Category: Socialism

Europe’s democracy shock

by Olaf Cramme 

The outcry over EU legitimacy only diverts attention away from the real challenges to democracy and sovereignty in our capitalist system. We deserve a better debate.

The seismic social and economic aftershocks of the global financial crisis have raised a new awareness among citizens: democracy is in a pretty bad shape and national sovereignty is under siege. It is not so much the widely-reported violent demonstrations in Greece which embody this growing unease, but rather hardening cynicism and wide scale disenchantment with politics in the liberal West. We are in a situation where representational power looks worryingly distorted, the most basic demands and concerns of citizens are often ignored and the emotional gap between the elite and the population at large seems to be growing. At the same time, questions of belonging, identity and nationalism have re-emerged on the agenda – and with it a new surge in populist rhetoric.

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Reconstructing the Left

by Shayn McCallum

A striking dilemma facing the Left almost everywhere outside Latin America is that, despite a massive crisis of globalised capitalism and the nakedly ideological bloody-mindedness of neo-liberalism, the Left is largely failing to rise to the occasion.  How is it that, in a time of economic meltdown brought on by rampant, neo-liberal (il)logic concerning the desirability of untrammeled free-markets, there has not been a sharp turn to the Left and a call to reassert popular sovereignty once more over the market?  Why is the cry of “people before profits” limited to the activists of the street?

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Centennial celebrations of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 across the Taiwan Straits

by Chin Jin

On the Double Ten Day (i.e. 10th October) in 1911, which was the 19th day of the 8th lunar month of the Year of Xinhai, a gunshot in Wuchang heralded the demise of thousands of years of history of Chinese absolute monarchy.

The Revolutionaries who were led by Dr Sun Yat-sen triggered the Revolution of 1911; while the powerful Beiyang Faction, headed by Yuan Shikai, followed the historic trend and forced the emperor to abdicate, creating a Chinese version of the Glorious Revolution. Those on the inside and the outside of the Qing Dynasty establishment collaborated and united to establish the first democratic republic in Asia.

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The Australian and the Prime Minister

by John Passant

The News Ltd paper The Australian has been on a vendetta against Labor and Julia Gillard for some time now. There is nothing surprising in this.

Rupert Murdoch uses his newspapers to try and influence the outcome of government decisions and election results and, he hopes, to suit his business interests. He has done so since time immemorial.

He also is an astute capitalist who knows his major market-  the US – is built on the bones of conquered and subjugated peoples around the globe.

Hence Murdoch is an avid supporter of American imperialism even when it may not appear his direct material interests are involved. So it was that 174 of his 175 media outlets supported the invasion of Iraq.

But sometimes the hubris of unelected power overreaches the mark.

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Turn Left for Growth

by Joseph Stiglitz

Both the left and the right say they stand for economic growth. So should voters trying to decide between the two simply look at it as a matter of choosing alternative management teams?

If only matters were so easy! Part of the problem concerns the role of luck. America’s economy was blessed in the 1990s with low energy prices, a high pace of innovation, and a China increasingly offering high-quality goods at decreasing prices, all of which combined to produce low inflation and rapid growth.

President Clinton and then-Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan deserve little credit for this – though, to be sure, bad policies could have messed things up. By contrast, the problems faced today – high energy and food prices and a crumbling financial system – have, to a large extent, been brought about by bad policies.

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