In the preface to the first edition of volume one of Capital, dated July 25, 1867, Marx introduces the book’s “ultimate aim”: “to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society” . Looking back 155 years later, it’s clear the book not only accomplished that aim but continues to do so today.
In a few short pages, Marx introduces the method he used to study and present his research into the dynamics of capitalism, explains the reasons why he focused on England, distinguishes between modes of production and social formations (and by doing so refutes any accusations of his theory of history as progressing linearly through successive stages), identifies the capacities he’s assuming of the reader, affirms he’s interested in critiquing the structures of capital and not the individuals within it, and explains that the main function of the book is to help our class intervene in the constantly changing capitalist system.
For a decade now Maurizio Lazzarato’s analyses have been swiftly translated into English after a period of relative lag in uptake in the anglophone world, a case of missed connection in the flurry of importing French and Italian radical thought. His reception has picked up speed because he writes passionately in a polemical tenor that makes for quick and punchy reading, although much of the analysis relies on technical terminology from contemporary European philosophy that renders accessibility elusive at times. The rapidity of translation via the Semiotex(e) Intervention Series has resonated with the conjunctural nature of Lazzarato’s writing, as he has moved swiftly to make sense of a shifting political terrain in theory and providing assessments of radical political movements. Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution offers a political intervention in the sense of taking stock of contemporary tendencies and putting forth a set of strategic concerns animating a politics for the moment of its writing. As such, Capital Hates Everyone might be best read as a historical appraisal of a particular conjuncture in which the threat of ascendent fascist tendencies in global politics meets the continuing dominance of neoliberalism, while protest movements like the Gilets jaunes in France struggle to find a footing. In the book’s introduction, the ‘yellow vests’ movement roiling France at the time of the book’s writing is instructive in multiple ways. First, far from being a model of future organization, the yellow vests movement demonstrates some of the weaknesses and temptations found in what Lazzarato describes as ‘68 thought’, the proliferation of leftist political theories and organizational models in Western Europe since the failed pre-revolutionary moment of 1968. More than this, however, the response of the French state to these protests has laid bare the depth of ‘class hatred’, the affective revulsion of capitalism’s managers for any insurgent activity, along with the strategic lengths they will go to erase political possibilities beyond the neoliberal consensus (9-10). Hence the title, Capital Hates Everyone. For Lazzarato, anti-capitalists must reckon with the intensity of reaction that capitalists can rouse among themselves and in new fascist movements that seek nothing less than the liquidation of dissent.
War destructs and demolishes life, all forms of environment. It’s war’s powerful approach to contradictions within and with environment surrounding life. Wars including the current Ukraine War bear this signature of destruction of and on environment and ecology. The first victim is life; and, then comes surroundings of life that help sustain life. Activities to secure, nourish and sustain environment are hampered/suspended during war, and in war zones also.
Military activities, preparatory to war including training/drills/exercises, itself is threat to environment and ecology. Military/war expenditure is in direct and hostile contradiction with environment and ecology. The expenditure takes away a lot of resources, which can be allocated for life, steps to nourish and secure environment and ecology. The sphere of destruction of environment and ecology widens as the sphere of war widens. Today’s Ukraine is the witness. Iraq and Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Vietnam are witnesses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as witnesses.
This panel discusses and explores the new English translation of Uno Kozo’s Theory of Crisis (Brill 2021). Originally published in Japan and in Japanese in 1953, Uno’s Theory of Crisis presents a radical reinterpretation Marx’s Capital to clarify the inevitability and periodicity of capitalist crisis. Emphasizing how the commodification of labour-power is the fundamental cause of capitalist crisis, Uno’s Theory of Crisis differs from other Marxist theories of crisis that emphasize the cause of crisis in over-production/under-consumption, or else in the tendency of the profit rate to fall. The panel features scholars of Uno’s method for political economy and discusses how his Theory of Crisis can help us to write the history of class struggle in today’s conjuncture of multiple capitalist crisis.
Ken Kawashima, Wendy Matsumura, Gavin Walker, Dr. Richard Westra
363 views Feb 9, 2022 The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) is pleased to host a series of public lectures on Volume 1 of Marx’s Capital, given by the political economist and activist Andy Higginbottom. This is the first lecture of the Marx’s Capital Lecture series, held on 7th February 2022.
Ecosocialist Alliance statement on the opening of UN climate talks in Glasgow
This statement was drafted by the Ecosocialist Alliance, a UK-based coalition organized by Green Left, Left Unity and Anti-Capitalist Resistance. After discussion and adoption of amendments proposed the Global Ecosocialist Network, it has been endorsed by a wide range of individuals and groups, including Climate & Capitalism. It will be distributed at COP26, the United Nations climate conference that opens on October 31 in Glasgow.
COP 26 unfolds against a backdrop of growing climate chaos and ecological degradation, after an unprecedented summer of heatwaves, wildfires, and flooding events. Climate change is upon us, and we face multiple interlinked and inseparable crises- of climate, environment, extinction, economy and zoonotic diseases.
As ecosocialists we say another world is possible, but a massive social and political transformation is needed, requiring the mobilization of the mass of working people across the globe. Only the end of capitalism’s relentless pursuit of private profit, endless waste, and rapacious drive for growth, can provide the solution not only to climate change, environmental degradation, and mass extinction, but to global poverty, hunger, and hyper exploitation.
The big issues of climate change will be debated in Glasgow but whatever is agreed, capitalism can at best mitigate climate change, not stop it. Genuine climate solutions cannot be based on the very market system that created the problem. Only the organized working class, and the rural oppressed and First Nations of the global south -women and men – have the power to end capitalism, because their labour produces all wealth and they have no great fortune to lose if the system changes, no vested interests in inequality, exploitation, and private profit.
According to a report published by Wealth-X, 2020 witnessed the largest growth in billionaire individuals since they started recording this data. The United States has the largest share of the world’s billionaires with 29%. China and India had the highest percentage growth of billionaires at 19.9% and 19.5%, respectively.
The growth in billionaires over the previous year was largely attributed to “expansive government support measures [which] propelled a dramatic rally in financial markets, after an initial pandemic-driven collapse.”
The report also suggested an increasing centralization of privately-held wealth, with billionaires representing 1% of the population of ultra-high net-worth individuals yet holding 28% of the cumulative wealth.
Karl Marx, Capital, Volume One: A Glossary of Concepts (Independently published, 2021)
This book aims to assist anyone wishing to read and understand volume one of Karl Marx’s Capital. It contains over 100 entries, each of which provides a concise definition of a particular concept and employs a system of cross-referencing to indicate related entries. A variety of books have been written about Capital, and this in itself is testimony to an enduring interest in the critique of capitalist society, but the approach adopted here is unique. The alphabetical format and explanation of concepts is designed to be accessible to the broadest possible audience, including the politically active, the academic community and those with general interest in the subject matter. Furthermore, it can be used with either the Lawrence and Wishart or Penguin Classics editions, as references are given for both.
Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, provides a monumental database for the history of capitalism. But the author’s interpretation of these data is based on an inconsistent theoretical framework that constantly oscillates between two definitions of capital: either capital as accumulated drawing rights on the value created; or capital as a factor of production in the neoclassical tradition. Capital as a social relation is forgotten and the history of capitalism appears as an accounting mechanism.Keywords: Piketty; capital
Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has rightly been welcomed: it provides a monumental source of data on the history of capitalism and offers information that will be essential for all those economists who want to study its dynamic in the medium and long term. Piketty thus follows in the footsteps of such authors as Angus Maddison1 and Pierre Villa.2 We should also thank him for making all of these materials freely available.3
In this work we find data on income inequality across the world, and it would be no exaggeration to say that the ‘Piketty group’ (including people such as Anthony Atkinson and Emmanuel Saez) has supplied a significant part of the arguments raised by recent social movements (the indignados, Occupy Wall Street, and such like) and even one of their watchwords: ‘We are the 99 percent!’
The following comments will be no less critical for that reason, however, since Piketty’s theoretical framework is not at the same level as his wealth of data. In order to demonstrate this, we will above all be examining the two fundamental laws of capitalism that Piketty uses in order to read his data. The central line of march of this investigation is the idea that Piketty incoherently mixes up two definitions of capital, both as a ‘factor of production’ and as the whole ensemble of ‘drawing rights’ on income.
“The old Greek philosophers,” Frederick Engels wrote in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, “were all born natural dialecticians.”1 Nowhere was this more apparent than in ancient Greek medical thought, which was distinguished by its strong materialist and ecological basis. This dialectical, materialist, and ecological approach to epidemiology (from the ancient Greek epi, meaning on or upon, and demos, the people) was exemplified by the classic Hippocratic text Airs Waters Places (c. 400 BCE), which commenced:
Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what effects each of them produces, for they are not all alike, but differ from themselves in regard to their changes. Then the winds, the hot and cold, especially such as are common to all countries, and then such as are peculiar to each locality. We must also consider the qualities of the waters, for as they differ from another in taste and weight, so also do they differ much in their qualities. In the same manner, when one comes into a city to which he is a stranger, he ought to consider its situation, how it lies as to the winds and the rising of the sun.… These things one ought to consider most attentively, and concerning the waters which the inhabitants use, whether they be marshy and soft, or hard, and running from elevated rocky situations, and then if saltish and unfit for cooking, and the ground, whether it be naked and deficient in water, or wooded and well-watered, and whether it lies in a hollow or confined situation, or is elevated and cold; and the mode in which the inhabitants live, and what are their pursuits, whether they are fond of drinking and eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of exercise and labor.…
For if one knows all these things well, or at least the greater part of them, he cannot miss knowing, when he comes into a strange city, either the diseases peculiar to the place, or the particular nature of common diseases, so that he will not be in doubt as to the treatment of the diseases, or commit mistakes, as is likely to be the case provided one has not previously considered these matters. And in particular, as the season and the year advances, he can tell what epidemic diseases will attack the city, either in summer or in winter, and what each individual will be in danger of experiencing from the change in regimen.… For with the seasons the digestive organs of men undergo a change.2