Insurgent democracy

by John Schwarzmantel This article has three aims: in the first place it seeks to offer some reflection on the role of political theory, and its relationship to what could simplistically be called events in the real world. Should political theory in the broadest sense be concerned with analysing and interpreting these events, or is it an exercise of a different kind, primarily concerned with the analysis of texts and with developing a specialised language of inquiry into such texts, whether historical or contemporary, that offer generalised reflection on concepts like power and authority, freedom and justice, to name only … Continue reading Insurgent democracy

Beyond May Day: From ritual to resistance

by Jeff Shantz Perhaps few recurring events show the great disparity that exists between activist subcultures and broader working class and poor communities in North America than the May Day celebrations that happen each year (with a few exceptions). Despite its proud origins in working class movements of resistance, and its resonance in the mass struggles of the 1930s, May Day in Canada and the US has become little more than a historical commemoration among certain subcultures, an opportunity to (once again) unfurl black flags and distribute pamphlets (largely to one another). For the most part May Day events are … Continue reading Beyond May Day: From ritual to resistance

The ‘suicidal state’ and the war on youth

by Henry A. Giroux In spite of being discredited by the economic recession of 2008, market fundamentalism has once again assumed primacy as a dominant force for producing unprecedented inequalities in wealth and income, runaway environmental devastation, egregious amounts of human suffering and what Alex Honneth has called an “abyss of failed sociality.”(1) The Gilded Age is back with big profits for the ultra-rich and large financial institutions and increasing impoverishment and misery for the middle and working class. Political illiteracy and religious fundamentalism have cornered the market on populist rage providing support for a country in which, as Robert … Continue reading The ‘suicidal state’ and the war on youth

Post-racial America

by Henry A. Giroux  The killing of a young African-American boy, Trayvon Martin, by an overzealous white Hispanic security guard who appears to have capitulated to the dominant post-racial presumption that equates the culture of criminality with the culture of blackness, has devolved into a spectacle. While there is plenty of moral outrage to go around, a recognition that racism is alive and well in America, and that justice has been hijacked by those who can afford it, the broader and more fundamental questions and analyses are not being raised. Complex issues get lost when spectacular events are taken over … Continue reading Post-racial America

Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

by Dave Hill This is a revolutionary period in world history. The collapse of finance capitalism, the bankers’ bailouts across the globe, the continuing bankers’ bonuses, and the intrinsic problems of finance capitalism have, under current `bourgeois’ parliamentarist rule, resulted in ordinary families, workers and communities,`paying for the crisis’. All this, while the national and international capitalist classes and organisations impose austerity capitalism on a reeling public and public educational, social, health and welfare systems. This `austerity capitalism’ has led to an eruption of discontent-against political, economic and financial dictatorship, through the Arab Spring, the indignados in Spain, the Occupy … Continue reading Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

Global economic justice

by Daniel Little My subject here is the role of ethical principles in the conduct of economic development planning and strategy. Bluntly, what does justice in development involve, and why should policy makers care? The field of “development ethics” has been around for at least fifty years, since the publications of Gunnar Myrdal (Myrdal, 1968). But it has received more focus and attention in the past thirty years, led by the brilliant work of Amartya Sen. Sen has many qualifications for theorizing about the ethics of development. He is a Nobel prize winning economist, he is an Asian by birth, … Continue reading Global economic justice

Alternatives to capitalism

by Gregory Albo It is said so frequently now that socialism is dead that even socialists no longer notice.  This view is based, in good part, on the end of the political formations that came to represent socialism through the twentieth century (tiny Cuba notwithstanding).  The statist command economies of Eastern Europe, the diverse state-led national liberation projects of the South, and the social democratic welfare statism of Western capitalism have all fallen victim either to internal collapse or external de-stabilization.  The old joke of the Soviet leadership that the central question facing the US was the prospects for capitalism … Continue reading Alternatives to capitalism

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?

Justice for all and the European Union

by Philippe Van Parijs When we are thinking about how the European Union should evolve, what competences it should be given, what direction it should take, what is the ultimate objective? The answer is simple: justice. But what is justice? Any conception of justice relevant for our times must combine two elements, both strongly rooted in our European traditions, but neither of them exclusive to them: equal respect for the diversity of conceptions of the good life that characterizes our pluralist societies and equal concern for the interests of all members, present and yet to come, of the society concerned. … Continue reading Justice for all and the European Union