daniel’s father was arrested, but he managed to escape from the PoW camp, and rashly decided to go to Toulouse, where Marthe helped him obtain false papers. Armed with a new identity, he bought a bistro, Le Bar des Amis. Unlike his two brothers, who were killed during the occupation, he survived, thanks largely to his wife, who had an official Vichy certificate stating her “non-membership of the Jewish race”.

In his affecting memoir, Une Lente Impatience (2004), Daniel noted that these barbarities had taken place on French soil only a few decades prior to 1968. Le Bar des Amis, he wrote, was a cosmopolitan location frequented by Spanish refugees, Italian antifascists, former resistance fighters and a variety of workers, with the local Communist party branch holding its meetings there too. Given his mother’s fierce republican and Jacobin views (when a relative, after a French television programme on the British monarchy, expressed doubts about the guillotining of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Marthe did not speak to her for 10 years), it would have been odd if young Bensaïd had become a monarchist.

Angered by the massacre of Algerians at the Métro Charonne in 1961 (ordered by Maurice Papon, chief of police and a former Nazi collaborator), he joined the Union of Communist Students, but soon became irritated by party orthodoxy and joined a left opposition within the union organised by Henri Weber (currently a Socialist party senator in the upper house) and Alain Krivine. The Cuban revolution and Che Guevara’s odyssey did the rest. The dissidents were expelled from the party in 1966.

That same year, Bensaïd was admitted to the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Saint-Cloud and moved to Paris. Here he helped found the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR), young dissidents inspired by Guevara and Trotsky, which later morphed into the LCR.

The last time I met him, a few years ago, in his favourite cafe in Paris’s Latin Quarter, he was in full flow. The disease had not sapped his will to live or to think. Politics was his lifeblood. We talked about social unrest in France and whether it would be enough to bring about serious change. He shrugged his shoulders. “Perhaps not in our lifetimes, but we carry on fighting. What else is there to do?”

Daniel Bensaïd, philosopher, born 25 March 1946; died 12 January 2010

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Rosa Luxembourg

ROSA LUXEMBOURG’S POLITICAL ECONOMY

CALL FOR PAPERS

Rosa Luxemburg’s Political Economy: Contributions to Contemporary Political Theory and Practice

A Special Issue of Socialist Studies: Journal of the Society for Socialist Studies

Fall 2010

Since her assassination, Rosa Luxemburg has been treated as an icon while her political and theoretical work is largely forgotten, neglected, or rejected. Recently, though, David Harvey used her ideas on capitalist expansion to explain the new imperialism. Other elements of her work are promising for socialist studies and the left, today. Her analysis of mass strikes in Russia in 1905, for example, may cast new light on workers’ struggles in China. Luxemburg’s critical discussion of nations’ right to self-determination inform, or ought to inform, contemporary Latin American struggles against imperialist domination. Her writings on mass strikes, parties and trade unions, like her better-known writings on ‘social reform or revolution’, offer insights into the role of (weakly) organized labour in political change. Although Luxemburg didn’t engage much with women’s issues directly, her work and its reception nonetheless have an important gender dimension. In particular, feminist women scholars have been quicker to recognize Luxemburg’s contributions to socialist political economy than their male colleagues.

This call invites articles on Luxemburg’s political economy, assessing her contributions to socialist debates in light of current political challenges. Papers may consider the implications of her work for contemporary anti-imperialist struggle, the dynamics of worker organization and progressive political change, and feminist scholarship within the left, or any other topic concerning Luxemburg’s theoretical and political contributions to socialist political economy and political struggle.  In keeping with the Socialist Studies mandate, perspectives from all disciplines are welcome.

Deadline: May 30, 2010. Please see: http://www.socialiststudies.com for information about submissions (word count, format, etc.).

Contact Ingo Schmidt: ingos@athabascau.ca, special issue coordinator

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Raya Dunayevskaya

Raya Dunayevskaya

KEVIN ANDERSON WEBSITE

 

Kevin Anderson has just launched his new website. I have been reading and following his work for some time. You can view Kevin’s new site at: http://www.kevin-anderson.com/

Glenn Rikowski

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