Promoting the Commons in the Time of Monsters

by Ann Marie Utratel, Stacco Troncoso

Common Dreams | June 03, 2017

A man shouts slogans as he holds a banners reading “Madrid welcomes you, March for Change” during a Podemos (We Can) party march in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (Photo: AP/Andres Kudacki)

Can the Commons and peer-to-peer (P2P) practices really offer viable solutions for our present and future social, political and ecological crises? Spain’s municipal successes remind us who the victor was in the battle between David and Goliath.

The Commons is maturing politically, its methods and principles becoming more visible and its participants winning municipal elections in a variety of European cities. How did this happen, and what happens next? First, a look at our present political context, and then some observations on the birth and trajectory of this new wave of commons politics.

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Caribbean reparations movement must put capitalism on trial

 by Ajamu Nangwaya

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Neofascism in the White House

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Monthly Review Volume 68, Issue 11 (April 2017)

Parody of the gleichschaltung process

Parody of the gleichschaltung process by Walter Wesinger.
There is a shadow of something colossal and menacing that even now is beginning to fall across the land. Call it the shadow of an oligarchy, if you will; it is the nearest I dare approximate it. What its nature may be I refuse to imagine. But what I wanted to say was this: You are in a perilous position.

Jack London, The Iron Heel1

Not only a new administration, but a new ideology has now taken up residence at the White House: neofascism. It resembles in certain ways the classical fascism of Italy and Germany in the 1920s and ’30s, but with historically distinct features specific to the political economy and culture of the United States in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. This neofascism characterizes, in my assessment, the president and his closest advisers, and some of the key figures in his cabinet.2 From a broader sociological perspective, it reflects the electoral bases, class constituencies and alignments, and racist, xenophobic nationalism that brought Donald Trump into office. Neofascist discourse and political practice are now evident every day in virulent attacks on the racially oppressed, immigrants, women, LBGTQ people, environmentalists, and workers. These have been accompanied by a sustained campaign to bring the judiciary, governmental employees, the military and intelligence agencies, and the press into line with this new ideology and political reality.Read More »

Bangladesh-March-1971: Not the theater of the absurd

by Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | 26 March, 2017

Source: Internet

“Portraying the current crisis [the political development in 1971-Pakistan] as something from the theater of the absurd, he [Bhutto] observed that framing a constitution for Pakistan without the participation of the PPP [Pakistan People’s Party] would be ‘like staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark’.” (Richard Sisson and Leo E Rose, War and Secession, Pakistan, India and the Creation of Bangladesh, University of California Press, 1990) But the political development in 1971-Pakistan was neither a theater of the absurd nor staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. Political dynamics within Pakistan led to the days of 1971, especially to the torrid March-days in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and on March 25, 1971, the state began enacting its last act as an un-bifurcated state with genesis in gone-away-years.Read More »

How Marx’s Crisis Theory Explains Growing Anti-Immigrant Hate

by Ramiro S. Fúnez

telesur | 14 March, 2017

Karl Marx.

Donald Trump. Nigel Farage. Marine Le Pen. Geert Wilders.

The rise of these four politicians is emblematic of growing anti-immigrant hate sweeping the imperialist countries. Basing their campaigns on xenophobia, they’ve been able to convince millions of people in their respective countries that immigrants are the source of their problems.

And at a time when there are more international migrants than ever before in human history, anti-immigrant hate can’t get any more dangerous.

In public discourse, the dominant narrative explaining this phenomenon is largely based on race and religion. Many have correctly pointed out that Latino, Black and Muslim immigrants are being targeted because of white supremacy.Read More »

The Rift in the Metabolism of Nature and Society

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Christian Stache interviews John Bellamy Foster on the “irreparable rift in the interdependent process of metabolism between nature and society”

MR online | 24 February, 2017

Greenscape of Che Guevara

You and your colleague Paul Burkett just released your new book Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique (Brill 2016, Haymarket 2017). The subtitle classifies your new book as an “Anti-Critique.” To whom do you reply and, most importantly, why do you answer them?

JBF: A little history is in order here. Since the 1980s there has emerged, first in the United States/Canada and Europe, and now all around the world, what is known as the ecosocialist or ecological Marxist movement.

What Paul Burkett and I call first-stage ecosocialism grafted Green ideas on Marxism, or sometimes Marxist ideas on Green theory, creating a hybrid, or Centaur-like analysis. Pioneering thinkers such as Ted Benton, Andre Gorz, and James O’Connor faulted Marx and Engels for the ecological blinders, or even anti-ecological bases, of their thought. It was sometimes said that Marx had gone overboard in his rejection of Malthusian natural limits. In general, first-stage ecosocialism developed under the hegemony of Green theory. Although Marxism contributed the class or labor perspective the main ecological critique was seen as coming almost entirely from outside rather than from within historical materialism itself. Some, though not all, first-stage ecosocialists were very adamant in arguing that ecosocialism had displaced classical Marxism, freeing them from what they saw as many negative aspects of socialist traditions. Ecosocialism in such cases thus became a kind of negation of classical socialism.Read More »

Marta Harnecker: “A New Revolutionary Subject has Been Created in Venezuela”

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Trump and Climate Catastrophe

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Monthly ReviewVolume 68, Issue 09 (February 2017)

This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.

Donald Trump, January 2, 20141

The alarm bells are ringing. The climate-change denialism of the Trump administration, coupled with its goal of maximizing fossil-fuel extraction and consumption at all costs, constitutes, in the words of Noam Chomsky, “almost a death knell for the human species.” As noted climatologist Michael E. Mann has declared, “I fear that this may be game over for the climate.”2

The effects of the failure to mitigate global warming will not of course come all at once, and will not affect all regions and populations equally. But just a few years of inaction in the immediate future could lock in dangerous climate change that would be irreversible for the next ten thousand years.3 It is feared that once the climatic point of no return—usually seen as a 2°C increase in global average temperatures—is reached, positive-feedback mechanisms will set in, accelerating warming trends and leading, in the words of James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the foremost U.S. climate scientist, to “a dynamic situation that is out of [human] control,” propelling the world toward the 4°C (or even higher) future that is thought by scientists to portend the end of civilization, in the sense of organized human society.4Read More »

Getting Rid of Workers

Frontier Editorial

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.30, Jan 29 – Feb 4, 2017

The corporate bosses see labourers as ‘waste People’ and the changing industrial landscape not so much a source of plenty but a ‘wasteland’, rather a dumping ground for those they see as the dregs of society. Jobs in traditional manufacturing sector are vanishing very fast. Yet the jobless are trying to cling to the very ‘wasteland’ because they have nowhere else to. Nor do they know the new world where ‘‘new collar jobs’’ are available. Modi’s campaign for ‘Digital India’ is basically aimed at opening door to IT sector multinationals. To think of generating jobs in manufacturing now looks absurd, if not utopia. For all practical purposes, the age of industrialisation is coming to an end with robots set to destroy labour intensive manufacturing jobs globally. Industrial revolution happened hundreds of years ago and the world is now all set to embrace fourth industrial revolution with robotics having all pervading sway in every sector of manufacturing. And China shows the way. It’s the global leader in automation. Strangely enough, major industrial powers, including America, are now worried about Chinese capitalism, not socialism. What a radical shift in ideological orientation! The idea of encircling ‘global cities’ by ‘global villages’ now mocks at itself. After all Lin Piao became a closed chapter long ago, so is Mao. What is more China is said to have changed capitalism fundamentally, challenging some basic questions about the relevance of capital allocation decision. In truth the working class party, the Chinese Communist Party, no longer needs workers to hold high the banner of Red Flag. They are getting rid of workers step by step. Read More »

‘‘Can The Subaltern Speak?’’

Interview in Santiago, Chile

by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.30, Jan 29 – Feb 4, 2017

[Alejandra Alvear from the journal called Cátedra Indígena spoke with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak at the University of Chile on August 25, 2016. The larger event within which this interview was conducted was organized by the Center for Gender Studies at the University and the specific topic was ethic violence in the context of gender. Excerpts :]

Q.  How do postcolonial studies change the situation of the subaltern either from a symbolic or from a practical point of view?
A.  Well, I do not know about the different countries in the world, but my own sense is that it is a question of class again. Since we are talking about cultural and postcolonial studies, we are talking about the university. I believe that today the connection between what used to be called public intellectuals—they do no really exist anymore—but today, at least, the connection between the university and policy, which is really big in today’s world, is weakened to the point of non-existence. I support Cultural Studies, but I am critical as a person from within. Anthropology was a colonial discipline and it reported on oppressed and dominated cultures, and now, in Cultural Studies, we speak of our cultures as people from within the culture. What we have to watch out for is the idea of a subject, an intending subject presenting a culture and offering a correct view. It may be useful in confrontational politics, and I am all in favor. It may be useful in the critique of the discipline as it used to be, and I am very much in favor. But when it comes to the person being able to report his or her culture, I am deeply skeptical. There is no autocritique, there is no possibility of a recognition of the role played by upward class-mobility, leaving the subaltern in subalternity, there is no possibility of ideology critique. Read More »