[Marxism] LINKS #25 now online

Ben C minnows at connexus.net.au
Fri Dec 10 16:16:18 MST 2004

Links magazine no. 25 is now available online.

What happened in globalisation?? 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/McQueen.htm> /by Humphrey 
EDSA II, the Arroyo government and the 'democratic left' in the 
Philippines <http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Reid.htm> /by Ben 
The political economy of the rise of social movements in South Africa 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/McKinley.htm> /by Dale McKinley/
The May-June movement and its aftermath 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Smith1.htm> /by Murray Smith/
LCR holds decisive congress 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Smith2.htm> /by Murray Smith/
Appeal from the LCR congress for the regroupment of the anti-capitalist 
left <http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/LCR.htm>
The Marxist left's politics of alliances at the beginning of the 21st 
century <http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Cabrera.htm> /by José 
Ramán Balaguer Cabrera/
The Ukraine scam, internationals and internationalism 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Percy.htm> /by John Percy/
Canada's Socialist Project 
Success for second European Social Forum 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Smith3.htm> /by Murray Smith/
Engels and the theory of the labour aristocracy 
<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Strauss.htm> /by Jonathan 
Malcolm X <http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue25/Sheppard.htm> /by 
Barry Sheppard

/The lead article in this issue is a contribution to clarifying the real 
meaning of "globalisation". Marxist scholar Humphrey McQueen examines 
the question of to what degree recent changes may represent a 
qualitatively new stage in the expansion of capital.

To do this, he places the last quarter-century in the context of four 
previous periods of globalising capital: early plunder/commerce and 
money-dealing, the mercantilist era, 19^th century "free trade" and 
imperialism. His central focus is class relations, and in particular the 
contradictory struggle of capital to reduce labour time while 
simultaneously appropriating ever greater amounts of it. He dismisses 
the technological view of globalisation: "The substantive dynamics in 
each phase … have to be distinguished from their technologies. The 
internet is no more globalisation … than the telegraph was Lenin's 

These dynamics are analysed and then summarised: "Globalisation Mark V 
can be traced back to the solution to the crisis of accumulation that 
struck capital in the 1930s. The `trough in unemployment' from the 1940s 
to the mid-1970s pushed up wages at a time when the political, 
industrial and ideological strength of the working classes were also 
unprecedented. The usual conflict between the capitalist as employer and 
as marketer then assumed gigantic proportions. The cost of labour time 
had to be attacked if accumulation were to resume. Since the 1980s, that 
aim has been achieved by restructurings. However, the competition 
between oligopolies expanded production investments just when effective 
demand was either being contained, or sustained by debt. The resultant 
excess capacity is now threatening to inscribe deflation, which will be 
compounded by debt traps."

The following articles deal with aspects of the "globalised" class 
struggle in three quite different countries: the Philippines, South 
Africa and France. Ben Reid looks at the role of social democratic 
"civil society organisations" within the government of Philippines 
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Their relations, he notes, provide a 
vantage point from which "to observe recent trends towards the cooption 
of social movements in the global capitalist periphery". The belief or 
hope that the Arroyo and preceding Estrada government could be 
significantly influenced from within has proved an illusion.

Dale McKinley describes the rise of new social movements in South 
Africa, in response to the African National Congress government's 
neo-liberal policies and the ANC's absorption of most of the previously 
independent struggle organisations. Despite government attacks, he 
writes, these new movements "are not about to simply shrivel up and die. 
Indeed, the ANC's propaganda notwithstanding, the realities of South 
Africa's contemporary political economy strongly point to both a 
qualitative and quantitative intensification of the political activities 
of social movements."

Two articles by Murray Smith examine the situation in France following 
May-June 2003, which experienced "the biggest wave of strikes and 
demonstrations since the historic general strike of May 1968". The first 
article analyses why the strike movement failed to stop the government's 
neo-liberal pension and education "reforms". One of the lessons, he 
concludes, is that "it will be necessary to address the question of 
building a political alternative to the traditional left ... which will 
require a process of anticapitalist regroupment".

In the second article, Smith reports on the congress of the Ligue 
Communiste Révolutionnaire, held October 30-November 2, at which how to 
encourage left unity was a major focus of the discussion. Included with 
the article is the congress's "appeal for an anti-capitalist regroupment".

A broader overview of left unity in the current world situation is 
provided by José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, a leader of the Communist Party 
of Cuba. That party, he writes, conceives of alliances "as a first step 
toward convergence, unity, fusion and synthesis of the demands, needs, 
aspirations and interests of all the oppressed and exploited social 
class sectors … not as a mere and circumstantial electoral coalition …"

Three further articles describe aspects of internationalism and left 
regroupment. John Percy reports on the scam carried out by entrepreneurs 
in the Ukraine, who convinced at least a dozen small "internationals" 
that they were political allies worthy of material support. Next is a 
political statement of the Socialist Project, a new attempt in Canada to 
build a broad anti-capitalist alternative. And Murray Smith reports on 
the successful second European Social Forum, held in Paris in November.

In "Engels and the theory of the labour aristocracy", Jonathan Strauss 
examines Engels' development of the theory as he observed the English 
working-class movement in the late nineteenth century. Engels' theory 
then became the basis of Lenin's theory in the era of imperialism.

Finally, we are pleased to be able to bring readers Barry Sheppard's 
memoirs concerning the African American leader Malcolm X. As Sheppard 
notes, Malcolm's revolutionary ideas have been largely obscured since 
his assassination; this account will help to clarify the reality, 
especially concerning the period after Malcolm broke with the Nation of 

—The managing editors

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