Aufheben #23 (2015-16)

Issue 23 of Aufheben, published in Autumn 2015

Obama's pivot to China

On August the 29th 2013, the much-diminished British anti-war movement once again mustered its remaining foot-soldiers to make a stand against yet another military intervention in the Middle East. As they gathered in Parliament Square, it seemed that the juggernaut of the US war machine was already well and truly in motion.

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Obama's pivot FINAL.pdf1.52 MB
Obama's pivot FINAL.doc159.5 KB

Workers on the experience of work: Review article - 'Lines of Work'

Alienation means dispossession, and the alienation of the worker in a wage relation means the dispossession of the worker’s control of her activity, of the product of this activity, and even of much of her social relations. As this relationship of dispossession is lived out by the worker in the context of her social interactions with others, alienation has both an objective and a subjective dimension, which includes subjective experience. While the subjective and experiential aspect cannot be simply be read off from a formal, objective relationship of alienation to capital, the subjective dimension cannot be understood in separation from the objective dimension. Thus in itself an understanding of the subjective dimension can provide only a partial explanation of the dynamics of antagonism and the tendency to communism.

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Work review FINAL.pdf634.81 KB
Work review FINAL.doc82.6 KB

Intakes: Disaster communism

In Aufheben 19 we discussed the thesis that disasters can produce ‘cracks in capitalism’. This idea was based in part on evidence of ‘the extraordinary communities that arise in disasters’. Such post-disaster communities are a well-documented phenomenon, and examples include those that emerged in the wake of San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, and Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, 2005. In each case, disaster served to produce micro-societies characterized by mutual aid, which were temporarily free from the control of capital and the state. In many cases, the forces of the state violently attacked these new communities – and in the case of Hurricane Katrina this was abetted by vigilantes. The parallel between disaster-produced communities like these and a communist world has led to the term ‘disaster communism’ being coined.
In this Intakes article, the Out of the Woods collective use the concept of disaster communism to address the relationship between climate change and these ‘disaster communities’. Part of the political significance of climate change lies in what it means for the traditional view that ‘post-scarcity’ societies make communism possible, that communism is a product of abundance....

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Disaster communism FINAL.pdf529.15 KB
Disaster communism FINAL.doc62.77 KB