Living The Dream with Marx’s Theories of Crisis

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This episode is a recording from Marx200 Brisbane of Dave’s (@withsobersenses) presentation on Marx’s Theories of Crisis .

Music by Stereolab

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Living The Dream during Trump’s Trade War

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) tries to start an analysis of the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policy. Why has the Australian Left been so paralysed over this question? What sense can we make of it? How do we understand the policies of the state in the broader dynamics of world capitalism?

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 Stuff mentioned includes:

U.S. Admits That Politics Was Behind Steel Tariffs(not a Brazilian paper but a US paper reporting on US representatives talking to Brazilian business leaders)

Marx and Engles on Free Trade

Midnight Notes Collective – Introduction to The New Enclosures

II Rubin – A History of Economic Thought

Music by the Levon Helm Band

Anti-Shorten: The ALP is still selling bullshit

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Bill Shorten, the leader of the ALP opposition, strode the stages of the National Press Club and delivered  a speech that The Australian described as ‘Corybn-like’ and a ‘populist pitch to low-income earners, unionists and left-wing voters’ (Brown, Chambers, and Additional reporting: Sarah Jane-Tasker 2018). But before we break out the red flags and rally around Comrade Bill we should pause and stop: for the content of Shorten’s speech was actually terrible, a continuation of the ALP tradition of class appeasement and compromise and wrapped in mystifications about the nature of capitalism, wages and class. It was the exact opposite of the approach that we need.

Those of us who want to overcome capitalism aren’t in competition with the ALP. The ALP is just another faction for capital in the political apparatus: it is one of our enemies. Our project and theirs are radically different. However, the ALP has a long history of sowing mystifications – that is reinforcing the ideology that strengthens capitalism. This is part of its historic role of acting to integrate the working class within capitalism.[i] These mystifications have two key claims:

  • That the ALP and elections can address the major sources of misery for the majority of people
  • That the causes of our misery are from errors or problems that can be solved within the boundaries of the capitalist mode of production.

Rather than being swept up in the appearance of some kind of radicalism or broadly pro-worker rhetoric it is necessary to be razor-sharp and expose all that is wrong with the approach of the ALP. As Humphrey McQueen has written the ALP is ‘fog-bound within capitalism’ (1977, 345). The point of critiquing the ideas of the ALP is not to change their minds but rather to help dispel the fog of illusions that threaten to cloud ours.

Continue reading “Anti-Shorten: The ALP is still selling bullshit”

Living The Dream antipolitically

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In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@jonpiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk with Tad Tietze (@Dr_Tad) about the idea of antipolitics he developed with Elizabeth Humphrys(@liz_beths). We talk about what politics is and how it relates to capitalism and the state. Tad argues that politics is increasingly detached from society and what this means and how communism as ‘the real movement’ can and should related to politics. Tad argues that this analysis has serious and devastating implications for what we call The Left and Activism. We debate if there is any role, before the emergence of social movements, for the agency of anticapitalists.

 

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Tad provided the following reading list

On anti-politics in general (with Liz Humphrys): https://left-flank.org/2013/10/31/anti-politics-elephant-room/

On anti-politics and neoliberalism (with Liz Humphrys): https://oxfordleftreview.com/olr-issue-14/tad-tietze-and-elizabeth-hymphreys-anti-politics-and-the-illusions-of-neoliberalism/

On Greece: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/syriza-referendum-podemos-austerity/

On Australia: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/09/labor-tony-abbott-rudd-gillard-shorten/

On Trump: https://left-flank.org/2016/01/25/the-trump-paradox-a-rough-guide-for-the-left/

On recuperating politics: https://left-flank.org/2017/02/03/why-better-politics-cant-make-anti-politics-go-away/

The Piping Shrike on Corbyn: http://www.pipingshrike.com/2017/06/the-confusions-of-anti-politics-uk-edition-an-update.html

 

We also mention a debate between Plan C and Angry Workers of the World over Directional Demands

Marx’s Textbook Ep.1: An Introduction to the Critique of Capitalism & of Economics

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This is the first episode of a new Living The Dream series entitled Marx’s Textbook. In each episode Dave(@withsobersenses) takes a chapter of a basic macroeconomics textbooks – in this case Littleboy (2013) – summarises the content and then presents how Marx can help us think about these issues and challenge the dominant assumptions. What we find is that Marx doesn’t just provide different answers rather he compels us to ask different questions. Each episode will only be approx. 30 minutes long and is aimed at helping people to understand and critique both capitalism and economics as an ideology. No prior knowledge of Marx or macroeconomics is required.

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Further reading: “Capital”after MEGA: Discontinuities, Interruptions, and New Beginnings

by Michael Heinrich

 

Littleboy, Bruce, et al.,. 2013. Macroeconomics : Principles and Practice. Asia Pacific: Cengage Learning Australia ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/lib/uql/detail.action?docID=1990996.

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