Radical media, politics and culture.


"Exploring a Socialist Alternative to Neo-Liberalism"

M. Vijaya Kumar

(Excerpt from the paper presented at the National Seminar on Neo-Liberal Globalization: Critique & Alternatives at Hyderabad, India on 22-08-2004)

Fighting Globalization & Capitalism

Globalization has been overhyped, conflictual, contradictory and open to resistance and democratic intervention and transformation and not just as a monolithic juggernaut of domination. Globalization involves both a disorganization and reorganization of capitalism, a tremendous restructuring process, which creates openings for progressive social change and intervention. The information economy represents a major restructuring of the spatial relations between capital and labour; this does not indicate that their productive relations are necessarily altered in any significant manner. The information society/information economy despite claims to the contrary is not technologically determined. Indeed, as with capitalism in general there is a central contradiction in the development of the information society. The supposition that the class struggle is over is ridiculous if the issue of the ownership of knowledge resources is the focus of analysis; the suggestion that we have move
d beyond
capitalism is rendered non-sensical if we look at the division of ownership and the conditions of workers throughout the information economy. Just as all organized resistance to capitalism appeared to be stomped out it now threatens to rise again from the very ground.

Flint writes "When a state is determined to pursue war, and all forms of indirect symbolic protest actions have failed to sway politicians to halt their imperialist aggression, the only remaining option is direct action by the working class. One option is a general strike by workers that can effect the production and transpiration of military capital, that is the materials essential for the war machine. The other is to deprive the military of the labor it needs to fight the war. The slogan from the Vietnam War protests deliberately speaks to this, "What if they had a war, and no one came?" The U.S. military is overwhelmingly recruited from the working class, and convincing our class as a whole to refuse to work for this blood money may be our best chance for both ending the war in Iraq and limiting the imperialist ambitions of the U.S. for future decades.

Blood Money:

The Human-Capital Equation of the U.S. Occupation of Iraq

by Stephen "Flint" Arthur

"Endless development of armed force. Every day we hear of fresh inventions for the more effectual destruction of our fellow-men, fresh expenditure, fresh loans, fresh taxation. Clamorous patriotism, reckless jingoism; the stirring up of international jealousy have become the most lucrative line in politics and journalism. Childhood itself has not been spared; schoolboys are swept into the ranks, to be trained up in hatred... drilled in blind obedience to the government of the moment, whatever the colour of its flag, and when they come to the years of manhood to be laden like pack-horses with cartridges, provisions and the rest of it; to have a rifle thrust into their hands and be taught to charge at the bugle call and slaughter one another right and left like wild beasts, without asking themselves why or for what purpose. Whether they have before them starvelings... or their own brothers roused to revolt by famine-the bugle sounds, the killing must commence."
Peter Kropotkin - War!

"Federal Reserve Bank Says 'Belief in Hell' Boosts Economic Growth"

Alister Bull, Reuters News Service

WASHINGTON — Economists searching for reasons why some nations are
richer than others have found that those with a wide belief in hell
are less corrupt and more prosperous, according to a report by the
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

"Whatever Happened To Compassion?"

Zygmunt Baumann

In the USA ten years ago the income of company directors was 42 times
higher than that of the blue-collar workers; it is
now 419 times higher. Ninety-five per cent of the surplus of 1,100 billion
dollars generated between 1979 and 1999 has
been appropriated and consumed by 5 per cent of Americans.

What happens inside every single society occurs as well in the global
sphere — though on a much magnified scale. While the
worldwide consumption of goods and services was in 1997 twice as large as in
1975 and has multiplied since 1950 by a
factor of six — 1 billion people, according to a recent UN report, 'cannot
satisfy even their elementary needs'.

.... this is from the most recent issue of Republicart, which focuses on the theme of precarity, something which you'll be hearing a lot more about....

Spectacle Inside the State and Out:

Social Rights and the Appropriation of Public Spaces
The Battles of the French Intermittents

The strength of a political movement is found not only in its ability to reach a concrete objective. These kinds of successes depend mostly on the economy of power relations. The strength of a movement reveals itself more in its potential for raising new questions and providing new answers. And this much is certain: the battles of the precariously employed French cultural workers have raised new questions demanding new answers.[1]

U.S. Government Board Overturns TAs' Union Membership

Leigh Strope, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Graduate teaching assistants at private universities can't
form unions because they are students, not employees, a
Republican-controlled federal labor board ruled, reversing a Clinton-era

"NYC Firefighters, Police Plan Protest"

William Murphy and Glenn Thrush, NewsDay

Firefighters, police officers and teachers plan an
around-the-clock demonstration outside Madison Square Garden
beginning Monday to protest the lack of a new contract.

The labor protest is geared to coincide with the start of
work on the Garden to get it ready for next month's
Republican National Convention, the unions representing the
workers said Monday. The union announcement comes as
planning for convention-week protests intensified and Mayor
Michael Bloomberg vowed to prevent demonstrators from
sabotaging daily life for New Yorkers.

"No Past? No!"

An Interview with the Italian Analyst of Post-Fordism, Sergio Bologna

Klaus Ronneberger & Georg Schöllhammer

The social upheavals of the past two decades have invalidated conventional professional and class identities. Traditional forms and resources of a collective solidarity arising from the common experience of work under alienated conditions are vanishing. Social resistance is having a hard time finding an answer to the new and flexible strategies of post-Fordian capitalism. While some want to rescue the national welfare state to counter the tyranny of the market, others feel that new forms of independence have been created along with the changed balance of power within society. From this point of view, union-oriented labor and social policies have few chances of being popular with »Arbeitskraftunternehmer« [people who act as entrepreneurs of their own labor. Tr.].

Sergio Bologna, one of the most important European analysts of this change, has given us the most comprehensive study to date of the circumstances and perspectives inherent in this form of work in his book on the »new self-employed« in North Italy. In the following interview, Bologna outlines the genesis of the »class« of the »new self-employed,« not only as the consequence of economic strategies and technological developments, but also as a reaction to subtle forms of in-house resistance and post-modern patterns of socialization.

"Empty Runs: Truckers Call Trips in Iraq Wasteful"

Seth Borenstein, Detroit Free Press

WASHINGTON — A Halliburton Inc. subsidiary sent empty flatbed trucks crisscrossing Iraq more than 100 times this year, putting their drivers and military escorts at risk and handing taxpayers the bill with a little added profit.

The drivers were in peril of insurgent attack while taking empty rigs on the 300-mile resupply run from Camp Cedar in southern Iraq to Camp Anaconda near Baghdad, said 12 current and former drivers for the company.

The subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), billed the government for hauling what the drivers derisively called "sailboat fuel."

hydrarchist writes:

"Cognitive Capital Contested:

The Class Composition of the Video and Computer Game Industry"

Nick Dyer-Witheford

Version originale en langue anglaise de Composition de classe de l'industrie des jeux vidéo et sur ordinateur , Multitudes 10 : octobre 2002

1. Introduction [1]

If cognitive capital is a regime commodifying digitalized and networked processes, video and computer games are amongst its most important components. Over three decades digital play has transformed from a whimsy of bored Pentagon researchers into the fastest growing sector of the entertainment industry. The US interactive-game business is now larger than the Hollywood box-office. Lara Croft, shapely neo-colonial heroine of Tomb Raider, is a hot celebrity ; playgrounds are swept with Pokemon epidemics ; virtual communities coalescing around games like Quake, Counter-Strike and Everquest are e-commerce's last hope. In many ways, interactive game enterprises are the poster boys of information capitalism's « new economy, » for, as Nicholas Garnham notes, they « are in fact the first companies . . . to have created a successful and global multimedia product market. » [2] This paper analyses the class composition of the video and computer game industry, the new forms of contestation emerging within it, and the ideological valence of the virtual worlds it generates. But first, a sketch the history and organization of the sector.


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