Monthly Archives: February 2014

He Ping: Rosa Luxemburg’s Theories on Capitalism’s Crisis – A Review of The Accumulation of Capital

In The Accumulation of Capital, Rosa Luxemburg started from the aspect of capital accumulation to explore the source and internal mechanism of capitalism’s crisis and make an etiological diagnosis to it. First, the book defines capital accumulation and crisis, and stresses crisis is a special external phenomenon and only an element in the reproduction cycle of capitalist reproduction. Based on the definition, the book evolves from the analysis of the phenomena of crisis to capital accumulation, the essence of crisis, discovering capital demand shortage is the source of crisis. More

Mariano Féliz: Neodevelopmentalism, Accumulation by Dispossession and International Rent. Argentina, 2003-2013.

After the crisis of the neoliberal project in Argentina, dominant classes were able to recreate their social hegemony under the umbrella of a new development project, which has been labeled neodevelopmentalist (Féliz, 2012). In line with the historical developmentalist project of dominant fractions of capital in Latin America during the 1950s and 1960s, a new articulation of productive forces, State-form and constitution of the class conflict, led by a new hegemonic block dominated by the transnationalized fractions of capital, dialectically displaced neoliberal adjustment momentum in Argentina. Having successfully performed the restructuring of capital as a whole More

Kojo Opoku Aidoo: The Dynamics of Contemporary Capital Accumulation in Europe, Imperialist Domination and Land Grabbing in Africa (Working Paper)

It is of historical significance that the Rosa Luxemburg international conference is taking place in the year 2014 as it is the 130th anniversary of the scramble for and the partition of Africa by the major European powers at the 1884 Berlin Conference. The paper addresses the emergence of a new global market for farmland, the commodification of African lands, and the alienation and disempowerment of African peasants. The internal dynamics and laws of motion of capitalism were the driving force that spawned such aggressive imperialist expansion which led to the colonial subjugation of Africa. More

Michael Brie: Socialism and Democracy. Looking for a New Synthesis

After the Bolsheviks assumed political power on 7 November 1917, Rosa Luxemburg criticized their politics on two grounds: On the one hand, she did not perceive it to be consistently socialist nor did it present radical democratic views at the same time (Brie 2011). A topical question of each socialist movement of the 21st century that has repeatedly been ignored is whether the understanding of socialism as perceived by Rosa Luxemburg and many of her comrades could at all be linked with the democracy she so vehemently demanded. If it was not possible to develop this kind of socialism in a democratic manner, the formula of “democratic socialism” can therefore no longer be
regarded as something trivial; More

Michael Brie: The Living Substance of World History

“Blood has flown… in streams in the four years of imperialistic genocide. Now every drop of the precious juice must be guarded in crystal bowls. Decisive revolutionary action and widehearted humanity… this alone is the true content of socialism. A world was to be thrown over, but every tear, which was shed, even though it could be wiped, is an accusation, and a person rushing on to important actions, who out of inattention tramples on a poor worm, is committing a crime.”2 Words like these have been rare in the Communist movement. They reflect an expectation of socialist politics More

Michael Brie: Rosa Luxemburg’s Symphony on the Russian Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg was an avid botanist. Beyond the fact that she studied biology next to
social sciences and humanities, her entire life was marked by a strong attraction to nature.  Her works are full of metaphors of wild landscapes and the power of life; her letters from prison speak of her yearning for free nature. Even ninety years after Rosa Luxemburg’s death her thinking and her actions can still not be coldly classified and solidly ordered. Neither in the geometrically ordered gardens of the history of Marxist-Leninist thinking nor in the beautifully landscaped gardens of superficial liberalism does she find her place. More

Jan Toporowski: Rosa Luxemburg and Finance

Rosa Luxemburg is best known for her attempt in her book The Accumulation of Capital to show that capitalist accumulation requires external markets in order to overcome a tendency to stagnation.  These external markets formed the basis of her theory of imperialism, which was taken over by Lenin and subsequent Marxists.  However, in chapter xxx of that book, on ‘International Loans’, Rosa Luxemburg examined the role of finance in capital accumulation.  This analysis was perhaps peripheral to her argument.  But it has sufficient critical elements to warrant a place for Luxemburg among the pioneers of critical finance, while the fate of that analysis among Marxists reveals how the most important school of radical political economy in the twentieth century came to an attenuated view of finance as a factor in capitalist crisis. In this paper, it is argued that Luxemburg put forward an analysis of international finance that not only allows for a disturbing character of finance, but also looks forward to important aspects of Minsky’s analysis in the second half of the twentieth century. More

Jan Toporowski: Tadeusz Kowalik: Radical Political Economist, Solidarity Advisor, and Critic of Globalised Capitalism

Tadeusz Kowalik, the doyen of Polish political economists, died at his home in Warsaw on the 30 July (in 2012 – ed). … In the English-speaking world Tadeusz Kowalik is best known as the last surviving co-author of the great Polish economist, Michał Kalecki (1899-1970), an advisor to the Polish trades union movement Solidarity during the 1980s, when it played a key part in bringing down the Communist Government in Poland, and subsequently as a fierce critic of the capitalism established in his country. In his work he challenged both the commonly accepted view of the ‘Keynesian Revolution’ and inability of Polish communists to come to terms with their revolutionary past and find a place for themselves in the modern world. More