15 Apr 2021, 12:16 am
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
Via a reflection on the evolution of a module on comparing capitalisms that I have been teaching for more than a decade, this article discusses the collective influence of new generations of students on how knowledge is (re)made. I deploy a conjunctural understanding of the term ‘generations’ in order to make sense of how students’ interpretations of the topics covered by the module have, across the 2010s, led me to increasingly question the field that was, in an earlier conjuncture, essential for my intellectual foundation and development. Their lived experiences of capitalism are more likely to be dominated by themes such as political, economic and social crises and conflicts, inequality, personal indebtedness and precarity, and in some cases activism. This has had profound and long-lasting effects on my teaching and research, discomfiting me in an ultimately beneficial way; most notably, through the recognition that future critical work on comparing capitalisms ought to move away from previous attempts to engage immanently with dominant, mainstream approaches and towards the articulation of a more confident, autonomous position. Hence, a key aspect of the development and evolution of critical research agendas occurs in and through educational exchanges in the seminar room.
15 Mar 2021, 2:44 am
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
Deploying the theoretical framework of Italian Marxist thinker, Antonio Gramsci, this article argues that rather than a neo-colonial arrangement, the transfer of power from the British to locals in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana) could be conceptualized as a passive revolution. This passive revolution, which was triggered by demands for independence by radical nationalists, entailed the formation of a pro-British political party, the Botswana Democratic Party, and transferring power to it in a carefully managed decolonization process. The passive revolution aimed not just at preserving British economic interests in the protectorate but also at state formation for purposes of expanding the capitalist mode of production in the newly independent state. Thus, the transfer of power took place concurrently with the creation of a legitimate capitalist state that served the interests of both the British and the cattle-owning Botswana Democratic Party elite that assumed power at independence. Post-independence, the cattle bourgeois class at the apex of the Botswana Democratic Party embarked upon the construction of hegemony through the creation of an interventionist developmental state that addressed the narrow interests of other classes and groups constituting the post-independence historical bloc. Such hegemony has allowed the Botswana Democratic Party to retain power to the present day.
8 Mar 2021, 11:42 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 167-168, March 2021.
8 Mar 2021, 11:42 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 165-167, March 2021.
8 Mar 2021, 11:39 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 169-170, March 2021.
7 Mar 2021, 8:37 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
This article first outlines key arguments that demonstrate how the ‘neoliberal model of development’s’ global unleashing of capital is leading human civilisation to the brink of collapse. This ‘intellectual pessimism’ informs the ‘optimistic will’ central to the second part of this article which outlines an alternative democratic socialist model of development. This alternative is founded on a project of global cooperation to construct a national-trans-national regulatory architecture that can facilitate an ecologically balanced, materially secure, flexible and democratically solidaristic collection of local accumulation regimes that in aggregate would comprise a sustainable, progressive and pandemic-preventing planetary mode of accumulation.
2 Mar 2021, 8:38 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
The Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015, ostensibly to tackle exploitation. Despite being promoted for its ‘world-leading’ qualities, the legislation’s weaknesses have, even at this relatively early stage of its implementation, been well documented. This is unsurprising; legislators were aware they were passing a bill that could have had stronger enforcement mechanisms, opting instead for a weaker alternative. This article takes these shortcomings as its starting point to ask who, or what, benefits from the Modern Slavery Act, if not those it is purportedly aimed to help. The response is that the main beneficiaries of the Modern Slavery Act are capitalism, and the Conservative government that created the bill. The Modern Slavery Act operates through the modern slavery discourse that positions unfree forms of labour as aberrations that operate outside of capitalism, and once unfree labour practices have been framed in this way, the capitalist free market is identified not as a causal factor but as the solution. In addition, the Conservative government used the Modern Slavery Act domestically as a counterpoint to its hostile environment policy to soften their image for part of the electorate. When viewed as an artefact of capitalist thinking and state management, it becomes clear that the Modern Slavery Act makes a not insignificant contribution to the legitimacy of both capitalism and the government by conferring upon them a degree of legitimacy as the routes through which the unfree will be liberated.
1 Mar 2021, 4:40 am
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
The ongoing commodification of housing and urban space in Europe has led to the formation of a burgeoning housing movement, consisting of large anti-eviction networks in Southern Europe, as well as tenants’ unions and right-to-the-city networks in Central and Northern Europe. These different forms of housing activism have become increasingly connected at the transnational level, primarily due to the work of the ‘European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City’. Consisting of activist groups from over 20 different countries, this coalition facilitates mutual exchange, organises collective campaigns and has begun engaging in institutional advocacy at the European Union level. It steadily expands in size and tactical repertoire, aiming to develop a more unified transnational strategy for attaining affordable and self-determined living space across Europe. Drawing on the writings of Antonio Gramsci, this article makes the case that the ‘European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City’ increasingly performs the function of a ‘collective intellectual’ that organises a transnational struggle against neoliberal hegemony. Based on qualitative analyses of documents, interviews and field notes, it demonstrates that the ‘European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City’ exhibits a counter-hegemonic perspective that opposes neoliberal capitalism as a whole and manages to facilitate mutual solidarity across different activist communities explicitly on the basis of class struggle. At the same time, instead of organising a democratic centralist political project the ‘European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City’ pursues a more decentralised approach to collective intellectual leadership that prioritises domestic struggles, yet also lacks a cohesive long-term strategy.
19 Feb 2021, 9:18 pm
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
Asking questions – questioning – is a medium through which we clarify our thinking as well as others’. Questioning is also a medium through which we begin to oppose the current system. An important space for questioning is academia. When students ask critical questions to their educators, this practice becomes a form of students’ active participation in their learning process. Besides, the vast majority of students are future workers (and many of them are indeed already workers), so developing a critical perspective on society is crucial to their lives as workers. To the extent that some of them might wish to become what Gramsci would call the organic intellectuals of the masses, then what kind of questions might they ask their educations that might expose the biases of their educators, that might aid their own learning process, and that might indeed make learning a collaborative process between students and teachers? The article suggests that these questions centre on the class character of the society in which we live.
28 Dec 2020, 1:29 am
Capital & Class
Capital &Class, Ahead of Print.
The news is old – neoliberalism is dead for good, but this time, even Financial Times knows it. Obituaries claim that it had died from the coronavirus, as the state, not the markets, have had to save both the people and the economy. The argument of the article is that these academic and media interpretations of ‘emergency Keynesianism’ misidentify neoliberalism with its anti-statist rhetoric. For neoliberalism is, and has always been, about ‘the free market and the strong state’. In fact, rather than waning in the face of the coronavirus crisis, neoliberal states around the world are using the ongoing ‘war against the virus’ to strengthen their right-hand grip on the conditions of the working classes.