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WALL STREET-INFLATED STUDENT DEBT BUBBLE HITS $1 TRILLION: DEBTORS RALLY FOR RELIEF

By Sarah Jaffe

 

The collective weight of American student debt is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy.

April 24, 2012   

You could call it a bubble, but it’s more like a ball and chain. Bubbles are, after all, light and airy.

The collective weight of American student debt is now over $1 trillion, and that weight is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy. It’s hard to calculate exactly, because the lenders are notoriously unwilling to hand over their data, and with students defaulting at ever-higher rates, interest rates and fees are always changing, adding constantly to the weight of the burden college graduates (and those who didn’t graduate but still have to pay off the loans they took out in more hopeful times) carry.

Around the country, activists are marking the date with actions; in New York, a rally and march will be the centerpiece of what the Occupy Student Debt Campaign has dubbed 1-T day; the day the amount of debt we’re carrying to pay for our education officially got too big to bear silently. The rallies aim to end the isolation that debtors often feel, to bring people together to understand that the problem they have is shared by millions of others—and that it calls for political solutions.

“I think that we in America have become so separated from one another, partially due to this debt,” Pam Brown, an organizer with the Occupy Student Debt Campaign, told AlterNet. “The debt makes us very individual; we can’t afford to help someone else, we can’t afford to spend our time in a way that’s not productive.”

How did we get here, with more student debt than credit card debt, with student loans rising twice as fast as mortgage debt at the height of the housing bubble? Recent graduates face terrifying unemployment numbers—ThinkProgress reported that over half of all college grads under the age of 25 are either jobless or underemployed and median wages for grads with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000—and delinquencies on debt is steadily climbing.

Those are complicated issues, because student lending is a complicated industry, one that highlights the degree to which the government is entwined with Wall Street, and state and federal policy play off one another to push students to ever greater levels of borrowing. As students and debtors rally to shake the stigma off their debt burden and call attention to the involvement of big finance in their education, let’s take a look at the system that led us to a trillion dollars in debt.

The Politics of Debt

You know you have a problem when even Mr. 1 Percent himself, Mitt Romney, is declaring his support for a move to hold student loan interest rates low. “I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of — as a result of student loans, obviously — in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market,” Romney said this week, probably in an attempt to blame President Obama for the lousy conditions young workers are facing. (Romney has also said he supports Paul Ryan’s budget, which allows student loan interest rates to go back up to 6.8 percent from the 3.4 percent current rate for new loans. Ryan’s budget also slashes Pell grants, the government’s method of giving rather than lending money to low-income students.)

On the campaign trail, Obama has pounded the issue by calling for Congress to temporarily extend the low interest rates. Members of Congress have introduced legislation to permanently keep the rate at which the government lends money at 3.4 percent. Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konzcal has noted that the government borrows at a far lower rate than that, which raises the question of why it is not investing more robustly in young people.

Konczal pointed out that the government makes a profit somewhere around 13 percent for each dollar of loans, and because the loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and Social Security payments can even be garnished to make them up, default may even be more profitable for lenders than borrowers making payments on time. There’s almost no risk of losses, which are the reason for high interest in the first place. Keeping interest rates low won’t cost the government money, it will simply cut into its profit margin a little bit. While the big banks that crashed the economy continue to enjoy ultra-low interest rates, there’s no reason to let the rates get any higher.

Original Source, AlterNet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/155133/wall_street-inflated_student_debt_bubble_hits_%241_trillion%3B_debtors_rally_for_relief

Relayed by CCDS Links, April 27 2012

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‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Utopia

Utopia

DYSTOPIA AND GLOBAL REBELLION

Dystopia and Global Rebellion

Global Studies Association of North America Annual Conference

4-6 May 2012

Universityof Victoria,Vancouver Island, Canada

(Co-sponsored by of the VP of Research, Dean of Social Sciences, and Centre for Global Studies)

Social crisis shakes Europe and the U.S., anti-immigration movements grow, nuclear meltdown radiates Japan, while spreading drought and floods are billboards for global warming.  It seems the future has arrived and it doesn’t look good.

Yet democratic movements spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East, youth movements come alive in the U.K., France, Chile and Spain, rebellion takes to the streets in Greece, and Occupy Wall Street wakes up the U.S. Dystopia and global rebellion indeed. This year’s conference theme focuses our attention on the problems and alternatives we face in our struggle for a just and better world.

Keynote Speakers and Panels:

“Economic Crisis and the Working Class: re-thinking class struggle” — Gary Teeple

“Anti-Globalization or Alter-Globalization? Mapping the Political Ideology of the Global Justice Movement” — Manfred B. Steger.

“Crisis of the Human Condition: Global Rebellion Hits the Wall” — Paul James.

“Building the Counter-Hegemonic Bloc to Neo-Liberal Dystopia” — William Carroll & Jerry Harris.

“Environmental Dystopia and the Green Alternative” — Martha McMahon, Kara Shaw & Waziyatawin.

“The Occupy Movement” — Carl Davidson, Lauren Langman, Jackie Smith, Jay Smith.

For more information on keynote speakers, schedule, registration and conference information go to: http://net4dem.org/mayglobal

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Money MenaceTHE EVIL AXIS OF FINANCE

THE EVIL AXIS OF FINANCE: THE US-JAPAN-CHINA STRANGLEHOLD ON THE GLOBAL FUTURE (Clarity Press, 2012)

Richard Westra, Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University, Japan

 

The story Westra tells of international economic depredation and humanity’s stolen future is truly chilling. From its Wall Street command centre, and funded by Japan and China, the United States ensnares the world’s states and people in a sinister, rigged, zero-sum game. This game, played for the narrowest of ends and to the benefit of an international cohort of uber-rich, traps humanity in a twilight zone of long decay, with its major players intent on preventing a more equitable international order from emerging from the detritus. We ignore the arguments of “The Evil Axis of Finance” at our peril.

 

INTRODUCTION: THE STANGLEHOLD ON THE GLOBAL FUTURE

CHAPTER ONE: THE ‘FREE WORLD’ DESIGN FOR PROSPERITY

 Constituents of a New Real Economy

 The Golden Age Algorithm

CHAPTER TWO: JAPAN AND CHINA IN THE FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

 Anticommunism and the Rebirth ofJapanin the ‘Free World’

 ‘Free World’ Exclusion and the Rise of Mao ZedongChina

CHAPTER THREE: FROM GOLDEN AGE TO GLOBALIZATION

 What Goes Up…

 The US at the Global Crossroads, But Hardly Sinking Down

CHAPTER FOUR: IDLE MONEY IS THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND

 ‘Resident Evil’

 ‘Fists Full of Dollars’

CHAPTER FIVE: ROTATING MELTDOWNS

 ‘Banksta’sParadise’

 ‘For a Few Dollars More’

CHAPTER SIX: THE CHAINS OF CHINA

 The Chinese Connection

 Charles Dickens Meets Henry Ford at the Pearl River Delta

 Red Queen, White Queen

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE ARMAGEDDON TRIFECTA

 The Tea Party is Over

 The End of Food

 No ‘Day After Tomorrow’

CONCLUSION: WHITHER THE EXITS?

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Axis-Finance-US-Japan-China-Stranglehold/dp/0932863906/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330663805&sr=1-1

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‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

Karl Marx

HISTORICAL MATERIALISM CONFERENCE 2012 – NINTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The Ninth Annual HM Conference will take place in Central London from 8-11 November 2012

Weighs Like a Nightmare

Historical Materialism Ninth Annual Conference

Has Marx been reanimated once again? From mainstream media to academia, this question hangs in the air. The old ghosts of revolution appear to be shaking off their shackles and getting agitated. What is this spirit? Who are the militants haunting this ramshackle capitalism? Are these new spectres – stalking the streets of Syria, Tunisia and Egypt, Athens, Spain and Wall Street and beyond – or direct descendants of socialist and communist ones? How does the past haunt the present? How might the present haunt the future?

As new conflicts and struggles emerge, the old questions refuse to go away: What type of organisation is needed to sharpen the conflicts, if any? Who are the agents of history and change? Is the scope of political action national or international? What is the political value of alliances and fronts? Does history cunningly work a progressive path through and around the contingencies of struggle? Are the same mistakes to be made, the same failures repeated?

The ninth HM annual conference focuses on the returns and the persistence of political forms and theoretical problems, on the uses and abuses of the history of Marxism in this turbulent present and on the ways and forms in which an inheritance of various Marxist traditions can help us to organise and to act in contemporary struggles.

We invite proposals for presentations or panels (with two or three suggested participants) on topics such as: the echoes of the past in the present; learning or not learning from the past; the reanimation of revolution; history as farce, history as tragedy; historiography and Marxism; cycles; circulation; anti-memory as a political stance; new histories of capital and the labour movement; Marxism and ‘deep history’; theory as history; the role of archival sources in history and the place of theory; rhythms of historical development, combined, uneven or otherwise; concepts of pre-capitalism; the question of successive modes of production; historical or other materialisms; the return of radical politics in Eastern Europe and elsewhere; post-communism; the endless afterlives of ‘Classical’ Marxists and ‘Western’ Marxist theorists and others who refuse to go away; the reruns of crisis; the role of memory and the revisioning of history; forgotten figures suddenly blasted into contemporary relevance; perma-war; imperial ghosts and their legacies, racism’s haunting returns; old and new world orders; old and new cultures; avant-gardes and rearguards; the re-reading of classic texts; the question of Marxism’s relation to tradition; ideas of inheritance and ‘selective tradition’; recovery; recuperation; periodisation; continuities and discontinuities; narratives of new and old beginnings (of history, of culture, of the Left, of Marxism).

HM will also consider proposals on themes and topics of interest to critical Marxist theory not directly linked to the call for papers (we particularly welcome contributions on non-Western Marxism, history and politics, and on empirical inquiries employing Marxist methods and on Marxism and gender). While Historical Materialism is happy to receive proposals for panels, the editorial board reserves the right to change the composition of panels or to reject individual papers from panel proposals.

Please submit a title and abstract of between 200 and 300 words (or a fully worked through panel proposal) by registering at http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences BEFORE 26 April 2012

Deadline for registration of abstracts: 26 April 2012

http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences/annual9/submit

Preference will be given to subscribers to the journal and participants are expected to be present during the whole of the event – no tailor-made timetabling for individuals will be possible, nor will cameo-appearances be tolerated.

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

Andrew Kliman

ANDREW KLIMAN AT BOOKMARKS BOOKSHOP

PRESENTS

The Failure of Capitalist Production
with Andrew Kliman
5 March, 6.30pm £2* (refreshments inc)

The recent financial crisis and Great Recession have been analysed endlessly but this is the first book to conclude, on the basis of in-depth analyses of official US data, that Marx’s crisis theory can explain these events.

Kliman’s conclusion is simple but shocking: short of socialist transformation, the only way to escape the stagnant, crisis-prone economy is to restore profitability through full-scale destruction of existing wealth, something not seen since the Depression of the 1930s.

Venue: Bookmarks Bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE
*£2 redeemable against any purchase on the night

Please contact us to reserve a place, 020 7637 1848: events@bookmarks.uk.com

Liberate Your Mind!
Bookmarks Bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street
London
WC1B 3QE
020 7637 1848
http://www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk

Follow us on twitter: @bookmarks_books

See our book of the month on the website!

**END**

 

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub,Bangor, northWales)  

 

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Rosa Luxemburg

GLOBAL UPHEAVAL: FROM TAHRIR SQUARE TO WALL STREET

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011
2:00-4:00 PM
Westside Pavilion, Community Room A
Corner of Pico and Westwood Boulevards, Los Angeles
Community Room A is on 3rd floor, behind food court
Free parking – first 3 hours

Speakers:

Mansoor M., Iranian cultural worker

Greg Burris, radical film critic just returned from the Middle East

Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

The Arab revolutions of 2011 have helped to touch off a global upheaval against neoliberal capitalism and for democracy. This meeting will reflect upon the events of the past year and prospects for the future of the burgeoning anti-capitalist movement.

Sponsored by West Coast Marxist-Humanists, an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization

More information: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/

***************

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES FROM U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/

NOVEMBER 2011

“‘Occupy Wall Street’ Goes Global”
November 7, 2011

Greg Burris, “Between Barbarisms: The Arab Spring, Marx, and the Idea 
of Revolution”

October 28, 2011
Richard Abernethy, “Red Rosa and the Arab Spring”

October 23, 2011
Dyne Suh, “Until We Are All Abolitionists: Marx on Slavery, Race, and Class”

October 22, 2011
Kevin Anderson, “On the Dialectics of Race and Class: Marx’s Civil War Writings, 150 Years Later”

October 21, 2011
Sam F., “Occupy Wall Street: The October 5 Demonstration”

October 9, 2011
Kevin Anderson, “Persian Translation of ‘Arab Revolutions at the Crossroads’”

October 8, 2011
Sam Friedman, “Two Poems on Occupy Wall Street”

October 7, 2011
International Marxist-Humanist Organization, “Greetings to the Iranian Left Alliance Abroad”

September 30, 2011
Peter Hudis, Jacqueline Rose, Chris Cutrone, and David Black,  “Did Rosa Luxemburg Take Back Her Critique of the Russian Revolution? — A Debate”

September 10, 2011
Yassin Ali Haj Saleh, “The Syrian ‘Common’: The Uprising of the Working Society

August 14, 2011
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by Annelies Laschitza, George Adler, and Peter Hudis – Links to reviews in Jewish Review of Books and elsewhere

Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies, by Kevin Anderson – Links to reviews in Political Studies Review and elsewhere

U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS IS PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL MARXIST-HUMANIST ORGANIZATION. The IMHO seeks to work out a unity of theory and practice, worker and intellectual, and philosophy and organization. We aim to develop and project a viable vision of a truly new, human society that can give direction to today’s many freedom struggles. We ground our ideas in the totality of Marx’s Marxism and Raya Dunayevskaya’s body of ideas and upon the unique philosophic contributions that have guided Marxist-Humanism since its founding in the 1950s.

AFFILIATES

U.S. Marxist-Humanists – http://www.usmarxisthumanists.orgarise@usmarxisthumanists.org

The Hobgoblin Collective, UK – http://www.thehobgoblin.co.ukhobgoblinlondon@aol.com

***END***

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

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Socialism and Hope

SOCIALIST REGISTER 2011

We are pleased to announce that The Socialist Register 2011 has just been published on our website and the print edition should be available in stores soon.  Check out our website for essay abstracts and more: http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/index

You can also see the table of contents, below:

Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time

Table of Contents

Socialist Register 2011 Preface
Leo Panitch, Gregory Albo, Vivek Chibber

Capitalist Crises and the Crisis this Time
Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin

Confronting the Crisis: A Class Analysis
Hugo Radice

The First Great Depression of the 21st Century
Anwar Shaikh

Caught in the Whirlwind: Working-Class Families Face the Economic Crisis
Johanna Brenner

Before and After Crisis: Wall Street Lives On
Doug Henwood

Opportunity Lost: Mystification, Elite Politics and Financial Reform in the UK
Julie Froud, Michael Moran, Adriana Nilsson, Karel Williams

The Global Crisis and the Crisis of European Neomercantilism
Riccardo Bellofiore, Francesco Garibaldo, Joseph Halevi

A Loyal Retainer? Japan, Capitalism, and the Perpetuation of American Hegemony
R. Taggart Murphy

The Crisis in South Africa: Neoliberalism, Financialization and Uneven and Combined Development
Sam Ashman, Ben Fine, Susan Newman

Deriving Capital’s (and Labour’s) Future
Dick Bryan, Michael Rafferty

Cannibalistic Capitalism: The Paradoxes of Neoliberal Pension Securitization
Susanne Soederberg

Crisis in Neoliberalism or Crisis of Neoliberalism?
Alfredo Saad-Filho

The Crisis, the Deficit, and the Power of the Dollar: Resisting the Public Sector’s Devaluation
Karl Beitel

From Rescue Strategies to Exit Strategies: The Struggle over Public Sector Austerity
Gregory Albo, Bryan Evans

The Centre Cannot Hold: Rekindling the Radical Imagination
Noam Chomsky

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)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com
Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Peter Gowan

PETER GOWAN MEMORIAL CONFERENCE

A one-day conference to discuss the contribution and ideas of Peter Gowan (1946-2009), author of The Global Gamble, founding editor of Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, long-standing editor of New Left Review, and Professor of International Relations at London Metropolitan University.

Saturday, 12 June 2010, 10.00 to 5.30

School of Oriental and African Studies, Room G2

Agenda

10.00 – 12.30
Introduction: Tariq Ali

Session 1: Eastern Europe
Speakers: Gus Fagan, Marko Bojcun, Catherine Samary

12.30 – 1.30 lunch

1.30 – 3.00
Session 2: Imperialism and American Grand Strategy
Speakers: Gilbert Achcar, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Susan Watkins

3.00 – 3.30  coffee break

3.30 – 5.00
Session 3: The Dollar-Wall St Regime
Speakers: Robin Blackburn, Robert Wade, Alex Callinicos

5.00 – 5.30
Mike Newman: Peter Gowan as an Educator
Awarding of the Peter Gowan Prize

The Conference is sponsored by Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and Historical Materialism.

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/journal.asp?issn=0965-156x&linktype=44

gus.fagan@ntlworld.com

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

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

A Crisis of Capital

BONFIRE OF ILLUSIONS: THE TWIN CRISES OF THE LIBERAL WORLD

http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745648750

Bonfire of Illusions: The twin crises of the liberal world
By: Alex Callinicos (Kings College London)

Something dramatic happened in the late summer and autumn of 2008. The post-Cold War world came to an abrupt end. This was the result of two conjoined crises. First, in its brief war with Georgia in August 2008, Russia asserted its military power to halt the expansion of NATO to its very borders. Secondly, on 15 September 2008 the Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. This precipitated a severe financial crash and helped to push the world economy into the worst slump since the 1930s.

Both crises marked a severe setback for the global power of the United States, which had driven NATO expansion and forced through the liberalization of financial markets. More broadly they challenged the consensus that had reigned since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 that a US-orchestrated liberal capitalist order could offer the world peace and prosperity. Already badly damaged by the Iraq debacle, this consensus has now suffered potentially fatal blows.

In Bonfire of Illusions Alex Callinicos explores these twin crises. He traces the credit crunch that developed in 2007-8 to a much more protracted crisis of overaccumulation and profitability that has gripped global capitalism since the late 1960s. He also confronts the interaction between economic and geopolitical events, highlighting the new assertiveness of nation-states and analysing the tense, complex relationship of interdependence and conflict that binds together the US and China. Finally, in response to the revelation that the market is not the solution to the world’s problems, Callinicos reviews the prospects for alternatives to capitalism.

Format:
229 x 152 mm , 6 x 9 in
Pages
144 pages
Reviews

“The crisis of 2007-9 is an event of historic importance that has affected economy, society and politics. Callinicos analyses its causes within the broader development of capitalism in recent decades. Particularly relevant is his stress on financialisation as well as the implications he draws regarding the balance of imperial power across the world. Written with the author’s customary skill, this is a welcome contribution from the left to the public debate.” — Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, University of London

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

Neoliberalism and Global Cinema

Call for essays: Neoliberalism and Global Cinema

In the wake of the credit crisis, and subsequent Wall Street bailout in 2008, many consider neoliberalism an outmoded project, with even neoconservatives acknowledging the need for the nation state to play an increasingly interventionist role. However, why then, is it reasonable to say that theorizations of neoliberalism as a “historically produced dialogue and encounter between cultures” (Rofel, 2007) is yet to be an exhausted theme? We aim to move beyond the tendency to totalize neoliberalism as a monolithic template, because it has shown such a “pure” form of capitalism, it becomes especially valuable in understanding the culture and subjectivities capital produces. Particularly when neoliberalism is becoming less popular as an explanatory term for conservatives it is still important to use it as a lens to understand capitalism and its human consequences. Thus we wish to interpret how different subjects and subjectivities were formed and how neoliberalism re-imagined itself through different social and cultural compositions across the globe. Looking back over the last 30 years it seems clear that cinematic representations of a global variety can help to measure such compositions, and that cinema is a crucial medium in conceptualizing neoliberalism’s dubious legacy. Therefore many of the repercussions and immiserations that neoliberalism has caused is still ripe for analysis.

We seek essays for this anthology that address how not only national but diasporic cinemas that contest or comply with such mediated perspectives of culture through neoliberalism—what we might call anti-neoliberal or pro-neoliberal cinemas. Authors should consider how cinema can help to not only understand particular political economic challenges under neoliberalism, but how understanding these challenges can in turn articulate neoliberalism’s contradictory effects on culture. This approach, along with changes in national film industries and global markets, and other related ideas are welcomed How concepts of the nation state, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity were transformed are welcome.

We are interested in gathering work from the following geographical areas: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Algeria, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt, Hong Kong, China, Spain, Italy, Chile, Sweden, Denmark, and the US and UK and comparative perspectives.

Dates and Submissions Policy:
All submissions should not exceed 8,000 words and will be independently peer reviewed. All essays should be sent for consideration to ( keith_wagner@mail.uri.com ). This anthology has early interest from a publisher and therefore the deadline for submissions is 25th August 2009.

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

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