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NorthAtlanticLeftDialogue December11122009NewYork

NorthAtlantic Left Dialogue is an attempt to develop a continuous working relationship between left and socialist intellectuals and aca demicsinEurope(startingwithGermansandItalians)andNorthAmer ica (USA/Canada) for the purpose of discussing the distinctive chal lengestothepolitical,socialandculturalleftworkingandstrugglingin the highly developed northern capitalist countries. One of the results we hope to achieve is to establish reform demands which are feasible and appropriate for countries at a comparable stage of development. Therearealreadysomeintellectual/academicconnectionsbetweenus bywayofjournalsliketheSocialistRegisterandTransformorcon ferencesliketheLeftForum,RethinkingMarxismorHistoricalMa terialism.Thedebatesoccurringinthesejournalsandconferencesmo tivatedustoproposewhatwouldbeginasanannualworkshop,whose venuealternatesbetweenEuropeandtheU.S.Wewouldaimatexpand ingthiscooperationaspartoftherenewalofthegloballeftinthe21st century.Thisyear'sseminaronleftstrategyforthecapitalistcorecoun triesofEurope,theUSandCanadawillfocusonwherethecurrentcri sisisheading,whatkindofstateprojectswilland/orshould bedevel oped in response, the question of "green" capitalism and what this all meansforthetransformationalleftintermsofstrategy.Weaskedpar ticipantsbrieflytoaddressinwrittenform,tobecirculatedtotheother participantsbeforetheseminar,thesethreequestions: 1)Whereisthecrisisheading? 2)Is"greencapitalism"asolutionorpartoftheproblem? 3) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? Duetothecrisisandtheincreasedopennessonthepartofthepopula tions in Germany and the US to hear criticisms of capitalism, how can the American and European lefts say what theyre for, and propose forms of political practice, in ways that people can hear now? At the sametimeitisimportanttodevelopparallelorcommonpoliticalpro jects.IntheUScontextandofcoursegiventhelackofaleftpolitical partywhatcouldbeputforward? Ingar Solty, Rick Wolff, Eric Canepa, Rainer Rilling, Mark Hagen, Mario Candeias, Jan Rehmann, Bill
Tabb, Margit Mayer. Berlin/Florence/New York 2009

Questions

Answers
StanleyAronowitz JeremyBrecher MarioCandeias EricCanepa FrankDeppe BarbaraEpstein RainerFischbach StephenGill MarkHagen DavidHarvey ChristinaKaindl [MichaelKrtke] PeterMarcuse MargitMayer HaroldMeyerson [MimmoPorcaro] JanRehmann RainerRilling AdolphReed CatharinaSchmalstieg ThomasSeibert NeilSmith IngarSolty BillTabb VictorWallis FriederOttoWolf RickWolff

Translation:EricCanepa Ed:EricCanepa/RainerRilling

StanleyAronowitz
1. The crisis will be resolved by global capital in the only ways availabletothem a. renew the production of fictitious capital by extending consumercreditandbuildingthedebttonewhighs b. reducethevalueofconstantcapitalbyclosingplants c. mergers and acquisitions will concentrate capital to an unprecedentedlevel,eliminatingasmuchcompetitionas possiblebothwithinnationaleconomiesandonaglobal level d. revert to state capitalism to an unprecedented degree, especially in finance, but also in key production sectors. In the US, of course, the state will not manage the eco nomiccycle,onlyremainaguaranteorofthelargestcapi tals. Of course, this scenario presupposes that the work ers movements in most countries remain too weak or ideologicallytiedtotheremnantsofsocialdemocracyto actindependentlyofthepoliticalsystem.Ifthisassump tion is proven wrong, a whole new solution might be found, but at the present, since the question of what we mean by socialism retains its ties to statism, it is unlikelythatradicaltransformationisintheoffinginthe nearfuture. 2. IntheUnitedStatesandEuropetheLeftshould a. call an industrial program of production of fundamental necessities(food, clothing, shelter, green industries throughworkerownedandoperatedcoopsanddemand thatbailoutfundsbeawardedtothesecoops b. aguaranteedincomespolicyatorclosetolivingwages c. shorterhours d. amoratoriumonplantclosings e. short term unlimited extension of unemployment com pensation f. astrongemphasisondirectactiontoachievethesegoals g. arealcampaigntoconvinceAmericansthattherecanbe no social reform under the warfare state, at least under currentconditions.A$1trillionarmsbudgetandtheend lesswarsAmericahasbeenfightingformorethanacen tury are key barriers to change. And what is at stake in thestruggleagainstimperialismisnothinglessthanfree dom

h. we need to revitalize the concept of radical democracy andinsistthatwithouteconomicdemocracy,therecanbe nodemocracyatsuch. Inrelationtothenatureofthecrisis,theLeftneedstoliberateit selffromitshistoryofeconomism.Weareexperiencingasocial, cultural as well as economic crisis. The psychological dimen sionse.g. in the US of the concept of the ownership society, advanced by the Bush administration and its predecessors, needstobeconfronted.Housing,avitalpublicresourceisalmost completelyprivatized;educationhasbeendeliveredtothecapi talinvestorstoalargeextent;healthcareisorientedtoindivid ualneedsratherthanthecollectivity.Andofcoursethedeleteri ous consequences of living underwater (beyond our means) shouldbeinthemix.Itmaybearguedthattheseideologicalfac tors are intimately linked to the decades of relative economic boom,buttoassumethemwithoutintegrationintotheanalysis condemnstheLeft.IwouldgofurthertoclaimthattheUSboom itselfwasartificialinthatitdependedalmostentirelyon war production, huge federal and consumer debt, and financial fic tions.SweezyandBaranarguedmorethanfortyyearsagofora stagnationthesis.Thatitcouldbehiddenfordecadesisapoliti cal and cultural question, not purely an economic question. In short, the Left must be for the transformation of everyday life, against what Lefebvre termed the bureaucratic society of con trolledconsumptiontowhichonewouldadd,therelentlesssub urbanization of social space, the expulsion of the working class fromcities,theseverecontractionofcollectiveknowledge. IntheUnitedStates,weneedtofoundanewpoliticalformation to rethink socialist concepts, disseminate our ideas and pro grams, and make selective interventions to put them into prac tice.Thatsaid,ourelectoralprospectsremainnonexistentecept at the local level, although we need to reach out to radicalized people who embraced Obama and, whether in the Democratic party or not, are in the the process of losing confidence in his center/rightpolicies.

Letmegiveverybriefresponsestoyourthreequestions: 1)Theeconomiccrisiswillsurelynotresolveitselfinasustainedcapi talistexpansion;itwillbouncealongbetweenperiodsofweakrecovery andnewcrises;whetheratsomepointthiswillleadtoafull1930sstyle Depressionisuncertain.However,theeconomiccrisisisrapidlyinter meshingwiththeglobalclimatecrisis,foodcrisis,watercrisis,anden ergycrisis.Theresultingpoliticalandsocialcrisiscannotbereducedto itseconomicelements,butneedstobeseenasacrisisofglobalhuman society and especially of an obsolete anddysfunctional world political system. 2)While"greencapitalism"couldmeanvariousthings,Iwillinterpretit tomeanthevariouseffortstoaddresstheclimateandotherecological crisesbysuchmeansascapandtradesystems,marketizationofrights topollute,effortstoaddressenvironmentalproblemsthroughsubsidies toprivatecapital,etc.Theseeffortsareprobablydoomedasastrategy for reversing our thrust toward environmental selfdestruction. Only much more direct political and social mobilization and planning have evenasmallchancetosucceed.Withinadeterminedprojectofputting the global economy on a sustainable path, some of these approaches might be able to make a minor contribution, since everyconceivable meansandresourcewillneedtobeappliedinorderforsucha project tosucceed. 3.Whiletheshorttermimportanceofproblemsobviouslyvarieswith shortterm political considerations, I think that a program of massive economicandsocialreconstructiontocounterclimatechange,withthe accompanying job creation, led by social movements and political or ganizationsand implemented by governments and civil society, is the criticalneedofourtimeespeciallywhenwetakeintoaccountitsin teractionwithfood,water,economic,andotherglobalcrises.

JeremyBrecher

MarioCandeias

1) The current developments indicate incurable contradictions (Gramsci)inthestructureofsociety,whichleadtocontradictionsand blockages within the ruling bloc in power. Because of the interaction andentanglementofdifferentseverecrisesthisappearstobe astruc turalororganiccrisis(seeCandeias2009).Whereasoveraccumulation cannot be reduced substantially, and new areas of investment are openedupinsufficiently,thecrisisofsocialreproductiondeepensina way as to endanger the foundations of capitalist accumulation itself (lackofinfrastructure,qualifications,cohesion,andprospectsforprofit, etc.). A new financial bubble is already in the making, globally (espe ciallyinrespecttoChina).Therulingpowerblocismanagingthecrisis, preservingtheirownpowerpositions.Butitcannolongercounterthe erupting signs of crises and their complex entanglement with produc tivesolutionsthatcouldtakeuptheinterestsofthesubalternandthus restoretheactiveconsensustotheneoliberalproject.Thereservesofa stilldominantneoliberalismastheorganisingideologyinthetransition toatransnationalmodeofproductionbasedoninformationtechnology are exhausted neither a new accumulation stimulus nor a new con sensusinsocietycanbeexpectedfromit.Itsinstitutionswillcontinue to haveeffects (similarly to theend of Fordism), theirpositionisnow only ruling, still dominant, but not leading(Gramsci) anymore. In sidethepowerblocstrongrestorativeforcesthatwishtousethestate to reinstall the previous order, and want to plunder its finances, are intertwinedwithreformistinitiativesthatclearlygobeyondthestatus quo ante. Various new projects are in the making, but none of the re spectiveblocisconsolidated.Thisleadstoinconsistentpolicieswithout cleardirection,strategyandaboveallwithoutafutureorientedpro jectwhatinfactleadstoanaffectiontowardsauthoritariansolutions. Aconstellationofinterregnumwillevolvefromthevarioustendencies and projects which are developing in parallel and as a result of the blockage,deandrecompositionoftheoldpowerbloc.Meanwhilethe crisis can persist for a long period, perhaps even a decade of erratic fluctuations and unrest, before a hegemonic direction develops out of the competition between the different projects to dissolve the crisis. Therefore, postneoliberalism does not characterise a new period of capitalistdevelopment.Instead,itisatransitionperiodorinterregnum inwhichnumeroussearchprocessesoccurandthefutureorganisation of society is in debate. A new term must be coined as soon as a hege monicprojectbecomesapparent.Inmyopinion,atthemomentthereis onlyonepotentiallyhegemonicprojectwhichcanprovidetherequired resources, accumulation dynamics and potential for consensus: the

GreenNewDeal,aperiodofgreencapitalism.Butthatsnotanautoma tism: neoliberalism is dissolving but still too strong; the Green New Dealassuchistoocontradictory.Currently,wearestillinarelatively open historical situation where no hegemonic direction has yet been taken.Thisopensupspacesforleftinterventions,andarevolutionary Realpolitik(Luxemburg),stepstowardssocialisttransformation. 2) The general reorientation of investment towards energy efficiency andreductionofCO2emissionsshallbethenecessarytechnologicaland accumulationbasetocreatemillionsofjobsandforconstructinganew consensusinsocietyaGreenNewDealthatisalreadybeingstrongly advocatedasananswertothefinancialandeconomiccrisis,aswellas thecrisesofreproduction,employmentandtheecologicalcrisisand thereby to relegitimize the free market economy (see details in Candeias/Kuhn2008).Thisprojectwasproposedasasolutiontoatri ple crisis, a combination of creditdriven financial crisis, accelerated climatechangeandincreasingenergyprizesinviewofpeakoilbythe Green New Deal Group, among others, which is an alliance of journal ists,partyandNGOfunctionaries.Theseideasforinstancearedrivenby theSternReportonclimatechange2006,theanalysesoftheIPCCand transnationalresearchgroupsaswellasthepopularactivitiesofNobel PrizewinnerAlGore.SupportcomesfromtheEuropeanGreenParties the German Greens decided at their party convention in November 2008tocallforaGreenNewDealtoovercomethefinancialcrisis(fora critique of the concept, see Candeias 2007), and also from large NGOs suchastheWWForFriendsoftheEarth,transnationalnetworksofeco logical scientists and the UN as well as Obama, who has appointed knownadvocatesofecologicalchangetocentralgovernmentpositions. This is backed by capital groups such as internet and IT corporations, pharmaceutical, genetic engineering and biotechnology corporations, the renewable energy sector (including the green branches of the largeenergycorporations),largeinsurancecompanies,carmanufactur erssuchasToyotaandRenault,nanotechnologyandchemicalcorpora tionssuchasBASF(whoaredevelopingnew,lightandenergyefficient materials),evenoilcorporationssuchasBP(whohaverenamedthem selvestoBeyondPetrol)aswellasventurecapitalfundsor thesmall but growing sector of ethical investment houses (including large pen sionfunds). A green New Deal is to be more than an ecologicallyconscious, short termprogramtocontainthecrisis.Moreover,itcouldmeanastateini tiatedandmassivelystatesubsidisedtransformationtoanecological modeofproduction,thatopensnewareasforaccumulationofcapital: as the further commodification of natural resources in biodiversity or genetic engineering; technologies to improve efficiency in production and energy utilities; new investment and market outlets in emission tradingorinecologicalconsumption(organicfood,ecologicalconstruc

tion,greencars,etc.).Themarketforinvestmentinlowemissionener giesandgreentechnologiespromisestogrowtoseveraltrilliondollars. Natureandtheenvironmentareturnedintoacommodity,therebyre strictingthepossibilitiesforsolvingtheecologicalcrisis.Technicaland marketbased solutions are privileged. Consequently, green capitalism cannotbethesolutiontotheecologicalcrisis,instead,itisaprocedure torestoreexpandedcapitalistaccumulationandhegemonybyinvolving progressiveoppositionalgroupsandinterestsofthesubaltern.Chang ingthewholestructureofproduction,thepracticeandcultureofcon sumerism, the economy of the car society, the structure of our cities, our societal relations to nature, without impacting on the capitalist modeofproductionassuch,justreproducesitsinherentcontradictions (e.g. the dangers of a green financial bubble, according to Susan George). In view of the challenges of the tasks ahead, rapidly overcoming the worldeconomiccrisisandtheevengreatertaskofreducinggreenhouse emissions of industrial states by 80 per cent or more before 2050, whichmeanscatapultingtheentireeconomyfromthefossilfuelbased ageofmorethan150yearstoasolarfuturewithinthreedecades,this will not be possible without great disruptions and crises. This time pressure leads to decisionmaking problems between a thorough con versionwhichmeansdestructionofoldsectorsandcapital,theriskof economiccrises,oraconversionwhichistooslowwithaggravateden vironmental and socioeconomical crisis effects. Furthermore, the val orization of nature and ecological measures leads to a restriction of possible solutions to the crisis by concentrating on further marketiza tion, more growth, and increased resource consumption and simulta neously to the neglect of nonprofit areas. But unfortunately this does notmeanthatagreencapitalismwillnotbeapowerfulprojecttocome. 3)Publicconfidenceinmarketsandgovernmentshasclearlysuffered, neoliberalismhasbeendiscreditedanditsdogmasarecrumbling.This opens discursive opportunities for left alternatives in the sense of a revolutionary Realpolitik. However, these opportunities have hardly beenusedtodate.Consideringtheintertwinedcrisesprocesses,aswell asthenumerousinitiativespursuedbythoseinchargetodealwiththe crisis,wecannotproceedwiththeolddemands.Thedemandfor more money or simple nationalization will not succeed unless it is given greatercontent,forexamplebyademandforlinkingbailoutsandeco nomic stimulus packages to ecological conversion, extended participa tion,expansionofpublicservices,abanondismissals,etc.Theconnec tion between the multiple crises must be emphasised, the connection betweenecologicandeconomiccrises,betweenallthesecrisesandthe capitalist mode of production and our way of life. The ruling bloc al ways tries to separate these correlations, to deny social conflicts and changes,to isolate problems andsocial groups. In addition to this,the

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leftmustfindanewstrategicpositionwithregardtothechangedsitua tion. This requires farreaching proposals and imagination together withpracticalinitialprojectsthatcanbeinitiatedfromaminorityposi tion. Otherwise, the demands of the left are taken over by the ruling elite,asoftenseenbefore.Aninterventioninpublicdebatemustdraw onconceptsandperspectives. Thereareseveralpossibleinitialprojects(Candeias2009):Onecouldbe aprocessofconversionofgrowthorientedcapitalisteconomiestowards a reproductive economy that limits the consumption of commodities and develops the richness of mutual relations. Lets concentrate on the needs of the people, on a solidarity care economy, a reorientation to wardspublichealth,publiceducationandresearch,socialservices,food sovereignty,caringofourenvironment.Thiswouldbeacontributionto a realecological modeof production/mode of living because working withpeopleandpreservingnaturedonotcausemuchecologicalharm); andalsoacontributiontosolvethecrisesofworkandsocial reproduc tion(theseareasarealreadytheonlyonewithcontinuousemployment increases);acarerevolutionwouldbeacontributiontoanemancipative recompositionofgenderrelations(asrelationsofproduction),toaprac tice of buen vivir. The orientation towards the domestic market, re gionalisation and a partial trend to deglobalisation will contribute to reducethefixationonexportsandequalizetradeandcurrentaccount balances. The expansion of the public, with its decommodification tends to roll back the market, privatisation, and further valorisation. When reproductive activities are put into the centre of activity we would be able to abandon the fetishism of growth what simultane ously challenges the capitalist mode of production as such. This ulti matelyposesthequestion,whoactuallydecidesonhowtousethere sourcesinsocietyandwhatworkissociallynecessary?Itsa matterof radical democratisation of the state as well as the economy at every level of social decision making. Its a matter of a new definition and a new distribution of socially necessary work not through further ex pansionofwagelabour,butthroughdevelopmentofcollectiveandco operativeformsofwork,orientedtowardsefficientlyservingindividual and social development, towards mutual relations, disposable time notontheproductionofsurplusvalue.Thesearequestionsthatpeople raiseineverydaylifewithoutgettinganswerswithakindofcommon perspectivethatrespectsdifferences.

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Duetothecrisisandtheincreasedopennessonthepartofthepopula tionsinGermanyandtheUStocriticismsofcapitalism,howcanthe AmericanandEuropeanleftssaywhattheyrefor,andproposeformsof politicalpractice,inwaysthatpeoplecanhearnow?IntheUScontext andofcoursegiventhelackofaleftpoliticalpartywhatcouldbeput forward? Some culturalhistorical barriers impeding the US Left from connecting withitspopulation RegardingthelastquestionofhowtospeaktotheUSpopulationina language they can understand. We need squarely to face a cultural characteristic of the US left that impedes it from connecting with the majority of its people. Its deep historical roots, the confrontation of which is strongly taboo in the US left, include: A settler civilization in whichtheweissurroundedbythesubalternotherandthelatteris adopted as the subject of left politics. The descendents of the English settlers saw an African subproletariat and slave stratum, and when they looked at labor struggles in the Chicago of the 1880s, they saw Germans and Irishmen. Championing the cause of people other than yourselfcanbeperfectlynobleandnecessary,witnesstheabolitionists, butitimpedesunderstandingthesubjectivityofthethinkingsubjectas partoftheweinawaythatgoesbeyondsolidarity;itimpedesthink ingintermsofclass.ThespecificallyPuritansettleroutlookchampions simplicity,therural,andtendstoacultofpoverty.Thismakesitdiffi cultformuchoftheUSlefttotheleftoftheDemocraticPartytoaddress thecoreworkingclass.Thispoliticaloutlookfocuseson:
Theother INSTEADOF Thesubproletariat INSTEADOF a broadly understood workingclasswe the stably employed or nonimpoverished freelancers and short termcontractworkers workerswhobenefitfrom historicalgains.1

EricCanepa

Thepoorassuch

INSTEADOF

See Daniel Ankerloo, The Dualities of the Swedish Welfare Model, Transform 3: The received neo-Marxist critiques of the welfare state can broadly be divided into three different perspectives: a. The welfare-state bribe: i.e. the idea that the welfare state fulfils the function of legitimising capitalism and hence buys the working class into the system (correlated to the idea of Fordist production regimes and ideas of mass consumption). b. The fiscal crisis of the state [ ]
1

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Thusthereisadiffusecultofpoverty,afondnessforitandforthecul turesofoppression,intheUSleft..Consequently,itisnotatallagiven that all people on the left are ready to give these cultures up and see themdisappearand aufgehobenintoacommonwealthinwhichthereis neitherpoornorelite,becausethepoorhave,inessence,displacedand becometheelite.Inotherwords,itsnotatallclearthattheobjectisto win,becausethisentailskillingofftheculturesofoppression. InEurope,assometellus,theremaywellbefearsontheleftthatare surgenceofleftworkingclassistanticapitalismcouldsmotherthesin gleissuesocialmovementsgay,antiracist,immigrantrights,etc.and a broad, nonworkerist conception of emancipation. If this is so, then weintheUSleftneedtobetoldaboutitmoreexplicitly. IbelievethatfearonthepartofsomeEuropeansofthesectoraleman cipatorymovementsbeingcrushedundertheweightofabigworkerist movementmaypreventthemfromgraspinghowdominantsectoral(in contrast to workingclass) emancipatory politics is in the U.S. and the rolethatacademiaplaysinit.Withaveryweakpoliticalandtradeun ion left in the U.S., academes subalternstudies (diversity) market fuses with the countrys Puritan settler heritage in a particularly nox iouswayandisabletocastaverybigshadowovertheleftasawhole, whetherornotthelatterisawareofthis(seeAdolphReed, Class Notes: On Posing as Politics and Other Observations on the American Scene,In troduction). (Mysenseisthatduetotheindividualizationanddifferentiationofso ciety in the core capitalist countries and elsewhere since the 1960s thereisnodanger,withintheleft,ofabackslidetoworkeristreduction ism (Joe Worker), no danger of losing the sectoral emancipatory in terestsexpressedbythepost60ssocialmovements.Atanyrate,there
c. The marginal welfare critique: i.e. the New Left trend of criticising the welfare state as repression of the margins of society (e.g. on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation) or at the level of the margins of the system (criminal policies, drug policies etc.). This is often the consequence of the belief in a. above, i.e. that the broad majority benefits from the welfare state and hence accepts capitalism (Variants of the humanist, alienation critiques, so popular in the 1960s and 70s, are a subgroup here.)

I argue that for all their partial merits, all of these perspectives provide a weak basis for a contemporary Marxist critique of the Swedish welfare state: As regards a. (what I call Hyena Marxism) the history of the labour movement points in the other direction: the more welfare reforms the working class has achieved the more radical and anti-capitalist we have become. [ ] As regards c., this form of critique of the welfare state has relegated both the critique as well as the Marxist left to the margin of society at best; at worst it leads to a specific form of Salvation Army leftism, which transforms the social critique of capitalism into a view of society in which the well off feel empathy for the poor and unfortunate rather than a working-class based solidarity.

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issolittleclassreductionismandsomuchsingleissue,culturalistand identitarian emancipatory movement politics in the US that it is hard for US socialiststo fear losing the latter to an overbearing workerism. Wevehadmuchmoremulticulturalismthanclassisminthiscountry, ingeneralandinthepastdecades.) AcommontheoreticaldenominatortyingtogetherthisUSproblematic to a larger one facing any left in the core capitalist countries, and one which particularly interests the R.L. Fdn., is how to operate an Aufhe bungof60ssensibilityandculturaldemandsthedemandforamore flexibleworklife,fordiversityandmulticulturalism,thedislikeofcen tralizationandthechampioningofthesmallandlocal,anantistateout look,adistasteforbigunifiedpoliticalandtradeunionentitiesequated withbureaucracysoastoenvisionwhatamodernleftcouldbe,one thatgoesbeyondthecurrenthistoricwaveofleftmovements(seePor caros contribution, see Soltys article on Die LINKE in Socialism and Democracy). To make progress on the left, US leftists have to under standhowtheseculturaldemands,howthiskindofrebellionambiva lentandnotatalltobecondemnedascompletelynegativehavefed neoliberalism(wereproductivelyinscribedintoit),madeitculturally resilient,appearingemancipatoryanddemocratic.Thecrisisofneolib eralismbeginstomakeitmoregenerallypossibletoseethelimitations ofthosedemands.USleftistshavetounderstandthis,andtheyhaveto understandtheimpactofthePuritanheritage,thecolonialsettlerstate, and of the lack of a precapitalist past, on the left itself. And everyone hastoconsidertowhatextentanAmericanleftsensibilityis beingex portedtotheleftsofothercountries. One illustration of the consequences for the Italian left a tendency to productivelyinscribe60sculturaldemandsintotheAngloSaxonizationof theItalianCGIL Manyofthedemandsofthe60sleftdemandsproblematizedherefor instance participatory democracy in most cases have a progressive effect,especiallywhenthereisnotraditionalmasssocialist leftandla bor movement to lose. However, where there are largescale militant classoriented unions and large socialist political organizations, it is possible that even participatory democracy can be used in destruc tive,disintegrativeprocesses.AcaseinpointisItaly.Leavingasidethe complicatedpartypoliticalsituationthere,thecaseofthelargestItalian union,theCGIL,showstheprocessmostclearly.(Thereisnospacehere todiscussthespecificsofthepersonalandpowerpoliticalmotivations apparently underlying the current divisive and secessionist thrusts comingtoaheadintheCGILscurrentcongress.Thesealsoplayanim portantpart.)

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TheItalianleftsuffersfromnuovismo(afetishizationofthenew)tiedto aninferioritycomplexvisvisthenorthernlefts,whichcanrationalize throwing overboard all sorts of organizations and traditions highly prizedbytheleftsofothercountries.Andthereisalsothe trasformismo of leaders, which has its own peculiar flavor in Italy. And behind the Italianleftsselfconceptofmodernizationliesthepeculiardynamicand momentumofthemodernizationofItaliansocietyitself.Butletscon centrateonthefeatureswevedealtwithabove,andwhichare partof theAmericanizationofthelefttotheleftofsocialdemocracy. The CGIL is the largest union in Europe. It is not a trade union, but a unionoftheclass.TheexistenceofCGILtradesorganization, orcate goriesisthoughtofasapluralisticarticulationoftheunion.Thisisthe confederal principle. The union as a whole contracts for the class as a whole, regardless of whether individuals are members or not or the union is in a particular company. (Until recently this contracting oc curred in concert with the Catholic and liberal unions, the CISL and UIL.) Traditionally, the CGIL even contracts the social state. It estab lishesanationalcontractwhichcannotbeundercutbyseparatecom pany or trade level bargaining. Indeed, an axiom of Italian jurispru denceistheinequalitybetweenworkerandcapitalist,andthereforean individualworkerisnotallowedtostrikeseparatedealshimself.Ona largerscalethisisthethinkingbehindthenationalcontract aneces sarypowerfulcounterweighttothemuchmorepowerfulclasspowerof capital.Workersgainsandmanyaspectsofthesocialstateitselfhave beenwonasaresultofthecontractingtheCGILdoesbaseddirectlyon theproductivityoflabor!ThisexplainswhytheCGILisagainstthein troduction of a legislated minimum wage (in Italy, not in Germany) becauseitunderminesthekindofcontractingpowerthattheworking classhashistoricallybuiltup. Aheritageobviouslytobedefended. WhatevercriticismcanbeleveledatcertaindeficitsoftheCGIL,alotof whatiscalledbureaucraticisactuallyanenormouslydemocraticdelib erative process in which workers in circles, companies and up to the municipal, provincial and regional and then national levels really dis cussandvoteontheissues.Thisiswhyacongresscantake7 months. This mandate democracy is impervious to media manipulation. Yet there is a move now, on the part of leftists associated with the FIOM (MetalWorkers),withitsbreakawaytendency,toopposethissuppos edlybureaucraticprocedurebyaskingfortheintroductionofprimaries in union elections which would obviously make mediacarried per sonalism and leaderism flourish, fomenting competition between re gions and trades and enormously undercutting the rich democratic processalreadyinplace,allinthenameofopposingbigness, bureauc racyandintroducingmorecreative,openformsofdemocracy.

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Similarly,thelocalandthedifferentiatedhasbeeninvokedinopposing centralization and oppressively unified organization, in the call for moreweightgiventoindividualtradesandfundsmanagedbythesepa ratetradesforthecareofthe elderly(somethingwhichhasuntilnow beenthoughtofasuniversalprovidedbythesocialstateandthiswas foughtforbytheCGIL). Thefinalexampleofamodernsocialmovementdemandfunctioningto undercut an old and very large structure of the left and the working classistheuseofparticipatorydemocracymentionedabove:itisbe ing used in connection with the demand for worker participation in companies administrative councils, like codetermination in Germany. Thisiscontroversialintheleft(seeCrozatinlatestTransform)because itcanbelinkedtobringingtheworkerscreativityandsenseofrespon sibilityintotheworkplace.However,whenonealreadyhasinplacean aggressive,adversarialunionthattraditionallyactsintheinterestofthe class as a whole, it would clearly have a retrograde effect: workers wouldidentifywithanddefendtheinterestsoftheircompanyagainst thoseofothercompanies. ***** Withinaninternationalleft,perhapssomekindofnewinternationale, weneedtogetusedtocoordinatingbetweenleftsandnationalcontexts thatareverydifferentademandthatmaybeprogressiveinonecoun trycanrepresentaturnbackwardinanother.Insomecountries,itis necessarytofightfromaverylowlevelforsomeminimalgains;in othercountriesconsiderableachievements(privilegesifyouwantto callthemthat)wonbylabormovementsinthepasthavetobede fended.AleftinvolvedwithLatinAmericanjanitorsintheUShasto defendthegainsoftheSwedishworkingclass,andviceversa.Similarly, therearesouthernEuropeanculturesbasedonamoreadversarialclass struggleoutlookquitedevoidofcorporatistsocialprocesses(seeJan Lelann,TheScandinavianModelandtheLabourMarket,Transform3) whichhavetheirstrengthsandweaknessesfromthepointofviewofa leftemancipatoryproject,andnorthernEuropeansocietiesinwhichthe achievedsocialcontractsandcorporatistfeaturesarepartofaculture which,atacertainpoint,cannotaccepttheneoliberaljungleandelbow society,cannotacceptwildwestcapitalism,inawaythatBerlusco nianizedItalianscan.Italyisvery,verydifferentfromNorthernand CentralEurope.AleftmodernizationoftheItalianleftandoftheCGIL inthesenseofsomeofthechallengesweareproposingfortheGerman leftcouldentailalossofworkingclassstrengthwonbypreviousgen erations.Maybethisisanunresolvabledilemma.Maybetherehastobe alossofmanyofthosepeculiarlyItalianfeaturestoachieveanecessary

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modernization.Itismoreprobable,however,thatweneedtonurture theirspecificstrengthsandworkforamodernizationofotheraspects.

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Where is the present crisis heading? What will be its main foreseeable results? Duetothecharacterofthecapitalisteconomy,thereislittlecertainthat canbesaidaboutthetrajectoryofthecrisis,becauseitsfurtherdevel opmentdependsonhowthevarioussocialclassesactinthecrisis.But thefinancialcrisishasadeepreachand,inaddition,aggravatesthecri sistendenciesoftherealeconomy.Inthemiddleterm,growth willre mainatalowlevel.Thecrisisisnotacrisisoftheneoliberalstrategyof thefinancialmarketindustrialfactionorofthisfactionitself.Inthecri sis the latter could strengthen its position of power. What took place was concentration of capital and a continuation of entrepreneurial strategies:speculationintheareaofcurrencies,rawmaterials(includ ing food), in the valorization ofthe enterprise (shareholder value). Fi nancialmarketenterprisesarerealizinghighprofitseveninthecrisis, based,ontheonehand,oncheaprefinancingbycentralbanksand,on theotherhand,onthebasisofstateborrowing,ofcapitalizingstateand enterpriseloansaswellastheissuingofcreditsonthebasisofhigher interest rates. This strengthens the tendency to subordinate or com pletely destroy the productive enterprises of the financialmarket in dustry. (In Germany in some regions up to 30 % of enterprises are threatened,manyofthemmarketleaders,forexampleinmetalworking andmachineconstruction.)Thusafurtherdeindustrializationandde structionoftheproductiveapparatuscan,ontheonehand,takeplace (associated with unemployment, deterioration of knowledge, loss of technicalcompetenceandinnovationaswellaswithanincreaseofthe difficulties of training skilled workers) and, on the other hand, the tendency to overaccumulation continues, which is currently leading onceagaintospeculationanddestructionofcapital. Thecrisisthereforeiscontributingtothefurthertendencyofweaken ing industrial capital and to a strengthening of new groups of capital owners who are valorizing their capital by means of transnationally operatingfinancialandindustrialenterprises.Itisthereforenotonlya question of banks or insurance companies transnational groups of industrialandcommercialcapitalcanalsobeapartofthis.Second,the crisis has led to a consolidation of financial capitals valorization mechanisms:aseriesofinstrumentsweredevelopedinthecrisis,with whichtobringundercontrolthedynamicwhichcouldthreatentheval orization, profits and, in the end, the power, of the financialmarket capitalist faction itself.Third, a deepening oftransnational policy took place in the crisis, since the instruments for handling the crisis were developedincloseagreementwithintheframeworkoftheG20andcir

AlexDemirovic

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culatedamongthecountries.Amongthesearethediverseconjunctural measures, such as the carscrappage scheme or the promotion of con structionactivityaswellasmechanismswithwhichbankscancontrol themselves: higher equity, securitization accountability and the breakup of enterprises, regulated insolvency and changed incentive systemsformanagers. Governmentsaresupportingthebanksandalsoonasmallerscale enterprises within the real economy. The support mechanisms were tied to conditions only to a small degree. Nationalization occurred in onlyafewcases.Manyofthebanksarepayingbackreceivedcreditsin order to free themselves of state control. Nevertheless governments have financially burdened the state to a considerable degree. Accord ingly,thefiscalcrisisofthestateisbecomingmoreacute:lowerreve nueontheonehand,highernationaldebtsandsimultaneouslyhigher expenditures, on the other. This would suggest tax raises. However, sincethefinancialmarketprotagonistshavenotbeenweakened,there isacontinuityofapolicyfavoringtaxcuts.Intheend,indirecttaxesare increasing.Stillmorestateexpendituresarebeingreducedandprivat ized, so that the middle and lower classes are being burdened with higher private expenses. An additional consequence is that there is a furtherweakeningoftheallianceofthebourgeoiscampwiththemid dleclasseswhichwereforalongperiodabletofindinthestateappara tusastableemployerwhocould guaranteestableemployment,secure incomeandworkersrights.Thusthetendencytosocialpolarizationis continuing. Is green capitalism (Green New Deal) a solution or part of the prob lem? Greencapitalismisboth.Ifitispossibletovalorizecapitalintheareas of renewable energy, environmentally friendly transportation or tech nologieswhichconserveresources,corporationswillabsolutelychoose thispath.Thisdynamichasbeenfamiliartousforabout30yearsnow (solarenergy,organicagriculture);still,uptonowitremainsveryfrag ile.Itmostlyinvolvessmallenterpriseswhichcanonlyexistontheba sisofpublicsubsidiesandwhicharerepeatedlyabandonedbygovern ments.Suchdevelopmentscanbeseeninapositivelightiftheyarecon sistentwithcertainsustainabilitycriteria.Itmakesnosensetospecu lateonanenvironmentalcrisis,insuchawaythatfurtherdeterioration canfavorasocialisttransformation.Ontheotherhand,itis alsonota matter of first securing the survival of human beings so that one can later think about socialism. Rather, such an emancipatory transforma tionshouldemergeandresultfromconcreteameliorations.However,it is very probable that they will remain inadequate and will reduce the threattothesurvivalofmanyhumanbeingsonlytoaverylimitedde gree. This is because market mechanisms will leave many questions

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unresolved;andstateregulationlargelycaninterveneonlyinanegative sensethroughinterdictionormonetarilythroughthepromotion ofin dividualprojects.Interdictionscanbemeaningfulwhenitisamatterof interventionintheareaofgeneticresearch,thedestructionofagricul turallandsortheoverfishingoftheoceans;statesupportcanlikewise bemeaningfulifitisamatterofthesupportfortechnologicalinnova tions or business models which serveecological sustainability. A posi tive development in Marxs understanding of it, namely that the earth belongs to no single generation and everyone should contribute to its improvementthecapitalistmodeofproductionisincapableofsatisfy ing these requirements. To this extent, there is need of a theory and practiceoftransformationwhichleadsfromthelogicofameliorationto fundamentaltransformationsintherelationofsocietyandnature.Upto nowthelefthasnotfulfilledtheneedforsuchatypeoftransformative praxiswhichunitesreformandrevolution. What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? There are obvious dramatic questions of life and survival in capitalist societieshunger,unemployment,exploitationandslavery,destruction of the environment, wars, racist dispossession and genocide, lack of trainingandeducation,sexistviolence.Theseareburningquestions.In many cases our knowledge is great. However, this knowledge often doesnotreachthepublic.Knowledgeisfragmentedorcompartmental izedwhenitdoesreachthepublic.Renderednoncommittalandunen gaged,inthebestofcasesitisanexpressionofopinionwithintheplu ralistic balance model of public opinion formation. This remains with outanyconsequencesformobilizationanddoesnotchangeourevery daylife.Itthereforerequiresonthepartofleftintellectualsastronger efforttoprojectthe contextofthequestionsandproblemsandtowork on projects of integral theories. The danger is that with globalization andtheeconomiccrisisanewformofeconomismandprimitiveMarx ismwillspreadwithintheleftandwilllosesightofthebroadsocietal context,specificallythebourgeoissocialformationasawhole.Beyond this,thelefthastotakeseriouslytheartofstrategyandbegintothink aboutitinamoreambitiousway. In the face of the formation of transnational enterprises and transna tional forms of governance as new forms of the exercise of political dominance,weshouldpubliclyadvocatetheprojectofatransnational new internationale. This should make possible the communication be tween,andexchangeof,movements,tradeunions,parties,intellectuals, concepts, theories and theses, which aim at emancipatory transforma tionandrepresentthisgoal,onthebasisofmanydifferentorientations, strengthening and accelerating the process. This includes, if not over

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coming the divisions between the emancipatory discourses of genera tionsandgenders,criticallyworkingthroughthem. We especially need a revival of the discussion around the control and steering of investments as the decisive means by which the bourgeois classexercisesitsdictatorshipandthepoliticaleconomyofcapitalpre dominates. For this reason the question of the democratization of the relationsofproductionneedstobeposed.Thisistiedtoadecisivecri tiqueofliberalisminallitsvarieties,whichultimatelywantstorestrict political action and decisionmaking to the state and limit the public sphere. In this respect, there are incipient tentative initiatives in Ger many for alliances between tradeunions, parts of the left and social movements,whichaim,beyondimmediatespecificproblems,atstruc tural transformationsin the economy (forms of common property, re gionalfunds,legallyconstitutedemployeesparticipation).Theseinitia tives, however, are still weak. They need the complementary compe tenceofcriticaleconomistsandjurists,andthedevelopmentofabroad repertoireofdemocratizationinstruments.

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1) According to our (German) government and the economists of the Council of Experts on Economic Policy the economic crisis is over. Afterabreakdownofeconomicgrowthattheendof2008(6%)from thethirdquarterof2009on(+0.7)theynowexpectaslowgrowthof the economy in 2010 (+ 1.6 %). Unemployment will rise by 300,000, reachingmorethan4millionunemployed. Ofcourse,thebigcrisisisnotoverthereisstillanopenandcontro versialdebateonitspossibleoutcomes.Justastheendoftheeconomic crisisisdeclared,expertsfearasecondwavewhichmeansaspreadto theindustrialandservicesectoroftheeconomy,whichwillbeintensi fied by the rise of unemployment on the one side, and the fact that after mobilizing huge sums of moneyto prevent the collapse of the fi nancial sector and to revitalize economic growth the government is declaringitsmainjobnowtobehandlingthereductionofdebt(which means: strict austerity policy, reduction of public expenditure, espe ciallyininfrastructure,socialservices,pensionsandincomes). Moderategrowthin2010willinanycasenotbeabletosolvetheprob lems of growth, employment and public spending. A longer period of economic stagnation or moderate growth (the Japanese case from the 90s)willgeneratenewchallenges(especiallyinrespecttothestructure of German industry and its pattern of growth which is dominated by exportorientationinthesectorsofinvestmentgoods,moderntechnol ogyandautomobiles).Wedonotyetknowwhatimpactthiscontradic toryconstellationandalsorisingunemploymentandaquitedramatic experience of workers struggling at company level against drops in productionofupto50%(especiallyintheexportorientedindustries in southern Germany) will (in the coming months) have on protest movementsandtradeunionpolitics. AfterthegeneralelectionsofSeptember2009,Germanyhasanewfed eralgovernment,acoalitionbetweentheChristianDemocratsandthe LiberalParty(whichwon15%,againof5%inrespectto2005),the latter representing middle class and financial capital interests and pushingforanintensificationofneoliberalpolicies(privatization,flexi bilizationoflabormarkets,afurtherweakeningoftradeunionpower). With chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrats (who lost 1.4 %, but are still the strongest party with 33.8 %) are trying to defend elements of the welfare state, tradeunion rights, environmental poli cies (though the capitalfaction within the party has been strength

FrankDeppe

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enedbytheformationofthenewcoalition)2.Thebigloserintheseelec tions is the Social Democratic Party (23.0 %, an 11.2 % loss)3. Die LINKE,with11.9%(againof3.9%),andtheGreenParty,with10.7% (a gain of 2.6 %) are among the winners, yet, on the whole, the new (blackyellow) government and its program represents a shift to the right4. The direction in which the crisis is heading will be influenced by the followingfactors: Restructuringofthecapitalistmodeofproduction:a)awaveofcon centration in the banking sector;the survivors are claiming state assistance for the weaker sections and a return to business as usual; the power structure of financial capitalism has been strengthened;b)defenseandimprovementoftheconditionsofthe export industries (more and more oriented towards East Asia and China); an intensification of beggarmyneighbor policies (also within the European Union); c) restructuring at enterprise level: breakdownofproductionandsaleswillbecompensatedbyactivat ingabout2030%ofproductivityreserveswhichmustbenego tiated between management, workers councils and the union (re ductioninemployment,wages,furtherrationalizationofproduction and organization). Factories especially in the prosperous indus trial regions of southern Germany are defined as survival com munities, which aggravates the socialpartnership and trade union paralysis. The president of the Metal Workers Union has al ready declared that the upcoming round of wage contracting will notbecomplicatedbyexcessiveunionclaimsforhigherwages;pro tectionofemploymentshouldbeatthetopoftheagenda. Thisvariantofcrisissolution(catharsis)willbesupportedbythe policy of the new government. It will succeed on condition that a) thereisnounrestfrombelow,normassiveresistanceonthepart of the working class movement (unions) as well as from social movementsandb)therewillbenoshifttotheleftintheupcoming elections (starting in NordrheinWestfalen, in the spring of 2010)
In Nordrhein-Westfalen, the old Ruhr industrial district, the biggest state within the Federation, there will be elections within 6 months. Its ChristianDemocratic Prime Minister, who calls himself the workers president, intends to win, but knows he could never do so with a purely neoliberal program. So, decisions of the federal government in the direction of more privatization (labour market, health services, public transport, etc.) will be postponed until after these elections. 3 Compared to the 1998 elections when Schrder and Fischer won a majority, Social Democracy lost more than 10 million votes ( 20.1 million in 1998; 9.9 million in 2009). 4 Already in the European Elections (summer 2009) this shift towards the right was seen all over Europe (with a few exceptions).
2

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At the moment, unrest from below and public protest is still quite weak, although there were impressive demonstrations in the first half of 2009 (March 28 and May 16) under the slogan: We wont payforyourcrisis!.ThereweremeetingsinNovember2009todis cuss new demonstrations in the spring of 2010; the initiative for these activities is being taken by an alliance of leftwing trade unionists,socialmovementactivistsandDieLINKEmembers. The crisis exploded inthe real estate mortgages sector (subprime crisis) and spread immediately to the (global) financial and bank ing sector (2008). From 2008 the decline in economic growth and (especially) the reduction of exports (connected with elements of structural overaccumulation in the worldwide automobile indus try)hitthewholeoftheeconomyandrequiredmassivestateinter vention (saving the financial sector, stimulating economic growth andthelabormarket)whichledtotheopencrisisofstatefinance. Sofar(comparedtotheWorldEconomicCrisisfollowing1929)the government(atleastinsomeWesternEuropeancountries)haskept increaseofunemploymentwithinlimits.TheGermanWelfareState (andthepresenceofSocialDemocracyintheformergovernmentof Angela Merkel) at least provided partial solutions (state financed parttime work instead of unemployment, massive state subsidies for buying new cars which produced a temporary boom in the automobile industry) which obviously weakened the social conse quencesofthecrisis.Themajorityofworkersfearlossofjobsand socialdecline,andtheyhopetogetthroughthecrisisbyadheringto the dominant logic of adaptation and sacrifice. By now, however, thesecountermeasuresarenolongerworking;unemploymentwill rise the government will practice austerity policies. This means thecrisisisnowpenetratingsocietyintheformofsocialdecline,in creasing unemployment and poverty, moral decay on the whole, socialdisintegration.Thespecialquality(specifichistoricalcharac ter)ofthecrisis(inrespecttoitsdomesticconsequences,theinter nationalorderbeingofcourseanotherimportantfactor),however, consistsinthefactthatitishittingsocialstructureswhichhaveal ready been disintegrated by neoliberal policies in recent decades. Even more than in the past, individuals will have to struggle to survivethecollectiveorganizationofsocialprotest,thetradeunion and political Left, have never been as weak as they are at present. The question of whether there will be more social unrest from be low,whichopensupthepossibilityforpoliticizationandorganiza tion of social protest,will be strongly determined by the impactof

includingastrengtheningofDieLINKE.Undertheseconditions the tendencytowardsauthoritariancapitalismordisciplinaryneolib eralism (Stephen Gill) intensifying the tendency towards post democracy(ColinCrouch)willpredominate.

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Among the middle classes of many European countries there is a quite strong new right tendency; liberal parties (or new political formations e.g. in the Netherlands) articulate this tendency within thepoliticalsystem.Itisreinforcedbysocialandeconomicchange neoliberalismandthecrisishavestrengthenedthesocialreproduc tion of the precarious employment sector, making it into a large segmentofthemiddleclasses.So,beingafraidofsocialdecline(as BarbaraEhrenreichshowedmanyyearsago)providesstrongmoti vationnotforrebellion,butfordefendingrelativeprivilegesandso subordinatingoneselftotheexistingstructuresofpoweranddomi nation (looking upward). On the other hand, neoliberal ideology andpoliticsaddressmiddleclasspeople(lawyers,doctors,academ ics,engineers,etc.)asanelite,thecorestratumforcompetitiveness insociety.Thus,theysupportpoliciesoftaxreduction,whichmeans polarizationofincomes;onamoreradicalleveltheyattackthewel farestateandmorerecentlyturntoaracistcriticismofimmigra tion and the multicultural society project. The underclass the multitude of the useless and unproductive (or even illegal) con sumersofsocialsubsidies,togetherwithleftwingintellectualsand the unions is their principal enemy. The majority ofmedical doc tors, for instance, who in Germany in recent years have been very active contesting government policies in the health sector (with demonstrations in Berlin and other places), voted for the Liberal Party which centered its electoral campaign on tax reduction and expandedprivatizationwithinthehealthsystem.Atthesametime, some prominent intellectuals (Sloterdijk, Bohrer et al.) initiated a debateontheneedtoabolishpublicwelfarepolicies. 2)Isgreencapitalismasolutionorpartoftheproblem?IamsureIwill fullyagreewithargumentsofotherpapers(forinstancebyFriederOtto WolfandMarioCandeias). 3)Whatisthemostimportantconcreteproblemtowhichleftstrategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010?DieLINKEhasgrownstronger.It muststrengthenitsorganization,prepareadebateonthepartypro gramandimproveitsintellectualattractiveness(inthisarea,theRosa LuxemburgFoundationplaysanimportantrole);createorganizational andintellectualcapacitiesfortheeducationofyoungergenerations

theseaspectsofthesocialcrisis.Thisquestionisnotonlyrelatedto EuropeancountriesbutprimarilytotheUnitedStatesofAmerica social and political unrest breaking through the paralysis of subal ternity starting in one country (in the core of the Empire) would certainly encourage progressive movements and organizations in other parts of the world. If the Left remains weak and in paralysis thisperspectivemayalsoopenthewayforradicalrightwingpopu listsolutions.

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withintheparty.Atthesametime,itmuststabilizeandstrengthenthe partyanddevelopamethodofdebatinginnercontradictionswithmu tualrespectandwithrespectformajoritydecisions;conventional powerplayswithinthepartywillinevitablyleadtoitsdefeat. Asaresultofthegeneralelectionsandinregardtothedynamicsofthe crisisthemainpoliticaltasksofDieLINKEwillbetobuildcoalitionsin twodirectionsandattwolevels:1)attheparliamentarylevel:organize oppositionagainstthepolicyofthenewgovernment,createconditions for new majorities (including Die LINKE, for instance in Saarland, the homelandofOskarLafontainewith21%votingforDieLINKE);2.)out side parliament: link parliamentary opposition to social movements and the unions; the mosaic left (HansJrgen Urban) as a strategic deviceintheperiodofconstructingthecounterhegemonicbloc.

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BarbaraEpstein

Whereisthecrisisheading?Thebankbailoutappearstohaveprevented adownwardspiralintoafullscaledepression.Manyofusexpectedthat thecrisiswouldleadObamaandthosearoundhimtoconcludethatsig nificant regulation of the financial sector was necessary in order to avoidarepeatofthecrisis.Thishasnothappened.Norhastherebeen anysignificantmovementtowardstheexpansionofsocialservicesorof thewelfarenetwork.Unlesssomeunexpectedshifttakesplacecapital ismwillemergeoutofthiscrisismeanerthanever,andinmytotally nonexpert opinion as vulnerable to crisis as ever. We all know the results of this in the US: escalating unemployment, foreclosures, with drawal of social services from the expanding numbers of people who needthem. California has often presented a cartoon version of US capitalism in which both ups and downs are exaggerated. The housing bubble was especiallypronouncedinCalifornia,itscollapse,andtheconsequences of its collapse, particularly dramatic. Meanwhile the Republican Party has united around intransigent opposition to any increase in taxes or state spending to sustain public institutions. The "twothirds rule," passeddecadesago,requiresatwothirdsmajorityintheStateLegisla ture for the approval of state budgets and for any new taxes. The Re publicanPartyhasjustoverathirdinbothhousesoftheStateLegisla tureandthusisabletostandinthewayofanyeffortstoamelioratethe crisis.Politicalgridlock,incombinationwithrecession,isleadingtothe destruction of the public sector in California in the context of a par ticularlyhighunemploymentrateandwidespreadforeclosures.InCali forniaresultsofintertwinedeconomiccrisisandpoliticalgridlockhave beenparticularlydramatic,butthepatternappliestotheUSasawhole. What is the most important concrete problem to which left analysis should develop a response in 2010? InregardtotheUS,Ithinkwecant speak of one most important problem. I think that there are three re latedproblemstowhichwehavetodeveloparesponse:thewarinAf ghanistan and the pattern of an endless succession of wars; climate changeandrelatedenvironmentalcrisis;thedisappearanceofthepri vatesector.Therelationsamongtheseproblemsareclear:thewarsare drivenbythepursuitofcontroloveroilandotherresources,aswellas thepursuitofmoregeneralglobaleconomic/politicalascendancy.Envi ronmental crisis is closely related to dependence on oil and petro chemicals. The crippling of the public sector is inherent in neo liberalismasastrategyforthemaintenanceofUShegemony,andasthe ideologygoverningpoliticaldiscourseandpolicy.

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FormostofthepopulationoftheUS(andIassumeCanadaandWestern Europe) the above means that everything is getting worse simultane ously.Jobsareincreasinglyscarce,and,formany,jobsaswellashomes are increasingly hard to hold onto. Health care and education are in creasinglyexpensiveand,formany,ofdecreasingquality.Spendingon warsdepletespublicresourcesatatimewhenneedforpublicservices and for welfare programs is expanding. Fears of economic and envi ronmental collapse are rational and make it difficult to look to the fu turewithanyconfidence. Thisraisesthequestion:whyistheresolittleprotest?Notsolongago, manyofusthoughtthateitherdepressionorwarwouldbreakthrough thepoliticalapathyoftheAmericanpeople.WithBushinofficewegot both, but the apathy continued. Some of us thought: perhaps what standsinthewayisaRepublicanadministration,impervioustoprotest; with a Democrat in office, especially one elected on a platform of change,theleft,oratleast popularprotest,willrevive.Proteststake placehereandthere,butnothingcatchesfireandspreads.Therightis outorganizing the left. The right holds out the promise of a return to prosperity,nationalsecurity,andamorestablelife,basedonfamiliar, traditionalvalues.Infactofcoursetheneoliberaleconomicandpolitical order that the right promotes undermines the prosperity and security of the vast majority of Americans not to speak of others and also underminessocialcohesion,hardlywhatmostpeoplewouldthinkofas atraditionalvalue.Buthowevercontradictorythepromisesoftheright, theappealofthesepromisestellsussomethingaboutwidelyfeltneeds towhichthelefthasnotfoundawaytorespondpersuasively. Ithinkthattheleftneedstoputforwardaconceptionofabettersociety withthepotentialforappealbeyondtheusualconstituenciesoftheleft, andespeciallytoyoungpeople.Weneedtoargue,persuasively,thata society and world order based on cooperation are better for human beings,othercreatures,andtheplanet,thanasocietyandworldorder based on competition and profit. This means an approach to environ mentalproblemsthatisfeasibleandthatiscompatiblewithasocialist, orcooperative,socialorder,ratherthanwithcapitalism,andthatisalso clearlyfeasible,anapproachtosecuritythatrejectswarwhileaddress ingreasonablefearsofattack,andaplanrevitalizingthepublicsphere thataddressesthesourcesofwidespreadsuspicionofgovernment,in cluding the growth of bureaucracy and the spread of surveillance. We havetoimagineasocietythatamajorityofAmericanscanlooktoward hopefully,includingsomeofthosewhoareattimesinclinedtosupport theright,andbaseitonasetofprinciplesthatcanbeendorsedbyreli gious people as well as the secular left. And, I think, we have to work toward a broad coalition of progressive organizations (and, given the weakness of organizations, individuals). Socialists, and socialist ideas, shouldplayanimportantroleinthiscoalition,butitmustalsoincludea

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widearrayofprogressives,organizationsandindividuals,thatsupport thesameimmediateagendawithoutnecessarilyendorsingsocialism.

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RainerFischbach

Ad(1):Thefurtherunfoldingofthecurrentcrisis Anyassessmentofthefurthercourseofeventshastoconsidertheirre ducibleuncertaintyregardingsomecentralfactorsnotonlyinfluencing these, but also being influenced by them through various feedback loops. 1. Unemployment in Europe and particularly in Germany did not in creaseandconsumptionwasnotreducedproportionallytotheloss of (exportoriented) output, due to automatic stabilizers (short hours, clearing of overtime accounts, unemployment benefits). On theonehand,thismarksastartcontrasttotheUSexperience,but ontheotherhand,raisesthequestionofwhethertherespectiveef fects will last long enough to ride out an extended downturn. The policyofthenewlyelectedGermangovernmentaddstothegravity of this question: while promising debtfinanced tax cuts yielding onlyminormacroeconomiceffectstoitswelloffelectorate,itseems to be betting on the stimulus packages introduced elsewhere particularly in China and the USto generate new orders for Ger manysexportorientedindustry. 2. Bank balance sheets still carry lots of risky assets. Even still good credits extended to the industrial, commercial realestate, and pri vateequitysectorsmayturnsourinaprolongedcrisiswhencom panyfailuresabound.TheDubaicaselookslikethehandwritingon the wall. The credit portfolios are probably worth much less than accounting figures suggest. All the more so as many governments, likethatofGermany,missedtheopportunitytoforcebanksto im provetheirequitypositionorevennationalizethematthepeakof thefinancialcrash.Theresultingcreditshortageandtightenedcon ditions could limit economic performance even if the demand for industrial goods picks up again. But as long as demand remains at currentlevels,industrymaynotevenaskforsuchcredits.Industrial investmentmayfallshortofsocietysneedsanyway. 3. Abundantmoneysupplybycentralbanksnotchanneledintoindus trial credits tends to feed a new wave of speculative, highly lever aged financial investments. Carry trades, converting cheap dollars, providedbytheFederalReserve,intohigheryieldingeasternEuro pean,Asian or LatinAmerican currenciesalreadyabound. The pri vateequityindustry,whilestillsittingonmassiveprecrisisinvest ments facing devaluation, is up again and flooded with money. Its notthecheapcentralbankmoneythatisatthecoreoftheproblem, but rather the enormous financial wealth thats looking for profit but lacking investment opportunities in the real economy. Cheap money only provides the leverage needed to generate from arbi

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tragetradesthehighreturnsonequityexpectedbyfinancialinves tors. As financial wealth is always someone elses debt the already highlevelofindebtednesswillriseevenmore.Centralbanksarefac ing a regulatory dilemma, as any interest rate suitable for the real economy in a depression, will, absent deep regulatory constraints onthefinancialindustry,alwaysbetoolowfornotinflatingthenext bubble.Andcheapmoneyalonewillnotpushtherealeconomyout ofdepressionaslongasaggregatedemandremainslowandexpec tationsdull. 4. Central to the crisis management of western governments was the conversion of private into public debt. The longterm working of thissolutionisdependentonthecontinuedwillingnessoffinancial wealth owners around the world and, especially in the case of the US, of state banks/funds in countries running high balance of pay ment surpluses, to hold large and expanding volumes of treasury bondsorcomparablesecurities.Sotheverysolutiontothefinancial crisisaddstotheimbalancesthatfuelleditandleavesopentheba sicissuethatthereismuchmorefinancialwealtharoundlookingfor more surplus value than the real economy can generate as long as thewealthsownersarehesitanttoinvestitthere. Given these uncertainties, theres a small possibility that the world economy will take off againmost probably led by emerging econo mieswithChinainfront,callingforashiftofpowerbutamuchbigger chance that the depressionnotwithstanding minor recoveries hardly surpassingprecrisislevelswilllastlonger.Giventhesituationofpub lic households heavily stressed by bank bailouts and subsidies to de cliningindustries,thecallforcutbacksinlaborcompensationandsocial spendingwillsoundirresistible. Ad(2):TheGreenNewDeal The term New Deal is associated with the widespread perception that the historical New Dealthe policy of public investments pursued by theRooseveltadministrationhadbroughttheUSeconomyoutofthe depressionfollowingthefinancialcrashof1929.Besidestheomission ofthestrongregulatorycomponentthatwaspartofRooseveltspolicy, thisperceptionfallsshortofatrueaccountofthe1930sdepressionand thewayitwasovercome,andparticularlyofthefactthatitwasnotthe rather insufficient public investment programs of the 1930s, which didntpreventtheseconddipin1937,but,inthewordsofPaulKrug man,thestimulus packagebetterknownasWWII,thatpushedtheUS economyoutofthedepression.Inanycase,anessentialunderlyingfac toroftherecentcrisisisthefactthattheoilbasedcapitalisteconomies have, since their first time in 1970s, come up once again against the wallasaconsequenceofgreatlyexpandeddemandfor,and,also,specu lationin,oilandotherrawmaterials.Thishasfarreachingconsequen ces:

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1. Any stableeconomic development in a livable world will require a fundamentalchangeinthehumannaturephysiologyforecological andeconomicreasons. 2. This will, in scale and scope, call for something beyond the fancy endusergadgetsoflowefficiencyandrathermarginalsignificance likehybridcarsandsmartelectricitymeters,whichthepublicasso ciateswiththeterm GreenNewDeal:Aprojectthatwouldindeedbe anequivalentofWWIIinmoralandeconomicterms. 3. Thenecessarymodernizationandexpansionofinfrastructure:pub lictransportation,renewableenergysources,anefficientand resil ient power grid, nextgeneration telecommunication networks etc., the shift to fully serviceable and recyclable, durable products, the transformationofsettlementpatternsanddistributionnetworksfor energyefficiencyandabetterqualityoflife,theeducationandhu mancarenecessarytomakeforalivableworldandthenextgenera tionsabilitytomeetthechallengesahead,etc.,willrequireinvest mentsontheorderoftrillionsofEurosinthenextdecadealonein Europe,andevenhigherinNorthAmericaandtherestoftheworld, along with comprehensive planning at the national and interna tionallevel. Thiswouldmeansomethingthatseemstobehighlyimprobableinthe context of financial capitalism: the return to the accumulation rates achievedforthelasttimeinthe1950sand1960s,duringthegoldenage of Fordism. Financial capitalism as a system of power and appropria tion,builtinthe1970sand1980sinordertorestorecapitalprofitabil ityandcapitalistclassrule,impliesunderutilizationofcapacities,par ticularlyhumancapacities:Thisisalogicalconsequenceofhighprofit abilityfiguringastheleadinginvestmentcriterionandthedisciplinary approachtosocial,andparticularlylabor,relations.Whileitmaybenot impossible per se to have something like a green capitalism, it seems morelikelythattheimperativesofprofitabilityandclassrulewillun dermine the efforts called for by the goal of a livable world. The most probableeffecttobeexpectedfromagreencapitalismisastockmarket bubble comparable to the dot.combubble of the 1990s. The industry which will benefit from it will produce some microefficiencies, but missthemacroefficiencysobadlyneeded. Ad(3):Challengestotheleft Thebudgetsituationgeneratedbybankbailouts,subsidiesandtaxcuts forthewelloffonthestatesideaswellastheprofitlosssufferedbythe corporatesideduringthecrisiswillmakethecallforcutbacksinsocial spending and labor compensation seem plausible in the micro economicperspectivefavoredbypoliticsandthemedia.Thereisadis ciplinary discourse emerging, centered on morality, austerity and the exclusionofanypopulationconsideredunproductiveorundisciplined. Its proponents are trying to make believe that the crisis started with

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housingloansforthepoorandbecausewealllivedaboveourmeans. Theytalkofbankersgreedandbonuses,butarereallytargetinglabor compensation and social spending. In Germany, figures like Meinhard Miegel,ThiloSarrazinandPeterSloterdijkareleadingthewaytoafun damentally,anddecidedly,inegalitariansociety,heldtogether,ifnotby crudeideology,thenbymeansofmassiverepression.Thisis,afterthe deteriorationitsufferedinrecentyears,afurtherassaultontherepro ductivelevelofthemasseswithdirectconsequencesforthelifeofmil lions and the level of care enjoyed by their children, the sick and the elderly.Torepelthisattackwillbethedecisiveimmediatechallengefor the left, which has to develop a clear conscience of reproduction as somethingnotgivennaturally,butdefinedpolitically.Butthiswillonly makeapparentthemoreprofoundchallengesposedbythecrisis:com ingupwithaproperanalysisofit,withconceptsmeetingthechallenges posedbythequestforalivableworld,andthenspreadingthe insights generated therein, if there are any. If the neoliberal mantra of self relianceandresponsibility,entrepreneurialfreedom,privateproperty, globalcommerceandmarketefficiency,thatcloudsthemalfunctioning offinancialcapitalism,istobeovercome,theleftwillhave toleavebe hind the phase of vague critique and start talking about public goods andpublicenterprise,aboutinvestment,planningandredistributionof wealth.

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GlobalOrganicCrisisanditsImplicationsfortheLefts5 The paradoxical and pregnant nature of the current global political situationinvolvesfarmorethanacrisisofcapitalistaccumulation:The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannotbeborn;inthisinterregnumagreatvarietyofmorbidsymptoms appear6 1) Where is the crisis heading? Thecurrentconjunctureinvolvesamul tiplicityofintersectingandinterrelatedcrises,i.e.aglobalorganiccri sisthatgoesbeyondthedeepchallengestomacroeconomicpolicyasa resultofthecostsofgiganticbailoutsofcapitalinthepast2years. A swift review of the present conjuncture reveals that morbid symp tomsareglobal:intensifiedexploitationofhumanbeingsandnatureby capital;fundamentalissuesofsustainability(partlyreflectedintheim passe over climate change); and intense global food and health crises linked to corporate domination of world agriculture.7 Related to the aboveisacceleratedprivatizationofwater,land,naturalresourcesand publicgoodssuchaseducationandhealthsystems:thusaglobalsocial crisisisexacerbatedbythesenewenclosuresandtheexpropriationof thesocialcommons.Insum,thisismuchmorethanacrisisofcapital ist accumulation or a necessary selfcorrection aided by macroeco nomicinterventionandbailouts.Itreflectsthecontradictionsofmar ket civilization an individualistic, consumerist, privatized, energy intensive and ecologically myopic, unequal and unjust pattern of life styleandculturewhichiscurrentlydominantinworlddevelopment.8 Where the crisis is heading will depend on the political struggles in responsetothecontradictionjustalludedto:theintensifiedpowerand disciplinesofcapital(reinforcedbydisciplinaryneoliberalismandnew constitutionalism)versustheneedforconditionsofsecureandindeed progressive social reproduction and ecological sustainability. This globalcontradictionhasimportantgenderandracialdimensions.Ama jorityoftheworldswork,includingcaringwork,isdonebywomenand
5

StephenGill

My contribution to this years NALD should be read in conjunction with what I wrote last year this has been circulated earlier by the organizers. Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, 1971, p 276. The world food crisis involves global patterns of malnutrition 25% of the world is obese or overweight; 25% is starving. See Robert Albritton, Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity, 2009. Pentagon strategic doctrine since the 1990s has been premised on full spectrum dominance (ability to dominate all adversaries in all aspects of warfare and surveillance) and sustaining the global disparities that favour dominant US interests -- in an unequal world increasingly divided between the haves and have-nots.

6 7

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amajorityoftheworldspoorarewomen.9Nevertheless,theforcesof disciplinaryneoliberalismhaveretainedtheupperhandindefiningthe responsestheleftshavebeenrelativelyweak. InmyviewtheprincipalchallengefortheLeftsinthecomingdecadeis mobilising forces and arguments to address the global organic crisis andinsodoingtocontinuetofosternewformsofpoliticalagencyin volving both men and women a new, diverse and creative post modern Prince.10 Immediate challenges include specific policy re sponsestothecostsofthegiganticbailouts,whichneoliberalgovern mentswillultimatelyseektodownloadonthebacksofordinarypeople intheformofwagecuts,reductionsinsocialbenefitsandhealthexpen ditures, privatisation of education and other measures connected to theirexitstrategies. 2. Green capitalism? EmergencymeasuresasjustundertakenbytheG8 onlyoccurwhenthecapitalistmarketsystemisthreatened,nottodeal withsocialneedsorthesustainabilityofthebiosphere.Variouspropos alsforGreencapitalismshouldbejudgedintermsofwhethertheyad dressnotonlyspecificecologicalchallenges,butalsothegeneralcrisis of social reproduction and livelihood which compounds the ecological probleminshorttheglobalorganiccrisis.Indeed,muchofthecurrent problemsofglobalstarvationarelinkedtotheshifttoproductionaway fromfoodgrainstoheavilysubsidizedbiofuelsoverthepastdecade this has massively increased the world food prices so that the worlds poorcannotaffordtobuyfood. Of course it is desirable that capital is constrained from completely reckless exploitation of global resources and is forced to use energy more efficiently. However green capitalism seems entirely compatible withtheprevailingformsofconsumeristgrowthandcommodifiedde sireassociatedwithmarketcivilization,eventhoughsuchconsumption mightbereconciledwithlowerlevelsoffossilfueluse,loweramounts ofchemicalfertilisers,andtheintroductionofmorerenewablesources of energy. It can also go with wider use of genetically modified seeds and new technologies of control over lifeforms, e.g. feedlots and hor monestofeedmeatbaseddiets. Further,greencapitalismischaracterizedbythecontradictionbetween private accumulation and enclosure of the social commons and social needs.Indeedthequestionofintellectualpropertyrightsisattheheart of the impasse between the global North and the global South in the climate change negotiations. Private corporations want rents for their technologieswhichpoorercountriescanillaffordtopay.Greencapital ism will do very little therefore to address the intensification of eco
9

According to the UN Population Fund, the single biggest cause of global health inequalities as well as the principal cause of death for women is childbirth. Stephen Gill, Power and Resistance in the New World Order, 2008.

10 See

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nomic and social insecurity of a majority of people throughout the globe.Theleftargumentsshouldbebasedontheviewthattechnologies toameliorateenvironmentalproblemsshouldbeglobalpublicgoods not mechanisms of control by corporations, codified by intellectual propertyrightsinnewconstitutionalorganisationssuchastheWTO. 3) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? Taxstruggleistheoldestformofclassstruggle(KarlMarx) Here the key question is: Who pays for the bailouts, and what are the realcostsofthebailoutstrategies?TheG8strategywillattempttore storetheprincipalaspectsofdisciplinaryneoliberalismand forcead justmentsontothebacksofworkingpeopleintheformoflowerwages, privatization of public services and health, etc., in short an assault on workers,publicgoodsandthesocialcommons. Whatwillthismean?InNorthAtlanticcountriesabout70%ofworkers are in services, many in public services now threatened with further privatization.However,manyremainsympathetictotheargumentthat G7leaderscanresolvethecrisisandreturntonormalcy,indeedmany protectedworkersareshieldedfromsomeoftheworsteffectsofthe crisis (i.e. partly as a result of Keynesian automatic stabilizers in Europe) whereas insecurity is increasing for the vast majority of workersworldwide,whoareunprotected.11 Thequestionofnormalcyisthereforeaglobalquestionanditsreturn meansexitstrategiesandtherenewalofdisciplinaryneoliberalism inwaysthatwilldeepentheglobalorganiccrisis.Thustheleftsshould argue that the world truly has a choice the economic emergency measurescouldhavebeentargetedinwaysthatwouldhavebeen less costly, more socially efficient, e.g. strengthening public goods for the social,healthandeducationalcommons,andforpromotingdemocratic control over the commanding heights of the economy so that they are alsomadelessriskyandmorestable.Afirststepwouldbetoadvocate much more progressive and fair taxation (e.g. particularly for the top 20% of wealthy people), crack down on tax evasion and offshore cen tres,andpromotetaxregimesandpricingstrategiesdesignedtochan nelproductiontowardsmoresociallyandecologicallyusefulends.The global organic crisis also mandates strategies for global redistribution

11 The idea of an early return to such normalcy is delusional in light of the global financial situation which is far worse than G20 leaders can admit publicly. Moreover, the normal of the past few decades has meant not only a deep crisis of social reproduction but also relentless environmental destruction, ever-increasing and obscene levels of inequality and, not least, global economic stagnation.

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with a qualitative component (e.g. to provide the means to healthier globalfoodandimprovementsinmedicalcare). Inotherwords,Leftsneedpoliciesthatpromoteanewcommonsense inwaysthatnotonlyfundamentallychallengethehegemoniccapitalist concepts, but that redefine the credibility of government in terms of sustainable,equitableandjustpoliciestomeetsocialneedsandenlarge thesocialcommonsalsoshowinghowthiswillprovidegreatersecu rityandfreedomforthemajority.

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ChristinaKaindl

TheliberalconservativeGermangovernmenthasbeenquitesuccessful inmanagingthecrisis,atleastmanagingthediscourseonthecrisis.The window of discussion on if and how capitalism is the right thing to maintain has rather been closed again even more than in the US it seems. Fears that the crisis may automatically serve the left could be neutralizedbywhatcouldbeunderstoodasacitationoffordisticpoli tics: bringing the state back in (although mainly to financialize it), bringingtheunionsbacktothetabletonegotiatesocialplansforshort hoursworkandbringingthecoreproductiveforceoffordism,theauto industry,backintotheheartoftheconcern,stabilizingtheproduction by creating demands and the feeling, that the ordinary people are gainingsomethingfromthecrisispoliticstoowiththecashforclunk ersproject. Although ideologically weakened, neoliberalism has been politically strengthenedinthiscrisismanagement.Greencapitalismisthusleft totheGreenPartythatmightfindawaytoproposeitasanewmodelof prosperityandneoliberalismandseparateitfromthesocialdiscussion with what is still often linked in the concerned movements (and what couldbuiltratheraGreenNewDealthangreencapitalism). Apparently partly as a lesson learned from protests against the neo liberalsocialreformsin2004therearenotyetpointsofcrystallization for social protest and political mobilization that can build on shared experiences of different social groups. The conservatives appear to be theactualsocialdemocrats,tryingtofillthegapofrepresentingwork ersinterests. In2010thechallengewillbetofindaplatformthatisabletobringto gether more groups and people than in 2004: then the coalition was built on left unionists but not the unions, unemployed and other poor people movements, radical left and the (old) left party. The platform found then was based on minimum wage, raising social welfare pays and reducing work hours. The core segments of industrial workers dontfeelrepresentedbythat(astheirwagesarewayabovethemini mumwageandtheyarealreadyonshorthours)andontheotherhand lack fighting capacities as it is almost impossible to strike when only working three days a month. The political mandate of the unions has beendelegatedtothesocialdemocratsfordecades.Inthecurrentsitua tion the Left should work on a strategy to side with those unions /unionists that are willing to take it back and lean to new strategies, opposingthosethattrytokeepnegotiatingwiththeconservativegov

38

ernment, hoping to be partners in a new corporatism. That might be aimedatthebestinterestsoftheirmembers,butthustherelationsof powerwillnotbeshifted. The main battles will be fought on health care (and dismissing capital fromtheobligationtocontributeequallytoitsfinancing),majorcutsin municipalfinances(andtaxcutsthatwillworsenthesituation)thatwill bringforwardfurtherprivatizationofpublicservices,onworkinghours andretirementage.Butatransformationstrategymustaswellinclude concepts for conversion of auto industry that will not endanger food securityoftheGlobalSouthandatthesametimerecognizestheinter estsoftheindustrialworkers. Thechallengefortheleftistoproposeanalternativethatisnotjusta littlemore,better,greenerbutoffersatransformationstrategy.Onthe otherhanditmustntjustlooklikewishfulthinking.Partofthatwillbe torecollecttheconceptofplanningsocietyoutoftheruinsoftheso cialismwithoutnegatingthoseaspectsofindividuallibertiesthatfuels culturalsupportsforneoliberalism.

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[MichaelKrtke]

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PeterMarcuse
SocialismOneSectorataTime Theclosestwevecometoaseriousmovementthatadoptedsocialism asagoalwasin1968,andRudiDutschke,redRudi,wasacharismatic leader inthat movement in Berlin. The approach he advocated was to MarchthroughtheInstitutionsofcapitalism.Inthemilitantcontextof thetimes,thatmightwellhavestartedintheuniversitiesandthefacto ries:democraticgovernmentledbystudentsandfacultyonthecampus, democratic government of and by workers, autogestion, in the work places.Theapproach,recognizingthatrevolutioninitsclassicformwas unlikelytotakeplaceallatoncebutitsgoalsmightbeapproachedstra tegicallypiecebypiece,isworthtakingupagaintoday. Themortgagecomponentoftheeconomiccrisistodaysuggeststheap proach.Whileliberalsbemoanthegreedofbankersandthefraudulent practicesofbrokers,therootsofthecrisisgomuchdeeper.Theybegin withthesellingofthemythofhomeownership,soldastheonlywayto havesecurityoftenure,butincreasinglyexposedasafragile reed.The alternatives:cooperatives,landtrusts,publicownership,mutualhous ing associations, become increasingly obvious alternatives. They sug gest social housing, nonspeculative forms of ownership in which the possibilityofafinancialprofitisnotthedrivingforcebehindowninga home..Atapersonallevel,thatopensthedoortothoughtaboutthere lationship between use values and exchange values, an important les soninitself.Butgoingfurther,itraisesthequestionofwhetherthefor profitmarketisreallythebestwaytoallocatehousing,oneofthene cessities of life. Left advocates of rent control have long argued that housing should be provided for people, not for profit; that slogan seemsmoreappropriatethanevertoday. Andwhatdoesitmeanifnotasocialisthousingsectornotnecessarily coveringallhousing,andallowingforanonspeculativemarkettoop erate,butadvancingalongveryanticapitalistlines. The idea that certain sectors of the economy are logically public is hardlyanewone.Fireprotectionwasoriginallyundertakenbyprivate firecompanies,educationwasoriginallyprivatelyprovided,mostrail roads were privately built and operated, so were toll roads. Worker management has a much slimmer history, but is hardly unimaginable; experienceinsomecountrieswithworkertakeoversofindividualfac tories or the formation of cooperatives is quite widespread, if limited. But the experience in broad sectors that we now largely take for grantedisasgermane.

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Thateducationshouldbenotonlyfreebutpubliclyprovidedisgener ally acknowledged. The fight over charter schools in the United States illustratesthatthereisanattackonitspublicprovision,butthereisat thesametimeastrongdefensivemovement,andtheconflictraisesthe questionoftheprivaterolesharply.Theformofcontrolisinteresting not teachers themselves, but democratically elected school boards. It mightprovokethinkingastohowdemocraticcontroloverothersectors could be established, by some institutionalized relationship between usersandworkers. Majorresearchfacilitiesarepublic.Spaceexplorationispublic.Medical researchisinlargepartpublic.Securityservicesareinpartpublic,and basicpolicinggenerallyis.TheU.S.ArmyCorpsofEngineersundertakes majorinfrastructureprojects.ThePostOfficeisquitewellrun.Garbage collectionandothermunicipalservicesaregenerallypublic,andinthe United States the idea of municipal socialism was not anathema. Par ticipation and control in these cases was hardly what Marx had envi sioned,butbothelectoralcontrolsandunionparticipationofferpossi bleopeningsinthatdirection. Ironically enough, current debates about publicprivate partnerships, muchthevogueontheright,openthedoortoraisingthequestion,not simplyabouttherelativeroles,butalsoabouttheneedfortheprivate sectortobeginwith.Iftheprivatesectorcanmakemoneyperforminga public service, why cannot the public sector do the same work at a lessercost,sinceitneednotreturnaprofit?Eventhebankingsectoris vulnerabletoaquestioningoftheroleofprofit(whennormalbusiness incentivesareseenasgreed,itsnotsuchabigsteptoquestionthein centivescapitalismreliesonaltogether).Maybelemonsocialism,asin government bailing out banks and acquiring preferred stock in them, canbearefresheneronthewaytorealsocialism? Of course, nationalization, as is now under discussion, even of banks, andistakingplacewith,e.g.,oil,invariouscountries,isnotthesameas socializationintheclassicMarxistsense.Buthowdirectdemocracyand worker control would function in major enterprises is still an open questionhowdirectthecontrol,theroleofelections,userinputs,how competitionwouldfunction,whatroleamarketcouldcontinuetoplay. IntheUnitedStatesthattheunionsmaycontrolamajorityofthestock of the Chrysler Corporation raises only the specter of worker self exploitation,butwhycouldnotlargerquestionsberaisedaboutitspo tentialmeaning?Isthelogicofgoingfrom:problemswithcapitalismto > modifying capitalism to > questioning capitalism to > anti capitalismto>openformsofsocialism,suchahardchainof thinking toadvance,asthecontextinwhichseparatecurrentsectoralstruggles takeplace?

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Ifthereweresomecommitmenttosuchastrategy,sayfirstforhousing and health care, then basic education, continuously with attention to thepossibilitiesoffirmstoobigtofail,maywenotbemovingtowards socialism one sector at a time? Is a march through the institutions so farfetched?
References: Achtenberg, Emily Paradise, and Peter Marcuse. 1983. "Toward the Decommodifica tionofHousing::Apoliticalanalysisandaprogressiveprogram."inHartman,Chester, ed..America'sHousingCrisis:WhatistobeDone?Boston:Routledge&KeganPaul. Hartman,Chester,andMichaelStone.1986."TowardsaSocialistHousingProgramfor America." in Bratt et al., eds, Critical Perspectives on Housing, Philadelphia, Temple UniversityPress. Marcuse,Peter.2009TheSubprimeCrisisandBeyond,forthcoming Sclar,Elliott.2000.YouDon'tAlwaysGetWhatYouPayFor:TheEconomicsofPrivati zationIthaca:CornellUniversityPress.

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MargitMayer

1 Where is the current crisis heading? What kind of state projects will and/or should be developed in response? Thereisawidespreadviewof the crisis as revealing how disembedded the capitalist economy has become(cf.RLF,theworldCrisisandBeyond,Brussels,Oct28Nov1, 2009, p. 3). The rulers have themselves demonstrated that alternatives toprivatizationandtheinvisiblehandofthemarketsarepossible(ibid, p. 38). Therefore, we/an antihegemonic alternative should not only push for reembedding the financialized/globalized economy within society (p. 42, 50), but also seize this brief moment of opportunity to endthehegemonyoffinancialmarketcapitalism(39). This view of the crisis and of where it might be heading is, however, flawed,andthereforethestrategicconsequencesimpliedbyit needto be rethought. All those who now argue for state intervention to re embedthefinancializedeconomy(includingStiglitz,Krugman,partsof the Left) do not distinguish betweenthe ideological discourse andthe practice of neoliberalism, they are taking neoliberalisms propositions (deregulation, liberalization, free markets, diminishing state, etc.) at theirownword.Butthepast30yearswereshapedbythedoublestan dard of neoliberalism, in which rhetoric and practice hardly matched. Therehasalwaysbeenadifferentruleforthemassesthanfortheelites. Theextravagantbenefitsreapedbytheelites,whichhavebeenenabled through state intervention, regulation and multiple bailouts, are now being paid for by the huge costs imposed on the masses since 2007 through foreclosure, unemployment and wrecked pension schemes. Thus, the current state interventions are not evidence that the rulers have demonstrated alternatives to privatization; rather than repre senting the negation, they are the culmination of the redistribution at theheartoftheneoliberalera. Far from being forced to modify its neoliberal strategies (thesis 4 in IfGpaperofMarch200912),therulinghegemonicblockhasbeenbusy intensifyingandexpandingthedispossessionoftaxpayersandthepub licpurse,whichhasbeengoingonoverthelast30yearswithanin novative type of state interventionism. It has aided the concentration processesandthestrengtheningoffinancecapitalandgrownthestate debt. Thereby it contributed to the further polarization of society and the deepening of impoverishment of those excluded from decent em ployment.
12

Die Krise des Finanzmarkt-Kapitalismus Herausforderung fr die Linke, in: kontrovers 01/2009.

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Where are we headed? Nouriel Roubini13 sees the US government al readypumpingupthenextfinancialmarketsbubble,whosecollapse,he says, will dwarf that of 2008. Equity, oil, and commodity prices have risen sharply, far more than justified by economic reality, and stock, bondandcurrencypricesinemergingmarketshaveincreasedbyeven greaterproportions.Atthesametime,theUSdollarhasfallen,andUS bondyieldsremainbroadlylowandstable.Theeventualinabilityofthe main participants to repay the borrowing that supports this market activitywillleadtowholesaleinstitutionalcollapses. 14Inotherwords, Roubini argues that huge sums of public money are being leveraged into a horrendous speculative bubble rather than invested in the slower, tougher business of rebuilding a manufacturing and service economy. Whatkindofstateprojectsshouldbedevelopedinresponse?Ifthefi nancialexpansionofthepastdecadeswasntduetothestatesfailureto regulatefinancialmarkets,iffinancialgrowthwas notbasedonthere treat of public institutions, but, to the contrary, was enabled through the construction of particular norms of institutional control and throughenhancingtheleverageofthosewhoenjoyprivilegedaccessto the state, then it makes no sense to seize on the change in ideological climatetoadvocateincreasedstatecontroloverfinanciallife.Unlessthe state has become significantly democratized, increased state control mightjustendupsupportingtherestorationoffinancialpowerthatthe Leftcriticizedwhenitstillwentundertheideologicalbannerofneolib eralism.Itwouldseemmoreadequatetoexposethecontradictionsand societally negative consequences of (finance) capitals power (which thestatehasbeenaimingtosupport)ratherthanendingupstrength ening it, and to intervene (supportively) on the side of those that are madetopayforthecrisis. 2 Is Green Capitalism a Solution or Part of the Problem?AGreenNew Deal also envisions stronger regulation of financial markets, and, in addition,massivestateinvestmentsinenvironmentaltechnologiesand innovation,aswellthecreationoffavorableconditionsfora marketin green products, but also taxing financial transactions and assets. There are at least three different versions of Green New Deals15: a Green New Deal with growth (as advocated, e.g. by the German Green Party) involving the creation of markets in pollution such as emission trading;aSocialGreenNewDealwithgrowth(asadvocatedbytheLeft
13 Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, who called the coming crash in 2006 [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/magazine/17pessimistt.html] 14 Nouriel Roubini, Mother of all carry trades faces an inevitable bust, Financial Times, Nov 1, 2009 <http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a5b3216-c70b-11de-bb6f00144feab49a.html> 15 Ulrich Schachtschneider, Green New Deal Sackgasse und sonst nichts? RLS Standpunkte 17/2009

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Party)envisionsatypeofregulationforgreenfriendlyinvestmentsso astoprovideforsomeredistributionofworkandincome;andaSocial GreenNewDealwithoutgrowth(advocatede.g.bytheWuppertalInsti tute for Climate, Environment, Energy) which realizes that we cannot reduce our consumption of fossil energy unless we curb economic growth, and therefore need to prepare for a more sustainable way of organizingoursubsistencethanonethatrequiresthepermanentpro ductionofsurplus(whichevenGreenInvestmentrequires). Hence,GreenCapitalismasdefinedbyeitherthefirstorsecondver sionofaGreenNewDealwouldbepartoftheproblem.Thisdiagnosis iscorroboratedbythefactthatnotmuchhaschangedwiththeFrame workConventiononClimateChangeanditsKyotoProtocolsince1994. Insteadofreducingglobalgreenhousegasemissions,theyhaverisenas oil and gas consumption have increased, as has the rate of increase. Productionandconsumptionpatternshavenotonlyremainedthesame in the developed countries, but have been globalized, the Western lifestyleisbeingpromotedaroundtheworldinspiteofitsobviousde structiveness. Institutions such as WTO, IMF and World Bank policies accelerateclimatechangethroughtheexpansionofindustrializedagri cultureandglobaltransport,andUNFCCCdoesnothingtochangetheir policies,nordonationalgovernmentschallengethepoweroftheauto mobile industry, seed companies, industrial farming, meat producers etc. National governments have simply not been implementing the globally agreed on environmental management, as stipulated by the Protocol. So,15yearslateritisobviousthatUNFCCCisnotanadequatemecha nismtodealwiththeproblemofglobalwarming.Anditisobviousthat national governments cannot be relied on for serious action against climate change. National governments see their task in organizing the type of markets which the powerful capital fractions request, the only concession is to provide for new markets in pollution trading16, green products,solarenergy17andrenewables,whatispresentedassustain able globalization, or neoliberalisms Plan B. Cap and trade and all other marketbased solutions that are creating markets in pollution (andhencespeculativebubblesovercarbon),willnotonlyfailtosolve the climate crisis, but this failure will deepen poverty and inequality becausethepoorestaretheprimaryvictimsofclimatechange.

16 Carbon emissions trading (which is the main instrument of the UNFCCC) represents an unprecedented privatization of the atmosphere, carbon offsets and sinks threaten to become a resource grab of colonial proportions, displacing indigenous people who cause no carbon footprint whatsoever. 17 Top-down systems of global resource management and silver-bullet technological solutions, whether nuclear power or large-scale, centralized solar-power generating systems in the Sahara to supply Europes energy needs have similarly devastating effects in those areas.

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So,environmentalandclimatepoliticshasbecomeanotherareawhere we see attempts to reestablish the neoliberal globalization project by presenting a progressive image (the message of the various summits has been: world leaders have understood the problem). The Green New Deal with growth is part of the problem, as it intensifies global polarization, leads merely to ecological modernization for the West ern/Northernmiddleclassesattheexpenseofmanyothers,especially thepoor,andthemateriallivingconditionsonearth. ItfollowsthatweshouldbesupportiveofthedemandsofAfricancoun triesandtheThirdWorldNetworkwhichrequestthat Northern countries cut emissions by 2020 by at least 45% throughaninternationalagreement, Theyshouldnotrelyoncarbonmarketsoroffsetgambitswhen makingthesecuts, They should pay the ecological debt they owe to victims of cli mate change (49 of the leastdeveloped countries take the de mandtoCop15asanegotiatingblock,thereisaChineseandAf ricanproposalthatthedevelopedcountriespayasmuchas$400 billionayear.TheEUhasofferedtokickin22billion), Italsofollowsthatweneedtounderstandandeducateaboutthedan gerofthedogmaofcompetitiveness,whichmeansweneedtorepoliti cize the market as producing and hiding the domination of some peopleoverothers.Andconcomitantstateprojectswouldbetorestrict thepowerofindustrialandfinancialcorporations,phaseoutfossilfuel basedpatternsofproductionandconsumption,andprotectthenatural commonsagainsttheircommodification. 3 What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? We do not yet have a response to the massive and global problem of dispossession and privatization, both globally and within each of our advancedsocieties.Somearguethattheresultingdeepeninginequal ity can be addressed together with the problem of climate change by climatedebtreparations,wherewealthycountriespledgetopaycom pensation for the damages caused by the outofproportion amount of historical and current emissions of greenhouse gases but there are othersourcesandmanifestationsofglobalanddomesticinequalitythat donotgetaddressedinthissingularcampaign. AnotherconceptisthatoftheCommons,andthereareavarietyofon going struggles forming around that (and the demand for com monism18)somethingworthexploring? Equallyimportanttoaddressforleftstrategy,andrelated,istheprob lem of uneven consciousness: because the interests and desires of so many people are still linked to unsustainable patterns of production andconsumption(e.g.workersdesireforcheapfood,energyandother
18

Cf. http://turbulence.org.uk/turbulence-1/commonism/

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goodsthatareproducedunderunsustainableandunsocialconditions), weneednotonlyaredistributionofsocialwealth,butalsoapoliticiza tionofour(shortterm)interestsanddesires.


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HaroldMeyerson

1) Thestunningbicontinentalfactofthepastyearisthefailureofcen terleft parties to address the current crisis either economically or politically. Election results across Europe and the current political difficulties of the Obama Administration (Obamas approval rating intheGallupPolldippedunder50percentforthefirsttimetoday) require little elaboration. In the US, as public opinion analyst Nate Silverhasdemonstrated,Obamasapprovalratingsincehisinaugu ration has totally tracked his approval rating on the economy. His declineisnotabouthealthcareorAfghanistanoranyotherpublic policyissue,thoughitisinpartaconsequenceoftheimpressionof universalditheringthatastructurallydysfunctionalCongressanda conflictedadministrationhaveconveyed. Thereis,asIwrite,finallyarevoltonCapitolHilloftheprogressive Democrats the Black Caucus refused to pass the financial reform legislation because of inattention to the economy; liberals in the House and Senate are opposing Treasury efforts to use the unex pendedfundsintheTARP(thebankrescuefund)topaydownthe deficit, preferring instead to devote it to job creation (a fight is brewing on this); the Hispanic Caucus is railing at Obama chiefof staffRahmEmanuelforbackingaprovisionintheSenatehealthre form bill to forbid undocumented immigrants from buying, with theirownmoney,apolicyontheexchangethatthebillestablishes; liberalsandconservativesontheHouseFinancialServicesCommit teehookeduptoimposetighterrestrictionsontheFederalReserve; and rising Democratic dissatisfaction with Obamas Wall Street orientedeconomiclieutenants,particularlyTreasurySecretary Tim Geithner and economic honcho Larry Summers has erupted pub licly. House Democrats, all of whom must stand for election in No vember 2010, belatedly have realized that doubledigit unemploy mentwillcostanumberofthemtheirjobs,and,perhaps,allofthem aworkingmajorityinthenextcongress.Finally,theyarelookingat enactingasecondstimuluspackage,thoughbyanothernamesoas not to offend the deficitobsessed American elite. This will lead to some turmoil in Democratic ranks and within the administration, whereanumberofeconomicadvisersbutnotSummersorGeith nerseetheneedforamajorinvestmentinjobs. But even if the Democrats reawaken their inner Harry Hopkins (FDRs guy for publicsector job creation), the long term prospects fortheAmericaneconomyaredismal.Realunemploymentstandsat roughly 17 percent. Boosting consumer spending is more likely to create factory jobs in China than in the US. (A recent Wall Street

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JournalarticleaboutfederalassistancetoaTexaswindfarmnoted thatitwouldcreate300jobsinTexasand2,000to3,000inChina, wherethewindturbinesaremanufactured.TheU.S.,wheremanu facturingnowconstituteslessthan12percentofGDP,needstobol sterdomesticproductiontorebalanceitsasymmetriceconomicre lationswithChina,tocreatemoredecentpayingjobsdomestically, andtoattainaprosperitynotreliantonassetbubbles.Butdoingso runsupagainstthepoweroftwosectorsthathavegainedatmanu facturings expense: finance, which has thrived both on the higher profitmarginsofoffshoringmanufacturingandonsupplyingcredit toAmericanswhohaveturnedtocredittosupplementincomesthat stoppedrisingasaresultofdeunionizationanddeindustrialization; andretail,whichhasthrivedbyloweringtheproductioncostsofthe goodsitmarketsandpocketingtheprofits.Againstthepower, that is,ofWallStreetandWalMart.Thereis,forinstance,nolegislation in the stimulus package mandating that governmental funds be spenton,orevenfavor,domesticproductionaprovisionclearlyin thenationsinterest,butnotthatofeitheroftheWal(l)s. Eithertherevoltofcongressionalliberalsformorepublicspending onjobcreation(beitingreenindustry,infrastructure,whatever) willsucceedinasignificantway,ortheDemocratswillloseenough seats in 2010 to forfeit effective control of Congress. If the latter happens, there will be precious little public policy to remedy the downturnatall. Viewed from afar from the US the economic policies of Merkel andSarkozyandtheEuropeancenterrightarewelltotheleftofjust about anything the Democrats are promoting in the US, and left enoughsotheyhavemanagedtoundercuttheEuropeancenterleft parties. By the way, one structural difference between the US and mostother nationsisthatintheUS,statesandmunicipalitiescon trol taxing and spending for many governmental functions infra structure,education,publicsafetyandmustrunbalancedbudgets. Bymycalculations,thestateandlocalbudgetcutbacksandtaxhikes for 2009 and 2010, as they scrambled to balance their budgets in thefaceofhugerevenueshortfalls,cameto$365billion,whichone mustsubtractfromtheObamaAdministrations$787billionstimu lustogettheneteffectofgovernmentactionontherecession.That is, instead of government spending 2.6 percent of GDP to fight the recession,whenyoufactorinstateandlocalgovernmentsandsome other anomalies, its more like 1 percent of GDP. In other words, duringarecession,Americanfederalismcreatesaselfnegatingpub licresponse. AsIvesaid,itshardtoimaginetheDemocratsretainingpowerhere absentashiftleftwardstowardsapolicyofjobcreation.Theirbase, likethoseoftheEuropeancenterleftparties,isincreasinglydemor

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2) PartoftheproblemintheU.S.,asImentionedinmyanswerabove, is that our capitalists have already offshored the production of green technology. When we build wind farms here or install solar technology or buy spiffy new railroad cars all activities that the federal,stateandlocalgovernmentsareinvestinginwegoabroad to buy the highvalueadded parts. Our financiers encourage mer cantilisminothernationsanddiscourageitathome;theygethigher profits that way. So just getting mercantilist capitalists would be a bigstepforwardintheU.S.,nevermindthesocialists. 3) In the US, the left must focus on public sector job creation and far stricter regulations on finance battles in which liberal congres sional Democrats are now willing to both pressure and break with the administration. We have no organizations of the unemployed, alas;theclosestthingwehavetothatisthecommunityorganizing groupACORN,whichhasendeavoredtoorganizeinpoorcommuni ties around the issue of housing foreclosures, and which the right hasalmostdisabledthrougharelentless,concertedattack. Transnationally, the left should focus on those regulatory battles whichmustbefoughtgloballythatis,intheshortterm,theregula tionoffinance.Educationalworkabouttheinherentinabilityofac tual existing capitalism to produce prosperity should proceed withinandacrossborders.

alized. If the problem in Europe is getting social democrats to be havelikesocialdemocratsofyore,intheU.S.itsgettingDemocrats to behave more like New Dealers. They havent done that in many decades,buttheeconomyhasntbeenthisbadinmanydecades.

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TendenciesoftheCrisis Thetendenciesofdevelopmentofthecurrentcrisiscannotbegrasped if one looks only at the financial aspect of the question. In fact, the growingfinancializationofthe economy(andtheconsequentseriesof speculative bubbles that have devastated the financial market) origi natesintheseriousimbalancesof geopoliticalrelationsand socialrela tions.Fromthegeopoliticalpointofview,financializationistheeffectof thedollarfunctioningasaninstrumentofhegemony,firstasasupple ment to industrial, and thus commercial, development and then as a substitute for it: growing amounts of international capital have streamedintotheUSA(tofinanceitsconsumptionanditswarpolicies) thanks to the unscrupulous policies of the Fed, which has created an atmospherefavorabletofinancialspeculation.Fromthesocialpointof view,financializationis,ontheonehand,theeffectofoverproduction whichpushescompaniestopreferspeculativeinvestmentsand,onthe other,ofthefallinworkerswages,whichpushesworkersintodebt. The recent measures adopted by governments have not really altered this imbalance. None of them seems to be in a position to replace the USA as the driving force of global demand neither China (either by politicalchoiceorduetoitsdemographiccomposition,whichincludesa growth in the age groups inclined to save), nor Europe (whose domi nanteconomy,Germany,isstillorientatedtoexportledgrowth).More over,nooneseemstohaveanyrealintentionofexpandingthedemand ofthepopularstrata(notwithstandingsomecontradictorysignalsfrom the Obama administration). Rather, since the stagnation of private in vestmentswillmakeagrowingpublicdebtcontinuetobenecessaryfor alongtimetocome,theonlywaytolimitthisgrowthina,bynownear, futureisthroughcuttingsocialexpenditures.Undertheseconditionsit islogicalthatfinancialspeculation,theonlytrueandreliablesourceof profit,willgrowagainandpreparenewbubblesandnewcrises. Thefirstresponsetothecrisisthereforeseemstohaveadecidedly re actionarycharacterbecauseit confirmsthesocialandgeopoliticalrela tions which are the bases of the crisis itself. From the social point of view, while unemployment is continually growing (and demand for consumergoodsconsequentlydecreases),thepoweroftheveryfinan cial institutions which unleashed the crisis is reinforced: in fact, the concentration and dimensions of the toobigtofail companies are growing,asistheirpowertodictateconditionstogovernments,eluding notjustthedisciplineofthemarketbutalsoregulation.Fromthegeo political point of view there is the attempt to confirm the hegemonic

MimmoPorcaro

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roleoftheUSA,continuingwarpoliciesandcontinuingtousethedollar (depreciatingitnowinrelationtoothercurrencies)tosubstituteatrue innovative capacity on the level of production (the green economy is still far from furnishing that newenergy and technology paradigmwe areallhopingfor).Inaddition,thecompaniesformsofgovernancedo notseemtobechanging,stillbeingorientedastheyaretoshareholder valuegrowth,thustoshorttermismandspeculation. Thisreactionarycharacterissostrongastolendanegativeconnotation eventothebignoveltythatthiscrisishasbestowedonus,thatis,the newroleofgovernments(andofthepoliticalrealm)inthefaceofthe crisis,whichisexpressed,inthecaseoftheUSA,inthedirectassump tionofrisk(andthusofpoliticalresponsibility)onthepartoftheFed andinthecreationofanindustrialpolicywhich(asinthecaseofChrys ler)defendsnationaljobseitherthroughpublicinterventionorthrough supranational cooperation, combining protection and globalization in anoriginalway. Despite these big novelties, which in another context could take on a socialistcharacter,inthecontextofareactionaryresponsetothecrisis the new financial role of governments is paradoxically turned into a reinforcement of the antagonistic principles of politics (rather of the financialinstitutionssavedthankstopublicdebt),andtheirnewindus trialroleturnsintoarestructuringthatrequiresbigsacrificesfromthe workers, only partially compensated by changes in the relations of property. These conditions make it reasonable to predict that for some time to come the stagnation of global demand, the growth of unemployment andthepersistenceofglobalimbalanceswillfavorrightwing political solutions,whichcouldbecomeparticularlydangerousintheeventthat anewfinancialcrisisoccursinthenext2to3years. Andyet,thecrisishasproducedsomeepochalshiftswhichcouldfavor theleftinthenottoodistantfuture:thereturnofpolitics,thedemon strationofthefactthatprivatecapitalismdoesnotworkwithoutpublic intervention,theendofUSmonocentrismandthusgreaterfreedomof maneuver for the other states, including Europe, and the general dis creditingofcapitalism.Alltheseshifts,however,willbenefitsomenew sector ofthe ruling classes if we are not able to use them in a serious and autonomous subjective political action, founded on a change of di rectioninourpoliticalculture.Insyntheses,theseare: 1)Theleftmuststopbeingonlyormainlythepartyofrightsandmust gobacktolocatingthestruggleforlibertyandindividualautonomyin thestruggleforthecollectivereappropriationofthegeneralconditions ofproduction. It must go back to having its own ideas on property rela tions and on economic development.Ithastogobacktospeakingofso

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cialism(beginningwiththeideathatalleconomicactivitiesfunctioning thankstopublicfundshavetobesubjectedtopubliccontrol),aplural istsocialismthatwillhavetotakeintoaccountthepersistenceofcapi talistzonesofproductionandtheinterlacingofpublicproductionand jointcooperativeproduction.Withoutpossessingawholeconsistingof strongideastheleftcannotemergevictoriousfromthegreatconfronta tionbetweensocialmodelsthatthecrisiscannotbuttrigger. 2)Theleft,abovealltheEuropeanleft,needstounderstandthatinre centdecadesithasmainlyrepresentedthemostskilledportionofthe popularstrataandhas lostconnectionwiththelessskilledandcultur ally marginal part which by now prefers not to vote or votes right. It thereforehastounderstandthatitsfundamentalproblemistherecon struction of an alliance between unskilled and skilled sections of the popularstrata.Suchanalliancemaybeabletodevelopwithinpopular mutualistic associations, which the development of the crisis and the declineof welfarewillmakeincreasinglynecessaryandwhichcancon stitutethebasisofanenduringgroundingoftheleftitself,iftheleftis abletobecometheprotagonistoftheirconstruction. Thelefthastorediscoverpolitics,notjustasagitation,propagandaand spreadingofitsculture,butalsoasthestrategiccapacitytoconcentrate the greatest numbers of possible forces on the issues which, in each specificphase,seemdecisive.Infact,onlyaradicalalterationofthere lationsofforce,impossiblewithoutconsciouspoliticalaction,canallow thelefttoperformthatfunctionofgovernmentwhichtheneedsofthe crisismakeincreasinglymorerelevantanddecisive. (Turin,November20,2009)

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AdolphReed,Jr.

MycommentsfocusonthesituationintheUS,notoutofparochialism butbecauseofoneveryimportantpoliticalfeatureoftheUSthatdiffer entiates it sharply from the circumstances of our European comrades. Inthiscountrythereisnoleftthatexistsasacoherentoratalleffica ciousforce,ineitherculturalorpoliticalterms.Moreprecisely,thereis no institutionally or intellectually significant center of political agency in the United States that is anchored to strategic pursuit of an anti capitalist ideological and programmatic vision. As Russell Jacoby ob served a decade ago, we have reached a condition here in which [i]nsteadofchampioningaradicalideaofanewsociety,theleftineluc tablyretreatstosmallerideas,seekingtoexpandtheoptionswithinthe existingsociety(The End of Utopia).Foravarietyofreasonswhatever sort of avantgarde, politically selfdirected left once existed in this countryhasmelteddownorretractedtoacuetakingroleinrelationto a Democratic party whose centerof gravity has over the last two dec adesincreasinglyaccommodatedtothelogicandprogramofneoliber alism.Thisassertionisitselfnodoubtsubjecttofurtherdiscussionand debate, and I dont intend to be ultraleft or tendentious in making it. Fornow,however,Isuggestthat,totheextentthatitistrue,ithasseri ousimplicationsforhowweshouldthinkaboutnotionslikecrisis,in cludingthetrajectoryandimpactofthecurrenteconomicsituation. The cultural, political and intellectual space of a serious left with uto pian(inJacobyssense,i.e.,abeliefthatthefuturecouldfundamentally surpass the present) aspirations has been filled increasingly by re formers progressive think tanks, academics and policy intellectuals, journalistswhosepoliticalinterventionsrunprimarilytolobbyingor seeking to persuade governing elites rather than to popular mobiliza tion.Theinstitutionalcondensationsofearlierinsurgentmovements trade unions, racial and social justice advocacy, feminist and environ mentalorganizationshavealllongsincesettledinasinterestgroups andtherebyhavealsoforsakenanautonomouspoliticsofmobilization (which would require concerted focus on various dimensions of what wasonceknownasmasswork)foraninsiderpoliticsofelitenegotia tion.Bothstrainsofwhatisnowgenerallyconsideredtheleftoperate withinapoliticalimaginationboundedbynotionsofwhatmightseem reasonable to liberal Democratic elites. Taking intoaccount that those liberalDemocraticelitesinturninsistthattheyareconstrainedbywhat seems reasonable to a supposed political center suggests just how narrow and myopic the programmatic vision of this left actually is. Inabilitytoimaginegoalsandmodesofpoliticalactionthatdontfeed directly into elite negotiation or lobbying underwrites a tendency to alternate between dismissal of political programs or strategies that

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reachbeyondincrementalismasnave(e.g.,thefateofsupportforsin glepayer health insurance) and eruptions of wildly exaggerated as sessmentsofordinaryneoliberal Democraticcandidatesorpoliticians. ThistendencyhelpsmakesenseoftheirrationalexuberanceforBarack Obama,whichhadscarcelyanybasisinhisrecordorevenutterancesin publiclife. From this perspective, the question of the direction and course of the current crisis begs other questions concerning the balance of political forces in this country as well as the complexities and meanings of the idea of crisis. Parsing economic and social indicators and projecting from them is a necessary element of determining potential dangers, challenges, and spaces for political action. However, as a politically meaningfulcategory,crisisexistsonlytotheextentthatitisperceived to exist by forces, perhaps including individuals, capable of affecting publicdiscourseandaction,ofcharacterizingthecrisissnature,label ing it and stitching it into a narrative and program of strategic action. Sincetheeconomicbubbleburstanditsramificationshavespreadpeo plecertainlyhavebeenexperiencingintenseanxiety,perhapsasenseof dislocation, even fear that their worlds threaten to collapse. This is hardlynews,butitdoesnttranslateintoanysortofspecificactionand may not translate into action or concerted demands for action at all. Political intervention agitational politics or, to revert to the older metaphor,massworkisrequiredtocondensethoseanxietiesaround an assertive political program, to provide coherent political direction andgoals. Retractionfromutopianaspirationmeansthat,inembracingthelimits ofapoliticsofpetitioninggoverningelites,thisleftalsorejectsanagi tationalpolitics.Indeedtheleftinterestgroups,theonlysegmentwith anyrealorganizationalcapacity,byandlargehingetheirlegitimacyon beingabletopreemptorcontainagitationunacceptabletoliberalelites. (AFLCIOleadership,forexample,hastakenthisrouteinbothepisodes ofhealthcarereformandevenineffortstocorralunionsoppositionto Clintonstradepolicies.)TheirpoliticalfunctionispartlyandIambe ing somewhat tendentious here in the interest of space to convince theirconstituenciesthattheirconcernsandaspirationsmustbedefined withinlimitsacceptabletoDemocraticelites.Althoughtheiradherents enthusiasms are no doubt genuine, eactivism and related simulacra ofpoliticalactionareultimatelyonlyPotemkinalternativestoagitation, as their dubious record of effectiveness beyond raising money for De mocratic candidates indicates. This judgment applies as well to the eventdriven approach to political action. Large demonstrations, again formultiplereasonsIcantcataloguehere,nolongerperformthefunc tions activists assign to them. They have no effect on policymakers, partly because they are crafted and conducted within a larger frame

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work of capitulation, and they serve mainly to buttress the spirits of participantsandothersupporters. Illconcluderatherabruptly.Returningtotheissueofthecurrentcrisis anditspotentialdirection,themostimportantfactforusisthatthereis noleftwithanyeffectivesocialcapacityintheUSthatisindependentof the steering imperatives of Democratic neoliberalism. To that extent, for reasons Ive suggested here, the left is not and will not likely be a significantfactorinshapinginterpretationoforpopularpoliticalreac tion to the crisis. (Nor is the nonutopian left likely to have much im pact,asitsrecordinrelationtotheObamaadministrationattests.)Un fortunateandunappealingasthatrealitymaybe,itisnecessarytocon front it squarely because the paramount objective should be trying to build such a left, both as organizational expression and here I dont mean some cookiecutter model of a vanguard party and institu tionally grounded social movement. Acknowledgement of our actual weaknessisinasenseemancipating,asitshouldfreeusfromthesense ofobligationtodeclaimelaboratelyintoasmallechochamber oncon stantlyevolvingcurrentevents.Instead,apotentiallymoreproductive focus should be on engaging in discussions like this Dialogue and do mestic equivalents to begin to tackle pragmatically the objective of building a selfconsciously anticapitalist left capable of consequential intervention. Finally, we should not underestimate the danger posed by the reality thattheugliesttendenciesontherightrecognizethepotentialforagita tional politics and, among different strains in different ways, will pro videsuperficiallycoherentandplausibleoratleastinternallyconsis tentinterpretationsaroundwhichtomobilize.Weshouldnotunder estimate the potential of such efforts, particularly as weve seen that powerfulcapitalistinterestshavealreadyshownthemselveswillingto encourageandsupportthem.

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1) Where is the crisis heading?Sincethisisnotjustafinancialcrisis,but rather a (financially overdetermined) crisis of overaccumulation that sweeps through large sections of the real economy, it will go on even when Wall Street is recovering. At the same time as the pundits an nounce the recovery of some major financial institutions (including enormousbonuses)andforecastareboundofGNPs(ahighlyquestion able measurement), bankruptcies, unemployment rates and foreclo sures are rising at enormous rates. More and more default on mort gages,studentloans,autoloans,andcreditcarddebt.Arecoveryofdo mestic demand is not in sight. Economists like Stiglitz expect an ex tended period of weak economy and economic malaise over a time span of about 10 years. For millions of people the crisis of stagnating wages, contingent labor and unemployment began long before the fi nancialmeltdownstartedandwilllastlongafterthecrisisisofficially declaredover. 2)Is"greencapitalism"asolutionorpartoftheproblem?Itisimpossible tograspthecomplexityofthefieldwithsuchaneitherorquestion.19I thinkitisusefultodifferentiateanalyticallybetweengreencapitalism (GC) and a green new deal (GND), even if they intersect empirically. GC is predominantly a project of relevant factions of the transnational power block to create a new base for capital accumulation together withanewideologicalconsensusthatreconnectselites,middleclasses and,ifpossible,sectionsoftheworkingclass(dependingontheeffects onthelabormarket).Eveniftherelationsofforcewithinthenational power blocks are quite different and the reorientation is in part still more window dressing than practical, the concept is to be taken seri ously, not least because the US and Europe are under enormous pres surefromChinawhichinvests40%ofitshugestimuluspackageineco logicalenergiesandtechnologies(vs.12%intheUS,13%inGermany, 16% EU average). It is not yet clear whether or to what extent these investmentswillleadtoanewaccumulationbasisandwhethertheyare sufficiently labor intensive to reabsorb relevant numbers of un/underemployed.The GNDgoesbeyondthisinnercapitalistconcept in that it contains at least the idea of a possible class compromise when the concept was originally developed in the mid 1990s by left leaning Greens,it wasoriented toward an alliance ofecological move ments andtrade unions and containedthe demand of asignificantre
19

JanRehmann

The different tendencies that are subsumed under the headline of green capitalism stretch, for example, from Lester Brown, Nicholas Stern, David Korten and Thomas Friedman to Van Jones and anarchistic milieus (cf. Wallis 2009, The Green Capitalist Agenda in the United States: Theory, Structure, and Alternatives, pp. 8-13, 21-22).

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ductionoflabortime.WhentheleftwingoftheGreenswassidelinedin Germany, the concept was flattened and degraded to a variety of GC. Butinprinciplethisdoesnotprecludeturningitagainstthe predomi nantGCtendenciesandintegratingitintoademocraticsocialiststrat egy(mixedeconomy). Asocialistlefthastocombineeconomic,social,andecologicaldemands from the outset. If it turns a blind eye to the problem of the environ ment,itreplicatesthedevastatingsplitthatmakesecologyintoapar ticular middle class issue, whereas the popular classes are kept in a kindofcorporatistdenial.Ifwewanttoavoidhandingoverthespecies problemsofhumansurvivaltothestrategistsofgreencapitalism,we havetobuildasocialandpoliticalforcethatisabletoconnectthemto theprojectofademocraticsocialisttransformation. Thequestionforsocialistsisthereforenot whetherweshouldtakepart in these debates, but how and from what perspective. In terms of the how,weencounterthesamecomplicateddialecticsofarevolutionary Realpolitik(Luxemburg)asinotherareasofconcretepolitics:howto support every serious step towards an ecologically sustainable econ omy (globally, nationally, locally) and at the same time point out con cretelythatthecapitalistmodeofproductionisasystemicanddanger ousfetterthatimpedesthisgoal.Wehavetospelloutthefundamen tal contradictions between the accelerated commodification of nature advocatedbyGCstrategistsandthedevelopmentofatrulysustainable ecological politics and way of living. Beyond the manifold communal activities we might be involved in (cooperatives, CSAs, fair trade), we have to make clear that in order, for example, to reduce greenhouse emissions(by80%until2050)weneeda national plantoconvertthe economy(ultimatelyaglobalone).Ithastofocusonthereconstruction ofastrongpublicsector(thereforebelaborintensive),prioritizethere building of an affordable public transportation system and envision transforming the autoindustry into a general industry for sustainable meansoftransportation.Theoverallstrategyistobelinkedtothede velopment of economic democracy: no stimulus money without effec tiveparticipationoftheemployeesandtheirunions,cooperationwith communitygroups,consumergroups,etc.Anecologicalpolitics thatis not organically connected to economic democracy and social justice runstheriskofleadingtoanewApartheidbetweenamajorityofpoor peoplethatliveinadevastatedworldandcannotaffordtobuythepri vatizeddrinkingwaterandsomemilitarilyprotectedecologicalislands oftheaffluent.20 3) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010?Atthemoment,Idontseea concrete
20

Cf. Candeias/Kuhn, Grner New Deal kapitalistischer Weg aus der Krise? Argument 279, 50.Jg.H.6,2008,pp.81112(basedonMikeDavis).

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problemthathasthepotentialtogainnationwideattention.Thesingle payermovementhasbeenbrutallysidelined,sothatmostprogressives are left hoping for a vestige of a public option that is far from being robust. The most important general problem in the US is increasing poverty in various forms: unemployment, contingent labor, exclusion, foreclosures and homelessness, lack of healthcare. The painful contra dictionisthis:ontheonehand,thisoverallimpoverishmentisfeltasa scandal(povertyinthemidstofplenty),factoryoccupationsorresis tanceactionsagainstevictionsaremetwithwidespreadsympathy,and many interpret these developments as symptoms of capitalism not working (at least not as it should); on the other hand it hasnt been possible so far to coordinate the fragmented movements and initia tives.CoordinatedmassactionsliketheEuropeandemonstrationswith thesloaganWearenotpayingforyourcrisisaredifficulttoimaginein theUS.PoorPeoplesorganizationsworkonarevivalofthelateMartin LutherKingsPoorPeopleCampaign(1968),butthishasnotmaterial izedsofareither. Itistobefearedthattheeconomiccrisiswillleadtoapoliticalcrisisof the Obama administration and to a subsequent rightwing backlash. It wasobviousfromthebeginningthatthestimuluspackagewasnotde signed to create enough jobs to stem the avalanche of unemployment (only24%forspendingonpotentialjobsprojects,mostlylongerterm andcapitalintensive).Ifitbecomesobviousthatthegovernmentisnot able or willing to get a second stimulus package with efficient work programs underway, the frustration and anger will turn against the Democrats.Sincethereisnopoliticalformationoftheleftthatisableto articulatethepopularanger,itistherightthatisdoingit allthemore skillfully. Ithinkthemostimportanttaskistobuildupapoliticalformationthat takes up the issue of poverty and operates simultaneously on at least three levels: organizing and coordinating poor people movements, de velopingacommunityunionismthatisabletoreconnectthe differ entfactionsoftheworkingclass(employed,contingent,excluded),and forging a bottommiddle alliance (M. Brie) with parts of the middle classes, e.g. with the support of progressive churches and congrega tions.

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1.TheTurmoilwithintheEliteandtheCourseoftheCrisis In the crisis period of the last two years, the power constellations within neoliberalism have started to shift markedly. Neoliberalisms historicalblocs,thatistosaythebondsbetweenrulersandruled,have notonlybecomefragile;theyhavealsomelteddowninmostcountries. Andinafewcasestheyhavebeenpushedoutofpower.Todetermine where the present crisis will lead it is helpful to look at the ongoing turmoilamongtherulingclasses. Let us look therefore at the complex of single factions and tendencies withintheneoliberalpowerblocwhichhaspredominatedinGermany aswellastheothercorecapitalistcountriessincethebeginningofthe 1980s. These groups have, for nearly two years now, been engaged in fierce struggles over the current management of the crisis and possible strategicoptions.Thecrisishasbroughtthefragmentedstructureofthis power bloc more visibly to light than ever before, for the individual powergroupsneedmediavisibilityinordertowinoveradherentsand dominatethewholebloc.Inthisprocess,fivedirections/factionscan bediscerned: 1. First,apoliticallyfortified authoritariandirection,asincountries likeAustria,Italy,inpartFrance,easternEurope,Russia,alarge partoftheoilcountriesandEastAsiaandChinawhereithas a strong presence or is dominant, and which by now possesses bastions within almost all governments. To overcome the long depression in effect since the late 1970s, it advocates rapid re sumptionofindustrialgrowthpolicythroughapolicyofstrate gic stateled accumulationandassumesthattheabruptchanges canbedealtwithinapoliticallyauthoritarian(and, when neces sary, imperial) way. Folk, nationalist or fascist formations have sofaronlybeencapableofconnectingaboveallinItaly,Austria, France, some eastern and central European countries and in Russia. 2. Second, in contrast, marketradical elements of the neoliberal power bloc have clearly been weakened. Their projects and rhetorichavelostconsensusandtheabilitytobeputintoprac tice,althoughtheyhavenotdisappeared.Thistendencyhas,itis true, frequently onlyaccomplished tactical maneuvers and con tinues to be a component of the power block only in excep tional peripheral cases (for example, in Iceland) has it been largelypushedout.Ithasforthemostpartlostitsdominantpo sitionwithintheneoliberalpowerbloc,buthasatthesametime asinthecaseoftheFDPinGermanybeenabletobecomea

RainerRilling

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3.

4.

dynamically acting collecting basin for networked market radical, often also bourgeoisliberal, formally constitutional forcesofthemiddleandupperclasses.Thecrisisforthemnatu rally is not an organic or structural crisis, but only a major conjuncturalone.Thistendencypraisesinequality,fightsagainst theideaandpracticeofbasicsocialrightsandpresentsitselfas the preceptor of a new elitist meritocracybased bourgeoisie. It haslostitsstandingasatheoreticallyinnovativeandideologi callyefficienttendencyconnectedtothefutureitsattemptto make the state into the cause of the crisis hardly has any reso nance. It only wants to have back the good old neoliberalism fromtheprecrisisperiod,nothingmore. In all capitalist countries (and especially in the FRG (the CDU/CSU), partly in France, England and in the eastern Euro pean countries, where it has been strengthened on thepolitical party level), a third centerright, social conservative group has been consolidated, which is both competing and forming coali tions with the first named group and which acts as a political meansforthemediationofmarketandstate.Tothisextentitis not only literally centrally positioned in the powerpolitical businessofcrisismanagementandpredestinedforthisfunction and of playing at times the role of the center of crisis neoliberalism.Intermsofthepoliticsof hegemony,italsocontin uestobeelectableandcapableofconnectingtoallsocialclasses. Moreover, it has no more taken leave of the paradigms of low intensity democracy, of imperial policy and of an international trade,withwhichcompetitivestatescompeteformarketshares, thanhavetheabovementionedpowergroups. FourthandatleastinEuropeancountrieslikeGermany,Austria, ItalyorEngland,the socialdemocratic reformist variants of neo liberalism have been virtually toppled, and they have not been able to draw strength from Obamas reformist project, which is tryingintheUSAtobuildacompetingreformist,liberalhistoric bloc(whichappearsnowtobefailinginthestruggleforahealth policy). Only in few countries (northern Europe, Greece) have theybeenabletoholdtheirground.Thequestionisstillopenas towhatwillbecomeofthispostdemocraticneoliberaltendency ofreformism,whichhasformorethanadecadedominatedthe socialdemocraticcamp.Itspoliticalcrisiscontinuesunabated whether it is in opposition or in government. In the upper and middleclasses,itislosingitspowerpositionsandmassbase to socialconservative neoliberalism. On the other hand, the pre carious or unemployed, partly immiserated, subalterns, once representedbysocialdemocracy,haveinGermanygoneoverto theantineoliberalLINKE,inFrancetotheLeftoftheLeft,andin Italytotheauthoritarianright.DieLINKEincreasinglyfaces the problemofhowitsimultaneouslypoliticallyrepresentstheinse

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cure and declassed stateoriented underclass and libertarian middleclass groups.Thecrisisisaggravatingtherepresentation problemoftheleft. The contradictoriness and fluidity of the present situation is shownbythefactthatinalmostalllargercapitalistcountriesin thelastyearandahalf,comparativelysmall,veryheterogenous, groupshaveemerged,whichareeitherassociatedwiththeneo liberalpowerblocorhavelongcompetedwithitwithoutessen tially gaining any influence, which act in a moraleconomic way andwhichinpartclearlyseethemselvesas postneoliberal.Con sequently,theyarepositionedinatransversewayandarefound, asaresultofthecrisisandoftheconstantsharpeningoftheen vironmental crisis as a quasiopposition in all of the directions enumeratedabove.Theirpointofdepartureisaglobal,synchro nousandmultiplecrisisofcapitalism;theyagitateforhumanist, liberal (seldom libertarian), ecological, reformist and at times alsowelfarestategoalsaboveallofthemiddleclassandofsome young elite groups and often recruit strongly from the bour geoisified Greens and from the vestiges of a socialdemocratic governmentleftinEurope.Politically,theyfrequentlylooktothe Obama Administration or even to the left and centerleft gov ernmentsofLatinAmerica.Theirethicalpoliticalcredoisinthe wordsofapolicypaperofthesocialdemocraticFriedrichEbert Foundation, of August 2009: What is appearing in the place of the failed capitalist model? How can a new capitalism a capital ism 2.0 look? It is clear that it has to become somehow different and somehow better (FES Policy Politische Akademie No. 31, August2009,p.1).Whatisadvocatedisagoodcapitalism, good governance, good work, good societyand,finally,agoodlife.This is supposed to solve the multiple structural crises of capitalism and displace assetsdriven accumulation by a Green or Public New Deal. However, up to now, (1) these reformist groups, (2) themoreradicalgreensandleftreformisttendencies(including the movement left), and (3) the socialist tendencies of the left (andofthe left of the left)have,toalargeextent,actedinisola tionofeachother.

Inthepresentcrisis,suchdifferentiationsandchangesintheconstella tionsandhierarchiesofpowerareoftenoverlooked,becausetheyhave notleadtoadramaticexchangeofpoliticalpersonnelortheybecame confusedwiththebeginningoftheendoftheneoliberalpowerconstel lation. If one looks at the protagonists and the completely capital oriented resultsoftheircrisismanagement,onewoulddiagnoseconti nuity; if one instead looks at the action taken in the crisis and the in struments used, one would see a break or an unexpected end of the neoliberalproject.Bothsuppositionsareshortsightedandpremature. Whatisvisiblearestrongdifferentiationsandshiftsofpositionwithin

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the neoliberal powerbloc. We are dealing here with a new fragmented neoliberalism. The contours of neoliberal power and the limits of the boundariesoftheprojectarebecomingblurred.Newcontradictionsare emerging: while the old policy of deregulation is being modified, the policyofprivatizationremains,andwhilethecourseofliberalizationis being weakened the practice of financialization, thanks to the unique mobilizationofpublicfunds,remainsunbroken.Therearethusnumer ous projects of neoliberalism and also of postneoliberalism, whose variants are intermeshed, overlap and compete with each other. Frag mentationdoesnotnecessarilymeandecline. 2.KeyProblems In the Federal Republic the mostly pragmatic political concepts of the abovenamedtendenciesareconfrontedwithfourkeyproblems(which couldalsobetheobjectofanalyseswithinourcircle): 1. Since2003Germanyhaspiledupabalanceoftradesurplus,vis visallotherEuropeancountries,ofalmost600billion,whichin thecaseofallstatesledtonegativejobandsalaryeffects. Inno OECD country has social inequality grown in recent years so stronglyasinGermany.Therealeconomyofnootherlargecapi talistcountry,withtheexceptionoftheUSA,hasbeenhitashard bythecrisis.Theimperial export strategyoftheFRGhasnofu ture, yet the policy of acting as the supplier to the world is deeplyanchoredinthecultureandbalancesheetsofGermanys industrialandeconomicpolicy.Thepoliticalwillforatransition toaworldtradebasedoncomparativeadvantagesisnowhereto be seen. So far it is impossible to discern which political pro tagonists could initiate and arrange, through a reproportioning of investments, domestic consumption and export, a short and middleterm entry into another economic, trade and industrial policy,whichwouldbeshapedinanenvironmentallycompatible andresourceefficientway(RainerLand). 2. Noneofthesetendenciesnoteventhereformistandleftone hasanevenpartiallyworkedoutconcept,capableofconsensus and hegemony, for dealing with the explosion of the national debtwhichistheresultofthepredatorybehaviorofthe toobig tofail banks. Until now, almost everything points to an equally explosivecontinuationofredistributionandafurtherweakening ofpublicbudgetsandconsequentlyofthepublicsector.Asare sultofthecrisiswehavetheproblemofahandfulofimperialna tionstatesactingasidealcompletebankers(Altvater).Taxpolicy isbeginningtobecomeastillmorecentralpoliticalareafor the left(alsoforthetradeunions,whichhardlyintereststhem). 3. The distribution questionhasbeenbacknowforquitesometime and is, in terms of the results of the crisis, thus far much more seriousthanitpreviouslyhadbeen.Competitionandapolicyof

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making the relatively poor subsidize the completely poor will spreadstillfurther,sothatthedesolidarizingdivisiveeffectsof distributionpolicynowmorethaneverinthelastdecadesbe tween the smart middle class and the superfluous underclass willbecomegreater.Aboveallinthe society of the smart people (Rosenau) cultures of nonrecognition and resentment will spreadstillfurther.Forthisreason,also,jobcreation,therobust securingandrapidcreationofjobs,isthecentraltaskoftheleft. It is indisputable that energy, resource and emissionintensive growth has come up against limits. Only the Green New Deal (GND)isastrategicconceptthatacknowledgesthemultiplecri sis and the irreversible overburdening of the ecosystem (use values),andcanthereforealsobeaprojectofsocietaltransfor mation. A variant of GND the green capitalism project even offersthepromiseofanew,stillstronglyassetsdrivenaccumu lation strategy, which would not formulate a rejection of con sumer capitalism the first great invention of US capitalism but promises its transformation through a strategy of resource efficiency.Putdifferently:financialization+solarenergy=GND. Inanycase,therealreadyexistvarietiesofgreencapitalismsas concepts,projectsandfragmentswhicharenottobeequated witheachother.TheleftvariantsofGNDstandfora radical link ing of ecology and the commons. Nonetheless, the situation of overaccumulation and of financial speculation has been re tained through the interventions of central banks and govern ments,andasofttransitiontoaphaseofacceleratedaccumula tion of capital is not foreseeable, particularly because for the world economy the US citizen, still considered the consumer of lastresort,whoensuredgrowingdemand,hasdisappeared,and thereisnosubstituteinsight.

Before our eyes a new period is beginning, but are we seeing it? It is conceivable,butwedonotknowit.Todayitcannottellifanewregula tion type will develop. However, it is more probable than ever that, nearly a half century since Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, we arestandingatthebeginningofadynamicturntoamassiveecologiza tionofcapitalism.Thequestionisopenwhetherthiswillbeanewtype ofcapitalism.Whetheralongsidea Green New Dealtherewillalsobea Public New Dealanda Social New Dealand,finally,evenaparticipatory capitalism(Land)orasocialismthatincorporatesthecommons,justice anddemocracythisisnowreallyopenanddepends,ofcourse,onthe very, very longterm persistence and patience of the left. Thus, the questionofwhatthemostimportanttaskoftheleftinthecomingyear willbe,caneasilybeansweredcitingMichelFoucault: I think then that the ethicalpolitical choice we have to make every day consistsindeterminingwhatthemaindangeris.

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[Foucault, On the Geneology of EthicsinH.L.Dreyfus/P.Rabinow,Paul, Mi chel Foucault. Jenseits von Strukturalismus und Hermeneutik. Frankfurt a. M. 1987,pp.265292,268.]

References

SebastianDullien,HansjrgHerrandChristianKellermann:GoodCapitalismand whatwouldneedtochangeforthat,Berlin:FriedrichEbertStiftung,International PolicyAnalysis,2009http://library.fes.de/pdffiles/id/ipa/06752.pdf InstituteforCriticalSocialAnalysisoftheRosaLuxemburgFoundation:Thecrisisof financemarketcapitalismchallengefortheleft,TranslatedabridgmentofDieKrise desFinanzmarktKapitalismusHerausforderungfrdieLinke,Kontrovers 01/2009http://www.rosalux.de/cms/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/kontovers_01 2009_shorten.pdf RainerLand:EinneuerKondratieff,eineFinanzkriseunddieZukunftunsererTrume. EinfhrungindenSchwerpunktEndloseDepression?derBerlinerDebatteINITIAL 4/2008http://www.linksnet.de/de/artikel/23731 Lehndorff,Steffen(Hrsg.),Abriss,Umbau,Renovierung?StudienzumWandeldes deutschenKapitalismusmodells.VSAVerl.Hamburg2009 RainerRilling:Beyondthecrisis:Empoweringthepublic!RLSPolicyPaper5/2009 http://www.rosalux.de/cms/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/pp0911_Rilling.pdf

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CatharinaSchmalstieg

Letspartylikeits1999.Nopartycrashersinsight? Same ol, same ol? Reinstating the status quo and reinforcing the au thoritarian state. How will the crisis develop, where will it lead to, whatareitseffects(asfarasonecantellatthispoint)? The crisis of the financial system as a crisis inherent to the capitalist mode of production culminates/will culminate in social crises of di mensionscountriesoftheglobalNorthhadbelievedtohavelongover come. Many had instituted the decommodification of labor to a great extentbybecomingwelfarestatesthatenjoyedaratherlongperiodof prosperityandappeasedrelationsoflaborandcapital.Asstatesborder or actually face bankruptcy it seems surprising that the neoliberal agenda of small government, no taxes etc. prevails. Government at temptstofixthecrisisprettymuchpursueastrategyofreinstatingthe oldstatusquo.Whilesomewereofferingcritiqueoftheexcessesofthe financialsystem(privateequityfirmsseenasthetruedevil)itturnsout tohavebeenmerelipservice.Greencapitalismcanbeconsideredapart ofthatscheme,capitalisminnewclothes,ifyouwill,butby nomeans redressed. The dismantling of the welfare state continues further and increasedpovertyoftheworkingclasseswillbeitsresult,theauthori tarian state its companion. Under the paradigm in operation its only logicalthatthetrimmingdownofthewelfarestatewasandis accom panied by downsizing freedom and civil liberties, increasing surveil lancemeasures,penallawandrelatedgovernmentpowers.Meanwhile, Western states upholding a democracyesque appearance, individual freedomisstilltheideologicalbindandinplaceforthewellbehaved. Noviableperspectiveoftransformationinsight. AworkingclassheroissomethingtobeOrganizingtheSubaltern Whatarethemainchallengesfortheleftin2010? Asforthechallengesfortheleftin2010,ImnotsureifImissthesig nificanceofthatparticulardate,Ibelievetheresalotofchallengesbut none of them are that shortterm or could be resolved in one year. Theresaseriesofchallenges,allwellknown:Thefragmentatonofthe left.Noprojectinsightthatwouldallowforitsformation,muchlessa strategy for gaining hegemony. Diversification of the working classes has led to increasingly more contradictions within the working class andconflictofinterestamongthesubaltern. The current crisis has been and remains the biggest challenge for the leftsince1989.Thoughtherewereconsiderableopeningsinthepublic

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discourseoncapitalism,theleftwasntabletomakeuseofthatrupture within the ideological and establish itself as part of the discourse and insert any answers or introduce any strategy. Mostly because the left was surprised by the turn of events and didnt have any. As the econ omypicksupagaininsomepartstheseopeningsinthepublicdiscourse areclosinginagain,thechancesofgettinginbecomeslimmer. However, there has been noteworthy protest against socializing the costs of the crisis in Germany. We wont pay for your crisis was the theme for demonstrations organized by unions like the IG Metall, the antiglobalisationnetworkATTACandpoliticalgroupsfromtheradical leftin2009.Theturnoutfortheseprotestswasconsiderableanditcan be understood as a sign that more and more people are outraged and willingtostandupagainstexploitation.Buttheprotestslackedastrat egyonhowtocarryonaftertheprotestwasoveranddidntofferaper spectivetotheprotesterswheretoputthereoutrageandtransformit intoapoliticalstrategy.Unfortunately,asthecrisisofautomobilepro duction became more pressing, the auto and steelworkers union fo cused on its core interests and relapsed to appeasement and conces sionbargaining and put more radical ideas of worker coownership it hadbeenspinningearlierthisyearbackontheshelves. As overexploitation, poverty and social inequality are growing, orga nizingbecomesthemostpressingissueofourtime.Theincreasingdivi sion of labor and the diversification of life experience and lifestyles leavetheworkingclassfurtherdividedandhighlyspecialised.Thelack ofexperiencewithcollective/politicalactiononpartofthevastmajor ityisanotherobstacle.Peoplesliveshavebecomemoreandmoreindi vidualised,peoplelivingamonadiclifethatatfirstsightdoesntseemto have anything in common with other peoples life. Finding a common groundcanonlybeachievedbyacknowledgingthesharedsituationand not by emphasizing the differences. Nevertheless, understanding and acknowleding the differences is the stepping stone to allow for every onesparticipation.Thereforeoneofthebigger,ifnotthebiggest,chal lenges is to organize across differences. Differences that are created alongthelinesofsex/gender,race,religion,sexuality/desireandother dividerssuchasskilledworkersvsunskilledworkers.Ithastobeun derstood that the relations among the subaltern are hierarchical, too and therefore the effort of finding common ground requires massive >translationwork<.Platformsforagencyareneededthatofferavision of the shared situation, facilitate the processes of finding common groundanddevelopstrategiesforcollectiveaction.Laborunionshave beenandcanbeaplatformforagency,thoughothertypesoforganiza tionscanbeaswell.Though,astheyhaveproveninthepast,notneces sarily progressive, labor unions have the potential to organize across differences. And apparently they are a social force that has the res sources,knowledge,andpowernecessarytotakeonthattask.Allthis

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said, the challenge is to help labor unions move in that direction and supportprocessesofcoalitionbuildingwithincivilsociety.Theprotests Wewontpayforyourcrisiscanbeseenaspartofthatprocess.May besomedaytheyllcrashtheparty.

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Preliminary note: My answers to this years Dialogue questions (2009) remain for the most part within the framework of my thoughts for last years Dialogue. Therefore, in beginning, Ill cite two of last years ques tionsandanswers: 1) Strengths and weaknesses of the European (German) and North Americanleftsandpossibilitiesofgainingmorestrength? The emergence of a new political left (Die LINKE, establishing itself as both a movementoriented and an electoral party) and a new social left (the movement of movements including an open structure within spe cific organs and among cadre) this is beyond doubt a strength. Their weakness is the weakness of both the party and the movements: their in capacity even to raise the question of how to gain power, e.g. their in ability really to intervene in the Iraq War. Therefore, up to now we have no substantial answer to the question of what the term radical or even revolutionary Realpolitik connecting party and movements really meansorevencouldmean. 2)Whatistobedone? Strengthening the communication vessels between party and move mentsbycreating anewsense ofthefigureof thecommunists andtheir partyfollowingtheideaintheCommunistManifesto:TheCommunists do not form a separate party opposed to the other workingclass parties (=the unqualified affirmation of the fundamental pluralism of the politi cal and social left in all respects and dimensions without reducing it to a mere pluralism, that is, following the editors note: The art of doing this kind of politics means having the antennae and the agility to read the contradictoryshiftsinrealityandreadtheopenings.Itisnotaquestionof acultofpluralismandofwaitingforacontinuedevershiftingpluralityof solutionsandactions.Thepointistousethisopenanddialecticalsensibil itytofeelout,prepareandseizethemomentwhentheonemajorpossibil ity opens up in which we focus and concentrate the potentials of our var iedaspectsandsectorstoresultinaqualitativebreakthrough). Order to follow: Create a noncentrist or postcentrist center the of left, ableatleasttothinkaboutleadershipandgainingpower! Now,thenewquestions/answers: On question one) Where is the present crisis heading? What will be its mainforeseeableresults? In order to answer this question we have to say what has up to now been remarkable about the present crisis. It is that this is not just an

ThomasSeibert

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economicphenomenonbutone,alreadystrikinginotherareas,inwhich theeconomicexpressesitselfinasocialcrisisbut notina politicalone. Thecrisisisthereforeultimatelynotsimplyaneconomiconebutacri sisofthesubjectivefactor.Assuchitrequiresaspecificanswer. Inmyopinion,suchananswer(atleasthereinGermany)hastoinclude the problematic recalled in the introduction above. In this respect, however,wehavemadenoprogress;insteadwehavebeencaught off guardbytheeconomicsocialcrisisandwithinitthecrisisofthesubjec tivefactor. a) There have hardly been any spontaneous or autonomous protests againstthecrisis;wheretherehavebeen,thesehaveremainedconven tionalinformandcontent.Anexample:therighttradeunionistchairof thejointworkscouncilofOpel,exMaoistKlausFranz,isineffectcur rently the tribune of the masses: he articulates what they want and think;heistheoneinwhomtheyplacetheirhopes.Hesays:themasses arenotstupid,theyknowthattherewillbelayoffsandwagecuts,etc. thattheywillpayforthecrisis.And:TheyknowthatKlausFranzisin fact the one who will get the most for them out of this mess in a rightwingtradeunionistway.ThisiswhatIcalltheKlausFranzSyn drometowhichIllcomebacklater. b) Die LINKE has, it is true, strengthened its parliamentary presence, but has not become strongeras a political left as a result. On the con trary,theincreasedpressureforparticipationinpossibleredredgreen [SPD,LINKE,Greens]coalitionsstrengthensitsrightwing.Itisnotatall clearthatthepartywillliveupto,orevenbeopento,itssecondoption to become a movement party. The leadership seems to be content withgrowingpassivesupport.Thesamegoesfortheconceptualweak nessofthepartyasaleftfordistorientedorganization,whichseesitself as representing the interests of the wagedependents: I see no appre ciableopeningtowardpostfordistproblematics. c)Theprocessofstagnationofthemovements,alreadynoticeablepre viously,seemstobeenteringaphaseofdisintegrationatleastadisin tegration of its institutions (Social Forums, attac), although their pas sivesupportwithinsociety(passivememberships,donations)isgrow ing.TheInterventionistLeft(IL)isrecoilingfromitselfandappearsnot to be in a position to make the leap to being an effective nationwide organization.Thepositionthatiscontentwithbeinganactionorcam paignoriented coordination has gained strength. This too will lead to stagnation,ifnotcollapse. d)Theconstructionofanoverarchingcadrestructurethatstrategically usesorstrategicallyexpandsthecommunicationvesselsbetweenpo liticalandsocialleftsisstagnating:first,becausethereislittletocom municateonthepartofthepartyaswellasthemovements;second,and moreimportantly,becausethecadrethemselveshavelittletocommu

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nicate. Accordingly, therearenot even debates which could be under stoodasbelongingtoacadrebuildingprocess. Important:Allofthisisnottantamounttoafarewelltothehopesand ideas of recent years Im only pointing here to the very next chal lenges. On question two) To what extent is green capitalism a solution or a partoftheproblem? OfcourseaGreenNewDealispartoftheproblem,notthesolution,in whatever version it occurs. However, this does not mean that the left shouldnot respondit,shouldnot engageinthenegotiationprocesses, or perhaps struggles, around it. From this point of view, I can even imaginewhatafurtherchallengewouldbeforaleftthatissimultane ouslypoliticalandsocial,neartoandfarfromthestate,moderateand radical: Is it thinkable that Die LINKE could participate in a redred greencoalition,asfarasthisispossible,andatthesametimemaintain a clearly indicated distancefromitand,insodoing,maintainacommu nicatively successful relationship to a radical movement left, which is uncompromisinglyfightingagainstaGreenNewDeal? Concretely:Thefirstoccasionforthischallengewillbetheclimatecon ferenceinCopenhagen,forwhichtheradicalleftismobilizingforamili tantprotesttakingthewordmilitantinthemorerestrictedGerman usage meaning violent confrontations: How will Die LINKE relate to this? OnQuestion3)Whatisthemostimportantchallengefortheleftin2010? Thefactthatthecrisisisnotsimplyeconomicbutisacrisisofthesub jectivefactorcannotbeunderstoodinthespanofayear,muchlessbe turned around. Nevertheless first steps have to be taken. All of these willhavesomethingtodowithwhatIindicatedinresponsetoquestion one.Fromthis,twothingsfollow: Crisis of the subjective factor can be reformulated thus: There is a completelackofanysenseoftheantagonisticqualityofthecrisisasa whole. Cantheleftmakethisintoitscommonissue?Canitstimulateafeeling for the antagonism? Can it explode the Klaus Franz Syndrome? And: Doesntthismean,intraditionalterms,explainingwhateconomismand opportunism would be today, struggling against both, affirming a pri macyofthepoliticalforoneselfandthenmakingitsocietallyattractive? Mypoint:Canthestartingposition,whichIvecalledastrength that is, that there is or could be here and now, and despite all, an organized and strategic alliance between a political and a social left, between a left near to the state (including in the state) and distant from the state (up to and including an antistate left) even be up to this task? Could this

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evenbecomeitsactualissue,cuttingstraightacrossthedifferencesbe tweendistantfromthestate/closetothestateormoderate/radical? Concretely: In the IL there is discussion of initiating socalled class hatred activities, that is exemplary actions with a feeling for antago nism. In the event that they succeed, could the whole left become the mediumofcommunication,stillmore,themediumofaffirmationofthe potential possibly released by these activities? And could this become thepointofdepartureforanoverarchingcadrebuildingprocess? Even if theongoinganalysis and strategicevaluation of the crisisisin itselfthemosturgenttaskforthepresent,weshouldnotforgetabout debatesthatareonlyalittlefurtherremoved:forexample,thedebates aroundglobalsocialrights,astructure/politicsofthecommons,poten tial fields of solidarity economies, and then especially the debate around an effective globalization of the left (formerly one would have saidaroundanewantiimperialism:rememberthequestionofwar) and the debate around the question of what it means to take power (formulatedinapracticalway:whatwouldaradicalorrevolutionary Realpolitik be and how would its subject be thought out and con structed). Somuchsofar.

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IngarSolty

Thecurrentstructuralcrisisofcapitalismisthefirstcrisisofcapitalism withoutasignificantleftthatiscapableofshapingthemanagementand solvingofthecrisisthroughparliamentarianandextraparliamentarian forces. In this sense and in terms of the double meaning of the term crisis,fromaleftperspective,thecrisisseemstohavemoredangers than opportunities in store. At the same time, the opportunities are there,thusrenderingthesetimesalsoplaygroundsfortheoptimismof thewill.Thepessimismoftheintellect,however,suggeststhattheout comeofthecrisisislikelytobeeitherapostneoliberal,greencapital istturnandthussuccessfulreconstructionofcapitalisthegemonyora deepening of a posthegemonic, increasingly authoritarian neoliberal ismamidstincreasingglobaleconomicandpoliticalinstabilityresulting from another significant shift of the center of the world economy to wardsthe(Eur)Asianlandmass.Thesetwopossibilitiesappeartobe theactuallyexistingleftandactuallyexistingrightsolutionstothe crisis.Giventheasynchronicityofcrisisandcounterhegemonicforma tion,or,inotherwords,thefactthatthecurrentcrisisislesstheresult ofmobilizationfrombelowandmoreofcapitalaccumulationinthenar rowersense,itisessentialthattheanticapitalistleftfollowsastrategic approachthatisbasedonanawarenessoftherealdifferencesbetween thetwoalternatives.Thisisbecausetherightwingsolutionembodiesa seriouspotentialofanewslidingintobarbarism.Whichofthetwoal ternatives is going to be the result of the crisis depends on the new hegemonic coalitions which are being shaped during the crisis and on thelengthofthecrisis. The widespread optimism amongst parts of the ruling class that the crisis is already over is misleading. The immense share of the growth and recovery accounted for by the state points toward two things. On the one hand it proves that the stimulus programs, especially in their progressiveelementsofanactiveroleofthestateintheeconomy,have proven successful. This fact should not be underestimated and taken lightly.Giventhatthecrisisdetermineswhetherthenewstateinterven tionism is going to lead to a lasting reevaluation of the so called state/market relationship, which is a precondition for a fundamental breakwithneoliberalismandorientationtowardsdemocraticplanning, theleftiswelladvisedtokeeppointingtowardsthisfact.Thisithasto doparticularlybecausethejoblessnatureoftherecoveryisnotgoing to anchor this consciousness in the common sense by itself. On the otherhand,thestatesshareinthecurrentgrowthpointstothetempo rary nature of the recovery, especially given the significant counter tendencies to the stimulus programs at the local, regional and state

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level and the expected countertendencies resulting from the weaken ingoflaborasaresultofthecrisis. Theunfoldingofthecrisiswilldependmuchontheinternaleconomic, political and ideological development of the United States. Here, the countertendencies visvis the stimulus program are particularly striking. And it is here that, despite the foreseeable need for further stateinterventionismandnewstimulusprograms,the(dys)hegemonic constellation might make the situation particularly ungovernable. Californiamightonlyreflecttheentirecountrysfuture.Thereactionary shape of the bailout and of large parts of the stimulus program and President Obamas disappointing hesitation to assert a stronger role of the state in the economy (especially in the automobile crisis) have markedhisfailuretorehabilitatethestateandshowhowitcouldsteer thecountryoutofthe crisis.Obamaspoliticsareonlytoadegreethe consequence of the underlying, structural relationships of forces. In part, they are also the result of a specific policy approach which has beenrepresentedsincethe1980sbytheDLCtowhichObamawas in creasingly drawn during the primaries. The crucial consequence of Obamas centrist and institutionalist approach at large (especially in termsofhishealthcarereform)hasbeenthathischarismaticappeal has eroded at a rapid pace. Thus he has failed to utilize the historical charismaticmomentinordertoweldthedisparateandloosenedsocial classesandmilieusintoanewcoalitionandcreate from abovealasting social base for his project of a green capitalist turn. Obamas general centrism,despiteoccasionalcallstoactionasanextraparliamentarian support against the powersthatbe, shows particularly in the dis crepancy between his general understanding of the need of a Green NewDealasthemeanstoregeneratingUSHegemonybothdomestically aswellasinternationallyandhishesitationtofollowinFDRsfootsteps byrealizingthisprojectthrougha(re)empowermentoforganizedla bor,which isnotonlystillthelargestorganizedinterestin theUnited Statesbutalsotheonlyguaranteetoa(modelofa)postbubbleecon omybasedonareconciliationofproductivityincreasesandrealwages. Hence, when Obama unfolded his vision of such a new political econ omy of capitalism in his May 2009 speech at Georgetown University, notoncedidhementionthelaborunionsortheEmployeeFreeChoice Act (as theWagnerAct of the 21st century world economic crisis). Es sentialfortheerosionofhissupporthasbeenthesuccessof theRight including its powerful neofascistic wing to present the health care question as the false alternative of status quo or extended coverage throughhighertaxes.Thus,itwaspossibletoturnaquestionofcom mon material class interest into a divisive question of liberal humani tarianism.Asaconsequence,thepossibleworkingmiddleclassorbot tommiddle coalition has been split not the least along the traditional racialandethniclines.Thus,insteadofreinvokingandfosteringclass based forms of solidarity, made possible as a result of the temporary

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dissolutionoftheoldcrossclassallianceoftheRightwhichwasformed during the crisis of Fordism, the Rights cohesiveness has been rein forced rather than destabilized. And despite the possible split of the Right between the moderate business Republicans and the rightwing populistsubalterns(Christianaswellassecular)inupcomingelections, the ethnicity and religionbased forms of solidarity that have been re placingtheoldclassbasedformsofsolidarityinthecourseofneoliber alismprevail.Andwithitprevailstheoptionforarenewedtopmiddle coalitionasithasmoreorlesscharacterizedtheUnitedStatessincethe collapse of the New Deal Coalition and has been held together by the rightwingpopulistideologyofproducerism,theUSequivalentofthe European achievement ideology. These internal developments in the UnitedStatesareintwowaysessentialforthefurtherdevelopmentof the crisis. First, the main potential driving force for a green capitalist reformintheNortherncore,theObamaProject,hasbeensignificantly weakenedasaresult.Itisalreadyshowingsignsoferosion,suchasde cliningpopularityofObama,therecentgubernatorialelectionsaswell as the general silence of disillusioned social movements. Second, the likelydefeatoftheObamareformprojectallowsustoseethecontours ofanexhaustionoftheAmericanEmpirefromwithin.Thisneedstobe discussed in terms of the American Sonderweg through capitalism, i.e. the lack of an independent political party of the labor movement and the unfolding of American capitalism in a political system widely un changedfromitsearlycapitalist/liberalbeginnings.Thus,thesamede featofthedomesticoppositionwhichallowedtheUSAtoplaytheroleit hasinthepostwarera,asaninformalEmpireandtheprototypeofa globalstate(LeoPanitch),mightnowprovetobethemainobstacleto a green capitalist turn. With the lack of an active social reform move mentreadytobecooptedandtoinscribeitselffrombelowforcapital ismsrenewalandthelackoftherelativeautonomyprovidedbyanau thoritarianstatestructureasinChina,theUScapitalistclassappearsto havewonitselftodeath.Theeconomic,politicalandideologicalpower ofcapitalappearstomakeitimpossibletoallowthelongterminterests of capital to prevail over the shortterm ones, the workerconsumer overtheworkerproducer.Inasituationinwhichthesurplusconsump tionoftheU.S.workingclasshasbeensignificantlylimitedbydevalued homes,thelimitingofcredit,theinevitablelongtermdeclineofthedol lar,andthegeneralsenseofinsecurity,arealizationofthisscenarioas the crisis progresses would entail that the United States are very unlikelytocontinuebeingabletoplaytheroleoftheimporteroflast resort for the world economy. At the same time, the trend towards a growing independence through regional integration of the economic blocs of the North, the enlarged EU and ASEAN plus Three, from the NAFTA region have been stalled by the crisis. The internal expansion capacitiesintheEuropeanUnionhavebeenseverelylimitedby thefi nancialandpoliticalrepercussionsofthedeepcrisisofthenewmem ber states as well as the inability to pursue a common politics against

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thecrisis.AnddespitethefinancialleewayoftheChinese,theirremark able growth rates and the governments attempts to become less de pendent on the U.S. market through heavy state interventionism, the Chinesegovernmentscurrencypoliciesseemtoindicatethat,forpeace political and/or economic necessity reasons, the Chinese are planning to continue the volatile interdependence with the United States. In termsofthemidtermdevelopmentofthecrisis,thisentailsthepros pectofacombinationofadecadeofeconomicstagnation/smallgrowth ratesandfiercedistributionalstrugglesoverwhichclassesaregoingto beburdenedwiththecostsofthecrisisaswellaseconomicandpoliti cal tensions globally. In Europe and North America, this is likelyto go handinhandwitharelativeimpoverishmentoflargepartsofsociety. Thepoliticaldangerliesinthecorrespondingincreaseinsocialinsecu rityespeciallyamongstthemiddleclassesinageneralsituationwhere widespread social powerlessness and cynicism (a passivity crisis ac cordingtoRichardSennett)fostercharismaticleadership(and despite the political differences and intentions, there are both rightwing Bush,Sarkozy,Berlusconi,StracheandleftwingObamaandLafon taine expressions of it). While the middle classes are generally open towards interpellations from collective projects from below, their pettybourgeoisindividualistoutlookontheworld,thelackofastrong alternativefromtheleftincreasesthelikelihoodofrightwingpopulist articulationofthecontradictionsofthecrisisofcapitalismmanifesting themselvesascrassdesolidarizationtendencies.IntheUS,thecombina tion of global economic and political volatilities, the potential of new protectionisttendencies,continuedUSsurpluspowerintermsofmili tarycapacities,thepossiblecrisisoftheObamagreencapitalistproject, the resurgence of a strong rightwing populist grassroots movement and a population generally illprepared for sudden hegemonic decline formsthebasisofaherdofconflictandbarbarizationpotentials.Asimi larpoliticalconstellationhasemergedinEuropewherealsorightwing populismhasmoreorlessfilledthe(workingclass)vacuumleftbyneo liberalized socialdemocratic parties and collapsed communist parties. This byproduct of neoliberal restructuring has in many cases, eg. in France as well as in Italy, helped to reorganize neoliberal hegemony around ethnicitybased forms of solidarity and the achievement ideology.Inthecontextofthecurrentcrisis,thesqueezingofthemid dle class as well as the partial neoliberal disenfranchisement of the working class, in which authoritarian tendencies are currently more commonthanamongstthelibertarian,cosmopolitanelites,intheworst casethisideologymightevenfuelviciousnew(cultural)racismsinclud ingmodernvlkischideologiestargetingbothscapegoatsatthebot tomaswellasparasitic,transnational/foreignelitesatthetop.There fore, developments like the Swiss referendum or the rise of the BNP havetobetakenveryseriously,sinceitistheyfromwhichthebiggest danger of barbarization through a deepening of neoliberalism ema nates.IntheGermancontext,thismeansappealingtotheachievement

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oriented professional/middle class workers in order to try to create a counterelite (Franz Walter) in order to prevent the emergence of a topmiddlecoalitionconsistingoftheoldneoliberalelitesandaradical izedmiddleclasswhosenucleicanbeseenintheriseoftheFDPwithin thebourgeoiscampandincidentslikethemiddleclassrebellionagainst the extension of elementary school in Hamburg. Carefully observing thesedevelopments,isnotmerelycrucialbecauseofthedangerthat,as history has shown, emanates from radicalized middle classes, but also more narrowly in relation to the further development of the crisis, since,atleastinEurope,radicalizedmiddleclassesarelikelytobecata lystsforadeepeningofneoliberalismbasedontheemergenceofatop middlecoalitionrepudiatingthesolidarityprinciplefromhealthcareto publiceducationtothepensionsystem.Suchahardlyreversibledevel opment that, as it can be observed in the United States, destroys the cohesivenessandfabricofsociety,wouldnotonlymeanthattheneces sarysocialandpoliticalstabilityforagreencapitalistreformwouldbe obstructedbutalsothatthestateasthenecessaryagentofgreencapi talist reform would be disempowered. At the same time, the ensuing deteriorationoftheeconomicconditionoftheworkingclasswouldalso tendtopreventthepossibilityofaproductivecombinationofsurpluses ofcapitalandsurplusesoflaborasthenecessarypreconditionofade parturefromthewealthandassetdrivenformofaccumulation, which itselfwouldmakeitdifficulttopursueanyrealreregulationoffinancial markets,giventhatthispresupposesthesocialconditionsthathaveled to a substitution of the stock markets as means to the financing of in vestmentstomeansoffinancialinvestmentsandspeculation.Inshort,a failure of the political coalitions that could support a however contra dictory,greencapitalismmightbringaboutnewanddestructiveright wing coalitions with unforeseeable consequences. In the discussion abouttheproblemofagreencapitalistturnthatrestorescapitalisthe gemony,thisneedstobetakenintoaccount. Thecurrentcrisisofcapitalismisunlikelytobeoveranytimesoon.The historicalexampleoftheNewDealshowhowenduringtheworld eco nomiccrisiswaswhenthestrainingofthestatebudgetledFDRtotryto balancethebudgetsinthemid1930sthrowingtheUnitedStatesdeep back into the Great Depression. It is still an issue of heated debates whichroletheenteringandpreparationofWorldWarIIplayedforthe ultimaterecovery.However,itistheprospectofalongercrisisinwhich theopportunitiesslumberfortheleft.Itisalsothehistoricalprecedent andthehalfadecadethatittookfortheUSlabormovementtobere vived in the strike movements from Minneapolis, San Francisco and Toledo that proves how long it may take to recover from the shock andbeingoverwhelmedwithdefensivepolitics.Thus,onthelengthof thecrisisdependswhethertheleftwillbecapableofutilizingthewide spreaddisillusionmentwithcapitalismto(continueto)buildacounter hegemonicblocthatthroughitsformationfendsoffthethreatfromthe

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right, defends the actually existing leftwing/global social democratic project against rightwing attacks, and impacts this actu allyexistingleftstateprojectinawaythatpushesitfurthertotheleft. This means that it is based on the principles of a revolutionary real politik in the Luxemburgian sense in which the transitional demands fulfillfourconditions; first,thattheyimprovethematerialwellbeingof theworkingclassesanditsalliesandthusallowtheneoliberaldefense politics to tip over into postneoliberal offense politics, second, that theyhelptostrengthenthecohesionofthisalliance,and third,thatthey leadtoshiftsintherelationshipofforcesbetweencapitalandlaborand thuscontinuouslyimprovetheconditionsofclassstruggle,and fourth, thatintherealizationofthetransitionaldemandssmallmomentsofthe longtermandcontinuouslytobenurturedvisionofasocialistorgani zation ofthe economyand society are flashing up which help to more andmoredecreasethedistancebetweenimaginationandreality. ThequestionofsocialistpoliticsintheNorth,twodecadesafterthecol lapse of actually existing socialism, is particularly connected to Ger many as the only core capitalist economy in which, partly due to the collateraldamageofreunification(RichardDetje)aswellasthehis torical mortgage of guilt of the (radical) Right, the contradictions of neoliberalism have, for the time being, articulated themselves almost exclusively on the left. Those elements within the FDP which could functionasacatalystforanewrightwingpopulisminGermanyarea significant, but nonetheless a small minority which as yet lacks hege monicappeal.Atthesametime,thefateoftherestofthe10millionvot ersthathavebeendisenfranchisedbytheSPDsince1998isstillunde cidedandthereexisthopesthatDieLINKEandnotrightwingpopulism will sooner or later appeal also to them. Overall, the 2009 elections haveconcludedthefirstchapterintheestablishmentofanallGerman LeftParty,DieLINKE,withsignificantlongtermloyaltiesamongstthe bottom of society and to a lesser degree throughout all social classes. Thus,DieLINKEissuccessfullychallengingtheoldNewLefts monop olyonwhatleftmeanstoday.Aftertheabsorptionandselfinscription of the old New Left into neoliberalism, this is essential since we are dealingwithaprojectwhichisnolongerthedebrisofthe20 thcentury butaforceofthefuture,andthisispartlywhyithasbeensosuccessful. OskarLafontainehadgoodreasonstodrawonWalterBenjaminsmeta phorofthewindofhistoryblowingintothesailsofDieLINKE.Atthe same time, the conclusion of the first chapter affords the coming to termswiththeheadlineforthesecondchapter.Inotherwords,which are the main issues with which Die LINKE, as the arguably most ad vancedprojectofacorecapitalistcountrysocialisminthe21 stcentury, will have to deal? Amongst these is the danger of losing the strategic control over the development process of the party due to too rapid growth.Onecentralaspectofthisdangeristhetrendtowards institu tionalizationduetothegrowingpresenceandabsorptionofpartyactiv

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ists through parliaments, especially in the West. This institutionaliza tionofthepartyisadangertoallfactionswithinthepartyincludingthe reformist rightwing, since it quickly leads to government participa tionsandrealpolitikwhichproducesdisenchantmentandlossofcredi bility.Thisisparticularlythecasesincethetendencytowardspassivity andcharismaticruleconfrontsthepartywithhopesthatareeasilydis illusioned even in the best case. At the same time, such a disillusion wouldsurelyleadtoagrowthintheplausibilityofrightwingpopulist patternsofsocialinterpretationandthusreinforcethedangerofbarba rization. Connected to all this is therefore the question of how to de velopstructuresofinternaleducationwhichacknowledgeboththehis toric hesitancy to embrace anything remotely resembling nonplural cadre parties as well as the avert the quick socialdemocratization of the party (and hence necessary crisis) through systematically training partyactivistsinsocialistpoliticswithonefootinsideparliamentsand one foot inside the social movements etc. A second aspect has to do withtheneedtodevelopacommonprojectfortheheterogeneousele mentsofthepartywhicharereflectedinthedifferentexperiencesand strategic/politicaloutlookswithintheparty.Thisincludes,tonamejust one,theargumentbetweentheproponentsoftheguaranteedbasicin come approach and those of the full employment approach geared at workinghourreduction.Athirdquestionrelatestothequestionofhow tomovefromtheantineoliberalphaseofthepartytowardsapolitics clearlyaimedatsocialismwhichhasbecomeanecessityduetothenew constellation of sharing the opposition with the social democrats and theGreensandtheinstitutionalsocialdemocraticembrace.Theproject of Die LINKE is still an open project. There are many reasons to be wary,butthereisalsoroomforhopeinaction.

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BillTabb

The questions are asked from the perspective of an assumption that thereisaknownvehiclefordeliveringthemessage.Contextisimpor tant. The situation for the Germans and the Italians is fairly clear. I could not answer the questions without a similar assumed context of delivery mechanism, that is, of what political agency the analysis is serving.ThatiswhyIansweredasIdid.Iwouldnotliketogivetheim pressionthatIamtrivializingtheproject,whichIrespectgreatly. 1.Whereisthecrisisheading? If I could answer questions like this with any accuracy I and people mighthaveareasontolistentomeonthetopic.(Iwouldalsoberich andthatwouldbenice.Icouldavoidpayingmyfairshareoftaxes.)But OK.IexpectalongLshapeorperhapsadoubledipasstimuluswears off, inventory replenishment is completed, and worries over deficits dominate the discussion. A good bit of smart money says prepare for the double dip. So continued high unemployment, desperation for many, more small bank collapses, and that "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnelintoanythingthatsmellslikemoney,"GoldmanSachs,willhand outChristmasbasketsthisyear.(TheUSDAsaidthenumberofhouse holds reporting a struggle to buy enough food jumped 31% in 2008 from the previous year and the 15% of American households hungry and without food security will have more company when the 2009 numbersareavailable.) Consumer/debt ratios remain high even as people pay down debt as besttheycan,aweakChristmassellingseason,moremortgagedefaults andFreddieandFannieplustheFHAlosingevenmoremoney,alotof it.Corporateprofitshavecomeupnotbecauseofhigherrevenuesbut becauseofcostcuttingasinclosingplantsandlayingoffworkers,scar ingthosewithjobsintomoreconcessions,andlossofbenefits.40,000 teacherslosttheirjobsoverthepastyearmeanslessofthatinvestment ineducationrequiredforthejobsofthefutureitisagreedthecountry needs. But on the other hand the Department of Labors forecasts of which jobs are expected to grow are overwhelmingly for unskilled workerssonotmuchdamagethere.TheIMF WorldEconomicOutlookis pessimistic over the medium term (they dont talk about the long run butthenKeynessayswemightallbedeadbythenbutnooneislisten ingtothe"master"evenifhehasreturned).Outputandinvestmentlost nowsetsanewlowertrendlinein"recovery."Higherstructuralunem

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ploymentandslowercapitalaccumulation,theIMFsaysalongwithten yearsofpublicspendingcutsandtaxriseslieahead.WhoamItoargue? The European Commission warns a generation of growth may be lost. Itsscenarioisconvincing. ItisObamascrisisnowandtheRepublicanshavenothingtosayexcept "No"and"cuttaxes,"notatallwhatoneneedsinaweakeconomy.We willseetheconstructionindustrybuildfewerhomesgiventheincredi ble backlog, and the ones they build look smaller and not at all like McMansions,apositivedevelopmentinrestoringsmalltownAmerican valuesoratleastthevisuals.Imissthesnobappealinadvertisingand am so tired of all this catering to the recession mentality by selling "value" instead of glitz. But this is where the crisis seems to be going and will for some time. The job losses are permanent. We have a ten percent gap between what we could produce at "full" employment (a naturalrateunemploymentof6percent)andpeoplearegoingbackto old jobs as temps at half the pay. Cities and states will enjoy another yearofterriblefiscalcrisis,cutsinservices,andofpubic employment. The growth industry is in op ed pieces headed "Does Obama get It?" (Jobs stupid) and "Obama has lost his way" (what way was that? one mightask."WereworriedaboutKabulwhenDetroithasgonedownfor thecount."WhotruststheDemocratstodeliver?(Dontallspeakupat once.) 2.Is"greencapitalismasolutionorpartoftheproblem? Ah, give me a break. It is their solution, our problem. I expect (once again)ThomasFriedmanisright:"greenisthenewredwhitandblue." ItsallaboutrenewingAmericababy.Cleanpowerandenergyefficiency. Liberalshadbettersticktogeneralitieslike"cleancoal,"anoxymoron for todays American future. There is no proven technology of carbon capture and sequestering only the promise that it will be viable some day. The Bush folks cancelled the nations first commercial scale CCS projectlastyearbeforeleavingofficebecauseofitsestimated$1.8bil lionpricetag.Idontthinkthatwastoomuch.Itdidntevenbuildinthe likelycostoverrunsandischeaperthanhowmanydaysinIraq?Italso turned out no community no matter how poor wanted a CCS facility underitsstreetseventhoughthetechnologywhentestedisguaranteed to have negligible chance of allowing the gas to escape and poisoning townresidents.Someexpertsdosayitistrickytoknowwhatconduits exist under ground. Over hundreds of thousands of years we are told the CO2 captured would turn into limestone. Might we want to start with conservation, preserving rainforests and a variety of lower tech solutions?Maybestoptheethanolfromcropswhichusedtofeedpeo ple?

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Ofcourse"cleancoal"isbetterthantheKochfamilysolution whichas always is smaller government and, as the owners of the largest pri vately owned US energy company the proud sponsor of that "grass roots" patriotic group Americans for Prosperity and their 70 foot tall hotairballoonwhichcarriesthemessage"exposetheballooningcostof globalwarminghysteria"and"Noclimatetax."Itgoeswiththeirearlier campaigns,"Nostimulus"and"Handsoffmyhealthcare."Iamwiththe seniorpolicymanfromtheUSChamberofCommercewhenhesaysthe Environmental Protection Agency is holding a new "Scopes monkey trial" on the science of global warming. Dont laugh the percentage of Americans who belief global warming is caused by human activity is downto36%from47%in2008. Dont try to confuse me with estimates that simple things like home weatherization could create scads of jobs and save on heating bills whilehelpingtheplanetbycuttinggreenhousegasemissions.Idohave hopes that carbon trading can be the next financial bubble and for a while expand the economy or at least the speculative sector and offer some wealth effect spinoffs. OK, renewable energy is now expensive. But we could put a floor under energy costs at a high enough level to make wind, solar, geothermal and such competitive (and rebate taxes paid by low income and working class families more broadly through taxrebates).Thatmightbeseenlikesocialismandbiggovernment(ex cuse me, Big Government) and a step toward the gulag. On the other hand I believe the rapid right is doing more to give socialism a good nameinthiscountrythantheleftis.Idohavefaithingovernmentsub sidiestocreatesmartgridtechnologies.GEisbehinditforobviousrea sonsandamajorplayerinthecouncilsofObamalandenergypolicy(far betterthanHalliburtonIsuppose).The Wall Street Journal tellsuspur suinggovernmentcontractshasbeen"acenterpieceofits[GEs]strat egyaroundtheworld."Isaymorepowertothem.Afterthehugesub sidyGECapitalreceivedfromusgeneroustaxpayersIthinktheyshould make money by actually helping promotion of energy saving technol ogy. 3.Whataretheconcreteproblemstowhichleftstrategyshoulddevelopa responsein2010? Candidate Barack was all over "Right now we face an immediate eco nomicemergency,andthatrequiresurgentaction.Wecantwaittohelp workersandfamiliesandcommunitieswhoarestrugglingrightnow whodontknowiftheirjobortheirretirementwillbetheretomorrow; whodontknowifnextweekspaycheckwillcovernextmonthsmedi calbills..."yaddayaddayadda.Wellthemoneyisspenttrillionsforthe bankers.NowtheChinesesaystopspendingandprotectourdollars.

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IamwithGlennBeck.Adirectjobcreationprogramsomethinglikethe WorksProgressAdministrationisclearlynotasgoodastaxincentives forjobcreation(whichwouldgivemoneyforjobswhichwouldbecre atedanyway,leadtochurninglabor,firingworkersandhiringothersto qualify for more subsiding and setting up "new" businesses to qualify for job expansion funds) BUT it is a plan to recruit proObama brown shirtsandweshouldbeformorecolor.Itwouldfinallyendthisinsis tence on wearing black all the time to be fashionable. I am against healthcarereformsinceasRushhasexplainedObamaisplanningtoset upaGestapotointerveneinallaspectsofpeopleslivesand besidesI havehealthcarewhyshouldIpayforsomeoneelses?AmIhappythat congress is throwing more money into wasteful home buyer tax cred its?Ontheplussideitisagiveawaytotherealestateandmortgagein dustrywhichcertainlydeservetoberewardedforalltheyhavedoneto us.ItalsowillcontinuetobringouttheAmericanentrepreneurialspirit inaction.Thelastroundencouragedtensofthousandstogamethesys tem and claim credits for which they were not eligible. One of the ad vantages of having an underpaid and overworked government office suddenlymadetoadministerahalfassedprogram.Theestimateis80 to 90 percent of the houses sold under the program would have been purchasedintheabsenceofthegiveaway,sortoflikethelargepartof thestimuluspackagethatwentintaxcutswhichweresavedorusedto paydowndebtandcreatedfewnewjobs.Themoneycouldgotoallow ingpeoplewhocantaffordthehousestheyweresoldtorentthemand at least prevent thembeing made homelessandthe unoccupied home beingtrashed. How about ending tax avoidance, shutting down the corporate scams, andintroducingaunitaryworldwidetaxontransnationalcorporations andatransfertaxoninternationalfinance?Itwouldbenodoubtuseful tomakealistofsimplesolutionswhichwouldworkifthepeoplehad power (and the people were the progressive class conscious folks we knowthemtobe). Andno,IdonotwanttorereadHofstadtersparanoidstyleofAmerican politics essay from 1954 (let alone the expanded book version). Many Americansdocravethegoneroguelife.Theyarecaughtbetweenalib eralcorporateelitewhichhasbeenscrewingthemforalongtimeand theliesandillusionsoftherightwhichalwayshasappealwhenthereis no genuine left believable alternative out there. It leads one to ask: WhereorwhereistheMarlboromanonawhitehorsefor2012?Palin incowboyboatsandspurs?Youbetcha!Italsomakesimperativesaying Obama is far better than the Republican alternative but is not the an swer, let alone The One. He is a cautious moderate in his politics and listens to the wrong people from a working class interest perspective. Theleftmaybeweakbutatleastweshouldbeabletosaythisandyes, explain what needs to be done, the change we actually need. I am not

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sure how this would relate to the charge of this assignment, making "feasible and appropriate" suggestions. Appropriate is not at this mo ment realistic or programatically feasible for any political vehicle out therecurrentlyintheseUnitedStates.

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1)Whereisthecrisisheading? In the United States, while the stock market recovers, unemployment deepens.Thepoliticalleadershipfullyembodiestheoutlookofthepri vatesectorandrejectsmeasuresthatcouldprovidesignificantimmedi aterelief.Acrazedrightwingconstituencyfindsincreasingreceptivity to the most absurd scapegoating (portraying Obama as a socialist and as a disguised blackpower advocate), while the path of privatiza tion/corporatization gains even further ground in setting policy pa rametersinhealthcareandeducationperhapssettingthestageforthe emergence,especiallyinuniversities,ofanewgenerationofLeftactiv ists. Their modus operandi, however, will be significantly affected, in waysasyetundefined,bythenewtechnologyofcommunications. 2) Is "green capitalism" a solution or part of the problem?[refs:Brussels reader,27,49] Capitalism per se is the problem, whatever its protective coloration. The green guise, which focuses essentially on renewable or clean energy, is of limited impact insofar as it 1) fails to confront total re sourceuse, 2) fails to question the global movement of capital, 3) re mainscommittedtogrowthandaccumulation,4)rejectsdemocratically accountableplanningprocesses,and5)perpetuatesacultureofcompe tition and acquisition over one of cooperation and respect for natural limits. 3) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? Allowing for the fact that there will remain important national differ ences,themosturgentoveralltaskisthedualoneof(a)articulatinga fresh revolutionary vision and (b) breaking through to the vast num bersofpeoplewhoinrecentyearshavegivenupontheirowncapacity tobringaboutchange. howcantheAmericanandEuropeanleftssaywhattheyrefor,andpro pose forms of political practice, in ways that people can hear now? After the elections in Germany, Die LINKE will need to put increased stress on the idea of socialism (explicitly so called) and the differentiation from the centrist policies of the SocialDemocratic Party. Clearly, this is not the US context. At the same time, it is important to develop parallel or common political projects. In the US context and of course given the lack of a left politicalpartywhatcouldbeputforward? Thestartingpointistodefinewhatisdistinctiveaboutthepresenthis torical moment. Saying that it is one of imminent speciesdestruction soundseitheralarmistortrite(dependingonthelevelofonesecologi

VictorWallis

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calawareness),butthisfocusprovidesimmediatespacefortheexpres sion of many longstanding demands. Above all, the global ecological struggle has generated the move toward a reparations perspective, inasmuchasthepoorarenowseentohavebeenpayingdoublyforthe oppression that has long been imposed on them by the rich, typically undertheguiseofracistideologiesofonekindoranother.Atthesame time,thecritiqueofcapitalismspsychologicalunderpinningsimplicit in any reparationsoriented or socialjusticeframed type of thinking isitselfademandthatthederangedmanifestationsofgreedandcom petitivenessberadicallysuppressed.Thisisatonceacalltoclassstrug gleandanaffirmationthatadifferenttypeofhumanbehaviorispossi ble:onethatcannotfindreinforcementintraditionsofmachodomina tion. Theparallelorcommonprojectswillconsistofvariousformsofwhat might narrowly be termed public education but which is really a pro gramforradicalresocialization.Insomecountries,theremaybepoliti calpartiesthatcantaketheleadinsuchaprocess,understandingthat thegoalistocreateanentirenewpopularculture,notconfinedtopro motingunityaroundparticularpoliticaldemands.Elsewhere,notablyin the United States, institutional obstacles make it unlikely in the short runthatanationalpartycouldemergetotakeupthistask.Thismeans thataspecialburdenfallsonustocreatenewformsofpoliticalleader ship and expression.The most promising starting pointfor such prac ticeseemstometobethealternativemedia. AlternativemediaintheUShaveasolidinitialinfrastructureintelevi sion, radio, print publications, and the internet. The campaign to broadentheirscopeandtoresistrestrictionsdrawsstronglyonatradi tionoffreespeechstruggleswhiletakingclearaimattheprivate(capi talist)ownershipandcontrolofthedominantmedia.Theworkofalter nativemedianeedstobeexpanded,whilepreservinganddeepeningits radicalthrust.Theopportunitytodothisisenhancedbythecorporate driven deterioration in the quality and reach of established organs of investigativejournalism.Themultiplenetworksofhightechindividual communication are an incomplete replacement to this, but they could usefully supplement and amplify via images as well as words the workofthevariousorganizedalternativemediaoutlets. Asforthequestionofsocialism,Ithinkthatthecallforitisinseparable fromtheantigrowthperspectiveimpliedinthecritiqueofgreencapi talism. Although some have argued that one should be cautious in de ploying socialism as a political slogan, I think that its essence as in whatever possible variants the alternative to capitalism needs to be keptclearlyinourminds.Useofthetermasanepithetbyrightwingers willsurelybackfireonthemasthesystemtheyareraucouslyandvio lentlydefendinggoesdowninflames.

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FriederOttoWolf
1.) Whereisthecrisisheading?Iamnoprophetandthestateofcritical theorydoesnotallowforareliableprognosis.However,itseemsto be possible to state some elementary insights which are relevant forstrategicpoliticalpractice. Whatwearecurrentlyfacingisnotasimplecrisis,butrathera complexconstellationofcrisesfinancial,economical,ecologi cal,aswellaswithregardtotheworldsystem(peaceandwar) or to gender and generation relations. The financial crisis, as wellastheunderlyingbubbleeconomy,havetobeanalysedas a reaction to the overall constellation of these crises, and not onlytothecrisisofcapitalaccumulation. Withoutclaimingcompleteness,thisconstellationcertainlyin cludes a crisis of capital accumulation, a crisis of the metabo lismofhumanitywiththebiosphere,acomplexcrisisoftradi tional gender and generation arrangements, and, certainly, a crisisoftheexistingstructuresofdomination(dependencyand imperialhegemony)ininternationalrelations. It is neither to be excluded that this crisis will lead up to a deeperstructuraltransformationwhichwillgloballyovercome the domination of the capitalist mode of production within modern societies, nor that the crisis will again be delayed by thekindofpassiverevolutionaryrearrangementswhichhave been characteristic for the neoliberal era since the early 1980s,whichhasnotbeencapableofsolvinganyofthemajor problemsintowhichthecapitalistpostwarorderhadrunex cept that of ending the cold war with a state socialism which hadceasedtoofferahistoricalconsiderabletimeago. Itwillbedecisivefortheoutcomeofthepresentmomentofcri sis whether the global left will become capable of forging a broad, plural, and reliable new alliance of the different forces engagedinthesesdistinctcriseswhichwilldefinenewwaysof being anticapitalist while at the same time really taking on board ecological, feminist, or antiimperialist debates. This cannot be achieved by trying to revive even the best of the communistandsocialisttradition,althoughsuchelementscer tainlywillhaveanimportantparttoplayprovidedthatthey will see their own limitations and will successfully learn from theinsightsofothermovements. Thestruggleforradicaldemocracyandagainststatismwillbea necessary common component of the new alliance which is needed to struggle for a transformative issue of the present constellationofcrises.

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2.) Is"greencapitalism"asolutionorpartoftheproblem?

Thisquestionseemstopresupposethatgreencapitalismisarealistic option,i.e.akindofmodelofaccumulationwhichisstructuredbyeco logicalconcerns. Thisis,however,extremelyunrealistic.Althoughsomegreenwashing istobeexpected,everythingseemstopointintothedirectionthateven options which, in principle, would be compatible with an ongoing process of capital accumulation will not be taken by the present gov ernmentsoftheleadingnationstatesnorbyrelevantTNCs. Of course, even if something like a new model of accumulation (it shouldnotbeoverlookedthatsuchmodelstendtobejustidealtypes with little impact on empirical concrete realities) would emerge, in which e.g. renewable energy sources or, more generally, low carbon technologies would play a central role, this would not be sufficient to solve the underlying ecological crisis. Concrete struggles, however, which would oppose nuclear energy and coal use, while supporting economicdevelopment,evencapitalistaccumulation,inthefieldofsec ondgenerationrenewables,wouldbehelpfulforgainingtimeand,asit were,breathingspace,inthefaceoftheimminenturgenciesofecologi calcatastrophes. 3.) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? As unemployment and underemployment seems to be a central factor forthemiseryofthepooraswellasfortheweakeningofthe working classes,whilethesearchforemploymentatanycostisamajordisrup tive factor for the ecology, for nondiscriminatory gender and genera tion relations, as well as for international solidarity and cooperation, the issue of green employment in the sense of areas and forms of employmentcompatiblewiththerequirementsofavoidingcatastrophic developmentsinotherdimensionswillhavetobeacentralconcernof anypoliticsofbuildinganewandeffectiveallianceagainstallformsof domination,thecapitalistdomination,ofcourse,tobeincluded.

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1)Whereisthecrisisheading? Especially,butnotonly,intheUS,theleftsweaknessanddivisionhave allowedcapitalismsgreatestcrisissincethe1930stounfoldsofarwith minimal support for the working classes. State policies chiefly revive financialmarketsbymassiveinfusionsofstatemoneywithsecondary, limitedKeynesianfiscalstimuliforthebroadereconomy.Bigbusiness, media, and the state refuse to admit any basic crisis in the structured relationship between wages and surpluses. The goal instead is to re storetheeconomyasitfunctionedin20042007.Asmanyeconomists note,thatgoalmaynotbeachieved.Andevenifitwere,sucharestora tion would reposition the economy on the same path that led to col lapsein20072008. Restoration cannot succeed. Since the 1970s, rising work hours and exhaustion,deterioratingworkingconditions,flattofallingrealwages, andrisingconsumerdebthaveaccumulatedtounsustainablelevels.To revive the older (North American and western European) capitalist economiesinanydurablewayrequiresabasic,structuralchangeinthe worker/capitalist economic relationship. Workers are unclear about the need for and too weak politically to force such basic structure change. The capitalists cannot see the issue and/or are refocusing on emergingandespeciallyAsianeconomies;theyareprepared tolet wage and living standards in the old capitalist economies decline in definitely. 2)Is"greencapitalism"asolutionorpartoftheproblem? Itispartoftheproblembecauseitparticipatesinthegreatrestoration fantasymentionedabove.Itimaginesthatastateledfiscalstimuluscan restore the economy to its 20042007 patterns of performance, this timewithagreencomplexion. Idoubtthattheconsensusexists(es pecially in the US) to make any greening more than minimally cos metic. However, even a genuinely green stimulus would not address the structural issues that produced the current crisis. It would be no moreeffectivethanthenongreenstimuluscumfinancialrescuepoli ciesdescribedincommentNo.1above. 3) What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy shoulddeveloparesponsein2010? The most important problem is the broadbased assault on wages, workingconditions,andlivingstandardsbyleadingcorporateandstate functionaries in North Atlantic capitalist societies. The post1970s phase of neoliberal capitalism represented one modality of that as sault.Capitaliststhenacceleratedtheshiftoftheiroperations(produc tive, distributive, and financial) eastward away from western Europe

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and North America while bringing more lowwage immigrants into their economies. By these means, together with technical changes (chiefly computerrelated), theystopped or slowed the long history of risingrealwagesintheirterritories.Theresultingdownwardimpacton workersconsumptionstandardsinwesternEuropeandNorthAmerica was postponed by substituting rising labor hours and rising worker indebtednessforrisingwages.By2007,thoseworkerswerephysically exhaustedandfinanciallystressed;theycouldnotworkorborrowmo re. As consumer demand growth slowed and the most stressed de faultedontheirdebts,aclassiccrisisundercutthepost1970neoliberal phaseofcapitalism. Absentaseriousworkersmovementwithanalternativestrategy,state crisisresponsesaimtorevivefinanceandrestoreprofitableproduction. Thisprovidescapitalistswithsupportandtimetorefocustheirgrowth onemergingeconomies(especiallyAsia)assitesofproduction andas markets.Thecapitalistprograminthepostneoliberalworldthuscon tinuestheneoliberalassaultonwesternEuropeanandNorthAmerican workersjobandincomesituations.Nowitisthecrisisandourneed torespondtothecrisisthatprovidetheframeworkandcover forthe continuingassault. Whetherornottheleftformulatesaprogramrespondingtothisassault onworkers,thefarrightwill.Anappealtothestateinthissituationis, at best, a rhetorical diversion. Capitalists control the state more than everthroughincreasedcontributionstocampaignsandcandidates,lob bying,andshapingpublicopinion.Sincethe1970s,theendofrising real wages coupled with rising labor productivity delivered vast new surplusestocapitalists.Theyusedthemtobetterandmorefullycontrol the state. Therefore, a new workers strategy should not focus on the state. Instead it should comprise a direct denial of the surpluses that capitalists use to move production eastward and control state re sponsestothecapitalistcrisis. Thenewelementofaleftstrategyaimstotransformenterprisessuch that the workers become, collectively, their own boards of directors. Whenevertraditionalcapitalistenterprisesgobankruptorcloseopera tions,such transformedenterprises(TE)shouldbeenabledtoreplace them.Governmentcreditsshouldsubsidizethetransformationofsuch enterprises as well as newly formed TEs. Whatever older components ofleftstrategiesareretainedsocializedproperty,economicplanning, demandsforstateprovisionofservicestoworkerstheimportantnew component of a left strategy adequate to the current situation is the revolutionarydemandforradicallytransformedenterprisesastheeco nomic wave of the future. That new component is the only way the oldercomponentshaveanychanceofbeingrealized.

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Stanley AronowitziscoeditorofthejournalSituations:Projectofthe RadicalImaginationandDistinguishedProfessorforSociologyandUr banEducationattheGraduateCenteroftheCityUniversityofNewYork and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and WorkatCUNY.Hehaspublishedmorethantwohundredbooks,articles andreviews,amongthem How Class Works, Yale 2003; Just Around the Corner:TheParadoxofJoblessRecovery,Temple2005;LeftTurn:Forging aNewPoliticalFuture,Herndon2006andAgainstSchooling:ForanEdu cation that Matters, Herndon 2008. Aronowitz is a member of the The FifteenthStreetManifestoGroupwhichpublishedinOctober2008the Manifesto for a LEFT TURN. An Open Letter to U.S. Radicals. Web: www.stanleyaronowitz.org/ Jeremy Brecher is a historian and the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements, including Strike!, Brass Valley, Historyfrom Below, Building Bridges, Global Visions, Global Village or Global Pillage, Globalization from Below, and In the Name of Democ racy:AmericanWarCrimesinIraqandBeyond.HelongservedasHu manities ScholarinResidencre at Connecticut Public Television and Radio,whereheresearchedandscriptedmorethanadozenTVdocu mentaries.Heisalsoactiveasadeveloperofgrassroots"historyfrom below"communityhistoryprojects.Heiscurrentlywritingaboutlabor and climate changeand helping develop two organizations, the re sourcecenterandbridgebuildingorganizationGlobalLaborStrategies and the Labor Network for Sustainability. His next book will be Com monPreservationintheEraofMutualDestruction. Mario Candeias is Senior Research Fellow for Critique of Capitalism andSocialAnalysis,andHeadoftheCommissionfortheFuture,atthe InstituteforCriticalSocialAnalysis,RosaLuxemburgFoundation.Heis also a member of the Berlin Institute for Critical Theory (InkriT), the Editorial Board ofthe Historical critical Dictionary of Marxism and of theEditorialBoardofthecriticalreview DasArgument.Hismostrecent publications are The Last Conjuncture. Organic Crisis and Postneolib eral TendenciesRLSpolicypaper4/2009and Unmaking and Remaking of Class The impossible Precariat between fragmentation and move mentRLSpolicypaper3/2009. Eric CanepawasthedirectoroftheSocialistScholarsConferenceand theLeftForumfrom2001to2006.Hewascoordinatorofthe1998New York City "Manifestivity" (150th anniversary of the Communist Mani festo)andhaspublishedseveralarticlesonleftpoliticsinEasternGer many.Asamusician,hehasbeenartisticdirectorofSpazioMusicaAn

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tica in Florence, Italy and has played numerous concerts as harpsi chordist in the U.S., Belgium, Germany, and Italy. His current work is withtheLavoroSocietplatformoftheItalianCGILandasacollabora toronprojectswiththeRosaLuxemburgFoundation. AlexDemirovicteachesinpoliticalscienceandsociologyandworkson critical social theory in the areas of nature, economic development, state, and culture. He has published numerous books and articles on critical theory, state theory, democracy, intellectuals, racism, social movementsandecologicalpolitics.AtpresentheteachesattheTechni cal University in Berlin. He is an editor of the journal Prokla and a memberoftheexecutivemanagingboardoftheRosaLuxemburgFoun dation.Hismostrecentbooksare Nicos Poulantzas eine kritische Aus einandersetzung, 2nd edition Hamburg 2007 and Demokratie in der Wirtschaft.PositionenProblemePerspektivenMnster2007. Frank Deppe is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Univer sity of Marburg. His research and numerous publications are in the fields of Marxism and working class movements and political theory. Hismostrecentbookis Political Thought in the Cold War (2Volumes) (Vol. III of Political Thought in the Twentieth Century). He is an active memberoftheLeftparty. Barbara Epstein teaches in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written extensively onprogressiveandleftsocialmovementsintheU.Se.g. Political Protest andCulturalRevolution:NonviolentDirectActioninthe1970sand1980s, UCPress,1991).Hermostrecentpublishedbooksanalysesthejewish resistanceduringtheSecondWorldWar: The Minsk Ghetto, 19411943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism (UC Press). She was a member of the editorial group of Socialist Revolution (later Socialist Review)andworksnowwithSocialistRegisterandMonthlyReview. Rainer Fischbach is a senior consultant in a software and consulting firmspecializinginproductlifecyclemanagement(PLM)afterworking as an independent IT consultant for more than 10 years. Numerous publications in journals on IT topics (iX, Computerwoche) and social implications of technology (Freitag, Wochenzeitung, Widerspruch, Blt ter fr deutsche und internationale Politik, Forum Wissenschaft),mono graphs[MythosNetz:KommunikationjenseitsvonRaumundZeit(Zrich 2005)].CurrentlyRainerisworkingonanewmonograph Unbeherrsch teNaturbeherrschung: Arbeit, Technik und Wissen im endzeitlichen Kapi talismus(expected2009).Web:www.rainerfischbach.de/ Stephen Gill is Professor of Political Science at York University, To ronto,CanadaspecializinginInternationalRelationsandPoliticalEcon omy. He published Power and Resistance in the New World Order, Pal

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grave 2002 (2008), Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations, Cambridge 1993, American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission.Cambridge1991andrecentlycoauthoredwithSolomonR Benatar and Isabella Bakker, Making Progress in Global Health: The Need for New Paradigms, International Affairs, Vol. 85:2 (2009). 347 72.Web:http://www.stephengill.com/ Mark HagenwasalongtermstaffmemberinGermanysservicestrade union Ver.di and active in international labor affairs and strategic membership development (organizing strategies). After recent studies inLabourPoliciesandGlobalisationattheGlobalLabourUniversityhe wasastrategiccampaignresearcherinver.diandUNIGlobalUnion.He joinedtheRosaLuxemburgFoundationinAugust2009asheadof the recentlyestablishedOECDdepartment. David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of various books, articles, and lectures. His most recent books are Social Justice and the City: Revised Edition UniversityofGeorgiaPress2009and Cosmopolitanism and the Geogra phies of Freedom Columbia University Press 2009. Web: http://davidharvey.org/ Christina Kaindl, psychologist and political scienticst,works at Rosa LuxemburgFoundation, part of the editorial board of Luxemburg and Das Argument. Lecturer at the University of MagdeburgStendal. Re searchonrightwingextremismandNeoliberalism;politicsof subjec tivity.Sheisalsoanacitivistinsocialmovements.Mostrecentpublica tions: Das Subjekt zwischen Krise und Emanzipation(coed.withAlex Demirovic and Alfred Krovoza), Mnster Verlag Westflisches Dampf boot,i.Ersch.; Emotionale Mobilmachung Mobilizing Emotions,in: Abs trakt negiert ist halb kapiert Beitrge zur marxistischen Subjektwis senschaft.MorusMarkardzum60.Geburtstag[Contributions to Marxist SubjectSciences,FestschriftforMorusMarkard],(CoeditedwithL.Huck etal.),MarburgBdWiVerlag2008 MichaelR.Krtke,ProfessorofSociology/ChairofPoliticalEconomy/ Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University. Most recent books: Natali Moszkowska. Marxismus und Keynesiani smus, Berlin: Dietz Verlag (forthcoming); Geschichte der Weltwir tschaft,Hamburg:VSA(forthcoming);RosaLuxemburg.Einepolitische Oekonomin in ihrer Zeit, Berlin: Dietz Verlag 2009; Die groesste Krise der kapitalistischen Weltwirtschaft, Hamburg: VSA Verlag 2008; Neun Fragen zum Kapitalismus, Berlin: Dietz Verlag 2007. Web: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/ias/profiles/michaelkraetke. Join Michael on facebook!

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Peter Marcusewas,from19721975,aProfessorofUrbanPlanningat UCLA,andfrom1975atColumbiaUniversity.Hehasbeensemiretired since 2003. He published numerous books and articles, some of them arelistedathttp://www.marcuse.org/peter/ peter.htm Margit MayerteachescomparativeandNorthAmericanpoliticsatthe Freie Universitt in Berlin. Her research focuses on comparative poli tics, urban and regional politics and social movements. Current re search compares antipoverty programs in the US and Germanyas well as urban social movements. Publications include Modernisierung der Kommunalpolitik. Neue Wege der Ressourcenmobilisierung (Leske & Budrich 1997), The German Greens: Paradox between Movement and Party (Temple UP 1998), Jobwunder USA Modell fr Deutschland? (Westflisches Dampfboot 1999), Urban Movements in a Globalising World (Routledge 2000) and NonprofitOrganisationen und die Trans formation der Beschftigungspolitik (Dampfboot2004).Sheiscurrently writingabookcomparingurbanmovementsandstatepoliciesintheUS andGermany.Web:userpage.fuberlin.de/~jfkpolhk/ Harold MeyersonhasbeenEditoratLargeofTheAmericanProspect sinceAugustof2002andbecamearegularWashingtonPostopedcol umnist in March of 2003. His articles on politics, labor, the economy, foreign policy and American culture have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Nation, The New Statesman, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is a member of the editorialboardofDissent.Web:www.haroldmeyerson.com Mimmo Porcaro was the coordinator of the office of the Ministry of SocialSolidarityinthelastProdigovernmentinItaly.Heis theauthor of numerous essays on social movements and political parties. He is memberofthe Partito dellaRifondazione Comunista andofthecultural movementPuntoRossoeAlternativeEuropa. Adolph L. Reed, Jr.isProfessorofPoliticalScienceattheUniversityof Pennsylvania. He teaches American and AfricanAmerican politics and political thought; urban politics, and American political develop ment.Heistheauthorofnumerousbooks,including Class Notes: Posing as Politics and OtherThoughts on the American Scene; his most recent bookisRenewingBlackIntellectualHistory:TheIdeologicalandMaterial Foundations of African American Thought (withKennethW.Warren,et al, Paradigm Press, 2010). Web: http://www.polisci. upenn.edu/in dex.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=73 JanRehmannDr.phil.,Dr.habil.,teachesatUnionTheologicalSeminary, NewYorkCity,andFreeUniversityofBerlin,Germany.AuthorofPost moderner LinksNietzscheanismus: Deleuze und Foucault, eine De

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konstruktion.Hamburg2004.JanRehmannisamemberoftheeditorial committeeoftheHistoricalCriticalDictionaryofMarxism. Rainer RillingisasociologistattheUniversityofMarburgandworks attheInstituteforCriticalSocialAnalysis,RosaLuxemburgFoundation. He published on contemporary capitalism, property questions and in ternationalrelationsattheRosaLuxemburgFoundation.Hislatestpub lications are Risse im Empire, Berlin 2008; Crisis of Privatisation Re turn of the Public Sphere RLS Policy Paper 1/2008 (with M. Candeias andK.Weise) Beyond the crisis: Empowering the public!RLSPolicyPa per5/2009.Web:www.rainerrilling.de. Catharina SchmalstiegisaPhDstudentatthesociologcydepartment oftheFriedrichSchillerUniversittinJena,Germany.Inher acadamic work she focuses on questions of social inequality and organizing the subaltern.Forherdissertationshedidextensiveresearchonlaborun ionsandprocessesofcoalitionbuildingintheUS.She'scoauthorofthe bookStrategicUnionism.She'samemberoftheeditorialofthemaga zineLuxemburg. Thomas Seibert is a political philosopher. He works for the left relief organization Medico International, and is a member of the Federal Council of ATTAC Germany, an activist of the Interventionist Left (IL), andmemberoftheeditorialboardofthemagazineFantmas.Hislatest publications are Krise & Ereignis: Siebenundzwanzig Thesen zum Kom munismus, VSA 2009 and Truth, Event and Real Movement: On the De construction of Subjectivity, Philosophy, and Politics (2007). His article "New Commonplaces after Heiligendamm" appeared in Socialism and Democracy (2008).AsanactivistoftheIL(InterventionistLeft),hewas one of the principal organizers of the antiG8 demonstration in Heili gendamm. Neil SmithisDistinguishedProfessorofAnthropologyandGeography attheGraduateCenteroftheCityUniversityofNewYork.Heisdirector of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He recently published American Empire: Roosevelts Geographer and the Prelude to Globaliza tion, Berkeley/Los Angeles 2003 and The Endgame of Globalization, New York 2005. http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Neil_Smith _%28 geog rapher%29 Ingar Solty isagraduatestudentinpoliticalscienceatYorkUniversity inTorontoandthesocialmovementsandpoliticseditorofthe journal Das Argument.Ingarisalsothecoauthorof Der neue Imperialismusto getherwithFrankDeppe,publishedin2004.Hisarticleshaveappeared in Das Argument, Z, Zeitschrift Marxistische Erneuerung, Socialism & De mocracy, Capital & Class and Sozialismus, covering a broad range of themesininternationalpoliticaleconomyandpoliticaltheory.Hismost

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recent articles are on Das ObamaProjekt was published as a Supple ment to Sozialismus 10/2008 and Kampf um Hegemonie: Die Gesund heitsreformindenUSA,in:Luxemburg2/2009 William K. Tabb taught economics at Queens College and economics, political science, and sociology at the Graduate Center of the City Uni versityofNewYork.Hisbooksinclude Economic Governance in the Age of Globalization,NewYork2004, Unequal Partners: A Primer on Global izationNewYork2002and The Amoral Elephant: Globalization and the Struggle for Social Justice in the TwentyFirst Century, New York 2001. HepublishesveryofteninMonthlyReview. VictorWallisteachesintheLiberalArtsdepartmentattheBerkleeCol lege of Music (in Boston) and is the managing editor of Socialism and Democracy. His articles have appeared in Monthly Review, Capitalism Nature Socialism, New Political Science, Socialism and Democracy, Jump Cut, Organization & Environment, and the HistorischKritisches Wrter buch des Marxismus; his writings on ecological socialism have been translatedintoninelanguages.HisreportTheGreenCapitalistAgenda in the United States: Theory, Structure, Alternatives,appearedinMario CandeiasandSabineNuss,eds.,GrnerKapitalismus.Krise,Klimawandel undkeinEndedesWachstums(Berlin:KarlDietzVerlag,2009). Frieder Otto Wolf Prof. Privatdozent Free University of Berlin; he is, coordinator of the network Sustainability Strategy. His most recent bookisRadikalePhilosophie:Aufklrungund BefreiunginderneuenZeit (2009). Richard Wolff has, since 1981 been full professor at the Economics Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His most re cent book is New Departures in Marxian Theory (with S. Resnick) New York2006.Heisfoundingeditorofthejournal Rethinking Marxismand isafrequentcontributortovariouspublications,including Monthly Re view.Anddon`tforgettocheckoutRicksvideoaboutthegreatestcrisis of capitalism in my lifetime (http://video.google.ca/videoplay? docid= 7382297202053077236).Website:http://www.rdwolff.com/

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