Marxist scholar David Harvey has a new book out, The Enigma of Capital, and this means he’s been on the road giving talks to promote it. One such lecture was at Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London this past April. You can watch/listen to the talk here.
However, if you want the short version, I suggest watching RSA’s beautiful animation of it below. It does a good job of adding some visual content to Harvey’s explanation of the crisis of capitalism.
h/t Gopal Balakrishnan
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By Sean — 9 years ago
The barrage of mass protest fired in Russia’s far east ten days ago echoed with a whimper as opponents of the import car tax hike staged actions across Russia. Today’s protests lacked the manpower of the previous ones, and in Vladivostok, the epicenter of the movement, OMON easily dispersed a crowd of around a 500 people. Police detained about 30 100 people among them included protesters, onlookers, journalists, and broadcast footage by REN-TV’s Valentina Troshina. Here’s a BBC video of the zachistka.
The columns of cars which were so successful in paralyzing Vladivostok ten days go also had limited success. One column of around 40 cars were able to make it to the center of town where the honked their horns. Another column of about 30 cars jammed Magnitagorsk street, while a third of about 30 cars waved flags as they circled the town center. No mass traffic disruption seemed to materialize.
In addition to Vladivostok, sparsely attended protests occurred throughout the country. Actions in South Sakhalin, Barnaul, Blagoveshchensk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Khabarovsk were without incident. Police reported that about 25 people (another source says 150) gathered in legal protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a number that was completely overshadowed by the 1,500 police and 600 GUVD officers mobilized to contain the actions. About 300 people gathered on Lenin Square in Novosibirsk without incident.
The Vladivostok protests were called hastily, poorly organized and mired in confusion. According to RIA Novosti, the call for today’s protests came from car enthusiast websites. Auto organizations said that they never called for a protest and weren’t going to participate in it. In fact, Dmitrii Penyaz, the leader of the Society for the Defense of Drivers and provincial Duma rep, urged his supporters to not participate in Sunday’s illegal action claiming that they were the work of opportunists. “Now we clearly see the jobbery of our problem among you–unknown provocateurs encourage mass disorder for the purpose of not solving our painful problems, but for the destabilization of the situation in the region.”
It does appear that opposition parties of all stripes are jumping on the tax protest bandwagon. For example, in Kaliningrad, the local branches of the KPRF, Patriots of Russia, the Left Front, and the National Bolsheviks used the car protests to agitate against corruption, high fuel costs, and public services. Most of the protesters, however, carried signs and slogans about the car tax. On Friday, the newly constituted “opposition” force, Solidarity, gave their support to the car tax protesters. In a statement published in Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, they said the tax hike was Putin’s effort to “protect oligarchs close to him, the owners of automakers S. Chemezov (AvtoVaz) and O. Deripaska (AvtoGaz). Such actions have no use except to raise the price of cars and preserve the remaining Russian auto industry. In fact, in choosing between the 20 million motorists and the oligarchs, Putin chose the latter.” The statement went on to call for officials to drive domestic made cars.
To Solidarity’s and other Russian liberals’ chagrin, the domestic upheaval they’ve all been wishing and waiting for didn’t happen. And if recent polls are any indication, they won’t happen anytime soon. Plus if the nightmare scenarios being peddled in relation to the proposed changes to the treason law have any validity, the Kremlin won’t let it happen anyway.
One possible reason for Sunday’s low turnout is that Putin made a preemptive strike. Putin’s move: economic nationalism to feed protestors’ economism. First, he called on the social sector, police and rescue services to buy domestic cars, saying the government would allocate $450 million to fund. He encouraged state owned companies and large private companies to do the same. In addition, Russia’s state investment bank is considering giving Russia’s “Big Three” a total of $616 million in loans to help prop up the industry. Lastly, Putin suggested that next year the government would begin to subsidize loans for individuals to buy domestic cars under $12,500 or less. Whether this will change Russians’ preference for foreign cars is unknown, and probably unlikely.
This is all nice, but wholly ineffective in the long term. Especially since Russia is now intimately tied to global capitalism. The current economic crisis has shown that while capital remains uneven, it shockwaves bat all nation’s shores. Remember VVP, as Marx famously wrote, capital batters all “Chinese walls.” You might as well recognize that Russia’s walls are in the dead center of capital’s cannonade.Post Views: 320
By Sean — 10 years ago
Boris Kagarlistky’s new article “Labor Movement and Civil Society” is a must read. I especially liked these two excerpts:
The significant outcome of the events at the “Ford” plant lies in the fact that the labor movement has attracted public attention. They started to talk and write about it, they started to look at it – some with hope, others with apprehension. In essence the labor movement proved to be so far the first and the only real manifestation of the civil society in modern Russia. Not of the artificial one, established for Western grants or sitting in a fake Public Chamber, but of a real grassroots movement.
The owners of enterprises respond to the demands of employees with natural irritation. Though there are differences. Western managers used to negotiate with strikers. Managers and owners, representing Russian capital behave in a quite different way. During the strike at the Murmansk sea port the internal security “dealt” with the employees. But when the strike was called in the port of Novorossiysk, which is larger and more important for the economy, the local Main Department of Internal Affairs was involved at the instance of the administration to suppress the troublemakers. According to Alexander Schepel, leader of the Russian Labor Confederation, the more influential the owner of the enterprise is, the more aggressive is the interference of authorities. Some involve security service, others call for special police squad, and others involve Prosecutor General’s Office to deal with trade unions.
Were is the Western media’s outcry about this? I doubt you’d find many Wall Street Journal editors among these guys.
I also thought that this was an interesting observation:
“Social peace” which reigned in Russia during the most part of 2000s naturally ends with the new surge of the class struggle. It is a paradox that one thing has predetermined another one. The same economic growth which primarily made the blue collars calm and obedient, has all in all provoked new demands of the lower strata. Such is the logic of capitalism.
In other matters, poor Zyuganov can’t get any workers to come hear him speak. In Ivanovo, a heavy machinery worker told the Moscow Times, “Zyuganov is from last century.” Yeah, take a clue from Castro, you fossil.
I can only imagine this scene:
“Now I am ready to answer your questions,” Zyuganov said.
The first to step forward, production department head Sergei Vlasov smiled as he asked how the Communist Party, if it ever came back to power, would avoid making the same mistakes as in the Soviet era.
“Our party has reviewed its policies three times,” Zyuganov replied. “We have condemned those mistakes.”
Vlasov later said he had been unimpressed by Zyuganov’s words. “I haven’t received an answer to my question,” he said, adding that he was not sure he trusted the candidate enough to vote for him on March 2.
What’s more, Vlasov said, it didn’t really matter, as First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was a shoo-in to win the vote.
“There are no alternatives,” he said.
Then Vlasov hit him with this:
Vlasov criticized Zyuganov’s lack of effort in opposition, accusing him of just “sitting behind a desk” instead of working. Zyuganov replied that the party was working, but Vlasov remained unconvinced.
“The television shows you just sitting at a desk,” he said.
Ouch. I wish I heard something like this in the American campaign.
The the plant director hit him with this one:
Mokrov, the plant’s general director, labeled Zyuganov a “coward” prior to his arrival.
“He practically won in 1996,” Mokrov said, referring to Zyuganov’s near victory over the incumbent Boris Yeltsin in the second round of presidential voting. “Why didn’t he go for the victory?”
Zyuganov has been criticized from some corners for not calling his supporters out onto the streets in response to the questionable tactics that allowed Yeltsin to pull ahead. Many supporters believe his reaction should have been more like that of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine in 2004 and 2005.
I don’t know. For fear of civil war, maybe?Post Views: 344