On the Jacobin website economist Michael Roberts, a regular contributor to this journal, analyses the economic woes on the horizon for a beleaguered Theresa May government. Roberts cites a sharp fallback in labour productivity resulting from lack of business investment as the main reason for sluggish growth. He concludes:
This minority Conservative government is going to find it difficult to survive for long. There could well be a new general election before the year is out, and that could well lead to a Labour government aiming to reverse the neoliberal policies of the last thirty years. But if the UK capitalist economy is in dire straits, a Labour government would face an immediate challenge to the implementation of its policies.
The people behind the Jacobin magazine have also started a new journal, Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy. Edited by Vivek Chibber and Robert Brenner, Catalyst aims to respond to today’s crisis for the neoliberal order and to put a critique of capitalism back on the table. The first issue includes a defence of materialist class analysis by Chibber, as well as articles by Cedric Johnson, Mike Davis, Nivedita Majumdar, Charles Post and Michael Schwartz and Joshua Murray. Go to http://catalyst-journal.com/
The latest Irish Marxist Review, their Russian Revolution centenary issue, contains much of interest. James O’Toole recalls the events of 1917 demonstrating the importance of the Bolshevik Party to the success of the revolution, John Molyneux argues for the relevance of the revolution today, Colm Bryce describes the impact of events in Russia on the Irish working class, and Dublin councillor Madeleine Johansson shows how women’s liberation was central to the gains of the revolution.
In the May issue of Monthly Review Paul Burkett offers his take on three important recent books on climate change, Facing the Anthropocene by Ian Angus, Andreas Malm’s Fossil Capital and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. Martin Empson complements this with his own piece on capitalism’s peculiar relationship to the natural world. Empson shows how capitalist social relations were brought about by the brutal expulsion of people from land, for example with the enclosures in 17th century England, and how this was met with spirited resistance. Henry Giroux asks how dystopian novels, George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World can help us understand the era of authoritarianism, bigotry and “alternative facts” heralded by the Donald Trump presidency.
Like many of Monthly Review’s writers, Giroux refers to Trump as “neo-fascist”. Likewise, John Bellamy Foster puts forward, in the June issue, an argument that Trump is part of a transnational fascist ascendancy, welding together the interests of the ruling class with those of lower middle class voters. Foster criticises the vague use of the term “populism” to apply to his presidency. However, as Megan Trudell argues in the previous issue of this journal, it is less clear that Trump is (yet) able to mobilise his supporters into the kind of movement that can attempt to crush working class organisation. Surely such a movement is characteristic of fascism?
The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung have produced a pamphlet, The Long Struggle of the Amazon Employees, detailing the ongoing campaign of strike action at Amazon’s “fulfilment centres” in Germany. The pamphlet shows how the ver.di union has organised these precarious workers and massively increased its membership as well as explaining some of the obstacles they have come up against. The publication aims to make these findings accessible internationally, and to contribute to Europe-wide coordination among Amazon workers and others in similar industries. It can be downloaded for free at www.rosalux.eu/publications/the-long-struggle-of-the-amazon-employees/