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Neoliberalism and Class Formation

Neoliberalism and Class Formation

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THE NEW GLOBAL CLASS ARCHITECTURE:NEOLIBERALISM AND CLASS FORMATİON'
EDDIE J. GARDNERABSTRACT
This paper will argue that within actually-existing neoliberalcapitalism today there are crucial contradictions vvhich cannot be overcome.Among these are the inability to generate sufficient employment, inequalityon a global scale, the continuation of imperialism and imperialist vvars,continued enclosure and pauperization, ecological crises, overproduction andunder consumption, the enormous waste
of
human potential on a global scale,and the forging
of
a global vvorking class vvhich is in an ever more precariousposition. At the same time, neoliberalism tends to fragment consciousness,drovvning class avvareness in a sea of consumerism, vvhich is makingorganizing and class struggle more diffıcult. Resistance tends to takeperverted or alienated forms as seen in religious fundamentalism, ethnicchauvinism and random terrorist acts, often in reaction to state terrorism. Theruling classes encourage these tendencies to help divert attention from thecrucial contradictions
of
exploitation under capitalism and imperialism.
2
'An earlier version of this paper vvas presented at the conference:"Consequences of the Changing WorId Economy for Class Relations,Ideology and Culture," 9-11 January 2006, Hanoi, Vietnam.^Thorstein Veblen noted that capitalism vvas a modern form
of
the "barbarianculture" in vvhich exp!oit and vvar, embracing feudal and violent values, are
 
64 THE TURKISH YEARBOOK [VOL. XXXVII
At the same time, the tools of propaganda in the global media havebecome more pervasive. Unable to deal vvith these contradictions, the povversat the helm of the global economy, follovving the reigning ideology, claimthat the solution is more and deeper neoliberalism, vvhich can only furtherexacerbate the crises. Neoliberalism, as vve knovv, is not liberal and not nevv.It is statist, in the service
of
capital. its adherents recognize that democracyslovvs capital accumulation. It is class struggle from above against vvorkersand poor around the vvorld.Some indications of the unfolding global crisis of actually-existingcapitalism vvill be observed belovv, follovved by some observations about theprocess of class formation on a global scale. While the "essential product,"the vvorking class, is being formed on a global scale, the essential and unifiedclass struggle has yet to emerge. While nevv and creative forms of classstruggle are emerging, the theoretical historical process of transition tosocialism, some superior and more rational economic system, remainsuncertain. Clearly the seminal minds of socialist thought in the nineteenthcentury underestimated the diffıculties
of
this dialectical movement. Actuallyexisting capitalism, vvhile brutal, bleeding and vvounded, could not be broughtdovvn by the massive
efforts
to build alternative societies during the tvventiethcentury. While this is the challenge of contemporary history, during andbeyond the age
of
neoliberalism, and might prevent the onrushing demişe ofthe human species, through vveapons of mass annihilation, suchconsiderations have today largely been buried beneath the "end of historyideology of the neoliberal era. The global population, it seems, is beingherded, lemming-like, in an opposite direction, tovvard an unseen sharpprecipice.
KEYWORDS
Neoliberalizm, Global class, US, World economy."vvorthy employments," vvhereas earning an honest living is "unvvorthy.""Under this common-sense barbarian appreciation of vvorth or honor, thetaking
of life-the
killing
of
formidable competitors, vvhether brüte or human-is honorable to the highest degree. And this high offıce of slaughter, as anexpression of the slayer's prepotence, casts a glamour of vvorth över everyact of slaughter and över ali tools and accessories of the act." We can seefrom the modern age of vvarfare, since the book appeared in 1899, that thisbarbarian culture has indeed made admirable strides.
The Theory
of
theLeisure
Class
Nevv York: Dover Publications, 1994, p. 11.
 
2006]THE NE GLOBAL CLASS ARCHITECTURE65
"The modern bourgeois society that has
sprouted from
the ruins offeudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It hasestablished new classes, new
conditiorıs of oppression,
new
forms
of
struggle
in place of the
old
one
s.
"
The Communist Manifesto
3
"And
how
does
the bourgeoisie get över these crises? ...by paving theway for more extensive and more destructive crises, and bydiminishing the means whereby crises are prevented."
The
Communist
Manifesto
4
"Of ali
the classes that stand
face to face
with the bourgeoisie today,the proletariat alone is a
really revolutionary class. The
other classesdecay and
fınally
disappear in the
face
of modern industry; theproletariat is its special
and essential product.
"
The
Communist
Manifesto
5
"In really-existing capitalism, class
struggle,
politics, the state, andthe logics of capital
accumulation
are
inseparable.
"
Samir
Amin
6
Introduction:
I am struck by three contradictions which bear out the words ofMarx and Engels in terms of how the bourgeoisie seek to overcomecrises by "paving the way for more extensive and more destructivecrises." The first is the crisis of capitalist accumulation in the UnitedStates, characterized by a long period of economic stagnation, afterthe 1960s, and brought about primarily by neoliberalism.
73
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party inEugene Kamenka, ed., The Portable Kari Marx (New York: Penguin Books,1983), p. 204.
4
Ibid.
p. 210.
5
Ibid.
p. 215.
6
Samir Amin,
The
Liberal
Virüs
(New York: Monthly Revievv Press, 2004),and Samir Amin, "U.S. Imperialism, Europe, and the Middle East," MonthlyRevievv, 56 (6) November 2004, pp. 13-33.
7
See "The New Face of Capitalism: Slow Growth, Excess Capital, and aMountain of Debt,"
Monthly
Review
53 (11), April 2002, pp. 1-14; "What

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