ALL MUST WORK! declares the cabinet of millionaires. 'Workers not shirkers!', they implore. 'Strivers not skivers!' The divide-and-rule rhetoric trying to pit those in work against those without is as relentless as it is transparent. But what's so good about work anyway?
Junge Linke's short piece nicely skewers how attempts to mobilise resentment of claimants and the unemployed undermine even those in work who aren't claiming benefits. What I'd like to focus on is two perspectives on what an explicitly anti-work politics might look like.
The Guardian today reports a rise in homelessness. This is a predictable (and predicted) consequence of benefits cuts, but it has nothing to do with a shortage of homes.
The 'housing shortage' has become something of a received wisdom amongst the political mainstream. From the right, we get the endless moans from property developers about 'bureaucratic planning red tape'. From the left, the nostalgic call for a new wave of council housing.
Some further thoughts on capitalism and climate change.
I previously blogged on this topic at the end of last year.
There's been several articles posted lately critical of identity politics from a class struggle perspective. This blog addresses some of the pitfalls of the class unity v identity politics debate.
I've been meaning to write something on this for a long time, but I've hesitated as class struggle critiques of identity politics are often clumsy and serve to gloss over very real oppressions and violence.
This is a short blog inspired by the news that the UK is officially in ‘double-dip’ recession (as predicted by pretty much everyone on the left).
So everybody’s taking perverse pleasure in celebrating the return to recession as proof that 'austerity isn’t working'.1 Setting aside the armchair-Keynesianism behin
- 1. This assumes a rapid return to growth is the objective, rather than tearing up the post-war social contract, smashing the remnants of organised labour, privatising everything in sight and getting even more ridiculously minted.
This is a short blog prompted by recent events in Brighton, as well as wider discussions I’ve been having about the (possible) relationship of austerity to gendered violence and oppression.
In terms of what’s been happening in Brighton, a ‘pro-life’ group (who I won’t name since they’re aiming at publicity) have been regularly harassing women at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic, importing tactics from the US where such actions are a lot more common. This made the front page of the local paper today after they intimidated a rape survivor (see lead pic).
I finally finished this book after reading it on and off for months. First, I'll say this is a very unsettling book. By this, I mean it makes you think again about things you thought you knew already, and can't be easily assimilated into an existing worldview. For that reason alone, it's worth reading.
What follows isn't really a review, but some thoughts on some of the concepts put forward and ideas raised in the book. Nor am I going to summarise the arc of the book's main arguments.
Does the failure to reach an agreement to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees celsius prove that capitalism has no answer to man-made climate change?
The COP-17 climate change talks in Durban earlier this month agreed to a binding greenhouse gas emissions agreement to be prepared by 2015 and entering into force in 2020.1
- 1. 'COP' = 'Conference Of the Parties' to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
I remember when I first Silvia Federici's Caliban and the Witch I liked its synthesis of autonomist Marxist emphasis on class struggle and Foucauldian 'politics of the body', situating the womens struggles as a site of class conflict. But I also had some nagging doubts about elements of the historical narrative.
Since the book makes the explicit claim that patriarchal histories have written out women, I put this down to a dissonance between received patriarchal 'common sense' and the book, and gave the book the benefit of the doubt. Anyhow, I just got into a conversation about the scale of the witch hunts, and looked up Federici. Here's what she has to say:
This question might seem odd to some. To seasoned libertarian communists, the answer ‘everyday life’ trips off the tongue without a second thought. But it seems like a productive question to work through in light of recent events, from the parliamentary expenses scandal to the August riots to the #occupy movement. So, where is politics?
Anarchism has been getting a lot of attention lately, including some oft-peddled but easily refuted myths.
The cops have been urging people to report anarchists to the anti-terrorist police.
I was looking into the historical data on strike days in Britain for a feature in Catalyst, but there's a lot more to discuss than we could fit in the paper, so I've extended it to a blog post.
This is the graph we printed in Catalyst. The green line represents thousands of strike days and is read from the left y-axis, black represents inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient, and is read off the right y-axis (100 = one person owns everything and 0 = perfect equality.
A discussion document (2/2) I wrote a few months back, which may be of interest in light of the 'Direct Unionism' debate.
What makes a revolutionary union revolutionary? or in other words, what is the content of the 'political' in a political-economic organisation?
Academic historian Marcel van der Linden says this, which i think can be used to think about an answer:
A discussion document (1/2) I wrote a few months back, which may be of interest in light of the 'Direct Unionism' debate.
Anarcho-syndicalist criticisms of trade unionism are often scathing and incisive, but are weaker or non-existent when it comes to the bureaucratisation and class collaboration of ostensibly revolutionary unions – most famously the CNT’s participation in the Spanish government dur
A discussion I've been having with friends lately is whether opposing liberalism from a class struggle perspective is just another form of political realism, liberalism's main rival in mainstream political theory. This seems to rest on the relationship between ethics and power in both doctrines, so here's a provisional answer. This isn't just an academic question, as it has implications for class struggle anarchist critiques of liberalism and Leninism/social democracy, which aside from anarchism are the principal ideologies of the current anti-cuts movement.
Liberalism is the default ideology of capitalism. Within mainstream ideologies, its only real rival is realism, aka realpolitik, aka power politics. While liberalism seeks to subjugate might to right, realism says that might makes right. So in arguing that [url=http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=the-paradox-of-reformism-a-call-for-economic-blockades]“It’s all about the balance of class forces.