Aufheben 23 (2015-2016)
AVAILABLE LATE SEPTEMBER 2015
OBAMA’S PIVOT TO CHINA
In this article we consider the unfolding of civil war following the demise of the Arab Spring and then place this complex conflict in the context of the overarching imperatives of US foreign policy. As we shall argue, contrary to the common view on the left and in the anti-war movement, far from being hell bent on war against Syria and Iran, the Obama administrations approach to the Syrian conflict has been determined by the ultimate aims of establishing a rapprochement with Iran in order to secure stability in the Middle East, permit the opening up of the Iranian and Iraqi oil and allow for a major shift in emphasis of US foreign policy towards the rise of China and Asia.
WORKERS ON THE EXPERIENCE OF WORK
There have been a number of attempts to document and analyse workers’ experiences of work in the Marxian tradition. While many of these emerge from the needs of workers themselves within particular workplaces, on other occasions the motive has more to do with the ‘political’ purposes of revolutionary groups. We review Lines of Work, a recent collection of workers’ stories of experiences in their workplaces, which affords the opportunity to address two questions: why study our experiences of work? And, if we should study our experiences of work, how should we go about this? We compare the approach of Lines of Work with bourgeois sociology and versions of militant workers’ enquiry, which originated in Italian Operaismo. We also trace the intellectual background of this recent study of workers’ experience in the form of, among others, the Johnson-Forest tendency, Stan Weir and anarcho-syndicalism. Perhaps what is more interesting and important than any theoretical lacunae in anarcho-syndicalism are some of the practices of people in anarcho-syndicalist groups, which often go beyond their consciously expressed ideas.
INTAKES: DISASTER COMMUNISM
This article attempts to connect the micro of ‘disaster communities’ with the macro problematic of ‘disaster communisation’ through an engagement with a recent debate over logistics. On the one hand, the partisans of communisation tend to view the extant infrastructure as inherently belonging to capitalist social relations. On the other, critics have used the apparent necessity of taking over existing infrastructure to assert a corresponding necessity of continuing ‘proper (hierarchical) management’. The article argues that the necessity to abolish capitalist social forms can be reconciled with the need to expropriate the existing infrastructure bequeathed by capitalism through the practice of bricolage, the art of making do with what is at hand. This ties the wider problematic back in with the kind of improvisational creativity seen in disaster communities.
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