Category Archives: Workshop March 2014

Ingo Schmidt: The Downward March of Labour Halted? The Crisis of Neoliberal Capitalism and the Remaking of Working Classes

Neoliberalism survived the Great Recession 2008/9 thanks to generous infusions of Keynesian intervention. When the Euro-crisis broke out in 2010, it came back with a vengeance. At this point, neoliberals seem to be determined to finish the job Margaret Thatcher had begun over thirty years ago. Riots, protests, and strikes, it seems are nothing but attendant symptoms for a recharged neoliberalism rather than roadblocks. Are the actions by poor and marginalized peoples, unemployed youth and public sector workers just a last stand like those undertaken by blue-collar workers at the dawn of neoliberal rule? More

Michael Brie: Akkumulation des Kapitals – Akkumulation des Sozialen und Ökologischen im Kapitalismus (Entwurf)

Die Entfesselung des neoliberalen Finanzmarkt-Kapitalismus und seine Krise hatten einen nicht weiter überraschenden Nebeneffekt – die erneute Hinwendung zum Werk Rosa Luxemburg. Schon die organische Krise des Fordismus war mit einer Welle der Rezeption des Werkes von Rosa Luxemburg einhergegangen. Krisen des Kapitalismus und Versuche der Neuorientierung der Linken sind ihre Stunde. Dann wird auch auf ihre Akkumulationstheorie Bezug genommen.[1] Dies ist folgerichtig. Denn solche Krisen sind Krisen der Tiefenstruktur kapitaldominierter Akkumulation und in diesen Krisen werden sie umgestaltet (zu den vier gegenwärtigen Projekten der Umgestaltung siehe Candeias 2014). More


[1] Einen Überblick über die aktuelle Diskussion und wesentliche Ansätze wird gegeben in Backhouse u. a. (2013b) sowie in Schmidt u.a. (2013b).


Ingo Schmidt: Updating Rosa Luxemburg: Capital Accumulation and the 20th Century Detour of Statist Socialism

Rosa Luxemburg has been recognized as a political theorist of the left for a long time. Social democrats welcomed her critique of the Bolsheviks, communists remembered her as co-founder of the German communist party and New Lefties drew inspiration from her struggle against the bureaucratization of the labour movement and her uncompromised internationalism. Ironically though, adherents of these different currents of the left, while arguing about pretty much every other issue, found common ground in rejecting her economic works. More

Maria Backhouse: Green Grabbing in the Brazilian Amazon

The term green grabbing was first used by John Vidal (Vidal 2008) and discussed in a special issue of The Journal for Peasant Studies as a new capitalist form of the appropriation of nature (Fairhead et al. 2012). According to the authors, the term ‘appropriation’ means ‘the transfer of ownership, use rights and control over resources that were once publicly or privately owned – or not even the subject of ownership – from the poor (or everyone including the poor) into the hands of the powerful’ (ibid., 238). More

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