Commentary

This Is Not Normal

We live in unprecedented times. A pandemic shut down public places, businesses and global movement, revealing the farce of global capitalism as it demonstrated we don’t need to work. After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the anger about state-tolerated police violence against Black people turned to rage. [...]

By |2020-07-22T13:18:32-04:00Jul 22, 2020|

Capitalist Political Economy, Fascistic Tendencies, and Left Politics in India

I wrote Critical Reflections on Economy and Politics in India: A Class Theory Perspective (published by Brill in 2020) as an attempt to ‘apply’ to the Indian context, some of the general ideas about class presented in my Marxist class theory for a skeptical world (published in 2017). Many scholars argue [...]

By |2020-07-15T14:09:55-04:00Jul 15, 2020|

The Radical Right: Thriving and in Disarray

There are two fundamental axes along which we need to keep following the further mobilization of the far right: is the far right moving from Republican-manipulated networks to an organization in its own right? Is it formulating a social vision of its own, which might conflict with the plundering instincts of the shortsighted business families who now hold the reins? So far, Trumpism’s mass organizational and ideological thrusts have been restricted to election years. It will likely remain that way, but some dynamics might change especially as the Left mobilizes further.

By |2020-07-08T11:55:44-04:00Jul 8, 2020|

Disintegrating US-China Economic Symbiosis and the New Inter-Imperial Rivalry

The dynamics of US-China rivalry is an inter-imperial rivalry driven by inter-capitalist competition. Competition for the world market could soon turn into intensifying clashes of spheres of influence and even war. It is not new. It resembles a lot of the dynamics as described in Lenin's Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In the book, published in 1917, Lenin talked about the competition between German and British banks to lend to Latin American countries to build railroads and to ensure the projects would rely on German or British supplies. This is just like talking about the competition between China and the U.S. to offer credits to Belt and Road countries to build infrastructure. In the early twentieth century, inter-capitalist competition led to inter-imperial rivalry culminated in two world wars.

By |2020-07-02T09:39:04-04:00Jul 2, 2020|

To Recover From This Crisis, We Need to Defund Wall Street

Democratizing finance contrasts sharply with the panicked stimuluses states keep injecting into their zombified economies. Finance should serve a global public mandate, not a nationalistic private one, that throws its power behind productive projects that can help empower global workers and pull them back from the brink. At its heart, democratizing finance aims to reallocate flows of credit and investment away from the casino of non-productive financial assets into the production of things the people and the planet need.

By |2020-07-09T09:42:42-04:00Jun 29, 2020|

Pandemic’s Lesson: Global Capitalism is Uneven and Dangerously Particularistic

There is probably no better example of why “it is much easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” than governments’ responses to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The problem is not so much that the structural and ideological hegemony of capital accumulation prevents us from [...]

By |2020-06-18T16:47:21-04:00Jun 18, 2020|

Statement of Support for Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police

Black lives matter. Between 1963 and 1972, there were more than 750 Black-led urban revolts in the United States in 525 cities. How did sociologists react? A number of prominent scholars dismissed these uprisings as irrational, violent outbursts, going so far as to exclude all “collective acts of violence” from [...]

By |2020-06-13T08:42:46-04:00Jun 12, 2020|

What Socialists Can Take From Corporate Strategic Management

How might we imagine a transition to a socialist economy? There are clues in unlikely places: the management practices of some private corporations, which have been developing planned, democratic economies in miniature.

By |2020-06-03T10:11:53-04:00Jun 3, 2020|

Self-Exploitation in China

Under Deng Xiaoping’s famous slogan, “liberating the productive forces” (jie fang sheng chan li), the official policy of liberal reform – strong state intervention in the labor market – has worked in support of commodification of labor, rather than constructing a system of social welfare that restricts the impact of market forces in China. When it comes to the price for labor power, there are two kinds of remuneration: the direct and the indirect salary (or fringe benefits). The first resembles what we know as hourly wage, whereas the second “is redistributed through a social agency.” For most welfare states, this social agency refers to the State, or a statutory agency that manages the social security fund, for example. As regards the Chinese context, it is the household solidarity characterized by auto-exploitation and auto-deprivation of rural households that has played this role.

By |2020-05-27T13:23:11-04:00May 27, 2020|

Financial Crisis, Capitalist Power and US State Exceptionalism

Capitalists exercise disproportionate political power through both the state and the market, and their power derives primarily from the productive assets they hold. However, over the last 40 years, the assets of the rich have been financialized. This has increased their ability to exit political territories through capital markets. While this increases the power of capitalists to avoid expropriation demands, unique characteristics about the American state might make it best positioned to take finance on. 

By |2020-04-29T10:34:58-04:00Apr 29, 2020|
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