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thof “The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism”: A century-old work remains current, provocative and seminal

A hundred years since the first Berlin edition of “The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism,” no one needs a commemorative address to introduce the work. The work is still being referenced by scholars, writers and people all around the world who fight for democracy and justice; for a life of dignity, solidarity and ecological responsibility; and for socialism. Its continued prominence is a tribute to its author, her academic methodology and the topicality of the questions she posed, yet also demonstrates a corresponding weakness in the modern Left, particularly among socialists. More…

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The CDU/CSU’s strategy of governing until the summer and then running a short election campaign has been successful. Although there are only two months to go until the federal election on 22 September, it would be difficult to claim that the country is in election mood, let alone in a mood for change. There is currently far less desire for a change of government than before the elections in 2005 and 2009. Despite this, the existing governing coalition of the (conservative) CDU/CSU and the (liberal) FDP does not even have the strongest public support of all possible political constellations. In terms of support, the current coalition ranks behind a coalition of the (social democratic) SPD and the Greens, and most strongly of all behind a coalition of the (governing) CDU and the SPD. Clearly many voters long for a return to the grand coalition of the CDU and the SPD. However, this is mainly due to the weakness of the FDP, which is caused by the party’s clientelism and continued adherence to neoliberalism; as such, it is not even clear whether the FDP will regain entry into the next parliament.

Just Mobility

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Crises create opportunities to set longrange goals for the future. A key question is that of urban mobility in a world in which the great majority of the world’s population will soon live in cities of over a million inhabitants, many of them in metropolitan conurbations. Broadly speaking, there are two possible alternatives: one, the US system of mobility centred on private, petrol-driven cars can be ecologically modernized and expanded to embrace the globe by switching to electric-powered cars; or, two, public transport can be ecologized and made more flexible. For historical reasons the factors determining which of these alternatives will be chosen are very different and path-dependent. Whereas rapid transit systems have largely disappeared from many US metropolises, European metropolises are characterized by mixed systems. In many metropolises of the southern hemisphere the car-based mobility of the rising middle classes coexists with the exclusion of large sections of the city-dwelling poor from urban mobility. Long-term experiments with a free-of-charge public transport system could act as a global model.

Left-Wing Strategies

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There is the constant criticism, that the Left Party’s policies should not be confined only to ‘we are against’, a simple negation. As such, it is important to emphasize the many forward-looking proposals for handling the euro crisis and for a social Europe as part of a solidarity-based process of European re-foundation. The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung aims to help further these discussions with analyses and studies such as those by Heiner Flassbeck and Costas Lapavitas and this paper. Nevertheless, Axel Troost, for example has pointed to the difficultly of turning the euro crisis into an issue for the elections (Strategy discussion with the chair of the Left Party on 7.2.2012). Consequently, the positions of the Left Party should focus less on the ‘great crisis’ and more on people’s everyday lives. This should not be understood as meaning that analyses and suggestions for effectively overcoming the crisis are no longer needed; it merely points to a different approach.

Germany in Europe

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Since the outbreak of the world financial and economic crises, the continued effects of which we are still grappling with, academics, politicians and journalists have been absorbed by the issue of the euro and the fate of the European Union. At the same time, despite various EU summits, no viable, sustainable solution has been found. This has been confounded by the enforcement of neoliberalism over recent decades. However, without a fundamental break from neoliberalism as a way of thinking and acting, as well as its institutional form, it is unlikely that a solution to these crises will ever be found.

CHildebrandt_ engl -EU-Linke_2013-07-07.

PolicyPaper_01-2012.pdf

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The crisis is not relinquishing its grip on Europe. From autumn 2008 to early 2009 the world market experienced the deepest slump in economic output since the Second World War. This is a global crisis. Even in emerging economies like China, Brazil or India economic growth declined and could not compensate for the recession in the North Atlantic region. For the first time since the worldwide economic crisis of the 1930s global economic output has shrunk. After a brief uptick in 2010 which barely restored the level of reproduction prior to the crisis, in 2011 growth was again in worldwide decline. In the last quarter of 2011 economic output in the EU shrunk by 0.3 percent. In the first months of 2012 industrial production in the large EU nations of France, Italy and Spain contracted further.

On 28 and 29 February, a delegation of more than 20 representatives visited Athens to meet with Greek social movements, political groups, unions, media, community organisations and parliamentary representatives. The delegation came from Germany (ATTAC, Rosa Luxembourg foundation, Occupy), France (Solidaires, FSU, ATTAC, Transform, AITEC, CADTM), Austria (ATTAC), Basque (ELA, ESK), Italy (Social Centre, ARCI), Belgium (CNE-CSC), UK (Red Pepper), Asia (Focus on the Global South)

From the delegation viewpoint, the main points we learned from our interlocutors were:

–       The Greek people are paying an incredible price for the Troika-imposed austerity programmes: massive reduction of pensions and minimum wages, destruction of jobs, public services and public housing, homelessness and even hunger, and the situation is deteriorating day after day. Greece is much more than a ‘special case’ for national and EU-rulers but their attempt starting a new stage of neoliberal society transformation in Europe. More…

Tariq Ali

Why is it that the same areas always erupt first, whatever the cause? Pure accident? Might it have something to do with race and class and institutionalised poverty and the sheer grimness of everyday life? The coalition politicians (including new New Labour, who might well sign up to a national government if the recession continues apace) with their petrified ideologies can’t say that because all three parties are equally responsible for the crisis. They made the mess. More…

Check this Review of the english Version of our Greece-Booklet.

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