International Conference: Russian Revolution Centenary: Reflections on the 21st Century

Russian Revolution Centenary: Reflections on the 21st Century

The COOPERATIVE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSNATIONAL STUDIES, The DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL POLICY-UNIVERSITY OF PELOPONNESE, The CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES

Announce the International Conference on

 «Russian Revolution Centenary: Reflections on the 21st Century».

26th -29th October 2017, University of Peloponnese, Corinth, Greece.

 

Featured speakers

Tariq Ali, Francesca Coin, Mike Cole, Ana Dinerstein, Cassie Earl, Stratos Georgoulas, David Graeber, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, John Holloway*, Κostas Isihos, Boris Kagarlitsky*, Jerry Kachur, Ravi Kumar, Κostas Lapavitsas, Dimitri Lascaris, Vicki Macris, Stavros Mauroudeas, John Milios, Maria Nikolakaki, Denis O’ Hearn, Leo Panitch*, Dimitris Patelis, Ingo Schmidt, Helena Sheehan, Kenneth Surin, Teivo Teivainen*.

 

The conference will be livestreamed by The Real News Network (TRNN).

Important historical anniversaries are good reasons to consciously reconsider history and observe the lessons from historical experience. The Russian Revolution was a series of major historical events in Russia in the year 1917 that not only marked the history of this country, but had also a decisive influence throughout modern world history. It is often described as one of the greatest historical events of humankind.

For some, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a crucial milestone in the long and arduous course of humanity’s seek to achieve the ideals of freedom from humankind’s oppression and exploitation. Others see it as a disastrous development that had a negative impact in the world.

On the centenary of the revolution, it is time to boldly evaluate its achievements, its contradictions, its difficulties, its errors, and its transformative influence not only in former USSR but also to the whole world. It’s time again to reflect on the possibilities to create a word where humans are not exploited, a society of equality and freedom.

This year is also the sesquicentennial of the publication of  Marx’s Capital/ Volume 1 (1867). Given the influence of Marx’s work in the Russian Revolution, this conference wants to elaborate on Marx’s scientific human theory and the need to revitalize a revolutionary theory for a revolutionary praxis.

 

Themes

  • The revolutionary moment
  • The revolutionary subject
  • Contradictions of early socialism
  • War and revolution
  • The aesthetics of the Russian Revolution and communism
  • Propaganda and media’s influences
  • Revolutionary education
  • The struggle to equality in early socialism
  • Marxist theory and revolution
  • The political economy of revolution
  • Revolution and counter-revolutions
  • Literature and revolution
  • Does the class struggle end in socialism?
  • Gender/race/religion and revolution
  • Dialectics and revolution
  • Impact of the Russian revolution in other countries.
  • Impact of the Russian Revolution in scientific fields.
  • Fascism and communism
  • Wars and nationalism/revolution and internationalism.
  • The possibility of revolution
  • Anarchism and revolution
  • Greece and revolution
  • Revolutionary struggles today

The themes are not exhausted here; proposals that situate the Russian Revolution within a living history, reflecting on their significance to revolutionary theory and practice, will be considered.

Book presentations

  1. Lenin, by Tariq Ali

2. The Syriza wave, by Helena Sheehan.

3. Critical Race Theory and Education: a Marxist Response by Mike Cole

4. New Developments in Critical Race Theory and Education: Revisiting Racialized Capitalism and Socialism in Austerity by Mike Cole

Organizing Committee

Maria Nikolakaki, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, Dimitri Lascaris, Ravi Kumar, Ana Dinerstein, Stratos Georgoulas, Mike Cole, Salim Nabi, Thanasis Santsoglou, Alex Politaki (media consultant).

Scientific Committee

Maria Nikolakaki, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, Dimitri Lascaris, Ravi Kumar, Ana Dinerstein, Stratos Georgoulas, Mike Cole, John Rees.

Languages of the Conference: Greek and English.

The Conference has  free entrance.

 

SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS

To propose a paper, please send an abstract of up to 250-word abstract for a paper and a 500-word proposal for a panel by the conference platform no later than 25th September.
Please include a very short bio in your submission.  Please also state in the subject title of your email either “Paper” or “Panel Proposal”

The presenter fees are 80 Euros per person or 200 Euros per panel presentation. Each panel should include 3 papers at least.

Student presenters’ fees are 30 euros.

The fees include a dinner table and a day excursion to Ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Nemea, Epidavros and Nafplio.

The papers accepted will be published in the Conference Proceedings, while selected papers will be published at CITS Journal «Cooperatives and the Commons».

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The venue:

 

Accommodation:

Hotels in Corinth

 

 

Εκατονταετηρίδα Ρωσικής Επανάστασης: Σκέψεις για τον 21ο Αιώνα  

ΤΟ ΤΜΗΜΑ ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΚΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΚΠΑΙΔΕΥΤΙΚΗΣ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΗΣ-ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΠΕΛΟΠΟΝΝΗΣΟΥ, ΤΟ COOPERATIVE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSNATIONAL STUDIES, KAI ΤΟ CALIFORNIA SCHOOL OF INTEGRAL STUDIES

οργανώνουν διεθνές συνέδριο στις 26-29 Οκτωβρίου 2017, Πανεπιστήμιο Πελοποννήσου, Κόρινθος, Ελλάδα.

Κεντρικοί ομιλητές

Tariq Ali, Francesca Coin, Mike Cole, Ana Dinerstein, Cassie Earl, Stratos Georgoulas, David Graeber, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, John Holloway*, Κostas Isihos, Boris Kagarlitsky*, Jerry Kachur, Ravi Kumar, Κostas Lapavitsas, Dimitri Lascaris, Vicki Macris, Stavros Mauroudeas, John Milios, Maria Nikolakaki, Denis O’ Hearn, Leo Panitch*, Dimitris Patelis, Ingo Schmidt, Helena Sheehan, Kenneth Surin, Teivo Teivainen*.

 

Οι σημαντικές ιστορικές επέτειοι είναι καλοί λόγοι για να επεξεργαστούμε συνειδητά την ιστορία και να παρατηρήσουμε τα διδάγματα από την ιστορική εμπειρία. Η ρωσική επανάσταση ήταν μια σειρά από σημαντικά ιστορικά γεγονότα στη Ρωσία το 1917 που όχι μόνο σηματοδότησαν την ιστορία αυτής της χώρας, αλλά είχαν επίσης αποφασιστική επιρροή στη σύγχρονη παγκόσμια ιστορία. Συχνά περιγράφεται ως ένα από τα μεγαλύτερα ιστορικά γεγονότα της ανθρωπότητας.

Για μερικούς, η ρωσική επανάσταση του 1917 ήταν ένα κρίσιμο ορόσημο στην μακρά και επίπονη πορεία της ανθρωπότητας που επιδιώκει να επιτύχει τα ιδανικά της ελευθερίας από την καταπίεση και την εκμετάλλευση του ανθρώπου. Άλλοι το θεωρούν μια καταστροφική εξέλιξη που είχε αρνητικό αντίκτυπο στον κόσμο.

Σχετικά με την εκατονταετηρίδα της επανάστασης, είναι καιρός να αξιολογήσουμε με τόλμη τα επιτεύγματά της, τις αντιφάσεις της, τις δυσκολίες, τα λάθη της και τη μεταβαλλόμενη επιρροή της όχι μόνο στην πρώην ΕΣΣΔ αλλά και σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο. Ήρθε η ώρα να αναλογιστούμε τις δυνατότητες δημιουργίας μιας κοινωνίας όπου οι άνθρωποι δεν εκμεταλλεύονται, μια κοινωνία ισότητας και ελευθερίας.

Το φετινό έτος είναι επίσης 150 χρόνια από την δημοσίευση του κεφαλαίου του Μαρξ / Τόμος 1 (1867). Δεδομένης της επιρροής του έργου του Μαρξ στην ρωσική επανάσταση, το συνέδριο αυτό θέλει να επεξεργαστεί την επιστημονική ανθρώπινη θεωρία του Μαρξ και την ανάγκη αναζωογόνησης μιας επαναστατικής θεωρίας για μια επαναστατική πράξη.

 

Θέματα

  • Η επαναστατική στιγμή
  • Το επαναστατικό υποκείμενο
  • Αντιφάσεις του πρώιμου σοσιαλισμού
  • Πόλεμος και επανάσταση
  • Η αισθητική της ρωσικής επανάστασης και του κομμουνισμού
  • Η προπαγάνδα και οι επιρροές των μέσων ενημέρωσης
  • Επαναστατική εκπαίδευση
  • Ο αγώνας για την ισότητα στον πρώιμο σοσιαλισμό
  • Μαρξιστική θεωρία και επανάσταση
  • Η πολιτική επανάσταση της επανάστασης
  • Επανάσταση και αντεπαναστάσεις
  • Λογοτεχνία και επανάσταση
  • Ο ταξικός αγώνας τελειώνει στον σοσιαλισμό;
  • Φύλο / φυλή / θρησκεία και επανάσταση
  • Διαλεκτική και επανάσταση
  • Αντίκτυπος της ρωσικής επανάστασης σε άλλες χώρες.
  • Επίδραση της ρωσικής επανάστασης στους επιστημονικούς τομείς.
  • Φασισμός και κομμουνισμός
  • Πόλεμοι και εθνικισμός / επανάσταση και διεθνισμός.
  • Η δυνατότητα επανάστασης
  • Αναρχισμός και επανάσταση
  • Η Ελλάδα και η επανάσταση
  • Επαναστατικοί αγώνες σήμερα

Τα θέματα δεν εξαντλούνται εδώ. Θα εξεταστούν προτάσεις που τοποθετούν τη Ρωσική Επανάσταση μέσα σε μια ζωντανή ιστορία, αντανακλώντας τη σημασία τους για την επαναστατική θεωρία και πρακτική.

Παρουσίαση βιβλίων

  1. Lenin, by Tariq Ali
  1. The Syriza wave, by Helena Sheehan.
  2. Critical Race Theory and Education: a Marxist Response by Mike Cole
  3. New Developments in Critical Race Theory and Education: Revisiting Racialized Capitalism and Socialism in Austerity by Mike Cole

 

Οργανωτική επιτροπή

Maria Nikolakaki, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, Dimitri Lascaris, Ravi Kumar, Ana Dinerstein, Stratos Georgoulas, Mike Cole, Salim Nabi, Alex Politaki (media consultant).

 

Επιστημονική επιτροπή

Maria Nikolakaki, Andrej Grubacic, Dave Hill, Dimitri Lascaris, Ravi Kumar, Ana Dinerstein, Stratos Georgoulas, Mike Cole, Helena Sheehan.

ΥΠΟΒΟΛΗ ΤΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΕΩΝ

Για να προτείνετε μια ανακοίνωση στο συνέδριο, παρακαλώ στείλτε μια περίληψη μέχρι 250 λέξεων ή μια πρόταση 500 λέξεων για ένα πάνελ από την πλατφόρμα συνεδρίου το αργότερο στις 25 Σεπτεμβρίου.

Συμπεριλάβετε ένα πολύ σύντομο βιογραφικό σημείωμα στην υποβολή σας.

Τα έξοδα παρουσίας είναι 80 ευρώ ανά άτομο ή 200 ευρώ ανά παρουσίαση πάνελ.

Γλώσσες του συνεδρίου: Ελληνικά και Αγγλικά.

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Intervention in PressTV News (10-9-2017) on whether Greece is going to get out of the troika austerity programmes

The video of a short intervention in PressTV News (10-9-2017) on whether Greece is going to get out of the troika austerity programmes.

 

A more extended comment follows.

Is Greece on track to get out of the straitjackets of the troika programmess in 2018?

Stavros Mavroudeas

Professor of Political Economy

University of Macedonia

In several recent public communications officials of the SYRIZA-ANELL government (the prime minister A.Tsipras among them) have touted that Greece is going to get out of the austerity bail out programmes in 2018.

This is a far-fetched declaration that echoes similar declarations by the previous ND-PASOK government. All governments implementing the unpopular troika Economic Adjustment Programmes (EAPs) are keen to promulgate their end and thus get rid of the political stigma associated with them.

However, there is a long road still till the Greek economy gets out of the woods.

In order for Greece to get out from the EAPs it is necessary to be able to borrow in international markets. Of course, even this would not end the Greek crisis, which is not a debt crisis but a structural one. Its deep rooted structural problems – to a great extent created or exacerbated by the participation in the European integration – cause the twin deficits (fiscal and current account deficits) that bankrupted the Greek economy. Being able to return to borrowing from the international markets would simply facilitate debt service.

The troika and all recent Greek governments have agreed – through the EAPs – that a return to the markets can take place when the debt/GDP ratio falls to 120% (an unsubstantiated scientifically argument that was made for political reasons). The last EAP (signed by the previously anti-austerity SYRIZA-ANELL government) set 2020 as the milestone for achieving this target. In paving this course some preliminary probing issues of Greek debt have to be made. The previous government made one and recently the SYRIZA-ANELL government made an identical one. Both of them were limited (small amounts of debt), entirely orchestrated by the foreign lenders (through backroom deals), of small time span and with a pricey interest rate. Tellingly, none of them surpassed the horizon of the existing conditionality (the iron guardianship exerted by the troika); which denotes that international markets are not willing to venture outside it. Thus, this solitary probing moves are almost insignificant.

The target of 120% debt/GDP ratio in 2020 is unachievable, as even the IMF has accepted in its recent dogfights with the EU. Actually, all these years and thanks to the pro-cyclical austerity policies of the EAPs, this ratio has increased from 129% in 2009 to 173% in 2016.

In order for the debt/GDP ratio to start decreasing the Greek GDP has to exhibit an unrealistically high and persistent boom. As many studies have shown, there is no current example of a country achieving such targets.

An anemic and probably unsustainable growth of the Greek GDP is possible (after the unnatural period of 8 years collapse with a total loss of approximately 26% of GDP). However, so long as the structure of the Greek economy remains the same (e.g. an GDP increase requires an increase in imports) then this rebound is destined to be weak and short-lived. Last but not the least, even such a rebound would not get the great majority of Greek people out of their current misery. Unemployment would remain high, wages would remain low, working conditions barbaric and job insecurity high.

For all these reasons, a Greek ‘success story’ is highly improbable. Behind the political facades and hypocrisies, there are two possible scenarios for the future that are currently being contemplated in the dark backrooms of the establishment. The first is a 4th EAP (that is a new bail out with additional conditionality and supervision) that would begin after the expiration of the current one in 2018. The second scenario – favoured by the EU as the IMF is probably leaving the troika – is a 4th EAP masqueraded as a precautionary credit line by ESM (European Stability Mechanism). This credit line would offer funds in Greece if needed but would carry with it conditionality and supervision.

Concluding, at the hands of the Greek establishment and its international patrons there is no end near for the tragedy of the Greek people.

‘Troika’s Economic Adjustment Programmes for Greece: Why Do They Systematically Fail?’ in Marangos (ed.) ‘The Internal Impact and External Influence of the Greek Financial Crisis’

J.Marangos’ (ed.) ‘The Internal Impact and External Influence of the Greek Financial Crisis’ has just been published by Palgrave:

http://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9783319602004#

In this collective volume I have contributed a chapter with the telling title ‘Troika’s Economic Adjustment Programmes for Greece: Why Do They Systematically Fail?’ (Pages 23-45).

The following abstract offers a brief description of my chapter.

 

ABSTRACT

 The current Greek crisis – together with crises of the other euro-periphery economies – is at the epicenter of European Union’s (EU) structural problems. In order to overcome this crisis, the EU in agreement with successive Greek governments has applied three Economic Adjustment Programmes (EAPs), entailing successive loans to Greece in order to avoid default and linked to conditionality delineating the recipient’s obligations. These Programmes despite their successive reviews and modifications failed dismally to overcome the Greek crisis and achieve their own milestones. This paper explores the causes of this blatant failure. The first part presents the historical timeline of the Greek EAPs and pinpoints their failures. The next part analyses the origins of these programmes and the peculiarities of the Greek EAPs. The last part explains the political economic reasons of the systematic failures.

 

Ένα σχόλιο για τα ναυτιλιακά ομόλογα

Ένα σχόλιο για τα ναυτιλιακά ομόλογα

Στ. Μαυρουδέας

Η κυβέρνηση ΣΥΡΙΖΑ την ίδια ώρα που φορτώνει νέα βάρη στις πλάτες των εργαζομένων και της μεγάλης πλειονότητας του ελληνικού λαού προσπαθεί να αποδείξει ότι είναι ο πιστότερος υπηρέτης των εφοπλιστών. Την ίδια ώρα που φορτώνει περικοπές και νέα φορολογικά βάρη στους πρώτους, όχι μόνο προστατεύει με νύχια και με δόντια την ασύδοτη φοροδιαφυγή των εφοπλιστών αλλά προσπαθεί να τους διευκολύνει στο να βρουν «φθηνό χρήμα» για τις ιδιωτικές δουλειές τους.

Η ναυτιλία αντιμετωπίζει προβλήματα από τους χαμηλούς ναύλους στην παγκ. ναυλαγορά (ιδιαίτερα στα χύδην φορτίου πλοία που έχει κυρίως το ελληνικό εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο).

 

Εξαιτίας των χαμηλών ναύλων που οδήγησε στη χρεωκοπία αρκετές ξένες (π.χ. γερμανικές, Hanjin) αλλά και ελληνικές ναυτιλιακές εταιρείες, οι τράπεζες διεθνώς είναι διστακτικές στη χορήγηση δανειακών κεφαλαίων προς τη ναυτιλία.

 

Οι Έλληνες εφοπλιστές δεν φαίνεται στην πλειοψηφία τους να εμφανίζουν προβλήματα ρευστότητας καθώς έχουν συσσωρεύσει από το παρελθόν μεγάλα ίδια κεφάλαια και έχουν αγοράσει πάρα πολλά πλοία κοψοχρονιά από χρεωκοπημένες ξένες ναυτιλιακές. Επίσης οι «μεγάλοι» του κλάδου εξακολουθούν να μπορούν να δανείζονται με καλούς όρους στις διεθνείς χρηματαγορές. Ταυτόχρονα όμως αντιλαμβάνονται ότι μεσοπρόθεσμα αν δεν μπορέσουν να αντλήσουν ικανή ποσότητα δανειακών κεφαλαίων θα πρέπει να μειώσουν τον κύκλο των εργασιών τους τουλάχιστον σε ότι αφορά την ποντοπόρο ναυτιλία. Ιδιαίτερα οι μικρότερες ναυτιλιακές εταιρείες νιώθουν αυτή την απειλή εντονότερα.

 

Από αυτή την άποψη οποιαδήποτε πηγή φθηνών δανειακών κεφαλαίων είναι ευπρόσδεκτη για το εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο. Η πρόσφατη επιτυχία έκδοσης εταιρικών ομολόγων (Μυτιληναίος, Γερμανός) άνοιξε τις σχετικές ορέξεις.

 

Στην περίπτωση της ελληνικής κεφαλαιαγοράς όμως η άντληση δανειακών κεφαλαίων είναι ένα εξαιρετικά δύσκολο και αμφίβολης αποδοτικότητας εγχείρημα. Οι λόγοι γι’ αυτό είναι:

  • Η δομική έλλειψη δανειακών κεφαλαίων στην ελληνική χρηματαγορά που έχουν δημιουργήσει η κρίση και τα μνημόνια
  • Η ανάγκη για έγκριση από την τρόικα προκειμένου να χορηγηθούν πιστώσεις σε ικανή έκταση και ιδιαίτερα όταν πρόκειται να τις εγγυηθεί το ελληνικό δημόσιο.
  • Γι’ αυτούς τους λόγους η ελληνική χρηματιστηριακή αγορά δεν είναι ικανή να προσφέρει σημαντική μόχλευση. Επιπλέον είναι δύσκολο να λειτουργήσει το μοντέλο των τιτλοποιήσεων στην ελληνική πραγματικότητα.
  • Τα ναυτιλιακά ομόλογα δεν έχουν καλή προϊστορία καθώς πολύ συχνά στο παρελθόν ναυτιλιακές εταιρείες πέτυχαν το «κούρεμα» τους.
  • Είναι δύσκολη η αποτίμηση του ενεργητικού μίας ναυτιλιακής εταιρείας (λόγω του offshore δικαίου που τις καλύπτει) και συνεπώς ένας ομολογιούχος δεν μπορεί να ξέρει καλά τι εγγυήσεις έχει σε περίπτωση προβλημάτων.
  • Οι ελληνικές τράπεζες (που πλέον έχουν περάσει σε μεγάλο βαθμό υπό ξένο έλεγχο) δεν καλοβλέπουν τα εταιρικά ομόλογα καθώς χάνουν σημαντικές καταθέσεις (μεγάλοι και αξιόχρεοι πελάτες) ενώ τα commissions που εισπράττουν δεν αντισταθμίζουν στο ελάχιστο τη ζημιά αυτή. Και όλα αυτά σε μία περίοδο που ενεδρεύει ο κίνδυνος νέων προβλημάτων (δυσκολότερα stress tests από το 2018, προβλήματα ανακεφαλαιοποίησης, bail in κλπ.).

 

Στην περίπτωση που πίσω από τα ναυτιλιακά ομόλογα δοθούν, με κάποιο τρόπο, εγγυήσεις του ελληνικού Δημοσίου τότε πρόκειται περί σκανδάλου ολκής καθώς θα επιβαρυνθούν οι Έλληνες πολίτες.

Συμπερασματικά:

  • Ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ προσπαθεί να «γλύψει» το εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο και να δείξει ότι είναι καλύτερος υπηρέτης του από την ΝΔ.
  • Το εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο δέχεται χαμογελαστά το «γλύψιμο» αν και ξέρει ότι έχει μικρές δυνατότητες. Αυτές πιθανά που «καίγονται» περισσότερο να προχωρήσουν τα ναυτιλιακά ομόλογα είναι μικρότερες ναυτιλιακές εταιρείες (που θέλουν να μειώσουν ή και να αναχρηματοδοτήσουν τον υπέρογκο δανεισμό τους με φθηνότερα επιτόκια).
  • Είναι αμφίβολη η θέση της τρόικα και ιδιαίτερα της Γερμανίας στο θέμα αυτό. Η τελευταία – και δημόσια – έχει στοχοποιήσει (για τους δικούς της λόγους) το ελληνικό εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο. Αν δεχθεί κάτι τέτοιο είναι εύλογο ότι θα ζητήσει ακριβά ανταλλάγματα.
  • Η ενδεχόμενη παροχή εγγύησης του ελληνικού δημοσίου συνεπάγεται απαράδεκτες επιβαρύνσεις για τους Έλληνες φορολογούμενους

 

Τι δουλειά έχει η ελληνική κυβέρνηση να εξυπηρετεί τις ιδιωτικές μπίζνες του εφοπλιστικού κεφαλαίου που μάλιστα βρίσκεται κυρίως εκτός της χώρας; Δεν έχει αρκετά άλλα προβλήματα ο ελληνικός λαός για να ασχοληθούν με αυτά όλοι αυτοί οι κρατικοί αξιωματούχοι; Δεν μπορούν οι ναυτιλιακές εταιρείες να κοιτάξουν μόνες τους τις δουλειές τους;

 

Η χώρα έχει χρυσοπληρώσει το εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο το οποίο έναντι δεν δίνει ούτε ψίχουλα και συνεχώς απαιτεί και περισσότερα. Όχι μόνο δεν χρειάζεται περισσότερες χαριστικές διευκολύνσεις αλλά πρέπει επιτέλους και να πληρώσει τα χρεωστούμενα του. Να φορολογηθεί τώρα το εφοπλιστικό κεφάλαιο.

A short interview in Sputnik radio on Cyprus, 14/7/2017

A short interview in Sputnik radio on the Cyprus energy dispute and the collapse of the Cran Mondana talks, 14/7/2017

 

 

ΕΕΠΟ: ‘The value composition of GDP and its relation to the production of value: The US, UK and Greece’ , διάλεξη του V.Kasper

Η Επιστημονική Εταιρεία Πολιτικής Οικονομίας (ΕΕΠΟ) διοργανώνει διάλεξη του Victor Kasper με θέμα The value composition of GDP and its relation to the production of value: The US, UK and Greece’ («Η αξιακή σύνθεση του ΑΕΠ και η σχέση της με την παραγωγή αξίας: Οι ΗΠΑ, το ΗΒ και η Ελλάδα»).

Ο V.Kasper είναι Αν.Καθηγητής του Buffalo State (State University of New York) με εκτεταμένο έργο στην Πολιτική Οικονομία.

Το θέμα της διάλεξης αφορά την συσχέτιση των κατηγοριών των Εθνικών Λογαριασμών με την Μαρξιστική οικονομική ανάλυση και τις έννοιες της.

Η διάλεξη θα δοθεί στα αγγλικά στις 19/7/2017 στις 6μμ σε αίθουσα της ΓΣΕΒΕΕ (Αριστοτέλους 46, Αθήνα).

Περισσότερες πληροφορίες και υλικό στην ιστοσελίδα της ΕΕΠΟ (https://poleconom.wordpress.com).

Επιστημονική Εταιρεία Πολιτικής Οικονομίας (ΕΕΠΟ)

A passionate and patient contribution to revolutionary theory and politics – Comment on Laibman

 

 

A passionate and patient contribution to revolutionary theory and politics

 

Stavros Mavroudeas

 

David Laibman’s Passion and Patience offers a nicely and systematically classified collection of his editorials for Science & Society. Contrary to usual academic practice, that suffices to simply present a journal’s contents, these editorials are opinion pieces on significant issues and debates. This is one of the best traditions of scientific journals of the Left: not merely to publish articles but also to engage actively in current intellectual and political issues. Needless to say this tradition is becoming today an endangered species even in radical and heterodox journals because of the withdrawal from active politics and the retreat to a badly conceived specialization. David’s editorials go against this current and this book is an excellent and topical (despite the passing of time) collection of his inquiries into a broad range of issues of political economy, social theory, history, culture and politics concerning modern capitalism and human emancipation from capitalist exploitation.

Passion and Patience is true to its title, borrowed from an old communist dictum. It has both these virtues that are necessary for a Marxist; especially in the current difficult era of collapse of many of the first socialist experiments, capitalism’s increasing aggressiveness and barbarism and at the same time acute crisis. It has passion in the sense of unwavering commitment to revolutionary struggle and the toiling masses. As David appositely explains, this is not some form of sentimentalism (‘hot blood from the heart’ as an old anarchist wrote to Marx) but the guiding line (the organizing principle) for analyzing and intervening in political and intellectual struggles. But it also has patience. Not as a low-brow accommodation with objective difficulties but as a deep understanding that revolutionary politics is a long distance track. It requires copious work, meticulous involvement with even seemingly unimportant issues and especially continuous self-criticism in order to confront problems, errors and contradictions.

In this endeavor Laibman shows the analytical vitality of Marxism and its merits compared to both bourgeois theory and other radical traditions. Moreover, he demonstrates that Marxism is a dynamic and evolving corpus of theory and practice – contrary to several attempts to fossilize it in some form of ‘theological’ and bureaucratic thinking – and is the sole solid foundation for the struggle for a new human society free from exploitation.

Such a principled and at the same time creative and productive development of Marxism is of paramount significance nowadays. After a period of simplistic and crude denigration several quarters of the capitalist system have differentiated their stance towards Marxism. Faced with their own contradictions and failures – expressed in recurrent crises, growing immiseration of increasing segments of the society and aggravating imperialist conflicts – they attempt a qualified domestication of Marxism. Laibman offers an excellent polemic against them in his editorial on mainstream appraisal of the Communist Manifesto (‘THE MANIFESTO: CELEBRATION VS. REDEDICATION’) that glorify Marx’s political magnum opus and, at the same time, sanitize it from any revolutionary content. It is interesting that this attitude has recently expanded to various intellectuals that refer to Marxism with exclamations but also with an open or covert rejection of its revolutionary aspirations. There is a sudden abundance nowadays of erratic or à la carte Marxists that eclectically appraise some or other part of Marxist theory but at the same time discard its commitment to overthrowing capitalism and constructing socialism. These ‘bourgeois Marxists’ (to use a contradiction in terms) may accept even class analysis but in order to reform capitalism and make it more sustainable.

Against such attempts to domesticate Marxism in the capitalist system the answer cannot be a ‘referential’ defense by having recourse to classical texts; nor a defensive closure of Marxism in a small circle of ‘faithfuls’. Instead, a passionate commitment to its core structure – and its revolutionary aspirations are the more fundamental part of it – and at the same time a patient creative development of it is necessary.

Among the various issues that David’s book tackles there are several that, in my opinion, merit particular positive appraisal.

First among them, are his unwavering commitment to Labor Value Theory and his numerous contributions to its creative development. Against mainstream but also radical ‘academic respectability barriers’ (as Laibman aptly brands it) the Labor Theory of Value remains the main pillar of Marxist economic analysis and moreover it more relevant than ever for comprehending capitalism’s modus operandi. The Marxian Value Theory of Abstract Labor (as differentiated from the Ricardian Value Theory of Embodied Labor) offers the best platform for understanding simultaneously capitalist exploitation and capitalism’s functioning. Moreover, its dialectical analysis of the primacy of the sphere of production within the total circuit of capital offers critical guidance not only to revolutionary analysis but to revolutionary politics as well.

A second issue is Laibman’s insistence on the significance of planning for socialism. In our times, this goes against the negative trend within heterodoxy and radical theory to realign with mainstream market solutions and to adhere, implicitly or explicitly, to versions of market socialism. Socialism without planning is a vacuous concept. The very essence of the vision of a new free from exploitation society is that this society can organize its economy on the basis of collective, democratically and participatory organized will. Despite failures and deformations of the past this remains the core of the socialist project.

Equally important is David’s insistence in stadial thinking and stages theory. He very accurately defines stadiality as the notion that society advances through stages, and that given stages are preconditions for ones that follow. This type of analysis comprehends that society evolves through distinct phases rather than through an undifferentiated continuum. These phases exhibit objective characteristics – and pose related limitations to collective action – but also permit specific ‘windows of opportunity’ for breaking out from these phases and surpassing them. In other words, each phase or stage posits both constraints and degrees of freedom and alternatives for surpassing these constraints. This Marxist dialectical understanding grasps better, in David’s own words, the intense interaction between the objective and subjective dimensions than non-Marxist social science that decouples and counterposes mechanistically these two dimensions. Stages theory offers not only better explanatory power but is also a crucial basis for revolutionary politics. Revolutionary politics, as exemplified by the best traditions of the Communist current, cannot be a simple sum of specific actions and campaigns. On the contrary, they should be based on structured political programs. The basis for constructing a coherent political program is a mid-term analysis of society’s evolution. That is an understanding of the distinct phases and stages through which it proceeds and of the specific forms that the system’s fundamental contradictions take in each of these stages. This mid-term analysis offered by stadial thinking pinpoints the critical systemic weak links on which revolutionary strategy should focus. Tactics follow suit from this program-informed mid-term strategy. These valuable insights offered by stadial thinking tend to be lost nowadays within radical theory and movements. They are being replaced by either voluntarist notions that ‘anything goes’ and blind spontaneism or by an accommodation with existing capitalist reality and mere reforms for a ‘capitalism with a human face’. The reinstatement of stadial analysis and a structured and programmatically-organised revolutionary strategy is of paramount importance nowadays.

There are a number of issues on which I must register my disagreement with David.

The first such issue touches upon his early writings on perestroika and his positive appraisal of M.Gorbachev. David portrayed it as a positive experiment in socialist rejuvenation. Today it is clear that it was a movement towards the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union. Perestroika’s political and economic program was not one of socialist democratization and participatory planning but one of recourse to bourgeois polities and market solutions. Its end results are tantamount to that.

The second issue is David’s argument that Marxists should ‘give principled support to all reform movements and currents’. He argues that we should not make the distinction between radical and non-radical reforms, we should not try to fool people by advancing reforms that the system cannot deliver and that we should be part of all the spontaneous movements that arise in workplaces and working-class communities. In my opinion this argument goes against the stadial thinking and the necessity of a revolutionary strategy based on a political program and not on mere spontaneism. Marxists of course have to swim into the toiling masses and be part of even their most elementary mobilisations. However, this does not imply a carte blanche. First, they are mass mobilisations and popular demands that advance human emancipation but there are also those that may hinder it. The bleak outcome of the ‘Arab springs’ is a case in point. Second, there may be reforms that ameliorate for a period the position of the working people but ultimately they lead to disaster and an even greater deterioration of their living conditions. In the Greek case PASOK is a typical example: an initial policy of income redistribution that, once popular radicalism was neutralized, led to an aggressive realignment with neoliberalism. Kirchnerism in Argentina offers another contemporary example. For all these reasons Marxists should intervene in mass movement on the basis of their political programs and strategies. This can involve both reforms that can be accommodated by the system and those that cannot be accommodated by the system in a particular historical conjuncture. For example, the demands for peace and land redistribution – and even all power to the soviets – were not infeasible in capitalism in general. They were infeasible for capitalism at the particular historical moment of the Russian revolution. And at the same time it was obvious to almost everybody that under a different political and economic system these demands were feasible and to the benefit of the great social majority. In the same vain the demand for disengaging from the European Union for the euro-periphery countries is not something infeasible in general for capitalism. But at this historical point the ruling classes of these countries cannot even think such a move for both objective and subjective reasons. At the same time, this is the only road for a pro-popular solution of the crisis. And this is becoming increasingly obvious to the working people irrespective of their adherence or not to socialism.

Marxists should organize their political intervention on the basis of political programs that pinpoint exactly such weak links and ‘windows of opportunity’. This logic follows Marx’s brilliant thesis that communism is not an ideal to which reality have to adjust itself but ‘the real movement which abolishes the present state of things’ and that the conditions of this movement exist in current societies. The construction of this thin red line that leads from everyday struggles for the improvement of the conditions of sale of the labour power to the abolition of the system of exploitation of labour power is the difficult task that Marxists have to accomplish. David’s book contributes both passionately and patiently to this task.

 

The links for my comment on D.Laibman’s ‘Passion and Patience’ are the following:

http://www.scribd.com/document/351203858/A-passionate-and-patient-contribution-to-revolutionary-theory-and-politics-A-comment-on-Laibman

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/317570685_A_passionate_and_patient_contribution_to_revolutionary_theory_and_politics

http://www.academia.edu/33444552/A_PASSIONATE_AND_PATIENT_CONTRIBUTION_TO_REVOLUTIONARY_THEORY_AND_POLITICS