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April 28 2011

It is a theoretical possibility, but in my opinion an extreme improbability, that Britain would be rid of its monarchy short of a social convulsion on a par with, or close to, revolution. The British capitalist state has been defined by its successes as an imperialist state. It was the world’s first capitalist empire, and it is as an imperialist state that it has most tightly embraced the monarchical principle - in victory against republican France, for example, and in its colonial conquests, from the Opium Wars, to the Raj, to the Mandates. It was as Empress of India that Victoria re-invented a previously ramshackle and endangered monarchy in the face of a rising mass democracy. It was flush with the wealth of the colonies that the British royal family, itself always a very successful family of capitalist entrepreneurs and not just rentiers, regained its lost exuberance and vitality. Even if our biscuit tin monarchy (as Will Self has called it) is no longer riding a wave of colonial success, it remains at the apex of an imperial matrix whose ‘role in world affairs’ (as our professional euphemisers would have it) relies heavily on the accumulated cultural capital embodied in the Commonwealth. Windsor has also entrenched itself as a domestic power. It has assiduously courted a popular base, which perforce requires it to act as a silent partner in the class struggle - a source of legitimacy for the bourgeoisie, by dint of its apparent (only apparent) disentanglement from the daily grind of capital accumulation. And British capitalism has not run out of uses for these sojourners from the German low-lands. That this is so can be easily checked: no significant pro-capitalist political force in the UK is interested in republicanism. The bourgeois modernisers of Blair’s court, for all their initial constitutional radicalism, never had any desire to challenge monarchical power, least of all its residues in parliament which guaranteed Number Ten such strong executive powers. Blair, who went weak at the knees in the presence of the rich, is said to have been genuine in his sentimental, star-struck adoration of the royals. The monarchy still functions as the guarantor of a caste within the ruling class, which any good bourgeois wants admittance to - give an old chief executive an OBE, and he will consider himself to have truly lived. It still bestows social distinction - more than that, it upholds and perpetuates the superstitious belief in distinction, in meritorious ‘honour’ as well as ‘honour’ by birthright. Its systems of ranking still structure hierarchies within the state, notably the police, the navy, the air force, and the army. It is still the major patron of ‘Britishness’, the myth of a temporally continuous and organically whole national culture, which every legislator in search of an authoritarian mandate invokes. It is the sponsor of martial discourse, inviting us to believe that the British ruling class and its stately authorities, notably its armed forces, cleave to ‘values’ other than those of egoistic calculation. Its festivals of supremacy still mediate our experience of capitalism, suggesting that beneath the daily experience of conflict and confrontation, there is a more essential, eternal unity in the British polity. They still summon deference, in an era of political secularism. Windsor is susceptible to secular decline in that respect but this decline is, if I may say so, taking an awfully long time. Longer than is reasonable.
LENIN’S TOMB: Note on a wedding
Reposted fromjhnbrssndn jhnbrssndn

April 03 2011

January 19 2011

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Juan Cole: Tunisia Uprising “Spearheaded by Labor Movements, by Internet Activists, by Rural Workers; It’s a Populist Revolution” (Democracy Now!) | Informed Comment


JUAN COLE: Well, it’s a revolution—you know, all revolutions are multiple revolutions happening at the same time. So there’s a strong element of economic protest. There’s a class element. Twenty percent of college graduates are unemployed. There’s extreme poverty in the rural areas. And the regime was doing things that interfered with economic development. They would use the banks to give out loans to their cronies, and then the cronies wouldn’t pay back the banks, so they were undermining the financial system. And that made it—and the extremeness of the dictatorship, the demands constantly for bribes, discouraged foreign investment. So the regime was all about itself. It was doing things that were counterproductive. And it injured the interests of many social groups—the college-educated, the workers. Now, the three ministers that pulled back out of the national unity government today were from the General Union of Tunisian Workers, which is an old, longstanding labor organization. So, it was a mass movement; it included people from all kinds of backgrounds. ‘


Read the whole thing.

November 03 2010


September 15 2010

The IMF Calls for Job Creation

As Paul Krugman noted, the OECD has "climbed down" from its recommendation that advanced nations begin cutting spending and raising interest rates right away. The IMF seems to be tempering its message as well:

I.M.F. Calls for Countries to Focus on Creating Jobs, by Liz Alderman, NY Times: Rising long-term unemployment, especially among young people, poses the next big threat to the global economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund warned on Monday. ... Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the I.M.F., said the financial crisis “won’t be over until unemployment significantly decreases.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn urged governments to start factoring back-to-work policies into their overall equation for stoking growth. He added ... that a failure to halt persistent high joblessness could fan social tensions in several countries and restrain growth over time. ...
While governments hit by the financial crisis have had to tighten their belts, in part to address investor concern about rising debt, countries that need to rebuild credibility should first reallocate spending to get the long-term unemployed and young people back into the labor market, said Olivier J. Blanchard, the I.M.F.’s chief economist. ...
Countries that have so far avoided the harsh judgment of financial markets could afford a small increase in debt to ward off persistent joblessness, Mr. Blanchard said. He added that such a move could pay for itself in the form of increased economic activity. ...
Policy makers at the conference referred to the prospect of rising long-term unemployment as a crisis... Mr. Blanchard ... said the United States, too, should consider subsidies to help the long-term unemployed...
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

April 18 2010

Rechtsradikale in Osteuropa: Ungarn ist nur der Anfang | Frankfurter Rundschau - Feuilleton - Buchbesprechung | Martin Zähringer - 20100413

[...] Wo es [...] nach 1989 [...] chaotische Skinheadgruppen gab, agieren jetzt wohlorganisierte Antisemiten, neonazistische Bewegungen, ultranationalistsche Parteien und [...] paramilitärische Verbände. [...] Die [ungarische] Jobbik ist die erste rechtsradikale, offen antisemitische und romafeindliche Partei, die in ein osteuropäisches Parlament einzieht. [...] Bernhard Odehnal [betont] im Gespräch eine tiefgehende politische und existentielle Verunsicherung nach 1989: "[...] durch die Globalisierung und jetzt durch die Wirtschaftskrise ist eine große Unsicherheit da, [...] Angriffe auf die Roma gehören [...] zum Aktionsspektrum [...] Ein weiteres gemeinsames Feindbild sind Juden. [...] bei der katholisch-antikommunistischen "Nationalen Wiedergeburt" in Polen ist der Antisemitismus das zentrale ideologische Element. [...] es [handelt] sich [hier]bei [...] nicht mehr um Randerscheinungen [...] Odehnal und Mayer nennen ihr Buch "Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteuropa" [...]

April 07 2010

Entlassungsrisiko: Heuern und Feuern in der Zeitarbeits-Branche - Wirtschaftspolitik - Wirtschaft - 20100407 - Sven Astheimer - FAZ.NET

[...] Monatlich verlieren im Durchschnitt rund 6 Prozent aller Leiharbeitnehmer ihren Arbeitsplatz, [...] Die Wahrscheinlichkeit eines Arbeitsplatzverlustes liegt in allen Wirtschaftszweigen in Ostdeutschland höher als im Westen. Dies geht aus einer Studie des Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes (DGB) hervor, welche dieser Zeitung vorliegt. Dafür wurden die Zugangszahlen der Bundesagentur für Arbeit von Oktober 2008 bis September 2009 ausgewertet. Während dieses Zeitraums verloren nach DGB-Angaben rund 430.000 Leiharbeiter ihre sozialversicherungspflichtige Beschäftigung. [...] Selbst in den Aufschwungjahren 2007 und 2008 seien rund 300.000 Betroffene erwerbslos geworden. Zu den Neueinstellungen wurden keine Angaben gemacht. „Dies zeigt, dass sich die Verleihbranche immer noch durch eine Politik des Heuerns und Feuerns auszeichnet und personalpolitische Risiken auf Beitragszahler und Steuerzahler abgewälzt werden“, heißt es in dem Papier. [...]
Reposted bysantaprecariakellerabteilkrekk

March 03 2010

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// Haushaltsdebatte 2010 im Deutschen Bundestag

Gregor Gysi

- bis Min 03.20 - Afghanistaneinsatz
- bis Min 13.30 - Billiglohnsektor, Prekariat
- bis Min 16.00 - Lobbyismus, Parteienspenden und Gesetzesinitiativen
- bis Schluss - Steuergerechtigkeit - Banken -

(Inhaltsangabe: oanth) //
Reposted fromreturn13 return13 viakrekk krekk

January 17 2010

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