HM Online 2021: Cultural Resistance Under Post-Human Capitalism

Covid-19 has brought late capitalism’s exterminist impulse into sharp relief. Globally, experiments on the part of both capital and the state — some of which would have been unthinkable before the pandemic — aim to determine just how much of the working-class is necessary and how much of it can be tossed aside. Even states that have intervened strongly in the welfare of their citizenry seem willing to engage in this dark calculus to some degree. The increasing dominance of cybernetic and algorithmic technologies continues to shape and interact with human subjectivity even well short of its elimination. More and more we are forced to reckon with the possibility of a political and cultural landscape of a vicious and reactionary post-humanism.

As others have argued, the only way out is not around, but through; not a rejection of myriad cultural technologies but a reimagination of radical subjectivity and temporalities in relation to them. This panel aims to examine what this means for contemporary strategies of emancipatory cultural resistance. It coincides roughly with the launch of Imago, a new annual journal dedicated to exploring questions of critical irrealism, published by the Locust Arts & Letters Collective. Subjects addressed will include the impact of online life on Brechtian alienation effect, surrealist critique of the currently-very-trendy genres of cyberpunk and synthwave, and how the left should understand the regroupment of the far-right on various online platforms.

Toward a Brechtian Cybernetics
Adam Turl

Androids Leaping: What Were (and Are) Cyberpunk and Synthwave?
Alexander Billet

Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Again): Digital Retrenchment of the US Far Right and Fascists After the January 6th Putsch
Tish Turl

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HM Online 2021: The Ideological Condition: History, Race and Gender – A discussion with Himani Bannerji

The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender is a reader comprised of many of Himani Bannerji’s English writings over a long period of teaching and research in Canada and India. Bannerji creates an interdisciplinary analytical method and extends the possibilities of historical materialism by predominantly drawing on Marx, Gramsci, and Dorothy Smith. Essays here instantiate Marx’s general proposition that while all ideology is a form of consciousness, all forms of consciousness are not ideological. Applying this insight to issues ranging from patriarchy through race, class, nationalism, liberalism and fascism, Bannerji breaks through East-West binaries, challenging the mystifying approaches to the constitution of the social, and shows that a sustained struggle against ideological thinking is at the heart of a fundamental socialist struggle.

Shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize 2021 Available from Haymarket Books: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/…

Speakers:

Himani Bannerji teaches in the Department of Sociology, York University in Canada. She is also known for her activist work and poetry.

David McNally, Cullen Distinguished Professor of History and Business, university of Houston, Texas, USA. Author of Blood and Money, among other books.

Kanishka Goonewardena, Professor in Departments of Geography and Architecture, University of Toronto, Canada. Co-editor and contributor of Space, Difference and Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre.

Judith Whitehead, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Lethbridge, Canada. Author of Development and Dispossession in the Narmada Valley.

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Opening session of HM Online 2021: Marxism, State, Politics

Is a Strong State all that it takes? The State, Coercion and Social Transformation
Pangiotis Sotiris

The Dominant Political Cultures of the British State
Mike Wayne

From Neoliberalism to Neostatism: Transformations in the Post-Pandemic Ideological Horizon
Paolo Gerbaudo

Speakers:

Panagiotis Sotiris teaches for the Hellenic Open University, Greece, and is a member of the Historical Materialism Editorial Board. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Marxist theory and politics.

Michael Wayne (Brunel University UK)

Paolo Gerdaudo (Kings College, UK)

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Ecosocialism Not Extinction!

STATEMENT TO CO26

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.

Climate and Capitalism | October 24, 2021

ECOSOCIALISM NOT EXTINCTION!

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.

Action now to halt climate change! We demand:

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A Discussion with John Bellamy Foster – Presenting the 2021 transform! yearbook

Transform Europe | October 19, 2021

A discussion with John Bellamy Foster, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory.

John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory and author of numerous books including “The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology”, “The Vulnerable Planet”, “Marx’s Ecology, Ecology Against Capitalism”, “The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace With the Planet”, and “The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism”, along with several co-authored volumes.

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China and Cuba’s market reforms aren’t “revisionist”

Rainer Shea

Workers Today | October 26, 2021

In his work Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx took his objection to the analysis of some other communists as an opportunity to put forth an analysis of what needs to happen within communist development. At least in regards to the means of production, this analysis consists of the following ideas:

-That labor is not the source of all wealth; even without labor, we would have the wealth that nature gives us. Therefore, whether society has wealth doesn’t necessarily stem from whether labor is present.

-That there’s a difference between “labor” as it’s defined under the capitalist means of production, and labor as it would be defined under fully developed communism. Whereas labor under capitalism centers around business and the acquisition of property, labor under fully developed communism would not involve these things. 

As Marx articulates this: “In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

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When did China become capitalist?

Michael Roberts

What is China? It is not capitalism, but it is not socialism
• The market is not dominant but China is not socialist. The law of
value still operates.
• Two modes of production coexist but also as antagonistic opposites: a dialectical process
• The planning mechanism and the law of value and production for
exchange.
Formal versus the dialectic
• China is not capitalist (or imperialist)
• China is not socialist
• Not socialism with Chinese characteristics (Deng and Xi) and not capitalism with Chinese characteristics (Milanovic)
• A transitional economy: but trapped
• Which way to go?
• Depends on two things: reducing law of value internally and externally: workers democracy, the plan and ending imperialism
See the full presentation: https://thenextrecession.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/china-iippe-1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3KpvWORxbkx6AFzuc84_1hPNpXxV6HOiBK54I7nh4zSnM3DFBBxTFDeV8

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Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro

Fidel:

At this moment I remember many things: when I met you in Maria Antonia’s house, when you proposed I come along, all the tensions involved in the preparations. One day they came by and asked who should be notified in case of death, and the real possibility of it struck us all. Later we knew it was true, that in a revolution one wins or dies (if it is a real one). Many comrades fell along the way to victory.

Today everything has a less dramatic tone, because we are more mature, but the event repeats itself. I feel that I have fulfilled the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban revolution in its territory, and I say farewell to you, to the comrades, to your people, who now are mine.

I formally resign my positions in the leadership of the party, my post as minister, my rank of commander, and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me to Cuba. The only ties are of another nature — those that cannot be broken as can appointments to posts.

Reviewing my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient integrity and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only serious failing was not having had more confidence in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra, and not having understood quickly enough your qualities as a leader and a revolutionary.

I have lived magnificent days, and at your side I felt the pride of belonging to our people in the brilliant yet sad days of the Caribbean [Missile] crisis. Seldom has a statesman been more brilliant as you were in those days. I am also proud of having followed you without hesitation, of having identified with your way of thinking and of seeing and appraising dangers and principles.

Other nations of the world summon my modest efforts of assistance. I can do that which is denied you due to your responsibility as the head of Cuba, and the time has come for us to part.

You should know that I do so with a mixture of joy and sorrow. I leave here the purest of my hopes as a builder and the dearest of those I hold dear. And I leave a people who received me as a son. That wounds a part of my spirit. I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be. This is a source of strength, and more than heals the deepest of wounds.

I state once more that I free Cuba from all responsibility, except that which stems from its example. If my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you. I am grateful for your teaching and your example, to which I shall try to be faithful up to the final consequences of my acts.

I have always been identified with the foreign policy of our revolution, and I continue to be. Wherever I am, I will feel the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary, and I shall behave as such. I am not sorry that I leave nothing material to my wife and children; I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and receive an education.

I would have many things to say to you and to our people, but I feel they are unnecessary. Words cannot express what I would like them to, and there is no point in scribbling pages.

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A Study of Monthly Review’s Marxist Political Science in the Twenty-First Century: A View from China

by Cheng Enfu and Fu Hao

MR Online | September 18, 2021

| Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman in Cuba BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT | MR Online

An important and principled academic journal dealing with the theory and practice of Marxism and socialism, Monthly Review, was established by Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy in 1949, at an especially difficult time for the U.S. left-wing movement, when it was encountering attacks and slanders under the Truman Doctrine and McCarthyism. Nevertheless, Monthly Review grew and eventually became one of the world’s most influential left-wing magazines. Over seventy years, it has published articles from numerous well-known social activists including Albert Einstein, W. E. B. DuBois, Che Guevara, Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky, and Bernie Sanders. It has also brought together and developed many renowned Marxist scholars, such as Harry Magdoff, Paul A. Baran, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Robert W. McChesney, and John Bellamy Foster. In this way, it has made an outstanding contribution to the development not only of Marxist theory in the United States, but of world socialism as well.

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