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Standalone interesting political articles thread

Discussion in 'world politics, current affairs and news' started by J Ed, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. flypanam

    flypanam “There is no reason for restraint”

    Morbid Capitalism

    A visit to Florence, Alabama. If anyone want to read it pm me.
  2. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Migration and national social democracy in Britain

    Riklet and campanula like this.
  3. Ralph Llama

    Ralph Llama Fuck the system.

    We Are Not the Terrorists: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Speaks Out About Attacks on Movement

    We Are Not the Terrorists: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Speaks Out About Attacks on Movement | Democracy Now!

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  4. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Well-Known Member

    Interesting article arguing that the nation state is a product of 19th Century industrial capitalism which required management by centralised bureaucracies, and that the tendency of modern technology towards decentralisation will lead to the nation state being gradually replaced by the city state as the dominant form of organisation. Seems to flirt with libertarian capitalism a little bit but I think the core of the argument makes a lot of sense - and the idea of "smart" socialist cities with digital direct democracy, universal basic income, and key services under municipal control sounds like a realistic route to communism to me.

    Is this what the glorious communist future will look like - a federalised global network of smart cities who have abolishing private ownership of the means of production and who practise digital direct democracy? Standing in local elections and campaigning for more municipal independence while attempting to implement direct democracy and replace the welfare system with universal basic income seems like a revolutionary yet realistic and totally achievable goal to me.

    The end of a world of nation-states may be upon us | Aeon Essays
  5. mather

    mather Well-Known Member

    I hope not, that version of 'communism' looks shit.
    Libertad likes this.
  6. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Well-Known Member


    What's your idea?

    Municipalities make a lot more sense than workplaces as a basis for communism. Syndicalism is long dead, it excludes the gig economy, the unemployed and growing numbers of self employed, and in fact, realistically, most of the proletariat. Municipal socialism makes a lot more sense. Taking over the cities is a more realistic and likely goal than taking over the workplaces.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  7. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    I wouldn't worry the thing is a load of mad libertarian nonsense
    The London mayor is extremely powerful in certain areas (transport) but those areas are strictly limited and outside those areas they are virtually powerless. The idea that the these supposed city states are going to challenge nation states is lunacy, look at this crap.
    But it's not just nonsense, it's nonsense built on stilts. Modern capital requires the nation state, look at the bailouts after 2008, look at Carillion/PFI crap we had last week, it is through the nation state that these transfers of wealth are made possible.

    The article itself only mentions "decentralisation" twice, and both in connection with technology rather than these supposed city states. Where is this decentralisation happening? In fact the trend has been the opposite, an increased centralisation of power. Look at the UK, the powers of local government have been continually reduced since the 70s. For all the talk about the political weight of the London mayor, they have considerably less power than the old GLC did. At the same time the powers of London government have been centralised to one individual whom is in practice unaccountable to the Assembly. How this that decentralisation?
    J Ed likes this.
  8. Idris2002

    Idris2002 A kick up the Arás

  9. Idris2002

    Idris2002 A kick up the Arás

    Cities can't exist without hinterlands. Chicago wouldn't be Chicago without a vast network that stretched westward all the way to the Pacific ocean. And control of territories of that size is better done by nation-states.
  10. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Well-Known Member

    It hasn't happened yet. But the nature of work has undeniably changed from the Fordist production model - in many jobs there is no real need to be in the workplace really.

    For examples, I would look at 15M movement in Spain. People from these movements took power in the 2015 local elections in Madrid, Barcelona, and other cities and have used local government to try and reverse privatisations (municipalise, rather than nationalise, public services), improve transparency and participation in decision making, take action on housing and invest more in welfare.

    I would also look at sanctuary cities, and, going further back, the experience of militant in Liverpool.

    It won't happen organically - but I think we can, and should, try to make it happen.

    And city state may be too strong a word. I don't expect cities to replace the nation state, but rather for their independence to grow, and the role of the nation state and national borders to shrink in relative terms.

    More independent municipalities are capable of coordinating and organising across national borders, e.g. The Barcelona Declaratio against TTIP, where 40 "TTIP-free" cities from across Europe met in Barcelona to agree to work together in blocking TTIP.

    Link to the anti-TTIP thing:

    'Barcelona Declaration' of European cities demands suspension of TTIP talks

    Some examples of "new municipalism" in Spain and beyond.

    From Citizen Platforms to Fearless Cities: Europe’s New Municipalism

    On second thoughts, I should have shared that link first rather than the hipster techno-libertarian one as it is more in line with how I am thinking. Not sure why I chose that one to share, I think the idea of nation states being historically transient and city states being a more "normal" form of organisation was interesting to me.

    Added: Actually, when I think about it, when hasn't communism been municipal? The Paris Commune, Barcelona during the civil war, the Petrograd Soviet... it seems to me communism is best realised on a municipal level. A federation of communist municipalities, why not?

    One could make an argument that the USSR was doomed to fail as it was mainly agrarian and lacked cities. Outside of Petrograd and Moscow, did Soviets ever hold any real power?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  11. seventh bullet

    seventh bullet red mullet

    The USSR didn't fail because it was agrarian, which it didn't remain, although it took until the 1960s for there to be an urban majority of the population. Most of that in European parts.
    mather and NoXion like this.
  12. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Good as it may be none of that is an example of communism.

    Where is this happening? Where is it going to happen considering the nation state plays a vital role in assisting capital? The creation of special economic zones or special deals for London are not examples of the independence of cities, just another means for the state to help out capital.

    That's a load of politicians talking about how they don't like (or at least don't like) some parts of TTIP. You think that is communism? It talks about the SNP in Scotland, ok are SNP controlled "municipalities" discussing about passing illegal budgets to obstruct cuts? Of course they aren't. Labour have just blocked any of their local councils doing such. This is not a challenge to the nation state it's a bunch of, generally centre-left, politicians getting together and talking.

    What actual examples are in this piece? There's a lot of talking, a lot of it even stuff I agree with but the sole concrete examples seem to be getting control/opposition of local government.
    No bad thing (at least not necessarily), but not communism, not a challenge to the nation state, it is not in any way, shape or form
    or anything like it.
  13. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying it is happening, I just thought that rethinking communist strategy in terms of municipalities rather than workplaces is an interesting idea. The examples I gave are of local activists getting control of local government and different local authorities networking independently of national governments - the talk about a federation of communist cities is my own idea of the potential that this could have, if it became a coherent movement. It seems to me that activists taking power in local elections, municipalising key services and creating new structures of direct democracy while coordinating internationally with other like minded rebel cities is a more credible first step of transitioning to socialism than call centre workers and waiters occupying their workplaces.

    Actually I think capitalism is already incredibly weak and lacking in popular support - the problem is that there really is no clear alternative other than hypothetical social structures that nobody has any idea of how to get to.

    A focus on building municipal socialism at least has quite clear objectives that would be possible to rally people around. That's what I find attractive about it.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  14. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    No they're examples of centre-left parties getting control of local government and those local governments having a knees up.

    I've no issue with municipal socialism but you've not show a single example of the nation state being challenged, you've not shown an example of cities "creating new structures of direct democracy". You've not even given an reason why you think this is more likely to happen than " call centre workers and waiters occupying their workplaces". Electing centre-left parties, the same centre-left parties that are implementing cuts to services, to local government is not municipal socialism. And how has UBI been implemented by governments, local or national?
    mather likes this.
  15. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying it is happening, I'm saying it should happen...

    As for why I think it is more likely than waiters and call centre workers occupying their workplaces, that is because such workplaces are transient, people don't work there long, and they would have no tangible reason to occupy them unless everyone everywhere is committed to the same abtract and largely untested political idea and does it all at once, which is never going to happen. Is this really your plan? Because if it is, you might want to be a little more open minded to thinking about alternative ways to organise and dismantle capitalism.
  16. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    I don't have a plan beyond trying to involved in actions, whether in the workplace or the community, that I hope will strengthen labour. You're not reading what's posted I don't have any problem with municipal socialism I have a problem with the stuff you're trying to portray as municipal socialism.
  17. Idris2002

    Idris2002 A kick up the Arás

    I had been wondering if the end result of Trumpism and parallel phenomena in other countries might not be a repeat performance of the Fascist regimes of interwar Europe, but something resembling parts of the white Commonwealth - places like Quebec under Duplessis or Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen, where repression and socioeconomic injustice coexisted happily with what looked like liberal democracy and the rule of law.

    This piece on Bjelke-Petersen's Queensland makes it quite clear that his rule, and his illiberal uses of a "liberal" political system, were rooted in the historical pattern of the dependent development of Queensland's peripheral agrarian economy:

    Queensland: a state of mind

    So, the analogies with the present Prince of Orange probably shouldn't be pushed too far. It's still a fascinating episode - and that piece is well worth reading.
  18. Idris2002

    Idris2002 A kick up the Arás

  19. Idris2002

    Idris2002 A kick up the Arás

    How elections worked in the DDR:

    More Than Just an Oxymoron? Democracy in the German Democratic Republic.

    Don't laugh! There was of course, no real democracy in the German Democratic Republic. But even the fake minority "parties" like the East German Christian Democrats served a role in the system, one that complicates the picture of the GDR as a totalitarian regime. Anyway, this was a standalone interesting political article.
    Mordi and JimW like this.
  20. J Ed

    J Ed I remember the future

    The Rise and Fall of Clintonism

    NoXion likes this.
  21. spring-peeper

    spring-peeper Well-Known Member

  22. LynnDoyleCooper

    LynnDoyleCooper It's a complicated world innit.

    Rimbaud likes this.

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