Launching the new version of UnionBase
Welcome to UnionBase, the world’s first social networking platform for the labor movement with 30,000 Union Profiles, an expertly crafted user experience for union and non-union workers and a cutting edge Verification System.
Workers and unions will be able to connect like never before. Founded by Larry Williams Jr. in 2015, UnionBase is a first of its kind pro-union social networking platform. Larry is the President of Progressive Workers’ Union (PWU) and has been a union organizer, educator and leader for 10 years in Washington, D.C.
What are the hope for a renewed Social Democracy across Europe? Who constitute the new Atlantic ruling class? How do we combat the rise of xenophobia? And what is the future of the war-torn countries across the globe? Kees van der Pijl, one of the leading Marxist political scientists, takes us through his intellectual and political development since the 1970s, as well as pointing towards the future developments for emancipatory politics in this wide-ranging interview with George Souvlis and Yulia Yurchenko (originally published by LeftEast).
Q1: Would you like to present yourself by focusing on the formative experiences (academic and political) that have strongly influenced you?
My generation was a lucky one, the baby-boomers whose society was in competition with state socialism, our own social order discredited by the Great Depression and two world wars. So capitalism was compelled to show a human face (at home, not in southeast Asia, Africa or Latin America, of course). Although coming from a very modest background, I was able to study for practically nothing, enjoy quality schooling compared to what is offered today, and profit from other social provision and protection. It was generally a Spartan but optimistic environment to grow up in. From my background in the declining petty bourgeoisie of small shopkeepers, I also inherited a mentality of hard work, not counting on others, and a penchant for not trusting the high and mighty (that turned out very useful, too).
So when my generation experienced first-hand what is now recognised as the moment the capitalist class called into question the post-war class compromise forced upon it by Depression and war, and we ourselves burst onto the scene with a permissive culture breaking with the rigidities of reconstruction Cold War Europe, we were relatively well-trained, hungry for a different world (socialism in any form), and optimistic.
Yet at the time I personally completely failed to see what Wolfgang Streeck has called the three successive attempts by Western governments (inflation, state debt, private debt) to cover the breakdown of the post-war class compromise by throwing money into the breaches. We interpreted the 1970s crisis as a crisis of capital, whereas it was in fact a crisis of the post-war class compromise as a consequence of the restructuring of capital to relations of exploitation and domination outside that compromise –both at home and abroad.
I was hired by the University of Amsterdam in 1973, which was then faced with a massive expansion of student intake, in a climate of student revolt, ‘Marxism’, and with mainstream theories such as positivism being ridiculed. Much time was spent in meetings that in hindsight served no purpose but to offer a terrain the government and university administration had decided or just guessed would slowly tame the student movement by incorporating the administratively-minded into the governing structures and prepare these for a transition towards a market-oriented university regime.
I was also, from the mid-70s to when it collapsed, a member of the Dutch communist party CPN. That party had no clue of what was going on either, and basically mistrusted intellectuals. Even so, my membership satisfied my search for a real opposition, and I must say that in the party I finally encountered the working class, its culture, powerful humanity, and the tradition from which the party had been able to build the most powerful resistance movement in our country against the Nazi occupation in World War II. All this, the strength of character, humour, and iron organisation, made the party an unforgettable life experience but intellectually it did not really influence me. Those who influenced me were French communists, some East German and Soviet authors, whose books I found in the communist bookshop: Paul Boccara, Christian Palloix, and so on to Poulantzas, Suzanne de Brunhoff.
My most inspiring teacher in Leiden, where I studied, was the Indologist, Jan Heesterman, who appreciated my creativity and intellectual curiosity more than the political science teachers such as Hans Daalder and Arend Lijphart who wanted an American-style discipline. Ben Sijes, a veteran Council Communist (anti-party) was a guest professor and intellectually was very important for me, because he introduced us to Pannekoek, who (as a contemporary internationally renowned Marxist) criticised Stalinist propagation of Lenin’s original, mistaken materialism.
Once in Amsterdam, my late friend Gabriel Kolko, the US historian, who along with his wife and (co-) author Joyce had come to live there, was a great source of inspiration and so was Robert Cox whom I got to know through Stephen Gill. André Gunder Frank was employed by our university for a year or so and during that time we had some very memorable encounters. Of course my co-conspirators in Amsterdam, Meindert Fennema, Henk Overbeek and later Otto Holman, and others, and several cohorts of unforgettable students, were able and insightful interlocutors in developing intellectually.
The pursuance system is the world’s first comprehensive framework for process democracy. That is, it allows individuals with no prior relationship to self-organize into robust, agile entities governed via a “proceduralism of agreement.” These entities, called pursuances, in turn engage and collaborate among themselves to whatever extent they choose, leading ultimately to a vast and formidable ecosystem of opposition to institutionalized injustice.
This system will be populated on an invitation basis, beginning towards the end of 2017. For consideration as a participant, and to receive further information as it becomes public, subscribe below.
(Note: Privacy Badger breaks this form! If you’re using the Privacy Badger browser extension, please disable it momentarily in order to subscribe.)
More About Pursuances
For the first time in history, any individual may now collaborate with any other individual. One may get a sense of the implications of this by considering how different human history would have been had early man possessed some psychic ability to find and communicate with anyone else across the world. We now have something very similar, and in some ways more powerful.
It’s easy to underestimate the significance of this in part because it’s also easy to overestimate it and, worse, to romanticize it. The advent of the internet was immediately followed by triumphalist manifestos setting out the great and positive changes that were now afoot. That much of what was predicted didn’t immediately come to pass has led some to challenge the entire premise of the internet as a potentially revolutionary force for good.
Certainly the utopian predictions of the early ‘90s were off the mark; indeed the clearest picture we have today contains seeds of actual dystopia. Meanwhile, the trivial uses to which the internet is commonly put can make it difficult to take seriously as a transcendental factor in our civilization. But then gunpowder was originally used to make fireworks. And a technology that may be used to oppress may also be used to liberate. Again, gunpowder comes to mind.
The way in which events have proceeded in our society since the advent of the internet tells us less about the internet than it does about our society. There are a few lessons we can glean, though. In the large, we know that mass connectivity does not automatically lead to mass enlightenment. We know that states will sometimes seek to use the internet to further their control over information, and that they will sometimes be successful in this. We know many things of this sort. But none of this tells us what the internet will ultimately mean for human civilization. That will be determined on the ground, in the years to follow.
There was a time not too long ago when India’s millennial elites, born into an age of globalization, hailed the “technological revolution” as a one-way ticket to infinite opportunity. Today the economic miracle has been derailed, and young workers are starting to demand a refund.
In recent months, workers have reported that mass layoffs at Indian tech hubs are becoming routine as companies shed engineers and slash wages and benefits. Companies that previously invested heavily in emerging Indian firms for global outsourcing contracts seem to be recoiling from a volatile global labor market, and India’s rapid economic expansion is hitting snags.
The global digital bubble’s seemingly inevitable pop has also been sped along by Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and promise of “reshoring” offshored jobs to the United States. This week, even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks business on his maiden visit to the Trump White House, the administration is also moving to tighten the criteria for the H-1B visa, a federal program that has drawn in tens of thousands of foreign professionals, particularly technicians and programmers from India—often at relatively low pay rates.
Meet the Tech Workers Coalition
We are a coalition of workers in and around the tech industry, labor organizers, community organizers, and friends. We are organizing for activism, civic engagement and education in the Bay Area. We work in solidarity with existing movements towards social justice, workers rights, and economic inclusion. Want to learn more?
How We Work
You are welcome to check us out at our monthly organization meeting in San Francisco.
Learn More and Stay Connected
See what we’ve been writing on our blog.
We’re also happy to chat, answer any questions you might have, or hear about any social justice efforts in which you need a partner. Send us an email.
Source: Tech Workers Coalition
Source: Tech Solidarity
Tech Solidarity is a grass-roots organization whose goal is to better connect tech workers with the communities they live in. Our emphasis is on regular in-person meetings, volunteer assistance to organizations serving the vulnerable, and the creative use of labor law in pursuit of an ethical agenda.
Founded in November of 2016 by Maciej Ceglowski, a San Francisco web developer, Tech Solidarity holds quasi-monthly meetups in a number of American cities, and tries to serve as a clearinghouse for information and technical assistance.
Our aim is to have regular in-person events in every major tech center. See the events calendar for the meetup nearest you.
Date: 13 November 2017Location: IISH, Amsterdam
Time and programme will follow.
Connecting to the masses is critical for the success of any movement, resurrection, protest, and revolution. The communication mechanisms for this connection have some times evolved and other times undergone revolutions of their own. Since the Russian centennial, scholars have examined how media and communication affects this connection to the masses in a double yet complimentary dynamic: how governments connect to the masses and how masses connect to their governments.Therefore, we invite participants to debate this relationship and the strategies and lessons of “connecting to the masses”, in light of the development in media, technology and communication strategies over the last century.
- Evolution of propaganda: From leaflet bombs to Twitter
- Artificial attention, political packaging and the so-called attention economy
- Tactical media and tech activism in the 20th and 21st centuries
- Strategies and lessons for the use of ICTs in mobilization
- Impact of technology on revolutionary social change in the macro-perspective
- Revolutionary-era media and communist rhetoric and transition to post-communism
- Mediated contestation, surveillance, censorship and systems of control
- From journalism to social media gatekeepers
- Spheres and systems of political deliberation
- Evolution of the ownership of means of communication, processes of labour reproduction in the media, culture and communication industries
- (R)evolution of technology at work, digital labour, alternative production models
- Intelligence and cyberespionage in the 100 years span.
- Technosocial infrastructures and the politicization of health, illness and biopolitics.
The below trilogy is of an immense importance in terms of emancipatory praxis today. These three great books were written for the thinkers and builders of post-capitalist futures by Kenneth M. Stokes in the midst of neoliberal-postmodernist-globalization offensive, between 1992-96. Altough they have broke a ground by setting forward a synthetic Marxian-Bogdanovite approach to critical systems thinking, in order to provide a praxiological tool that would enable steer the social change in the age of complexity, control, and disintegration, from an emancipatory point of view, they have not been recognized and read as much as they deserved. Stokes’ work, for us, does not only provides hope and guidance to steer the world, hopefully safely, to a synthetic human civilization through a coevolutionary (cultural) political economy, he also marks the Bogdanovite Turn in the critique of global political economy, exactly century after Bogdanov did start making of his intervention.
1. Man and the Biosphere: Toward a Co-evolutionary Political Economy – https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=ZcYYDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en_GB&pg=GBS.PT8
2. Paradigm Lost: Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy –
3. A Metatheoretical Discourse: Epistemological, Procedural, and Methodological Issues in Political Economy: http://www.iuj.ac.jp/media/stokes/index.htm
The Bail Out Business is the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the steps taken since the 2008 financial crisis to understand who benefits from rescue packages in the EU. Above all, it highlights the role of the Big Four (audit firms) and a small coterie of financial consultancy firms in the business of designing and implementing bail out programs in EU Member States.
Sol Trumbo Vila, Matthijs Peters
Corporate Power, Democratising Europe, Public Sector Alternatives
Bail outs in the EU have a hidden cost for taxpayers. On top of the public money used for the bail outs, contracts worth hundreds of millions of Euro have been given to a small number of financial consultants to advise member states and EU institutions.
The so-called Big Four audit firms (EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PWC), with a small coterie of financial advisors, have designed the bloc’s most important rescue packages. Bail out consultants have also been rewarded with new business, even though many gave poor advice or failed to raise the alarm at crucial moments.
For years we have been investigating austerity measures and vast privatisation programmes in Europe. Following our last report on the privatising industry in Europe we decided to hone in on those firms involved in the numerous EU bail out programmes and found a shockingly similar pattern. The Bail-out Business reveals the hidden costs of the rescue packages and a troubling array of conflicts of interest.
Correction 23/2/2017: Lazard was paid 3 million euros for a few days work
Watch the video:
8 – 9 December 2016
Auditori Fundació Tàpies, Barcelona
The BITS Symposium will stimulate a global debate about the changing meanings of sovereignty and explore the ways in which various types of sovereignty – of citizens, cities, nation states, and regions – can still be maintained in today’s highly technological global conditions. With a strong focus on the political effects of technological change, BITS will explore how the rise of Technology platforms and the data extractivism they enable is transforming governments, labor, ownership, and access to the basics of life such as water, food, housing, and energy. This task is particularly important as the current political and economic regime reformulates itself around the rhetorical and practical kernel of digital technology, with a new mighty alliance between technology firms, global finance, and the military-industrial complex.
Keynote: Power, Economics and Crisis in the Era of Authoritarian Capitalism
Kees van der Pijl, Professor Emeritus, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, presents a keynote on the power, economics and crisis in the era of authoritarian aapitalism. Julian Assange, Founder and Editor of Wikileaks, responds to the keynote.
Session 1: The Geopolitics of Technology
Dan Schiller, Emeritus Professor and Historian of Information and Communications, University of Illinois, opens the session with a keynote on The Geopolitics of Technology, in which he provides an overview of U.S. digital capitalism and asserts that, because digitization constitutes a rare pole of economic growth, it has incited intensifying geopolitical conflict. He goes on to assess briefly some of the challengers of this U.S.-centric political-economy, particularly China. Though the U.S. remains numero uno, it seems likely that we are reaching – or perhaps we have already reached – a “hinge moment.” Evgeny Morozov and Carlos Figueira respond to the keynote in an open debate facilitated by Francesca Bria.
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
In 2007 I did write a review article for the first volume of Kees Van Der Pijl’s magnum opus: Modes of Foreign Relations and Political Economy, subtitled as Nomads, Empires, States. The title of my review article was “Modes of Foreign Relations vs Uneven and Combined Development: The Marxist Legacy and Relations between and within Alienated Societies”, and it was published by the journal of International Sociology in 2008. The text is online and can be accessed here. Just for self-crediting note, it was written before the reviewed book won the Isaac Deutscher prize in 2008, and the topic was discussed by a panel during the sixth Historical Materialism conference, which also hosts the Isaac Deutscher prize ceremony. Thus it was written independently from the separate journal symposium held on Cambridge Review of International Affairs in 2009 on the topic; and more importantly without any knowledge of the exchange (Alex Anievas refers in the intro to the CRIA symposium) took place between Justin Rosenberg and Alex Callinicos on “UE&CD and the international” somewhere in 2007.
The second and the third volumes of Van Der Pijl’s trilogy titled as The Foreign Encounter in Myth and Religion and The Discipline of Western Supremacy. Both volumes did exceeded my expectations, satisfying enthusiasm I got with the first volume. Although it was my intention I could not yet write a review for the entire work, nevertheless it would be just to say that Van Der Pijl’s trilogy has already taken its place amongst the 21st century classics. Along the pages of the three volumes Van Der Pijl applies Marx’ method of abstraction, that is historical and dialectical materialism, to the relations between alienated world societies, thus to the field of ‘foreign relations’, independently. Doing so the whole project not only smashes the cold blooded, state-maniacal, and disciplinary ‘International Relations’ to the ground, by a strong argument politicizing and historicizing it based on rich empirical material; but it also does so by providing a brilliant historical materialist analysis for rethinking modern nationalism. Van Der Pijl also claims that applying Marx methodology, in a similar way, on different fields of social life, as ideology, power and so on, and integrating those analyses that would be possible to develop a more complete Marxian state and class theories that are essential to advance the critique of today’s global political economy.
PART 1: The Formation of a Transnational Corporate Community
1. Is there a transnational corporate community?
2. Forging a new hegemony: the transnational corporate-policy network, 1996
3. Global cities in the global corporate network
PART 2: Into the 21st Century: The Changing Organization of Corporate Power
4. Transnational accumulation and global networking
5. Transnationalists and national networkers
6. Billionaires and networkers: wealth, position, and corporate power
PART 3: A Transnational Historic Bloc?
7. Constituting corporate Europe
8. Consolidating the transnational corporate-policy network, 1996-2006
9. Hegemony and counter-hegemony in a global field
WRITTEN BY LORENZO FRANCESCHI-BICCHIERAI
July 20, 2016 // 08:00 AM EST
A little bit over a year ago, the normally quiet Twitter account of Hacking Team, an Italian company that sells spying tools to governments all over the world, started acting weird.
“Since we have nothing to hide, we’re publishing all our e-mails, files, and source code,” read a Tweet published on late Sunday, July 5, 2015.
The tweet was accompanied by a link to a torrent file of around 400 gigabytes, practically everything Hacking Team had on its corporate servers: internal emails, confidential documents, and even the company’s source code. Hacking Team, which at that point was already notorious for selling its wares to repressive regimes and governments such as Ethiopia, Morocco, and others, had just gotten hacked.
Hours later, the hacker who breached the company’s computers, and used its own official Twitter account to spread the hacked data and embarrass it, revealed himself to be the same one who the year prior had carried out a similar attack against another company that sells spyware to governments, FinFisher.
Since then, the hacker, who goes by the moniker Phineas Fisher, has kept mostly quiet, except for some tweets on his own Twitter account, and a writeup on how he broke into Hacking Team, which also served as a manifesto of his “hack back” hacking political movement.
Before all this, though, just a few weeks after his hack, I asked him if he wanted to do an interview with some colleagues from VICE Canada, who were working on a documentary on the growing market of cyber mercenaries, companies that sell hacking and spying tools to police and intelligence agencies all over the world.
After some back and forth, Phineas Fisher agreed—with one strange condition.
“I’ll do a video interview if you get kermit the frog (or a homemade non-trademark violating puppet) and a voice actor to read lines I type in chat,” Phineas Fisher told me.
And so, our friends in Canada got a homemade puppet and chatted with Phineas Fisher in his first-ever extended interview. You can watch most parts of the interview in the video below, or read the full transcript (lightly edited for clarity) also below.
Two recent major studies by Manuel Castells and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have addressed the future of the capitalist economy, the modern state, and social struggles in the light of new infor…
2000-06-01, Chris Bailey
The trend of modern capitalism is towards both globalisation and networking. These features are closely related, but distinctly separate.
Since the late 1970s, an enormous expansion in the export of capital across national boundaries has taken place. Giant transnational corporations have been carrying out a global ‘rationalisation’ of production and distribution, treating nation-states as largely irrelevant. Neo-liberalism has developed as a political movement accelerating this process by deregulating the cross-border flow of capital around the world.
An explosive expansion of computer and telecommunications technology has accompanied these developments. By shrinking distances, this new technology has been a major factor in the globalisation of capitalist production. It has also played an essential role in bringing about the domination of networked forms of organisation. Although networks of various kinds have existed for centuries, modern computer technology has allowed them to take on new features and modes of operation and made them a central aspect of modern capitalism.
The essential nature of a network and the connection with computer communications has been described by Sally Burch, one of the pioneers of social movement networking in Latin America: “Unlike rigid structures, true networks are essentially flexible. They generate multiple channels of communication in which, as in the functioning of the brain, connections are made as needed and then suspended until a new need arises. In this way, information flows through the channel of least resistance, rapidly making its way to the most dynamic points of the network, on any given issue. Physically, this is very similar to the way the Internet works, and that is precisely one of the reasons why it is so appropriate for any initiative based on networking.”
Computer technology has created the conditions for a global communications network that is essential to the operation of capitalism today. But capitalism has also shown that networking need not be simply limited to communication and the flow of information, it has become a feature of the capitalist manufacturing process itself. In Flexible Dimensions of a Permanent Crisis: TNCs, Flexibility, and Workers in Asia, Gerard Greenfield describes how transnational corporations work with a mass of sub-contractors to bring about what is essentially a networked production system. Here he explains how “the logic of TNC subcontracting” works for Nike’s strategy in Asia: “From July last year, PT Indomulti Inti Industry stopped producing Nike shoes because Nike’s price was too low” and “failed to consider the labour costs and other operational costs. Other subcontractors accepted the lower prices demanded by Nike, and cut labour costs to absorb the loss. On the other hand Nike has cut orders to subcontractors like Samyang, a South Korean-owned factory in Vietnam, in response to the gains workers were making in organising and collective bargaining. At the same time, Nike has increased orders to Yue Yuen, a Taiwanese-owned subcontractor, which is increasing the production capacity of its factories in Indonesia and Vietnam. For Nike, Yue Yuen has emerged as a ‘reliable’ subcontractor because it can ensure both lower prices and more effective repression of workers.” Continue reading
ON CRITICS OF “TEKTOLOGY”
[Reproduced in Bogdanov’s Tektology, Book 1, trans. Vadim N. Sadovsky, Andrei Kartashov, Vladimir V. Kelle and Peter Bystrov, ed. Peter Dudley, Hull: Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, 1996, 322 pp. (English). Trans. of the first volume of the 1989 reprint of the 3rd edition (1925).]
“Tektology” has excited very few critical comments up until now. I shall not speak here about the two to three more or less impartial reviewers, but as far as I know, the strictly polemic literature directed against “Tektology” for these last 11 years may be placed on ten if not less pages. However quantity is not the point: many things may be said in a few words. So I must respond to the examples of this literature that are known to me.
Firstly, a part of V.I. Nevsky’s paper “Dialectical materialism and the philosophy of dead reaction” (in an addendum to the second edition of the book “Materialism and Empiriocriticism”, by V. I. Lenin) is devoted to tektology. three main accusations are advanced in this paper. Here is the first: “Probably A. Bogdanov is the only person who knows what the laws of ingression are; but a reader can not fish out of two parts of his “Tektology” anything more than naked schema that say nothing” (p. 379).
Should I object? I think that any reader, who has at least looked through the book, is already able to judge how flattering V.I. Nevsky’s affirmation of his reader’s inability to “fish out” something more than “naked” schema is to him.
Further: “…However, besides these schemes, both books of Tektology contain a numerous multitude of new terms confusing the description of a metaphysical system that is already vague. A. Bogdanov himself who likes to protest against the barbarian terminology of bourgeois science piles up scores of new terms. What are the names that he has and where are these taken from copulation and conjugation (terms taken from biology), ingression, egression, disingression and system differentiation; and how many combinations of all these symbols he has!” (pp. 379-380).
“Metaphysical system”! According to the ordinary usage of words in philosophy, it means a system operating beyond the limits of experience and possible verification; according to the Hegelian- dialectic usage of words – a system that is alien to the idea of development and proceeds from something motionless, invariable and absolute. The reader will evaluate for himself the composure or, perhaps, the ignorance of terminology that is needed to give such names to the contribution the whole of which is devoted to methods of solving practical and scientific-theoretical problems.
“A numerous multitude of terms”… There are quoted seven terms that is about a half of all the terms really introduced by me. Does V.I. Nevsky believe that it is possible to create a new science of a universal scale, a general methodology of any praxis and theory without using new terms? How may new concepts – so new as V.I. Nevsky himself was unable to understand these and to “fish out” anything from these – be expressed then? There are hundreds and thousands of specific terms in any special science. I have no doubts that many new terms will be worked out in tektology in the process of its development, but its methods will open the possibility of rejecting thousands of the old terms of the different sciences since its task is to find a general thing hidden under a variety of “special” covers.
The third main accusation is “idealism”.
What it is based on? It is argued from the fact – it is fearful even to say – that “Tektology” deals with “different complexes composed of elements of different kinds” (p. 378). But Mach has “complexes” and “elements” also! But Mach is an idealist according to all decrees! Should the proof be continued?
Below text, dated January 1921, was a lecture that had to wait four years to be delivered after the brake out of the first systemic level communist revolution in Russia -as one of the outcomes of the first of the, as then was called, inter-imperialist wars.
It was exactly 95 years ago, when Alexander Bogdanov had given this lecture at the First Scientific Organisation of Labour ‘Congress’, in Moscow. Alexander Bogdanov was one of the ultraleft protagonists of the Bolshevik fraction, although he did never believe in revolution that comes from the top, by any organizer classes and upon (and for) those who are being organized.
Below article was written in March 2011, in the absence of knowledge of Bogdanov and his work; in order to make a projection of a self-organizing model for workers, taking the recuperation of the knowledge of the entire production process as base for collective action. As such knowledge is normally held by ‘scinetific managers’, experts in organizational management and data extraction from the living labour, who design and redesign the workings of the whole system in accordance with the interest of the company management.
After several years of deep study of Alexander Bogdanov, I can today strongly assert that the vison he gives in below text does not reflect a top down economic planing strategy for the revolutionary Bolshevik leaderships.
As in the principle stand Bogdanov showed before Lenin, first and foremost, as well as others; in Proletkult movement, in RDSLP and VPERED, and also in his Red Star; the vision he put forward is a projection into a future society. A society where people are reached to a level of self-organization and empowerment, at the planet level. Economic activity is not taken separate from cultural and political ones; causing anarchic or dis/less organized whole producing entropy; but instead an advanced, structurally uniform, but built-up-from-grassroots-economic-network the allow full autonomy to its individual constituent parts.. a networked system in which all empowers one, while one empowers all.
That is why I would read the title as peer to peer scientific organization of labour at a societal level…
THE ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF A UNIFORM ECONOMIC PLAN
IWilliam Carroll (with Elaine Coburn and J.P. Sapinski).2016. Expose, Oppose, Propose: Alternative Policy Groups and the Struggle for Global Justice. London: Zed Books. 2016.
This is a book on such an important subject, carried out with such serious theoretical underpinnings and such an original methodology, that it might seem churlish to take issue with what it fails to deal with.
expose-oppose-propose-320x501But, then, 1) I used to teach on international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and preach on and against NGOisation, 2) I am familiar with various of the alternative think tanks Bill Carroll is writing about and know personally numerous of his informants, 3) the‘subject position’ I here adopt is that of an academic specialist (pensioned but unretiring) on international labour movements, networks and communication. And these three points may allow me to critique a book I would otherwise simply recommend to all those interested in, or working within, the global justice movement,with which the author is himself clearly identified.
But I had better first say why I value the work.
The subject is crucial because, in the absence of any institutional partysan (sic) International (with its official Theory, Leaders, Analyses, Strategies, Anathemas and Factionalisms), such centres – and I stress the plural – play a crucial international role in what we (in at least the international I once worked for) used to call ‘the battle of ideas’.
The theoretical underpinningsof the work are broadly Marxist, primarily of the Gramscianvariety, as suggested by Chapter 1: ‘Hegemony, Counter-Hegemony and Organic Crisis’.
Whilst clearly sympathizing with class analysis, Carroll distinguishes his position from
Many anarchists, autonomist and social democrats [being] based in a commitment to counter-hegemonic globalization […][This] synonym for justice globalism, resonates with a broader, deeper post-Enlightenment, shorn of colonialism–a commitment to rigorous self-criticism and social criticism, as in Marx’s…call for a ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’. (30. Italics in original)
More theory and often novel conceptualization is however introduced along the way,as Carroll seems to require. Thus, he draws on his background as a radical communications specialist in analyzing the centres’ relations with the dominant and alternative media (177-89).