Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

April 9, 2015

This Week: Resisting Neoliberalism

The version of capitalism which became dominant by the 1980s has been given the name neoliberalism. The term refers to the global economic restructuring which has taken place, and to the accompanying shifts in the structures of power under which local and national governments have seen their ability to act independently curtailed by international treaties and by institutions which owe their ultimate allegiance to corporate capital.

Neoliberalism is also a dogma, an ideology which has become dominant not only in the boardrooms but in the political sphere, including on much of what used to be considered the left.

Yet neoliberalism is a fraud. The so-called free markets and free trade which it pretends to promote are in fact controlled by giant corporations, and massively subsidized by workers and ordinary citizens. The entire history of neoliberalism is one of financial crises followed by government bailouts: a ceaseless shift of wealth from the working class and middle class to the rich. Neoliberalism is actually a form of state capitalism which pretends to be opposed to government intervention.

The essence of neoliberalism has been an unending campaign of class struggle by the rich against the rest. Yet resistance continues, and indeed continues to grow. In this edition of Other Voices, and more extensively on the Connexions website, we look at both neoliberalism and the resistance to it.

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This Week on Connexions.org

Tearing Down the Seven Pillars of Neoliberalism

An overview of the new era of capitalism that began in the 1980s, the era of neoliberalism. The objective of the neoliberal project is to systematically destroy all political, social and ecological restrictions on the activity of capital. Its methods are: transformation of all relations into commodity relations, freedom of action for businesses and investors, and expansion of the hunting area for transnational corporations over the whole planet. Read More

Keywords: Neoliberalism - Ideology

The struggle of Venezuela against ‘a common enemy’

John Pilger discusses the reasons that the United States has been working continuously for more than a decade to overthrow Venezuela’s left-learning government. The U.S. government makes absurd claims that Venezuela poses a ‘threat’ to the United States, but the truth is the opposite: the U.S. government poses a grave threat to Venezuela and its people. What the U.S. wants to destroy is the ‘threat of a good example’ – the danger that other countries will be motivated to follow the example of a government that dares to put the interests of its people ahead of interests of wealthy elites. Read More

Keywords: Coups - Regime Change - Venuzeula

Why Israel's Netanyahu is so desperate to prevent peace with Iran

According to Noam Chomsky, the primary objective motivating Netanyahu and the hawks in the U.S. Congress is to undermine any potential settlement with Iran. They have a common interest in ensuring that there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major sources of violence in the region. “If you’re an aggressive, violent state, you want to be able to use force freely. You don’t want anything that might impede it.”. Read More

Keywords: Iran - Israel

Swiss Leaks: Murky Cash Sheltered by Bank Secrecy

An in-depth investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on leaked documents, has exposed the murky dealings of HSBC Private Bank. HSBC offered services to clients who had been unfavourably named by the United Nations, in court documents, and in the media, as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery. HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities. Read More

Keywords: Money Laundering - Tax Evasion

The FTAA and the WTO: the meta-program for global corporate rule

John McMurtry writes that the deepest and most systemic threat to civil and planetary life the world has ever faced is underway. Behind the disasters of regional economies and planetary ecosystems melting down, the threat is driven by an underlying meta-program, which seeks to set the terms of every decision, every policy, and every regulation to be implemented by servant governments.Read More

Keywords: Corporate Agenda - Transnational Corporations

Fictitious Capital and the Transition out of Capitalism

Loren Goldner explains the concept and role of ‘fictitious capital’ – paper wealth which is not based on real value, but simply on financial manipulations. Goldner says that to understand the weight of fictitious capital in the current context, it is necessary to look beyond merely economic factors to class struggle: “Despite the colossal efforts of ideology to deny or trivialize social antagonism, everything today is shaped by class struggle, both the one-sided class struggle waged for 30 years by the capitalist class, and even more so the potential threat of a two-sided struggle to re-emerge into the open.” Goldner explores how the counterattack against capital can take shape. Read More

Keywords: Capitalism - Fictitious Capital

History and Archives

Cataloging as Radical Practice

Lincoln Cushing's first career was as a community printer, producing social justice documents. His second career has been as librarian and archivist, organizing documents and making their contents accessible. He has written five books on political posters. Here he discusses how new technologies and institutional practices are offering opportunities for community input in building/correcting/amplifying catalogue records. Read More

Keywords: Cataloguing - Libraries/Archives

The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders

For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant. Read More

Keywords:Capitalism/History of - Corporate Crime

Website of the Week: Dollars & Sense

Dollars & Sense publishes economic news and analysis, reports on economic justice activism, primers on economic topics, and critiques of the mainstream media's coverage of the economy. D&S publishes books which, unlike mainstream economics texts, offer clearly–written information and analyses that place economics in the context of real life, questioning the assumptions of mainstream academic theories and empowering people to think about alternatives to the prevailing system. http://dollarsandsense.org

Keywords: Critique of Political Economy - Economics

Book of the Week: The ABCs of the Economic Crisis: What Working People Need to Know By Fred Magdoff and Michael D. Yates

Magdoff and Foster set out to explain why it is that rich powerful people create economic crises like the one that started in 2008, while hundreds of millions of working people suffer the consequences -- lost homes, lost jobs, rising insecurity, and falling living standards. How could this happen?

The authors explain that, contrary to conventional wisdom, these crises are not some aberration from a normally benign capitalism but rather the normal and even expected outcome of a thoroughly irrational and destructive system. No amount of tinkering with capitalism, whether it be discredited neoliberalism or the return of Keynesianism and a “new” New Deal, they say, can overcome the core contradiction of the system: the daily exploitation and degradation of the majority of the world’s people by a tiny minority of business owners. This clearly written book is aimed primarily at working people, students, and activists, who want not just to understand the world but to change it.

Keywords: Capitalist Crises - Economic Crises

Film of the Week: The Billionaires’ Tea Party

Through an examination of astroturfing and disinformation, this films shows how the political system in the U.S. has been captured by powerful corporate interests that threaten to destroy not only labour unions and democracy, but the planet as a whole.

Keywords: Anti-Democratic Ideologies - The Right

Topic of the Week: Neoliberalism

The Connexions website features an extensive compilation of resources on neoliberalism, encompassing both the ideological dimensions of what has become the dominant dogma of our times, as well as the economic elements of the neoliberal version of global capitalism. Explore them here.

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Connexions Calendar

April 11, 2015
Act on Climate March
Quebec City, Canada

April 11, 2015
Winnipeg: Energy East: Our Risk - Their Reward ----------------------------------------- Winnipeg, Canada

April 11, 2015
Green Cities Against Neoliberal Urbanism: Urban Planning and Toronto Politics -- Toronto, Canada

April 18, 2015
Global Call to Action to Defeat Free Trade Worldwide

April 18, 2015
Just Eat It! Be the Change Film + Discussion Series

Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We’ll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

April 8-23, 1937

The Oshawa Strike: 4,000 auto workers go on strike against General Motors in Oshawa, Ontario. Their demands are an eight-hour day, better working conditions and wages, and recognition of their newly formed union, the United Auto Workers (UAW). The company and Mitch Hepburn’s Ontario government are both determined to prevent the UAW, an affiliate of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), from gaining a foothold in Ontario. The company refuses to negotiate, and the Ontario government hires ‘special police’ (armed thugs) to intimidate the workers. The workers hold firm, and on April 23, the company, afraid of losing market share to rival automobile companies, agrees to accept most of the workers’ demands.

April 8, 1999

Revolt in San Andres, Mexico: Several thousand unarmed indigenous Tzotzil people take back the municipal council buildings in San Andres a day after it has been seized by Mexican government forces. Men, women, and children, supporters of the Zapatista movement, walk into town from different directions and surround police contingents and ask them to leave. The police decide to leave and the people re-occupy the municipal buildings.

April 9, 1823

Canut (silkworkers’) revolt: Faced with employers conspiring together to reduce their wages, coupled with arrests of workers who try to resist, thousands of silkworkers in Lyon, France, rebel. The army moves in and opens fire on an unarmed crowd. In response, barricades are thrown up, workers seize weapons from the armouries, and street fighting begins.

Read more →

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Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Tahmid Khan for his work on this newsletter.


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