Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Remember, crazy McCain rally woman? Meet the sequel.
This is a continuation of the not-so-thinly-veiled racism of the McCain-Palin campaign. However, it also reflects a serious crisis in the Republican party. As Lance Selfa argued in February
SINCE THE mid-1970s, when the ruling class took a decisive turn toward neoliberalism and employers launched a three-decade-old offensive against organized labor and the working class, the Republican Party was their chosen vehicle for delivering, enforcing and building a social base for these policies.
After largely accomplishing these goals, the Republicans have come up against the limits of their strategy.
The success of the conservative program--tax cuts for the richest Americans, cutting government spending on programs to benefit working Americans, and exposing more government policies to "market forces"--has produced an ideological fallout in the population, the majority of whom have not benefited from this agenda.
Like the capitalist system as a whole, the Republicans must be reorganized in order to continue. Within the party there are competing schools of thought. On the one hand, John McCain's former campaign manager wants the Republicans to embrace gay marriage, and on the other hand you have 10 Republican congressmen demanding Obama's birth certificate. The Republicans need an new rallying point, and hardcore nativism is not out of the question.
Like McCain and Palin's accusations of socialism against Obama, these attacks of "not a real American" will fall flat. But if the Republicans were to turn that epiphet on more vulnerable people, Muslims, immigrants, we would be looking at an ugly new turn in American politics.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This blog is all Socialism 2009, all the time
Monday, July 20, 2009
A panel on the new civil rights movement from Socialism 2009
Saman Sepehri is an Iranian-American socialist who was in Tehran after the elections. This interview is from WORT in Madison, Wisconsin.
Actual interview starts at about 2:00.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Never in the history of Iraq have there been elections established on sectarian and ethnic platforms, thus further reinforcing the birth and growth of "militias," and paving the way to U.S.-backed mercenary groups. The concept is "foreign" in Iraq's modern history. Even when the people of Iraq voted, a large majority believed that by voting, they were expediting the process of U.S. troop withdrawal. Sadly not.Ali Abunimah on Obama and Israel
Glenn Greenwald on Walter Cronkite
Friday, July 17, 2009
Obama's popularity has started to come down off its euphoric high.
Since the beginning of the administration, Americans have overwhelmingly supported Obama, but they also support EFCA, single-payer health care and government intervention in the economy. Obama has been more popular than his own policies. Given the scale of the economic crisis, that could not last long.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
More Socialism 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
A new feature?
Michael Schwartz on the Obama occupation of Iraq:
As a result, the crucial thing you can say about the Obama administration's military and civilian planning so far is this: ignore the headlines, the fireworks, and the briefly cheering crowds of Iraqis on your TV screen. Put all that talk of withdrawal aside for a moment and -- if you take a closer look, letting your eyes adjust to the darkness -- what is vaguely visible is the silhouette of a new American posture in Iraq.Bob Herbert on McNamara.
"The Tragedy of the Left's Discourse on Iran":
The most bizarre case is the on-line journal MRZine, the offshoot of Monthly Review, which in some instances even publicized the propaganda of the Basij (Islamic militia) hooligans and criminals. The website has given ample room to pro-Islamist contributors; while they can hardly be considered to be on the left, their words are appreciated by the leftists editing the site.Ali Abunimah on Hamas (see also: Haidar Eid in Socialist Worker)
Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change:
People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.David Whitehouse on the new challenges to the Chinese ruling class
Friday, July 10, 2009
"I'd say I'm probably as knowledgeable about African history as anybody who's occupied my office. And I can give you chapter and verse on why the colonial maps that were drawn helped to spur on conflict, and the terms of trade that were uneven emerging out of colonialism... And yet the fact is we're in 2009... The West and the United States has not been responsible for what's happened to Zimbabwe's economy over the last 15 or 20 years... It hasn't been responsible for some of the disastrous policies that we've seen elsewhere in Africa. And I think that it's very important for African leadership to take responsibility and be held accountable."
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
The latest issue of New Left Review is really worth checking out. It has Zizek on Left strategy (on which Lenin has a good commentary), Wallerstein with reflections on Fanon, a really interesting looking article about imperialism and art history in China, and a good piece from Leo Panitch about the roots of the crisis. Here's an extended quote from the latter.
Financialization functioned in a number of different ways to drive forward the American-imperial expansionism of the 1990s and early 2000s. The development of securitized markets and the internationalization of American finance provided risk-insurance in a complex global economy, without which accumulation would have been significantly restricted. In addition, the global predominance of us financial institutions helped to mobilize cheap international credit for the American economy and so sustained its role as the world’s prime consumer, even as us capital flowed out in the form of fdi and military expenditures. The dollar served as the key store of value and medium of exchange, while us Treasury bonds became the standard for the calculation of value in the world economy at large. As we shall see, financialization also played a vital domestic role, both by integrating subordinate classes into a web of financial relations through private pensions, consumer credit and mortgages, and through facilitating consumer demand in an era of stagnating wages and limitations on the welfare state.
But for all the functionality of financialization for imperial power, it also brought new contradictions. While asset inflation was considerably more in line with the purposes of American capital than the consumer-price inflation of the previous decades, it was also a deeply uneven process that was responsible for enormous volatility. The emergence and bursting of financial bubbles became a common feature of the system, and successful state interventions to contain them reinforced the notion that future bubbles could be managed. Washington’s highly pro-active role in containing domestic and international financial crises from the 1980s on was perhaps the most concrete demonstration that the alleged withdrawal of states from markets was an ideological illusion. If neoliberal policies engendered a great deal of financial activity, the effect of this was not to subordinate state capacities to market forces but rather to make political interventions all the more necessary—not least in fighting fires sparked by financial volatility—as well as more feasible. Financialization enlarged the American state’s role both directly and multilaterally, even as it extended the strategic leeway available to capital. The result was the step-by-step construction of a too-big-to-fail regime, whereby intermediaries that were so large and interconnected that their failure would bring down a significant part of the system could count on the us state, and especially the Treasury, to come to the rescue.
The repeated economic interventions of the American state, while driven by the exigencies of the moment, were never as incidental or exceptional as they were often portrayed. On the contrary, they were part and parcel of the distinctive policy practices of the neoliberal era. Both the Fed and the Treasury, faced with constant financial volatility and intermittent crises, developed a range of institutional capacities to cope with this. But such institutional capacities should not be seen as standing above the financial world that they regulated; rather, they were embroiled in its contradictions. The increasingly enhanced role of the state, including the discriminatory practice of showering liquidity on crisis-hit banks in the North while imposing discipline and austerity in the global South, built up ‘moral hazard’ even as it generated financial innovation and expansion. Although too-big-to-fail policies are often portrayed as a last resort, indicative of neoliberalism’s essential lack of coherence, instances when the us government led the way by stepping in to contain financial crises were hardly exceptions to the rule. In that sense, the massive interventions by the Bush and Obama Administrations in the course of the current crisis are merely the culmination of the long series of interventions that marked the neoliberal era.