Joseph Choonara

Stock crash shows up sham recovery

Issue section: 

The world’s stock markets were once more in turmoil as Socialist Review went to press.

The immediate trigger appears to have been the sharp downturn in Chinese share prices since July.

This, in and of itself, is a big problem for the Chinese authorities. As well as seeking to contain growing struggles by workers, they have encouraged so-called “middle class” Chinese to invest their savings in the stock market.

EU referendum: Should we stay or should we go?

Issue section: 

As the debate over European Union membership heats up, Joseph Choonara argues that socialists should argue for a left wing No vote, despite the right wing dominating the campaign for a "Brexit".

Referendums are often awkward terrain for socialists, because the terms of the debate are set by establishment politicians. The referendum on British membership of the European Union (EU) is a particularly tricky specimen. The mainstream arguments on both sides will be unpalatable.

The Yes campaign, to retain Britain’s EU membership, will be dominated by the Conservative and Labour leaderships, along with what’s left of the Liberal Democrats.

Summers vs Bernanke: Sick capitalism

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Heavyweight economists can offer only a partial understanding of the weak recovery. Step forward, Karl Marx.

A fascinating debate is taking place between former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and former US Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke. These two big beasts of economics are slugging it out over the reasons for the weakness of the half decade long recovery.

Greece: It didn't have to be this way

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The Troika has succeeded in imposing its will on the Syriza government for now, but other options were. And still are, available.

One of the most scathing responses to the deal struck between Greece’s radical left Syriza government and European finance ministers in February came from 92 year old Manolis Glezos. The former resistance fighter — famous for tearing the Swastika from the Acropolis in 1941 and now a Syriza MEP — compared the agreement to “renaming fish as meat”.

Who do we vote for now?

Issue section: 

We need to build a credible unified left alternative to Labour that is rooted in the struggle of the working class.

Half a century ago the American Marxist Hal Draper wrote a piece entitled “Who’s Going To Be the Lesser Evil in 1968?” His argument was simple. The choice between the two main parties in the US — the Democrats and Republicans — was no real choice at all. That did not mean the parties were identical, merely that “they tend to act in the same way in essential respects, where fundamental needs of the system are concerned”.

Chained to austerity

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Despite slashing public spending, the coalition's economic medicine has failed. Now the economy is taking another turn for the worse.

According to the Greek legend Prometheus, who angered the gods by stealing fire from them, was chained to a rock to have his liver eaten away by an eagle. Each night the liver would grow back so when dawn broke the torture might begin again. So too the budget deficit. No matter the savagery that chancellor George Osborne perpetrates, it is still there the morning after.

The economy's empty smile

Issue section: 

October's market jitters show how confidence in the recovery can flip into panic. But what underlies the turmoil?

Appropriate mood music for London’s stock exchange last month, according to the Financial Times’s James Mackintosh, might have been Anthrax’s “I’m Alive”. For those readers unfamiliar with thrash metal, the relevant lyrics are: “An empty smile / And you’re hypnotised / Selling lies, my enterprise / The sheep just get in line / Capitulate so easily / The power of fear.”

Work contracts: a zero-sum game

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Labour leader Ed Miliband has repeatedly pledged to end "exploitative" zero-hours contracts. We can safely assume that he does not plan to abolish exploitation in a Marxist sense - the pumping of unpaid labour out of one class by another.

To oppose such exploitation would be to oppose capitalist profit-making full stop.

Nonetheless, the pledge reflects Labour's recognition that many people suffer or fear suffering uncertainty in their working life, an issue that zero-hours contracts have come to symbolise.

The trouble with Lenin

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Continuing the debate on the role of Leninism, Joseph Choonara argues that the Bolshevik leader's concept of the party remains the model around which socialists should unite.

"Dead Russians," Respect MP George Galloway once said, "must be discussed in private." But Lenin and the contested tradition known as Leninism have today become a topic of intense public discussion among many who consider themselves radical opponents of capitalism. Much of the commentary is negative.

Causes of the crisis

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Costas Lapavitsas

The sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone has become the most glaring problem facing global capitalism.

Across the world many states face high levels of debt, mainly due to collapsing tax revenues during the recession. In some cases this has been exacerbated by efforts made to prop up banks and prevent a total economic meltdown in 2008.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Joseph Choonara