[Marxism] LINKS #25 now online
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
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
/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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