Koledar dogodkov

Apr
28
Sun
Panel discussion – Primitive Accumulation in the Post-Socialist Transition and the EU Accession Period @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana
Apr 28 @ 13:00 – 14:30
Panel discussion - Primitive Accumulation in the Post-Socialist Transition and the EU Accession Period @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana

It is very symptomatic that the story of the great historical break of 1989 in Eastern Europe is usually articulated in purely political terms, often with obvious romantically-nationalistic overtones: winds of change have swept away old curtains and walls of the obsolete system, bringing about a second spring of nations that were at last able to breathe freely and democratically. Topics of the concurrent economical and social transformation are usually given much less attention and tend to be very briefly subsumed under the vague notion of ‘liberalisation’. In any case, all these transformations were also supposed to have a determinate final goal: the accession to the EU, which would gladly extend its hospitality to the newly independent neighbours and guide them in the task of constructing democratic institutions.

However, if we assume a more sober perspective it quickly becomes obvious that, given the new political and economic reality,  the absolutely crucial social ‘institution’ that the Eastern European countries certainly lacked was a proper capitalist class. The purpose of this panel is therefore to trace the patterns of socio-economic transformations in Eastern Europe between the collapse of Soviet Union and the accession of the new countries to the EU. What was the interaction between former state property, foreign capital and the newly emerging capitalist class? Did the latter truly emerge – as many perhaps were hoping for – smoothly and spontaneously, simply by the force of the newly unleashed entrepreneurial energy? Or did a shadier process take place, one much closer to Marx’s description of ‘primitive accumulation’, namely a process of violent expropriation?

This discrepancy between the harsh reality of the transition in Eastern Europe and the accompanying Western naivete is perhaps best expressed in the statement that a US treasury official gave regarding Russia as early as 1994: ‘We had a belief that the first generation of Russian capitalists would be nice guys, but they are ruthless motherfuckers.’

Apr
29
Mon
David McNally – Primitive Accumulation, Migrant Workers and Social Reproduction in the Age of Austerity @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana
Apr 29 @ 18:00 – 20:00
David McNally - Primitive Accumulation, Migrant Workers and Social Reproduction in the Age of Austerity @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana

The Age of Austerity ushered in by the global crisis of 2008-9 centrally involves cheapening the reproduction of labour-power by means of reducing both private wages and the social wage administered by the state. These policies have decided class, gender, racial and generational dimensions. To properly elucidate these dimensions, however, requires that we also grasp ongoing primitive accumulation as a crucial ‘moment’ in the austerity agenda. To accomplish this means addressing the role of the reproduction of the global reserve army of labour, and of precarious migrant workers, in the restructuring of labour-power on a world scale.

In order to develop the theory of primitive accumulation in these directions, this paper returns to tensions in Marx’s account of the social reproduction of labour-power. Here I argue that not only does Marx’s conceptualization require a gender analysis, but that it also needs to be developed with respect to the problematic of labour migration. I show where Marx points to ways in which we might do this. The analysis presented underlines the decisive importance of an anti-racist defence of migrant workers for any effective working class politics in the Age of Austerity.

David McNally is Professor of Political Science at York University and a leading member of the New Socialist Group (www.newsocialist.org). He has written extensively on the critique of political economy. His publications include Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance and Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism. 

Prvotna akumulacija, migrantski delavci in družbena reprodukcija v dobi varčevanja

Doba varčevanja, ki jo je povzročila svetovna kriza iz let 2008–2009, v veliki meri temelji na pocenitvi reprodukcije delovne sile s pomočjo zniževanja tako zasebne mezde kakor družbene mezde, s katero upravlja država. Te politike so odločilno posegle v razredna, spolna, rasna in generacijska razmerja. Da bi jih lahko celovito osvetliti, pa moramo upoštevati tudi trenutno prvotno akumulacijo kot ključni »moment« varčevalne politike. Zato moramo analizirati vlogo, ki jo pri preoblikovanju delovne sile na svetovni ravni igrajo reprodukcija svetovne rezervne armade delovne sile in prekarni migrantski delavci.

Da bi lahko razvili teorijo prvotne akumulacije s tega gledišča, se bomo vrnili k napetosti v Marxovi obravnavi družbene reprodukcije delovne sile. Pokazali bomo, da Marxova konceptualizacija potrebuje ne samo analizo spolov, temveč jo je treba razviti tudi z vidika delavske migracije. Izpostavili bomo mesta, kjer nam to omogoča sam Marx. Predstavljena analiza bo poudarila ključnost antirasistične obrambe migrantskih delavcev za učinkovito politiko delavskega razreda v dobi varčevanja.

David McNally je profesor na kanadski Univerzi York in eden vodilnih članov kolektiva New Socialist (www.newsocialist.org). Ukvarja se s kritiko politične ekonomije. Med drugim je objavil knjigi Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance in Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism.

Lectures & Predavanja:
Global Crisis – Global Resistance
“Labour-Power and Social Reproduction: From Capital to the Current Crisis”

May
1
Wed
Round table – Toward a European Left Strategy of Building a Socialist Alternative @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana
May 1 @ 18:00 – 20:00
Round table - Toward a European Left Strategy of Building a Socialist Alternative @ Stara mesta elektrarna - Elektro Ljubljana, Slomškova 18, Ljubljana

The European Union is often celebrated in the liberal commonsense discourse as a pacifistic project that finally brought peace, prosperity and brotherhood to modern Europe after centuries of wars between European nations or states. Furthermore, the EU is celebrated as a democratic project: immediately after the Second World War, at the very onset of European integration, the main ideological momentum of ‘democracy’ was antifascism; however, after the defeat of real socialism, the main ideological focus of the EU turned against ‘totalitarianism’ in an attempt to equate socialism with fascism.

The notion of the EU as an anti-totalitarian organisation reveals the purpose of contemporary European integration. In its opposition to both fascism and socialism, it betrays its liberal, more precisely, neoliberal bias spearheaded mainly against any kind of socialist or even Keynesian reforms. Mechanisms of preventing socialist ‘totalitarianism’ are constituent parts of the EU treaties (such as the Maastricht Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty), projects (the single currency project and the common market), pacts (such as the Growth and Stability Pact, the Six Pack) and the institutional framework notorious for its democratic deficit.

The crisis exposed the antisocialist and therefore antisocial bias of this kind of ‘union’. The common market policies are disabling the member states to compete in the common market in any other way than by suppressing the working classes. The single currency outsourced the monetary policies of the member states to the European Central Bank, which is not willing to play the role of lender in last resort whose main goal is to lower inflation, and thus pushes the member states into the cold hands of private financial markets. Its treaties and pacts are imposing a ‘straightjacket’ on member states. They are imposing fiscal rules on the one hand, while on the other they don’t provide fiscal transfers to guarantee convergence between the member states. And last but not least, the technocratic and authoritarian character of supranational institutions, which don’t even correspond to bourgeois democratic standards, are disabling the people and progressive forces to even slightly change these mechanisms. The dictatorship of the capitalist élites is perfected in this institutional framework.

The results of this kind of integration are of course no less than devastating. In the Union that pushed its member states into ruthless competition the wages of its working classes are being suppressed, its welfare state decomposed and once sacred social rights denied. Furthermore, the Union’s periphery, which was unable to catch up with far more advanced industrial production of the core, experienced drastic erosion of the productive base and finally fell into a debt trap. The expected miracle of the free market policies turned into a nightmare. States are diverging rather than converging, the tensions between the core and periphery are escalating, and the working classes are thrown into brutal exploitation and misery. The only profiteer in this story is – naturally – the European bourgeoisie.

Therefore, the EU is no less than a project of European capitalist élites aimed at imposing neoliberalism masked as ‘European integration’. To us, the anticapitalist left, this poses the following riddle: if the bias of the really existing European integration is neoliberal, how can we respond? Is it possible to change the institutional framework to function in favour of the working classes? Is a ‘good euro’ possible and if so, under which circumstances? And if it is impossible, how risky would it be to exit the euro zone and the EU? And finally: is a socialist Europe possible?

Feb
10
Mon
Študijski seminar – Sovjetska zveza in njeni kritiki @ ZSSS, Ljubljana
Feb 10 @ 17:00 – 19:00
Študijski seminar - Sovjetska zveza in njeni kritiki @ ZSSS, Ljubljana

Nosilca in izvajalca: Sašo Furlan in Tibor Rutar
Prijave in informacije: tibor.rutar@gmail.com
Termin: vsak ponedeljek 17.00 -19.00 (od 18. novembra naprej)
Lokacija: Knjižnica Mirovnega inštituta (Metelkova 6)

Na prvem, uvodnem srečanju bo predaval dr. Lev Centrih.

Na bralnem seminarju se bomo posvetili teoretski refleksiji enega najbolj razvpitih poskusov izgradnje kapitalizmu alternativnega družbeno-ekonomskega sistema v 20. stoletju – realno obstoječega socializma v Sovjetski zvezi. Te tematike se ne lotevamo le iz gole zgodovinske radovednosti, saj menimo, da nam ustrezna refleksija tega projekta lahko marsikaj pove tudi o sami naravi sodobnega kapitalizma ter o možnostih in pogojih njegove odprave. Dejstvo, da je nemara najbolj megalomanski poskus izgradnje socializma v zgodovini človeštva klavrno spodletel in za seboj pustil nič več kot restavracijo kapitalizma, kaže na neizmerno trdoživost, vztrajnost in dinamičnost družbeno-ekonomskega sistema, v katerem živimo. Hkrati pa priča o tem, da je izgradnja socialistične družbe, ki bi trajno nadomestila kapitalizem, vse prej kakor lahka naloga. Ustrezna analiza vzrokov za neuspeh preteklih poskusov izgradnje socializma je zato nujen predpogoj uspešnosti vsakršne socialistične prakse, ki danes ponovno poskuša odpraviti kapitalizem.

Seminar ne bo osredotočen na empirične študije zgodovinskega razvoja Sovjetske zveze, temveč na teoretske tekste marksističnih avtorjev, ki tako ali drugače poskušajo artikulirati bistvene strukturne poteze ter tendence in zakone, ki so določali in regulirali družbeno-ekonomski sistem v Sovjetski zvezi. Podrobneje bomo obravnavali tri marksistične teorije o družbeno-ekonomskem sistemu v Sovjetski zvezi: teorijo »degenerirane delavske države«, ki jo je postavil Lev Trocki in kasneje preciziral Ernest Mandel; teorijo »državnega kapitalizma«, ki sta jo razvila Raja Dunajevska in C. L. R. James; in teorijo »spodbijane reprodukcije« (contested reproduction), ki jo je na podlagi spisov Jevgenija Preobraženskega razvil Michael Lebowitz. Pri kritičnem soočenju omenjenih teorij ne bomo mogli obiti temeljnih tekstov samega Marxa, saj se vse te teorije posredno ali neposredno naslanjajo na njegovo teorijo vrednosti. Ravno pravilno razumevanje Marxove teorije vrednosti je namreč odločilni kriterij za presojanje o ustreznosti marksističnih teorij strukturnih potez družbeno-ekonomskega sistema v Sovjetski zvezi.

Edini pogoj za udeležbo je prebrana literatura. Ob prvem obisku prosimo, da mentorjema sporočite svoj e-naslov, ki bo dodan na seznam prejemnikov literature, ki jo boste obiskovalci seminarja prejemali sproti v e-formatu.

Literatura:

  • Chattopadhyay, Paresh. The Marxian Concept of Capital and the Soviet Experience. Westport (CN): Praeger, 1994.
  • Cliff, Tony. State Capitalism in Russia. London: Bookmarks, 1988 [1955].
  • CLR, James, Raya Dunayevskaya in Grace Lee. State Capitalism and World Revolution. Oakland: PM Press, 2013 [1950].
  • Dunayevskaya, Raya. The Nature of Russian Economy. 1946-47. Dostopno prek: http://www.marxists.org/archive/dunayevskaya/works/1946/statecap.htm.
  • Lebowitz, Michael. The Contradictions of »Real Socialism«. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012.
  • Mandel, Ernest. The Inconsistencies of State Capitalism. 1969. Dostopno prek: http://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1969/08/statecapitalism.htm.
  • Marx, Karl. »Kritika gothskega programa«. Prev. Maks Veselko. Karl Marx in Friedrich Engels, Izbrana dela. 4. zv. Ur. Boris Ziherl. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, 1968 [1875]. 479–509.
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  • Marx, Karl. H kritiki politične ekonomije : 1858-1861. Ur. Tomaž Mastnak; prev. Igor Kramberger, Tomaž Mastnak in Rado Riha. Ljubljana: Marksistični center CK ZKS, 1989.
  • Marx, Karl. Kapital : kritika politične ekonomije. 1, Produkcijski proces kapitala. Ur. Jernej Habjan, Marko Kržan in Ciril Oberstar; prev. Mojca Dobnikar. Ljubljana, Sophia, 2012 [1867].
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  • Stalin, Joseph. Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR. 1951. Dostopno prek: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1951/economic-problems/.
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