Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Here we repost an article on May Day by Colin Clarke, 2013

The celebration of the 1st of May as workers day has a strong and proud tradition all around the world since the nineteenth century. It was the one day of the year when workers could stand up and say ‘we are many, they are few’. Alexander Shliapnikov, in On the Eve of 1917, tells how, when he lived and worked in London before the Russian revolution, he would always take May Day off and the next day be asked by his fellow workers if he was ill. He would then explain the significance of workers’ day to them.

The best May Day march I have been on was the first May Day during the 1984-1985 British miners’ strike. You could feel the power of the working class as it marched in solidarity with them. At the time, there was every chance they could win the strike and there was a real mood of optimism amongst the marchers. The event encapsulated the true meaning of the day as a celebration of the power of the working class, especially as there were other marches around the country, equally strong.

(more…)

by Michael Roberts

Financial markets may be booming in the expectation that the US economy will grow faster under president Donald Trump. But they forget that the main emphasis of Trump’s programme, in so far as it is coherent, is to make America “great again” by imposing tariffs and other controls on imports, and forcing US companies to produce at home – in other words, trade protectionism. This is to be enforced by new laws.

That brings me to discuss the role of law in trying to make the economy work better for bourgeois interests – an area that has been badly neglected. How is the law used to protect the interests of capital against labour; national capital interests against foreign rivals; and the capitalist sector as a whole against monopoly interests?

Last year, there were a number of books that came out that helped to enlighten us both theoretically and empirically on the laws of motion of capitalism. But I think I missed one. It is The great leveler by Brett Christophers, a professor in human geography at Uppsala University, Sweden.1 His book looks at the nature of crises under capitalism from a refreshingly new angle. He says that we need to examine how capitalism is continually facing a dynamic tension between the underlying forces of competition and monopoly. Christophers argues that, in this dynamic, law and legal measures have an under-appreciated role in trying to preserve a “delicate balance between competition and monopoly”, which is needed to “regulate the rhythms of capitalist accumulation”.

Monopoly/competition imbalance

He reckons this monopoly/competition imbalance is an important contradiction of capitalism that has been (more…)

Labour and racism against Pacific Islanders

Posted: February 12, 2017 by Admin in Uncategorized

When Labour began the dawn raids – and then tried to rewrite history

From the vaults: Immigration and citizenship – Labour versus workers

Depriving Samoans of immigration and citizenship rights

 

by Daphna Whitmore

While Trump’s visa bans and a wall across the US-Mexico border are rightly seen as abhorrent, Labour and the Greens advocate a pretty high wall of immigration restrictions here in New Zealand.

Labour is facing criticism of its long simmering anti-immigration campaign and it is being called out as hypocritical for denouncing Trump while indulging in dog whistle politics.

kiwi-nationalism

Andrew Little peddling Labour’s nationalistic brand

The latest comments come from Peter Dunne who notes that Labour “talks about new migrants as problems, rather than as people”. He goes on to point out this “is exactly the same ‘us versus them’ narrative that contributes to reactionary and damaging policy regarding immigration”.

A few days earlier Graeme Edgeler on The Spinoff website suggested folks take a look at the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982. (more…)

The picture below appeared on Mike Alewitz’s facebook page.  Mike is a longtime left activist and artist in the States.  It’s a great variation on – and far more inspiring than – the old Pastor Niemoller quote about they came for this group of people and then that group of people etc and no-one resisted. Mike made the following comment:

“One of the glorious aspects of the recent demonstrations is the lack of pre-printed signs and banners handed out by Democratic Party hacks and union bureaucrats.

“Instead we have seen an explosion of creative sign making – hand lettered messages that are funny, emotional, insightful and clever. These works are giving genuine expression to the aspirations of tens of thousands of workers, artists and activists.

“Here is a favorite of mine – artist and photographer unknown.

“This kind of organic art has always been around, but Donald Trump has definitely been an outstanding inspiration!

“(As both a professional sign painter and professor emeritus of street art, I heartily endorse this development).”

16265172_10212285564631759_8242577703185056226_n

The éirígí calendar for 2017 has the theme of Women of the Revolution, 1913-1923.  This period covers the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913-14 and the formation of the workers’ militia (the Irish Citizen Army), the formation of Cumann na mBan, the 1916 Rising, the war for independence and the civil war.  Here are the cover and a few shots from inside the calendar.  Contact éirígí to order copies of the calendar.

15350501_1365590333453380_6421545551004616393_n

 

unnamed

 

unnamed

 

 

1405212754This paper first appeared in the very first issue of Revolutionary Communist, a Marxist review/journal based in Britain, in 1974.  It was later slightly edited with some revisions and appeared in the second edition of Revolutionary Communist 1, published in 1976.  While some older readers may be familiar with Yaffe’s work on these issues, as it was well-known and influential at the time, many younger readers will probably not have seen this. 

by David Yaffe (1974 and 1976)

‘Has Struve, who has managed to discern the “harmfulness” (sic!) of repeating Marx, failed to notice the harmfulness of uncritically repeating the fashionable corrections of fashionable bourgeois “science”?’ (Lenin) [2]

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Of all the fashionable ‘corrections’ of Marx’s Capital, none has been performed so often as the transformation of values into prices. From Bortkiewicz (1907) [3] to Samuelson (1971) [4], bourgeois ‘science’ has felt itself impelled to improve, correct or revise Marx on this question. With Sweezy’s introduction of the Bortkiewicz ‘correction’ of Marx to the English speaking world in 1946 [5], another round of ‘solutions’ began. Although many differ in form from the Bortkiewicz/Sweezy contribution, and some avoid the more obvious errors, they treat the problem in a more or less similar way.

Bortkiewicz was a Ricardian and he went to great lengths to defend Ricardo against Marx’s systematic attack. In his treatment of value and price, and in his ‘solution’ to the transformation problem, he is a consistent Ricardian. It is, therefore, not surprising that with the problem being presented in a Ricardian way, the appearance of Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities [6] – a thoroughly Ricardian text – has more recently given a new life to the transformation ‘problem’. What all these Ricardian type solutions have in common is a failure to grasp Marx’s method in ‘Capital’ and little or no understanding of the categories of value and price. Value and capital cease to have a social significance, to express, in fetishistic form, social relations under the capitalist mode of production. The substance of value – abstract human labour – is replaced by its magnitude, units of labour-time, and capital is simply reduced to dated labour-time inputs. The social relations, usually introduced by these critics of Marx as the rate of exploitation, is an empirically ‘given’ fact or a mathematically, and presumably sociologically, acceptable explanation of positive profits. It is given once the bundle of commodities forming the wage paid to the workers (in embodied labour-time units, of course) and total income are known. A social process is replaced by technical coefficients and social relations by the distribution of the production between the social classes. [7]

The method of Marx, the dialectical representation in Capital, is not a ‘”hegelese” form of reasoning’ [8] that can simply be discarded as so much unnecessary ballast, That is why Lenin remarked:

‘It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially the first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later, none of the Marxists understood Marx!!’ [9]

The failure to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, does indeed (more…)