Theoretical research summaries

Understanding the Emergence of Authoritarian Capitalist States: Looking Backward to See Forward

The emergence of dictatorial rule in capitalist societies once organized by parliamentary institutions can best be interpreted as a response to an intensifying crisis of representation within parliamentary democracy.

By |2020-03-19T13:20:49-04:00Mar 19, 2020|

Debt-Led Exploitation in Brazil

In Brazil, fiscal and monetary policies have favored the financial fraction of capital and established a state and institutional apparatus through which finance extorted income from labor. Together, public debt and taxation form a fiscal complex that, in addition to redistributing surpluses, deepens labor exploitation.

By |2020-02-19T13:13:37-05:00Feb 19, 2020|

Why Didn’t Marx Finish Capital?

Several scholars have suggested that Marx never finished his planned volumes on Capital due to his recognition of unsolvable problems with his theory, in particular the so-called transformation problem of labor values and the law of the falling rate of profit. However, the ultimate culprit for Capital remaining unfinished seems to be the combination of such theoretical riddles – theories he continued to work on but never abandoned – with Marx's perfectionism and his insatiable appetite for knowledge. Marx’s perfectionism and severe self-criticism repeatedly led him to the latest scientific findings in many fields, but it also prevented the finishing of the manuscripts. This is most clearly evidenced by Marx reading frantically about the newest economic and social developments in the major capitalist countries in fields ranging from agriculture to financial panics.

By |2020-02-12T17:46:23-05:00Feb 12, 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|

Lessons of Rojava and Histories of Abolition

Abolitionists and anti-authoritarians are right to be inspired by example of Rojava but translating the lessons of the Revolution to a wildly different political context like the United States is no simple task. The impasse between a rejection of abolition and the tired revolution/reform binary can be resolved by returning to fundamentals of historical materialism, and particularly, W.E.B. Du Bois' analysis of “abolition democracy” in his seminal work, Black Reconstruction.

By |2020-01-15T18:11:30-05:00Jan 15, 2020|

States and Stakes: Relational Theory and the Politics of Class Struggle

How we conceive of the state has profound effects on how we understand political strategy. In this essay, written in response to Michael A. McCarthy's recent intervention, Zachary Levenson and Teresa Kalisz argue that only by seeing the state as truly relational can we avoid the pitfall of placing undue emphasis on organizing within the state, rather than the vital work of base building.

By |2019-11-20T13:09:26-05:00Nov 20, 2019|

Marx and the Dutch East India Company

Marx's examination of Dutch colonial violence in Indonesia highlight's important aspects of his approach to original accumulation that are easily lost when viewing the chapter, "the so-called original accumulation," through the lens of English exceptionalism, as many Marxists are prone to do.

By |2019-11-05T12:31:37-05:00Nov 5, 2019|
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