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Tag Archives: Social Democracy

Punk Embrace


A project in collaboration with East East: Partnership Beyond Borders Program
Metelkova, Ljubljana, 27th April – 2nd May 2011

Self-Management: The aim of the school will be to explore the relevance of the concept of workers’ self-management today – in a contradictory historical moment, when the search for an alternative to a capitalist mode of production is becoming more and more urgent and when there are self-management experiments emerging in places, where capitalist organization of production had the most devastating consequences (for example during Argentina’s financial collapse or in the deindustrialized zones of China and Russia), while at the same time capital itself tries to both cut the costs of management and to discipline the work force by utilizing certain technologies of organization of production reminiscent of self-management – and to critically examine the history of theories and practices of self-management, especially its Yugoslav version.

Main topics of the School: Yugoslav self-management: Was Yugoslav self-management a part of or an alternative to actually-existing socialisms? What was the relation between the workers’ councils movement in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslav self-management? What were the theoretical and political foundations of Yugoslav self-management? What was the relation between various failed European uprisings, based on workers’ self-management, before the Second World War and strivings for self-management in Eastern European socialism after the war?

Self-management today: Theory and practice of workers’ takeovers of factories and companies in Latin America and postsocialist countries, self-management as a part of Bolivarian ‘socialism for 21st century’, social-democratic and corporatist models of self-management (Sweden, Spain, Japan), autonomous communities and autonomous zones.

Theories of self-management: Self-management and Marx/Marxism, relations between socialist economic theories and social regimes on the one hand and self-management on the other, polemical engagements between Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin and between humanist Marxism and dialectical materialists, the role of the concept of class struggle in theories of self-management.

Politics of self-management: Communism as an association of free producers (self-management as a basic form of organization of communist society), the question of abolishment of classes and the state (self-management as a form of post-class and unhierarchical organization of production), the question of party and political representation (self-management as a form of also political and not only economical organization), the question of democracy (and economic democracy).


Working languages of the school will be ex-YU languages and English.

Each speaker will have 30 minutes available for a talk and 10 for a discussion.

Submission guidelines: submissions for presentations should include paper abstracts of max. 200 words, half a page CV, affiliation and contact details.

Submissions deadline: submissions of abstracts are expected by April 10, 2011.

Acceptance decisions will be communicated to the submitters by April 20, 2011.

We especially encourage participants from Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans to apply.

Travel and accommodation costs will be covered for the selected participants (all the details will be communicated after the selection directly with the selected participants).

Please send inquiries to:


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

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Marketisation of Higher Education


Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

Markets and the Limits of Democracy: two talks by Colin Leys

At a time of rapid and controversial reform of Britain’s public sector, Goldsmiths’ Centre for the study of Global Media and Democracy organizes two public talks with Colin Leys (Goldsmiths and Queens University, Ontario). Professor Leys is the author of Market-Driven Politics (Verso 2000) and the co-author with Stewart Player of The Plot Against the NHS (Merlin 2011) and Confuse and Conceal: The NHS and Independent Treatment Centres (Merlin 2008).

Thursday 3 March 2011 – The Plot against the NHS
Without putting choice to the electorate or the parliament the coalition government is reforming the NHS to achieve an ‘improved productivity and efficiency’. Is the UK heading towards a privatised US-style healthcare market?

Karen Jennings of UNISON will be responding to Professor Leys’ talk.
6.30-8pm Richard Hoggart Building (Main Building) Room 309

Thursday 10 March 2011 – Why was Karl Polanyi wrong? Have we seen the last of social democracy?
Taking the debate to a broader historical and theoretical level, this talk discusses Karl Polanyi’s view in 1944 that capital would never again be allowed to be ‘self-regulating’: is the truth the opposite, that capital will never again be regulated by collective political action?

Gareth Dale of Brunel University and Fran Tonkiss from LSE will be responding to Professor Leys’ talk.
5.30-7pm Richard Hoggart Building (Main Building) Room 309

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Capitalist Trickle Down


A Call for Papers for the First Annual Conference of the Journal of Twentieth Century Communism
Venue: University of Glamorgan (South Wales, UK)
Date: Friday 1 and Saturday 2 July 2011

Conference Remit
The study of communist parties globally has, perhaps inevitably, always involved finding a balance between overarching relationships with Moscow and the specific influences of a diversity of local environments in which the individual parties functioned. While recognising the importance of the former, this conference aims to address the extent to which national and sub-nation political, social and cultural traditions and developments, crises and continuities shaped the character of ‘world communism’.

Among the themes the conference aims to explore are:

·      The political cultures national parties operated within
·      Relations with other political movements: from social democracy to fascism, from trade unions to paramilitary movements
·      Communist narratives and approaches toward the ‘crisis of  capitalism’
·      The emergence of ‘little Stalins’ at local level
·      The emergence of ‘Little Moscow’s’ locally
·      Movement and regime phases of national parties
·      Location within or break from national traditions
·      Seminal generational experiences
·      Psychological approaches to communist motivation
·      Patterns of gender relations
·      Local propaganda and representations of the party and its ‘enemies’, from Social Democracy to Fascism
·      Relations between ‘local’ communist leaders and Moscow

Comparative approaches to these areas – and others – are especially welcome.

Proposals for Papers:
The conference welcomes papers with an interdisciplinary approach. Please send proposals of no more than 500 words outlining a twenty minute paper to Dr Norry LaPorte:

Deadline: Friday 21 January 2011

Programme and Fees
The conference programme will be published in January 2011. The conference fee, payable by all speakers and attendees, will be in the region of £50.00 for both days and £30.00 for one day.

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A World To Win

A World To Win


Soundings 45 is now out

Although the cuts are coming, there has been an eerie political calm and sense of inevitability about all that is in store for us (carefully nurtured by the Coalition and their allies in the media). But the storm will break – people are going to start seriously suffering and we need to ensure that there is a political battle against the assault planned by the government. Can Labour lead this battle?


The political struggle ahead
Doreen Massey

Labour in a time of coalition
Sally Davison, Stuart Hall, Michael Rustin, Jonathan Rutherford

What comes after New Labour?
Gerry Hassan

The SNP and the ‘new politics’
Richard Thompson

Rebuilding social democracy
George Irvin

Greek myths
Duncan Weldon

Money manager capitalism and the global financial crisis
L. Randall Wray

Carbon trading: how it works and why it fails
Oscar Reyes and Tamra Gilbertson

Why I am a socialist
Ruth Levitas

Smile till it hurts
Laurie Penny

Lives on the line
Vron Ware

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David Cameron


Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

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Dialectics of Class Struggle in the Global Economy

Dialectics of Class Struggle in the Global Economy

Clark Everling

(Routledge, 2010)

Dialectics of Class Struggle restores Marx’s emphasis on class struggle as the dialectics of human social production. Humans’ reproduction makes them subjects for their activities in two forms:

* Their objective forms (e.g., capitalists and workers), which are necessary to their reproduction as classes, and

* Their social forms (e.g., shared urban existence), in which they are subjects within social production in certain cooperative ways.

This is a dialectical relation, a social opposition and unity that inheres in the same individuals at the same time. Western Marxism and Social Democracy only repeat the positive categories necessary to the reproduction of classes.

Much ink has been spilled in attempts to prove that humans are only animals and are, like other species, only aggressive. Marx distinguishes both class and cooperative relations as inorganic: humans create their subjectivity through their mutual social production. They build upon previous forms of social production and, with capitalism, become not only an opposition of classes, but have the capacity for urban individualism and cooperation.

Dialectics of Class Struggle examines the historical development of classes from ancient times to present. It analyzes the development of ancient slavery into feudalism and the latter into capitalism. It focuses upon the laws and limits of capitalist development, the contradictions inherent in the capitalist state, and revolutions in the twentieth century and the possibilities for human freedom that they revealed. It concludes with an examination of class struggles in the global economy and shows the human deprivations as well as the human possibilities.

Clark Everling is Professor Emeritus at Empire State College at the State University of New York, USA.

Contents: 1.   Marx’s method 2.   Marxist theory: from class struggle to political economy 3.   Pre-capitalist social formations 4.   Capitalism and social production 5.   Capitalist state and society 6.   Imperialism and world wars 7.   The dialectics of world working class struggle 8.   International working class revolution 9.   Globalization and class struggle 10.  Dialectics of the present struggle: the laws of capitalist development

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Online debate on the future of social democracy in Europe

Dear All

The text below was written by Jonathan Rutherford, of the journal Soundings.

People are invited to:-

”Contribute to a major online debate about the future of social democracy in Europe. The debate is hosted by Social Europe journal and Soundings journal and is supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Compass

Contributions should be no more than 700 words in length. The debate is running from November to January 2010 with over 50 contributors to date from across Europe.

If anyone would like to contribute, can they contact Jonathan Rutherford at: and I will send them further information and a deadline.

The poor results in the European elections in June were proof that we need to revive and reinvent our traditions. Since then the elections in Germany have delivered a terrible result for the SPD and in Britain the Labour Party faces a very difficult future. Change is essential. But what kind of change?

In April 2009 Andrea Nahles of the SPD in Germany and Jon Cruddas of the British Labour Party jointly published a document ‘Building the Good Society’ which was launched in London and Berlin. It brought together social democrats from Germany and Britain to discuss a new direction for social democracy in Europe. The next stage is to use this exploratory text to build a pan-European network of social democrats who are looking ahead to build the good society.

Contributors are asked to critically engage with the text and to use their expertise and knowledge to explore the key issues facing us today, both from the perspective of their own nation and from a wider European view.

The aim of ‘Building the Good Society’ is to help create an European wide conversation about the future of social democracy. This debate will contribute to a conference organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Compass which will be held in London in January 2010. It will bring together politicians of the left from across Europe.

Best wishes, Jonathan Rutherford

For “The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space” network website:

For Radical Politics Today magazine:

For more on the book What is radical politics today?, published in 2009 by Palgrave MacMillan:

Jonathan Pugh
Senior Academic Fellow
Director “The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space” network
School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
5th Floor Claremont Tower
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Honorary Fellow, The Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster

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