Commentary

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|

Erich Fromm’s Marxist Sociology Forty Years Later

Looking back on Fromm’s legacy today, at a point where sociologists and Marxists are increasingly returning to his work, it is clear that what Fromm left us is a nuanced form of Marxian sociology that can help account for the relations between economic life, political movements, and inner emotional dynamism that underpin many of the changes that we are witness to in the current world situation. In a situation that is rapidly moving into dangerous territory, in what promises to be a recession as deep as 1929, we could do worse today than to look to Fromm for assistance.

By |2020-04-08T11:41:49-04:00Apr 8, 2020|

Laboring Bodies at the Choke Point

By focusing my research on the laboring body from a materialist perspective, I seek to bring in a third perspective to the debate on logistics choke points, that so far oscillates between a euphoric framing as a "magic bullet" to trade union movement revitalization, on the one hand, and a dysphoric framing as laboratories for company and state surveillance, control and security measures, on the other.

By |2020-01-30T16:43:20-05:00Jan 30, 2020|

Variegated Social Reproduction as Critical Thinking

Variegated social reproduction as a conceptual lens is meant to acknowledge that the unfolding of the contradiction between capital accumulation and the conditions of social reproduction is not uniform but uneven and variegated, involving developments that are sometimes unanticipated.

By |2020-01-23T09:15:32-05:00Jan 22, 2020|

Welfare Against Work

Existing scholarship on the movement has either ignored the NWRO's antiwork perspective, or else insisted that the NWRO’s critiques of waged work were primarily gendered. Based on a careful analysis of the organization's archives, Wilson Sherwin makes a compelling case that an antiwork agenda was central to the NWRO's politics.

By |2020-02-01T07:03:21-05:00Jan 8, 2020|
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