Neither Moscow, nor NATO: Notes on the NATO summit and the antiwar counter-summit in Warsaw

The main result from this weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw was the official proclamation of a “containment” strategy toward Russia. So far, the practical consequence of this declaration is modest in military terms—a total of 3,000 foreign troops will be deployed to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Far more important are the politics of this decision. The “Russian threat” is primarily defined as hybrid, that is it’s covert and exists on the borders of war and peace, state policy and social dynamics. The concept of “hybridity” is central in today’s confrontation between Russ ..

Stones in the dark. The Brexit and the Left

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During the Cold War, in the context of escalating tensions between Russia and China, a listener asks Radio Yerevan: “What do you advise: to drink Russian tea or Chinese tea?’ The answer comes in promptly: it’s wiser not to meddle with the business of great powers, better to drink coffee. It is the same now with the leftist options available in relation to Brexit: better just to have a coffee. The British and the European Left, more radical or more moderate, split between different groups and directions that the simple opposition Lexit/Remain cannot possibly cover, has once again surpassed itself, so ..

If we’re the 99%, why are we still at the bottom?

George Grosz "Pillars of Society" (1926)

The ideologeme of 99% and 1% have been present in the popular imagination since 2011. They are obviously theoretically speaking rather crude and simplified, but still paint a good enough picture of a society divided into a political-economic elite at the top and the rest of the people. This division is one of the main problems of the political-economic system in which we live today (as it has been for all class systems in history). The problem lies in the fact that the system functions mainly in order to fulfill the interests of the elite at the top, with the interests of the rest of the society being taken into ..

“No significant pressure for a different model existed”: Joachim Becker on the Economy of Former Yugoslavia and its Successor States

Abandoned sugar factory near Belgrade. (photo: yomadic.com)

Joachim Becker, professor of Economics and Business at Vienna University and deputy head of the Institute for International Economics and Development, was a guest of the conference Social Justice: New Perspectives, New Horizons in Belgrade. Becker’s research interests include development economics, theory of the state, regional integration and disintegration, Mercosur, Turkey, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The title of the lecture Becker gave in Belgrade was Restructuring Production – Options for the Central Eastern and Southeast European Periphery. In this interview, taken by András Juhász for www.masin ..

The European Left, Social Democracy, and the Way Ahead

The arrival of Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand at the Stuttgart European Council (1983)

When locating the key differences between the political left in the European West and the political Left[1] in the European East, an element of key importance appears to be something external to the Left itself. Namely, the politics and identities of the Western Left have long been shaped by a force external to it: Social Democracy (SD). Yet we in the Western Left have not been too willing to admit the huge indirect influence of the strong SD parties on the Left, and therefore are not always reacting appropriately when the SDs threaten ideological demise – specifically, this should lead us to learn from leftwin ..

Spanish elections 2016: Has the Podemos-strategy run into it’s limitations?

horizonte-despejado

1. Polls predicted that Unidos Podemos would finish ahead of the social democrats of PSOE, and that these two parties would muster a majority against the parties of the right. This did not happen, and Unidos Podemos in fact lost votes compared to the December 2015 results of the two parties that make up UP (Podemos and Izquierda Unida). Of course this is a huge disappointment for the activists and ordinary people who had invested so much hope and energy into kicking the hated casta out of power and ending the social emergency caused by years of high unemployment, austerity, mass evictions, etc. But as movement ma ..

“An anti-capitalist perspective, […] requires a breach with the EU” – Interview with Kevin Ovenden

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While at the Marx is’ Muss Congress 2016, Pavle Ilic and Anja Ilic (Marks21, Serbia) interviewed Kevin Ovenden, a British activist and publicist, active on both the British and the Greek political scenes. One of the most important voices of the British left, Kevin has recently written a book on Syriza, entitled “Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth” (Pluto Press, 2015). Taken before the murder of Jo Cox, this interview tries to delineate some of the contours of the European project before the Brexit vote, touching upon the dynamics which have moulded the current context: the austerity orthodoxy of the EU, the attit ..