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Showing posts from March, 2021

The deep strata of workers in an opulent Europe

The inauguration of the Draghi government has revived top trade union leaders anxious to be involved by the government of all , all the more so in the era of the Recovery Fund. The word consultation has been the most used in some recent trade union comments. Annamaria Furlan, of the CIS [Italian Confederation of Trade Unions] is explicit in calling for a great consultative pact [ Il Messaggero , 8 th February]. Pierpaolo Bombardier, secretary of the UIL [Italian Labour Union], adds that the consultation must become a method to help the country restart . Maurizio Landini, of the CGIL [Italian General Confederation of Labor] sees the novelty in the fact that social partners have been involved in the establishment of the new government [ Conquiste del lavoro , 11 th February]. The two phases of European imperialist politics In this sense there are many comparisons to the Ciampi govemment of 1993, omitting that consultation was functional to limiting the costs of labour. There


Before capsules and pods, there was freeze-dried instant coffee powder, which of course tasted nothing like a real espresso. Now: for some time we have been following the vicissitudes of sovereigntists and populists with the idea that their political future depended on their Euro-solubility . Referring to the law-and-order, xenophobic and immigrant-hostile traits that have become common currency in European debates, we wrote that a Europe that protects could use the anti-immigration rhetoric of the sovereigntists to keep them on the leash of the pro-European strategic consensus. No sooner said that done. In Italy, as in France and other European countries, that phenomenon is in full swing. In Italy, the Five Star Movement has already embarked on its path to conversion a year and a half ago, entrusted with no less than the direction of Italian diplomacy. And even the Lega, believe it or not, has become a pro-European party overnight. In France, a similar process has seized Marine Le P

The ‘Dividends of War’ of Middle Eastern Manufacturers

From the series The arms industry in the Middle East Europeans started selling weapons to the Middle East a century and a half ago, recalls the Economist . At the time, European armies began to adopt the breech-loading tifle and to sell the surplus of rifled muskets to rival Arab tribes . The fow of arms has never stopped since, but in the meantime the importance of the area has grown, attracting new sellers: Americans, Russians, Chinese and also emerging local groups. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) EDGE conglomerate, with 12,000 employees and sales worth $4.7 billion, recently entered the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) top 25 arms-producing companies in the world for the first time. An unstable but enormous market In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) there are three ongoing conflicts (Syria, Libya, and Yemen) and a heated dispute over gas resources in the easter Mediterranean. Recent diplomatic moves, such as the agreements between Israel and the

Socialism and Nationalism in the History of France

The collapse of French socialism at the outbreak of the First World War is considered by many historians to be the most significant case of its kind. We must go back in time to find its origins. The dramatic repression of the Paris Commune in 1871 was followed by a decade of shootings and the deportation of tens of thousands of revolutionary militants. Reactionary monarchical legitimism attributed the decline of France to the Revolution of 1789, but by then the nouvelles couches sociales , the new classes produced by capitalism, as Leon Gambetta defined them, demanded a politics free from economic, social and clerical ties. The Radical Party, a turning point of French politics, was its expression. The same taditional Catholic Judeophobia dating back to the Middle Ages — according to Michel Dreyfus’, research director at the CNRS in Paris, Anti-Semitism on the Left in France [Paris, 2009] — gradually transformed into the image of the Jews associated with money and modernity who des

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment Strengthens the ‘European Party’ in China

From the series News from the Silk Road “Chinese people treat [US democracy] as a variety show which is much more interesting than House of Cards’ [...]”. Beijing does not feel the same embarrassment as the old democracies of the West faced with the grotesque scenes of demonstration against the Capitol organised by the president of the United States. Zhao Minghao from the Chongyang Institute spelled out the obvious in his analysis some time earlier: “the political farce by the incumbent president and some Republican lawmakers is reflecting the profound crisis on US domestic politics.” The Global Times is serving a hefty bill to the ideologies of liberal interventionism: “the ‘beacon of democracy’, and the beautiful rhetoric of ‘City upon a Hill’ [...]” are undergoing a serious debacle or in other words, a “Waterloo of US international image”. It will be a while before the US can “interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs with the excuse of ‘democracy’[...]”. Attention is also

The Myth of Cooperation

From the series Vaccines and world contention There are by now ten authorised vaccines already in use against SARSCoV-2, and there are 77 countries in which vaccinations are taking place. By mid-February, 173 million doses had been administered and the campaign is proceeding at an average rate of six million a day, calculated on the basis of last week’s figures. At this pace, it would take 5 years to vaccinate 75% of the world population with two doses [ Bloomberg , February 15 th ]. More than half of the injections have been carried out in the United States, the UK, and the European Union which, together, account for 11% of the world population. In at least one third of the 77 surveyed countries, less than 1% of the population have received their first dose of the vaccine, and, in the rest of the world, vaccines have not yet arrived. Imperialist globalisation Individual states are pursuing autonomous solutions to a global problem. Epidemiologists believe that, while a vast propo

The Political Form at Last Discovered

From the special series 1871-2021. The 150 th anniversary of the Paris Commune The struggle, by now more than a hundred years old, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie encompasses the whole world. One hundred and fifty years ago, in March 1871, in a single city — Paris — and in a very short time span — 72 days — the assault on the sky attempted by the proletariat and ferociously repressed by a rising bourgeoisie resolved, in practice, fundamental theoretical issues of socialism that until that moment only had provisional solutions. In the Manifesto [1848], Marx and Engels had limited themselves to stating that the indispensable precondition for the communist revolution was the conquest of democracy , i.e., the conquest of the state machinery on the part of the proletariat. However, it remained to be seen whether and to what extent the dictatorship of the proletariat could avail itself of the bourgeois state machinery. Moreover, in the definition Lenin gives, Marx’s theory