Discussion in 'world politics, current affairs and news' started by J Ed, Oct 28, 2017.
A visit to Florence, Alabama. If anyone want to read it pm me.
Migration and national social democracy in Britain
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!
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
I hope not, that version of 'communism' looks shit.
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.
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?
The USA? Or just another country?
Get Over Yourself, America
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
From 2007: Max Hastings looks back on Rhodesia, and none too fondly either:
Max Hastings: I'll never lament the passing of white rule in Zimbabwe
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.
The Rise and Fall of Clintonism
Excellent history concerning previous US trade wars.
If You Aren't Worried About A Trade War, You Don't Know About The Chicken Tax
Bit niche; article on the military preparing to fight in megacities...
The future battlefield: Army, Marines prepare for ‘massive’ fight in megacities
Anyone know where i should put this (in the absence of any wider expulsion thread anyway)?
Standing with African migrants, former IDF fighters recall their ‘hell’
Those were the record years of what was referred to as “the infiltration”—the arrival of African asylum seekers from the Egyptian border—and these fighters were the first people to greet them in Israel after their long journey in the deserts of Africa.
The soldiers encountered slim, injured, sick and starved people. The scars from horrors they had experienced on the way—being kidnapped for ransom, beaten, raped and abused—were evident on their bodies. And those were the lucky one.
There were many others who died on the way. Some died of illnesses and starvation, others were murdered by their captors and others weren’t lucky enough to escape the Egyptian soldiers’ bullets before fleeing into Israel. The Caracal fighters heard and saw them. They heard the asylum seekers’ screams and watched from the observation posts as the Egyptian soldiers sprayed them with bullets, placed them in a line and executed them.
The Kinder Scout Mass Trespass
Another interesting piece in Jacobin. Don't think I'd read about it before.
Whither the Democratic Socialists of America? According to this member, they should be OK, so long as they can purge the subculturalists from their ranks:
DSA Is At A Crossroads – Jeremy Gong – Medium
This guy has some good personal reasons for shunning the wankers who think dying their hair purple makes them radical rebel revolutionaries - but you'll have to read the piece to find out what those reasons are.
Letter from Paris: André Gide and His New Antagonist – Barricade
Walter Benjamin writes "What makes Maulnier a fascist is the insight that it is only by means of violence that the position of the privileged can still be asserted. To present the summation of their privileges as “culture”: it is in this that he sees his special task"
Guilt, choice, and responsibility in the austerity kitchen
Good to see this kind of thing written about.
This short article showing the decline in support for democracy and democratic institutions - most sharply among centrists - is interesting reading. Opinion | Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists
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