ROSA LUXEMBURG

ROSA LUXEMBURG AND THE POLITICAL MASS STRIKE

Rida Vaquas

Prometheus | March 06, 2021

This paper was delivered to celebrate Rosa Luxemburg’s 150th Birthday at a panel organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and the International Rosa Luxemburg Society. You can find a video of the complete panel and the discussion here.

If you ever went to an anti-austerity protest in the United Kingdom in the last decade, you may well have seen the ubiquitous placards demanding a ‘General Strike Now’. In the US ‘General Strike 2020’ briefly trended on Twitter in March 2020, spurred on by popular writers like Naomi Klein and Bree Newsom Bass. Most tellingly, shortly after this, multiple articles appeared explaining what exactly a general strike is. Of course, no socialist would be against a general strike were it to occur. But raising the demand for a general strike, through placards on demonstrations, or by popular tweets, suggests a decline in our ability to think about what mass strikes are, why they happen, and what can be achieved with them.Read More »

BOOK REVIEW

Adorno and Neoliberalism: The Critique of Exchange Society

London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2020. 188 pp., £76.50 hb
ISBN9781350103245

Reviewed by Iaan Reynolds

Marx and Philosophy Review of Books | May 28, 2021

In Adorno and Neoliberalism: The Critique of Exchange Society, Charles A. Prusik argues that Adorno’s critical theory can provide crucial resources for an understanding of neoliberal political economy and the forms of thought it generates, weaving an impressive knowledge of Adorno’s works and their reception with deep familiarity with Marxist and classical political economy, neoclassical and neoliberal economics, and political history. Prusik’s book is valuable for the way it works against the customary interpretation of the early Frankfurt School as a group of theorists departing from – rather than deepening – Marxist social theory. The Adorno of these pages is not so much an elitist forebear of apolitical aesthetics as a critic of capitalist society.Read More »

HEALTH

A pandemic treaty for a fragmented global polity

Suerie Moon & Ilona Kickbusch

Lancet | Open Access | Published: May 05, 2021 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00103-1

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most disruptive global political and economic crisis since World War 2, which gave birth to the UN, Bretton Woods institutions, and WHO. Although COVID-19 has prompted calls for equally ambitious reforms, the global polity is far more fragmented than the victor-dominated post-World War 2 era.
The president of the European Council called for a so-called pandemic treaty in December, 2020. This proposal has since been endorsed by 26 heads of state and by the director-general of WHO.

In The Lancet Public Health, Johnathan Duff and colleagues

outline an ambitious vision for such a treaty. At the core of their proposal is everything that global health advocates have wished for: a forceful WHO-like global entity with the capacity to coordinate recalcitrant governments, launch large-scale operations, enforce international rules by providing incentives and penalties, frankly assess the adequacy of national health systems, and provide technical advice free from the vagaries of scientific uncertainty.

The authors rightly recognise that such an entity would require substantial political autonomy from governments, and sustained and adequate funding. Perhaps such an improved and enhanced WHO could protect the world from the looming threat of future pandemics; however, these are powers beyond the reach of geopolitics today.

Read More »

MARS

China’s Mars rover returns first images — scientists say the view is promising

Nature | May 20, 2021

View from the Zhurong Mars rover of its landing platform and departure ramp
An image taken to the front of Zhurong, shows the ramp down from its lander deployed, ready for it to roll off and explore an invitingly flat plain.Credit: China National Space Administration

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has revealed the first images from Mars taken by its Zhurong rover, which arrived on the planet’s surface on Saturday. Scientists say that the shots — which show the rover with its solar panels unfurled and the ramp from its lander deployed — hint that it has arrived at a safe, ideal site from which it can begin exploring.

“The first images show, first and foremost, a terrain that will be easy to drive over,” says Alfred McEwen, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.Read More »

EARTHQUAKE 

The Longest Known Earthquake Lasted 32 Years

Stephanie Pappas

Scientific American | May 26, 2021

The Longest Known Earthquake Lasted 32 Years
Credit: Tim Phillips Getty Images

A devastating earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Sumatra in 1861 was long thought to be a sudden rupture on a previously quiescent fault. But new research finds that the tectonic plates below the island had been slowly and quietly rumbling against each other for 32 years before the cataclysmic event.

This decades-long, silent earthquake—known as a “slow-slip event”—was the longest sequence of its kind ever detected. It was too subtle and gradual to be noticed during its course, but a new study indicates it may have precipitated the massive 1861 temblor of at least magnitude 8.5, which in turn triggered a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The new study could help today’s scientists watch for dangerous quakes more effectively.Read More »

REMEMBERING JOSÉ MARTÍ

Martí, Cuba’s moral sun

Mailenys Oliva Ferrales and Eduardo Palomares Calderón

Granma | May 20, 2021

Photo: Eduardo Palomares

It is difficult to avoid a watery eye or an accelerated heartbeat when reconsidering, in all its details, the tragic day of our national hero’s death, May 19, 1895, in Dos Rios.

“My first thoughts this May 19, are for José Martí, 126 years after his fall in battle and his political testament: To prevent in time, with the independence of Cuba, the expansion of the empire over the lands of America,” tweeted Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, on a day filled with patriotic sentiments for Cubans.Read More »

COMMUNISTS AGAINST ISRAELI AGGRESSION 

Communist Parties from all over the world express solidarity with the Palestinian people

In Defense of Communism | May 14, 2021

Communist and Workers’ Parties from every corner of the world condemn the criminal Israeli aggression in Gaza and Jerusalem and express their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Below you can read a list of statements issued by Communist Parties in multiple languages:

Read More »

ISREALI COMMUNISTS AGAINST ISRAELI AGGRESSION 

Israeli communists and leftists: STOP THE WAR IN GAZA

In Defense of Communism | May 13, 2021

Following a call by Hadash – the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – as well as other pro-peace groups and organizations, hundreds of people demonstrated on Tuesday and Wednesday across Israel, demanding an end to the bombing of Gaza.

In Tel Aviv, under the slogan “Stop the fire”, anti-war demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of Likud party and demanded an immediate ceasefire. In Jerusalem, the protesters marched to Zion Square where police forces forcibly dispersed them and a young woman was arrested. Similar demonstrations took place in Haifa’s Ben Gurion boulevard. Read More »

STRUGGLE OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE 

Israel/Palestine Coverage Presents False Equivalency Between Occupied and Occupier

Gregory Shupak

FAIR | May 18, 2021

WSJ: Israel Strikes Hamas Targets After Rockets Fired at Jerusalem

The Wall Street Journal headline (5/10/21) presents the Gaza violence as a clear-cut case of aggression and retaliation.

Media coverage of heightened violence in Israel/Palestine has misrepresented events in the Israeli government’s favor by suggesting that Israel is acting defensively, presenting a false equivalency between occupier and occupied, and burying information necessary to understand the scale of Israeli brutality.

Corporate media have presented Israel’s killing spree as defensive, as a reaction to supposed Palestinian aggression. A Financial Times headline (5/10/21) read, “Hamas Rocket Attacks Provoke Israeli Retaliation in Gaza.” The New York Times’  description (5/12/21) was, “Hamas launched long-range rockets at Jerusalem on Monday evening, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes.” An article in Newsweek (5/12/21) had it that “Hamas rained down rockets on Israeli civilian targets, and the Israeli military responded with surgical air strikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.” A CNN headline (5/12/21) said, “At Least 35 Killed in Gaza as Israel Ramps Up Airstrikes in Response to Rocket Attacks.”Read More »

STRUGGLE OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Massive resistance in all parts of Palestine amid deadly Israeli assault

Richard Becker

Liberation | May 15, 2021

In just the last week, the situation in occupied Palestine and the larger region has seen a dramatic shift. A new wave of resistance has sparked militant mass protests not only in cities and towns across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, but also in many Palestinian or “mixed” cities inside the 1948 borders of Israel. Protests were reported May 14 in Jordan and Lebanon, and at least nine Palestinians were killed by live-fire ammunition in West Bank protests with many more wounded.

The importance of the mobilization in all four parts of Palestine cannot be overstated. Israel is determined to crush these protests with unlimited violence, but so far the demonstrations have continued to spread.Read More »