Caracas, 30 May 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The second round of dialogue between the Maduro government and the opposition concluded in Oslo on Wednesday.
The Norwegian government issued a statement praising the “willingness” of both parties to “move forward in the search for an agreed-upon and constitutional solution for the country, which includes political, economic and electoral matters.”Read More »
Martha Lia Grajales is part of the Surgentes Collective (a human rights organization) and a founding member of the San Agustin Convive cooperative. She is a lawyer, holding a master’s in human rights and democracy. In this interview, we ask her questions about the dialectic between state power and popular organization, with a view to understanding how grassroots initiatives might breath new life into the socialist project.
From the beginning, the Chavista movement had two ways of understanding and carrying out politics: on the one hand, there was popular protagonism, direct democracy and grassroots organization. On the other hand, Chavismo also pursued state and institutional power. This double approach was productive for a time, and it opened the way for unforeseen expressions of popular power. Now, however, there seems to be a clear prevalence of state-level politics over popular power and grassroots organization. What’s going on?
The post-second world war years had seen systematic intervention by the State to stabilize capitalist economies. In fact State intervention had played the same role in that period that incursions into colonial and semi-colonial markets had played earlier, over much of the nineteenth century, right until the first world war. This role consisted in ensuring that one component of aggregate demand, whether exports to such markets or State expenditure, kept growing even when there was a downswing in the level of activity in the capitalist economy. One component of aggregate demand in other words, which determined the level of activity, was itself independent of the level of activity; it constituted what one may call an “exogenous stimulus” and prevented the system from settling down at a stationary state or a state of simple reproduction where it would otherwise have converged.
Post-war State intervention did not just stabilize capitalism in the sense of providing an exogenous stimulus for growth; it also ensured that the system functioned at a level of activity that was close to “full employment”. The State took active counter-cyclical measures: it stepped up its expenditure (or enacted tax-cuts) whenever the economy started slipping into a recession, and thereby prevented any serious downturn. The maintenance of a high level of activity encouraged private investment, caused a high rate of GDP growth and hence a high rate of labour productivity growth, which, because of the high employment rate that strengthened the bargaining power of the workers, also led to an impressive rate of growth of real wages. Not surprisingly the period of the fifties, sixties and the early seventies has been called the “Golden Age of Capitalism”.Read More »
The 67th Bilderberg Meeting will take place in Montreux, Switzerland from 30 May – 2 June 2019, where the about 130 invitees – so far confirmed – from 23 countries, will stay at one of Switzerland’s most luxurious venues, the Montreux Palace hotel. About a quarter of the attendees are women.
The Bilderberg meetings started at the onset of the Cold War, as a discussion club of American and European leaders, a fortification against communism, in clear text, against the Soviet Union. The first event took place in 1954 at the Bilderberg hotel in the Dutch town of Oosterbeek. Ever since, meetings of the Bilderberg Group were held annually, in different locations in the western world, most of them, though, in North America.Read More »
As millions of people marched against the invasion of Iraq in the early 2000s, many carried signs pointing an accusing finger at Dick Cheney and Halliburton – “No Blood for Oil!” But seeing that oil was a motivating factor for the war did not necessarily mean that people understood much about Iraq as a country, the role oil plays in its national life, or about the workers who pump it from the ground and refine it.
In 2013 I went to Baghdad with a longshore union leader, Clarence Thomas, to learn how the occupation was affecting Iraq’s workers and unions. I documented factory life, and took photographs and talked with workers in the Daura oil refinery. There I began to see oil’s central role in Iraq’s life. I realized that further documentation meant going to southern Iraq, where most of the industry is located.
Anita Torrez sits smiling in her sunlit Tucson living room. | Al Neal / PW
It’s a lonely two-lane stretch of Arizona desert highway from Phoenix to Tucson. To your left and to your right greenish-brown desert brush, solitary cacti, and tan, rocky valleys and hilltops seem to dance before your eyes. A mirage.
Like Don Quixote mistaking windmills for giants, the cacti around you transform into an ominous roadside companion—the result of hot air expanding, reducing its refractive index, causing the path light travels on to bend.
The ruling SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) party in Greece faced severe setbacks in the European Parliament elections and local body elections held on May 26. In the wake of the electoral defeat, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras called for early parliamentary elections, which will be held by the first week of July. The center-right New Democracy (ND) party emerged the leader, both in the European parliamentary elections, as well as the local body polls.Read More »
“Oh, I am against military intervention!” goes a “pacifist” narrative heard in the North that serves as pretext for a statement on Venezuela. This prelude consoles the soul, clears the liberal conscience and strives to maintain the desired – but increasingly elusive – “progressive” academic, journalistic and political credentials.
However, the “pacifism” dealt with here has nothing to do with Norway’s recent gesture to seek a peaceful solution. The government of President Nicolás Maduro is of course fully involved in this latest attempt at negotiations. In fact, the Venezuelan government has been proposing this throughout the crisis.Read More »
The U.S. economy has been stuck in stagnation for a decade. The GDP growth rate has been only 2.2% per year since the recovery from the Financial Crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09 began. That is far below the growth rate in past post-recession recoveries since the end of World War II. The last long period of stagnation in the U.S. economy was the lost decade following the stock market crash of 1929.Read More »