Sociality, solitude, and the struggle for socialism

by Jeff Noonan The basic principle of historical materialism is that all complex socio-cultural systems and institutions are rooted in and ultimately depend upon reproductive and productive labour. Reproductive and productive labour connect human beings to each other and the sustaining natural environment. “The production of life,” Marx wrote in The German Ideology, “both of one’s own in labour and of fresh life in procreation… appears as two-fold relation: on the one hand, as a natural, on the other, as a social relation—social in the sense that it denotes the cooperation of several individuals.”[1] The second principle of historical materialism … Continue reading Sociality, solitude, and the struggle for socialism

Student loans: The financialized economy of indentured servitude

by Danny Weil Get ready students: your college student loans are due to double on July 2013!  The cost of higher education is spiraling and with it the cost of student loans, one of the biggest Wall Street rackets currently in existence.  Both the Obama administration and the Republicans are seeking “market solutions” they say will staunch the bleeding [1]. Do not be fooled: it is ‘market solutions’ that caused the crisis and with the financialization of education, students are seen as little more than commodities to be bought, sold and monetized for profit. Education is now nothing more than a pernicious, … Continue reading Student loans: The financialized economy of indentured servitude

Taking notes 10: Plutonomy and the precariat

by Noam Chomsky The Occupy movement has been an extremely exciting development. Unprecedented, in fact. There’s never been anything like it that I can think of. If the bonds and associations it has established can be sustained through a long, dark period ahead — because victory won’t come quickly — it could prove a significant moment in American history. The fact that the Occupy movement is unprecedented is quite appropriate. After all, it’s an unprecedented era and has been so since the 1970s, which marked a major turning point in American history. For centuries, since the country began, it had … Continue reading Taking notes 10: Plutonomy and the precariat

Neoliberal terror and the age of disposability

by Henry A. Giroux The winners in the disposable society circulate close to the top of the power pyramid… Those who can’t afford to be on the move stand little chance…Market freedom means few people have a hold on the present and that everyone is expendable.  — Zygmunt Bauman In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, shocking images of dead bodies floating in the flood waters of New Orleans appeared on national TV against a sound track of desperate cries for help by thousands of poor, black, brown, elderly and sick people. These disturbing pictures revealed a vulnerable and destitute segment … Continue reading Neoliberal terror and the age of disposability

An infernal machine: A new reading of Capital

by Fredric Jameson My title promises a preview of my forthcoming book, Representing Capital, a commentary on Volume I of Marx’s Capital, which I read somewhat differently than many of the standard interpretations. So I will tell you something about that and then draw some practical conclusions about Marxism today and its political and intellectual mission. I am anxious that this work of mine not be understood as a “literary” reading of Capital: not only have those few such attempts been either weak generic classifications or fairly obvious notes on style and metaphor: indeed, the very term literary in this … Continue reading An infernal machine: A new reading of Capital

Taking notes 3

There are many lines that need to be crossed for things to be made better. For some it is daunting and means ‘crossing the Rubicon’. Recently, it was the attempt to cross the ‘Buffett line’ (or impose the ‘Buffett rule’) which the corporate-owned American congress stopped Obama from doing. The US is predictably prevented from even a token stance of doing what is right by its political system that actively stymies the interests of the people. It has lost the chance to ensure that those making over a million dollars annually pay a minimum effective tax rate of at least … Continue reading Taking notes 3

Why socialism?

by Albert Einstein Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is. Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological … Continue reading Why socialism?

A Marxian interpretation of the economic crisis

by Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff Two different and contending mainstream theories have explained capitalism’s repeated crises over the last century. Each time each theory proposed correspondingly different solutions. Today’s crisis is no exception. One theory—called, after one of its founders, “Keynesian economics”—claims that unregulated private markets inevitably yield price movements that react back on the decisions of businesses, workers, and consumers to produce out-of-control price spirals. These periodically push the economy into inflations, recessions, or even depressions. Without intervention from outside, capitalism’s private economy may remain depressed or inflated long enough to threaten capitalism itself. Keynesian—or now more generally … Continue reading A Marxian interpretation of the economic crisis