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Austerity, ecological crisis and the hollowing out of democracy

The book analyzes capitalism’s growing destructiveness and the cost–benefit contradiction it generates. Its new conception of the surplus, which recognizes not just capitalist businesses but also households and the public sector as sites of surplus production, links capitalism’s destructiveness to that system’s use of the surplus. Capital’s use of the surplus turns scientific knowledge and technique into forces of destruction, and the book illustrates this dynamic by making reference to the growth of a consumerist culture, to massive military spending, and to other technologies that fuel a deepening ecological crisis. This crisis, along with economic and public health crises as well as a crisis of political democracy, are also analyzed as being intimately linked to capitalism’s use of the surplus. It is capitalism’s undemocratic control of the surplus by capitalist elites, moreover, that ultimately leads to the cost–benefit contradiction of contemporary societies: the futility of our consumerist culture no longer translates productive development into correspondingly growing human well-being, while the simultaneous growth of capitalism’s forces of destruction increasingly endangers human beings and the planet. Thus, this contradiction creates the potential for an opposition to capitalism and its exploitative and destructive nature by a wide range of social movements, both “old” (such as the labor and socialist movements) and “new” (for example, the feminist, anti-racist, ecological, and peace movements). To address capitalism’s contradiction, a democratic classless society is required, but the book also analyzes how capitalism’s operation obstructs the formation of an anti-capitalist coalition fighting for such an alternative.

Dave Morland

anarchism is equivalent to constructing a future society without the State. (See, for example, the classic statement by Malatesta from the 1890s (Malatesta, 1974).) In etymological terms, anarchy refers to the absence of rule or government. Therefore, when we talk of anarchy we generally talk of ‘a stateless society’ (Carter, 1993: 141). This chapter is not an attempt to resolve or settle the difficulties associated with defining anarchy or social anarchism. It will suggest that, when situated alongside the practices of new social movements associated with the recent

in Changing anarchism
New youth activism
Ljubica Spaskovska

contrast to the institutional youth sphere in many other European socialist countries, where these organisations no longer generated new forms of political expression and where environmentalist or peace groups emerged outside of the formal youth structures.2 In Yugoslavia, many youth actors still believed in the capacity of the institutional youth sphere to be an incubator for new types of politics, and sought to shape a specifically Yugoslav youth political realm where newsocial movements’ emerging from the bottom up could be integrated into the SSOJ. This echoed the

in The last Yugoslav generation
Abstract only
Rethinking the relationship between capitalism, communism, and democracy
Costas Panayotakis

challenging patriarchy and racism, no movement hoping to replace capitalism with a classless society will be successful. But the reverse is also true. Without challenging capitalism, feminist and anti-racist movements will find that capital’s ongoing use of such inequalities to divide workers will inevitably hobble struggles against racial and gender injustice. Communism, the new social movements, and the prospects for an anti-capitalist alliance The inseparability of the struggle for a democratic classless society from those against racial and patriarchal oppression

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Costas Panayotakis

technologies contribute to a deepening ecological crisis. By advancing a critique of market-oriented strands of the environmental movement, the chapter also initiates this work’s analysis of “new social movements” as in part a reaction to capitalism’s increasing destructiveness. In this respect, this critique also forms part of a recurring theme in this work, namely that new social movements cannot pursue their objectives effectively without also challenging capital’s undemocratic control of the surplus. Last but not least, the chapter argues for the need to analyze social

in The capitalist mode of destruction
Open Access (free)
Relational reflexivity in the ‘alternative’ food movement
Jonathan Murdoch and Mara Miele

industrialised relations. We speculate that consumers are subsequently involved in a new engagement with food, one that embraces ‘embedded relations’. We argue that the concern for embeddedness brings ‘relational reflexivity’ to the fore among consumers and that this requires a new aesthetic of food to be put in place. Next, we turn to examine the role of new social movements in heightening awareness of the economic, social and environmental relationships that surround foodstuffs. We argue that the market for quality foods is strongly configured by the activities of those

in Qualities of food
Ali Rattansi

, had an ambivalent relation to the postmodern turn, being attracted to its critique of rationalism and universalism but critical of any celebration of affluent consumerism, and he was usually hostile to the new social movements of women, blacks, gays and others. It is thus not surprising that in his interviews with Gane (2004) and Tester (2007) Bauman seemed to see little merit in the achievements of the postmodern turn, whether in academe or politics. RATTANSI 9781526105875 PRINT.indd 188 24/05/2017 13:19

in Bauman and contemporary sociology
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Emmanuelle Avril and Yann Béliard

Party, the CPGB and the Revolutionary Communist Party, over Britain’s military intervention in Greece; while David Stewart and Anne Beauvallet respectively examined the Labour Party’s relationships with the co-operative movement and the teachers’ unions. The third level of tensions that contributors were invited to analyse was that between labour organisations and spontaneous working-class protests, and more recently ‘new social movements’, where unusual modes of organising may appear. Lewis Mates and Yann Béliard revisited such confrontations between grassroots

in Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present
Poststructuralism and radical politics
Author: Saul Newman

How do we think about radical politics today, in the wake of the collapse of Marxist-Leninism and the triumph of neo-liberal capitalism? How should radical political theory respond to new challenges posed by globalisation, postmodernity, the ‘war on terror’ and the rise of religious fundamentalism? How are we to take account of the new social movements and political struggles appearing on the global horizon? In addressing these questions, this book explores the theme of universality and its place in radical political theory. It argues that both Marxist politics of class struggle and the postmodern politics of difference have reached their historical and political limits, and that what is needed is a new approach to universality, a new way of thinking about collective politics. By exploring various themes and ideas within poststructuralist and post-Marxist theory, the book develops a new approach to universality — one that has implications for politics today, particularly on questions of power, subjectivity, ethics and democracy. In so doing, it engages in debates with thinkers such as Laclau, Žižek, Badiou and Rancière over the future of radical politics. The book also applies theoretical insights to contemporary events such as the emergence of the anti-globalisation movement, the ‘war on terrorism’, the rise of anti-immigrant racism and the nihilistic violence that lurks at the margins of the political.

Richard Taylor

This chapter summarises the main themes of twentieth-century English radicalism: freedom of thought, speech and assembly; and equality, economically and materially, but also politically and socially. There has also been a belief in the ‘common people’ and the importance of ‘human agency’ in the historical and political process. All those studied in this book have been advocates of extra-parliamentary, popular social movements and of the moral bases of such movements. English radicals have believed passionately that capitalism is an untenable, irrational and immoral system. But they have also held that revolutionary, insurrectionary politics was not a viable position, at least in the context of twentieth-century Britain. New social movements in the early twenty first century – notably the environmentalist campaigns – have buttressed the belief in the necessity for social-movement activism, in addition to ‘orthodox’ political party involvements. ‘Populism’ and ‘identity’ politics have also added to the complexity of the radical environment, and these dimensions to the radical context are also discussed, not least the (different) dangers they represent to radical perspectives and culture. There thus remain challenges for English radicalism in the future: but the tradition remains both relevant, indeed vital, if progressive change is to be achieved.

in English radicalism in the twentieth century