Costas Lapavitsas and his colleagues show in their book Crisis in the Eurozone (Verso, 2012) that it is not German people, who have to pay for Greek excesses as a result of the sovereign debt crisis. Rather, it is workers in Germany and Greece alike, who are squeezed in order to continue the transfer of profits from workers to employers across the European Union (EU) (see Crisis in the Eurozone, Part I). In this second part of my review of the book, I will engage with the authors’ suggestion for a progressive way out of the crisis; a way, which empowers labour at the expense of capital.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Friday, 21 September 2012
With their book Crisis in the Eurozone (Verso, 2012) Costas Lapavitsas and his colleagues have accomplished an impressive assessment of the underlying dynamics of the Eurozone crisis as well as provided an insightful analysis of potential ways forward. In this post, the first part of a two-part review of the book, I will focus on their discussions of the underlying dynamics.
Friday, 14 September 2012
The notion of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is widely vilified. Often linked to Stalin’s authoritarian rule in the Soviet Union, there is little positive said about it. Moreover, the negative evaluation is also regularly linked back to Lenin and his idea of a vanguard party taking over state power in order to change society for the better. As John Holloway argued, ‘you cannot build a society of non-power relations by conquering power. Once the logic of power is adopted, the struggle against power is already lost’ (Holloway 2002: 17). And yet, these reflections overlook Marx’s own discussion of what the dictatorship of the proletariat may entail in practice. Most importantly they neglect his analysis of the Paris Commune in The Civil War in France (1871). For as Engels pointed out in 1891, ‘well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat’.
In this post, I will look more closely at Marx’s discussion of the Paris Commune and his ideas about how to organise popular government.