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Progressive Voices

The Society of the Spectacle, the Lesser of Two Evils, and the US Election

November 9, 2012
| Kevin Mackay provides post-election analysis on American domestic and foreign policy, the structural problems with the United States electoral system, and more.
Length: 15:00 minutes (13.74 MB)
Columnists

Why natural disasters are good for capitalism

Photo: ccho/Flickr

It's been amusing to listen to the pundits discuss the economic implications of Hurricane Sandy. Of course, we all know it closed the financial markets in NYC for two days. (That should lead to a sudden spike in productivity, by my reckoning, since millions of people stop looking at pointless charts and do something useful for a change.) Financial analysts worry about the impact on insurance companies. Their shares surely plunged on Wednesday morning when the markets reopened. One trader interviewed on Toronto radio put it bluntly: "Shoot first, ask questions later." In other words, sell them all off, and then buy back any that you later find out may not have been hit so badly by Sandy's fallout. [Rarely do you get such an honest glimpse into the base

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Naomi Klein: This economic model is at war with life on Earth

At the opening night of PowerShift 2012 in Ottawa this past weekend, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois from Quebec delivered a powerful speech in which he was very explicit in identifying capitalism as the enemy. He concluded with a statement along the lines of 'we either get liberty, or we die,' in which he meant liberty from capitalism. During a press availability session at PowerShift, rabble.ca asked Naomi Klein to comment about this statement: 

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The role of the State: Panitch and Gindin on the 'Making of Global Capitalism' - Part II

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin have just released their latest book, The Making of Global Capitalism. Gindin is the former Research Director of the Canadian Autoworkers Union and Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University, and Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University. The two have worked together on many books and publications. 

Aaron Leonard recently sat down with them in New York City to discuss their work. This is Part II of a three-part series. 

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Gender, labour and Salimah Valiani's 'Rethinking Unequal Exchange'

Many progressives, unlike neoliberals, believe that labourers, not investors, are the fundamental source of economic productivity, innovation and wealth. Implicit in this line of argument is the view that business's capacity to accumulate profit therefore depends to some degree on its capacity to diminish labour's ability to bargain over control of the gains from rising productivity. Many social movements and unions contend that the neoliberal rules -- initially propelled by the United States --- of the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank and many governments, were not established to protect labour but instead to foster the well-being of those who invest for a living at the expense of those who must work.

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The nature of the beast: Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin on 'The Making of Global Capitalism'

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin have just released their latest book, The Making of Global Capitalism. Gindin is the former Research Director of the Canadian Autoworkers Union and Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University, and Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University. The two have worked together on many books and publications. Aaron Leonard recently sat down with them in New York City to discuss their work. The interview will be presented here in three parts over the coming days. 

Part I: "An American Proposal"

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Columnists

Neil Smith's imperative: Honouring the spirit of a scholar and activist

Image: Todd Berman/Flickr

"He only earns his freedom and his life who takes them every day by storm."                                    (Goethe, Faust)

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Class divisions, the other American dilemma

Protesters from Occupy Oakland, Oct. 2011. Photo: Glenn Halog/Flickr

In An American Dilemma, published in 1944, Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal examined U.S. race relations, and concluded that the American "creed" would eventually vanquish widespread racism, and allow black and white Americans to live in greater harmony.

The election of a mixed-race U.S. president in 2008 did not mean the end of American racism. However, the victory of Barack Obama did confirm the guarded optimism of the conclusions Mrydal reached in his classic work of social science. A majority of those voting signalled it was all right for a non-white family to occupy the White House. Some 64 years after Myrdal documented the extent of systemic racism throughout the U.S., this definitely constituted progress.

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| September 7, 2012
Columnists

Embodying the values of a new progressive economy

SP leader Emile Roemer. Photo: Maurice Boyer/HH/Flickr

A decade ago, the liberation theologian Frei Betto and the ecosocialist Michael Löwy wrote an article for the 2002 World Social Forum titled "Values for a New Civilization." They pointed out that the current neoliberal order is essentially dominated by a religion of profit: this system of beliefs has its churches (the stock markets), its Holy Offices (the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank), its theologian (Adam Smith), a vast clergy (orthodox economists) that defends its principles, and a variety of instruments to persecute its heretics (all th

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