Theoretical research summaries

The prevalence of populism after the great recession

The current pervasiveness of populist expression is inherently related to the institutional bases regulating economic activity under neoliberalism and, by extension, the type of systemic breakdown it gave way to after 2008. For instance, the proliferation of asset-bubbles, while crucial to avert declining profitability dynamics, served as well to foster increasing levels of household indebtedness which, in turn, were crucial to maintain rising private consumption levels in the face of widespread wage stagnation. Once these various contradictory trends could no longer be jointly reproduced, it was the whole institutional edifice regulating economic activity that crumbled down, rather than just one of its single components. Such a type of systemic breakdown was conducive to populist expressions of protest in its aftermath.

By |2019-05-17T08:39:30-04:00May 17, 2019|

Ideas and the Struggle Against Neoliberalism

The problem with the current trend of idea-centered scholarship on neoliberalism is that it seeks to isolate, and elevate the importance of ideas and experts, giving them a causal primacy that supposedly operate independently from materialist economic forces, the distribution of class power and the conduct of class struggle.

By |2019-05-08T10:14:13-04:00May 8, 2019|

Can Twenty-First Century Fascism Resolve the Crisis of Global Capitalism?

Fascism, whether in its classical twentieth century form or possible variants of 21st century neo-fascism, is a particular response to capitalist crisis, such as that of the 1930s and the one that began with the financial meltdown of 2008. This unprecedented crisis of global capitalism has resulted in a sharp polarization around the world between insurgent left and popular forces, on the one hand, and an insurgent far right, on the other, at whose fringe are openly fascist tendencies. The class character of fascism remains the same in the 21st century as it was in the 20th – a project to rescue capital from this organic crisis – but the particular historical character of world capitalism and of its crisis is substantially different at this time than in the previous century.

By |2019-04-24T11:02:52-04:00Apr 24, 2019|

Rethinking Populism: The Political Face of Economic Crises

Populist mobilizations make legible socioeconomic cleavages that otherwise carry no innate political valence.  Or, to paraphrase Antonio Gramsci, it is political parties and movements that interpret and translate the socioeconomic into the political form.

By |2019-04-17T12:59:38-04:00Apr 17, 2019|

Breaking Through: Towards Second-Generation Neo-Marxist Class Theory

Louis Althusser famously claim that there is an ‘epistemological break’ in Marx, between a subjectivism in his early work and an objectivism in his later work. In contrast, my second-generation neo-Marxist reading demonstrates epistemological consistency and complementarity across Marx’s works, while revealing the break-in-account between the Manifesto’s class prognosis and Marx’s mature account of capitalism. In particular, while the Communist Manifesto and Capital Vol. 1 are epistemologically consistent; the analysis of the later shatters the class prognosis of the former.

By |2019-04-03T09:38:56-04:00Apr 3, 2019|