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

Taking notes 8: Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today

by Chris Cutrone Modern classes are different from ancient separations between castes, such as between the clergy or priestly caste, and the noble aristocracy or warrior caste, and the vast majority of people, “commoners,” or those who were ignorant of divinity and without honor, who, for most of history, were peasants living through subsistence agriculture, a mute background of the pageantry of the ancient world. Modern, “bourgeois” society, or the society of the modern city, is the product of the revolt of the Third Estate, or commoners, who had no property other than that of their labor: “self-made” men. During … Continue reading Taking notes 8: Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today

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