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The case for Marxist interventions, a new on-line journal
In this issue
Saving the planet or selling off the atmosphere? Emissions trading, capital accumulation and the carbon rent Peter Jones abstract | article (PDF)
Neither free trade nor protection but international socialism: contesting the conservative antinomies of trade theory Bill Dunn abstract | article (PDF)
Going gangbusters? review Ben Hillier abstract | article (PDF)
Xenophobic racism and class during the Howard years Rick Kuhn abstract | article (PDF)
Whose liberty? Australian imperialism and the Pacific war Tom O’Lincoln abstract | article (PDF)
Debate on revolutionary organisation Louis Proyect and Mick Armstrong abstract | article (PDF)
Jeff Goldhar’s socialist legacy Janey Stone abstract | article (PDF)
Mick Armstrong is
a member of the National Executive of Socialist Alternative. His publications
include: 1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for? The Australian student movement
from its origins to the 1970s and The Labor Party: a Marxist analysis.
sbma2 @ bigpond.net.au
Bill Dunn teaches political economy at the University of Sydney. His latest book is Global political economy: a Marxist critique (Pluto, London 2009). bill.dunn @ usyd.edu.au
Ben Hillier bmh @ netspace.net.au
Peter Jones is a socialist activist, and recently completed his honours thesis on the political economy of emissions trading. u2545097 @ anu.edu.au
Rick Kuhn’s Henryk Grossman and the recovery of Marxism won the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2007. Rick is a socialist activist in Canberra. rick.kuhn @ anu.edu.au
Tom O’Lincoln is a Melbourne activist, and author of several books on left and labour history. suarsos @ alphalink.com.au
Louis Proyect is a computer programmer at Columbia University who was active in the Socialist Workers Party from 1967 to 1978 and in the Central America solidarity movement in the 1980s. He moderates the Marxism list, www.marxmail.org. lnp3 @ panix.com
Janey Stone is a long time socialist, women’s liberationist and activist in many radical movements, who knew Jeff Goldhar all his adult life. Janey has contributed to several books, including Rebel women, and is at present working on an article about the Australian folk revival of the 1960s. chacha_1_2_3 @ hotmail.com
As we publish, the Australian dimension of the global economic and financial crisis is deepening, but still in its early stages. It is likely to become far more serious in coming months, and as it does we expect a major discussion among Marxists. This issue does not pre-empt that discussion, but provides some raw materials for the debate and foreshadows some likely issues.
There is likely to be a sharp debate about the costs and benefits of emissions trading. In his article, Peter Jones argues that emissions trading is not a solution to global warming but rather represents a new vehicle for capital accumulation.We are beginning to see arguments for economic protectionism, both from vulnerable sections of capital and from the labour movement. Bill Dunn explains how about the cases for protection and free trade are, in reality, seriously exaggerated; and that both are inherently capitalist.
The roots of capitalist crises typically lie in preceding booms. For that reason, Ben Hillier reviews the recent special issue of the Journal of Australian political economy. Looking at the evidence, he argues that an underlying tendency for profit rates to fall even in boom times laid the basis for today’s crash.
In times of crisis, both the right and social-democrats can be expected to play the race card. In a discussion of the Howard era, Rick Kuhn considers how the Howard government used racism to manage the political situation.
The Great Depression culminated in world war, and while it would be rash to forecast this for the near future, imperialist conflict is likely to sharpen. Tom O’Lincoln challenges conventional views about the Pacific war.
To meet the political challenges of capitalism in crisis, the left needs organisation. But what kind? Louis Proyect, moderator of the Marxmail internet discussion list, debates Mick Armstrong, author of From little things big things grow.
the planet or selling off the atmosphere? Emissions trading, capital accumulation
and the carbon rent Peter Jones
Governments are increasingly implementing emissions trading schemes, ostensibly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Karine Matthews and Matthew Paterson argue that the drive to implement emissions trading is primarily driven by the goal of supporting capital accumulation, rather than environmental considerations. This article ultimately agrees, but argues that their approach is not consistent with Marx’s labour theory of value. The concept of the ‘carbon rent’ is used to develop a more consistent approach to understanding how the state can use emissions trading to distribute income away from the poor and working class. full article (PDF)
free trade nor protection but international socialism: contesting the conservative
antinomies of trade theory Bill Dunn
Attitudes towards international trade are remarkably polarised. Most mainstream economists advocate free trade as a mainstay of national and global prosperity. Meanwhile, many critics see it as the major cause of inequality and poverty. This polarisation is remarkable given the weakness of any systematic relationship between the propensity to trade and overall economic well-being and the practical infrequency of complete openness or autarchy. The dualism of trade theory is supported by, and reproduces, a conservative worldview which tends to obscure other more determinant aspects of political economy, and directs opposition to global capital into safe, nationalistic channels. full article (PDF)
gangbusters? Ben Hillier
review of ‘Australia’s economic boom 1992-?’, special issue of Journal of Australian political economy. full article (PDF)
racism and class during the Howard years Rick Kuhn
Between 1996 and 2007, the Howard Government used racism to sustain its popularity. From the late 1990s, the primary victims of racist campaigns against immigrants were refugees who arrived by boat, without official permission. After 9/11 2001 the focus increasingly shifted to Muslims and Arabs, who were more explicitly targeted from 2005. While the conservative parties’ racist policies served electoral purposes, their campaigns were also shaped by a deeper logic: the interests of the capitalist class and its capacity to influence state policies. The declining appeal of racist arguments and policies contributed to the Government’s demise in 2007. full article (PDF)
Whose liberty? Australian imperialism and the Pacific war Tom O’Lincoln
Australia presents its Pacific War effort as a fight for liberation. This article challenges that view. The Allied forces were fighting to re-impose their own imperialist control, and this includes Australia. The war is best understood as part of a long term pattern of imperialist contention. The wartime intervention in East Timor, the battle to sustain control of Papua New Guinea, the restoration of Dutch rule in eastern Indonesia and Canberra’s determination to play a role in the occupation of Japan, all illustrate this theme. full article (PDF)
on revolutionary organisation Louis Proyect and Mick Armstrong
Louis Proyect discusses From little things big things grow and Mick Armstrong responds. full article (PDF)
socialist legacy Janey Stone
A report on the tenth anniversary of the Jeff Goldhar Project. full article (PDF)