Constructing the Household Economy

This study looks at the issues surrounding the organisation of home-based workers, and how through new ideational and ideological lenses home-based workers can construct a household political economy that rivals the dominant hegemonic positions of neoliberalism and its discourses of marketisation, privatisation and precariatisation.

The study is linked here: Constructing the Household Economy Continue reading

A Politics of Resistance

In the modern world, the existing structures of the state and capitalism are presented as the inevitable result of history and progress. A narrative is constructed which proffers one thing: there is no alternative (TINA). An unregulated “borderless global economy in which markets would no longer be locked into nation-states, but nation-states into markets”[1]. An environment of global governance and nominal deregulation which produces a discourse of economic statelessness, where the state is there only to facilitate exchange and production through a legal regime of private property rights. TINA acts as a universalisable narrative where “no one must be allowed to escape from ‘global competition’” and the processes of commodification and marketisation must go unhindered. “Globalized capitalism, so called free-markets and free trade were the best ways to build wealth, distribute services and grow a society’s economy”[2]. Thus a naturalness is given to the processes and structures of neoliberalism, suggesting they are processes inherent to human nature and the best means to achieve growth and economic stability. Continue reading

Violence Is What It Is

In the most basic terms, violence is what it is. A broad term that encapsulates everything from berating a friend to waging an industrial-scale war. It is a term defined by its own banality, for it always exists in the realms of power and the relations between people. Is it not violence when eternal damnation is promised for the sinner? Is it not violence when we threaten a friend or partner in an argument? Is it not violence when you smash a beer bottle over the head of the man who is flirting with your wife? The family feud and the modern war are both intimations of violence, the main difference being their degree of activity. Continue reading

The Irrelevance of This Election

This election has proved one thing, that radical change will never come through a duopolistic political system that sits on the steps of the state. The false paradigm of left and right may well be dead, but a new fallacious paradigm of social internationalism on the one hand, and paradoxical nationalism on the other, has been birthed. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn represent two faces of the state, both centralising in their tendencies and utopian in their belief in state power. Both fundamentally lie within the centralising axis of politics, and thus have little to say when it comes to revolutionising the concept of work in relation to automation, when it comes to governmental and tax reform, and when it comes to developing alternative production processes. Continue reading

Manifesto for Revolution (Abstract)

by Kuang Mantis

https://thisbookburnsitself.com/2017/05/31/manifesto-for-an-abstract-revolution-abstract/

Marxists, forgive me if you’ve heard this one before:

“What have we learned from revolution?”

This is always a hard question to answer because it forces us to lie. The real answer, occulted under layers of theory, dialectical analyses of the “conditions”, slavish adherence to the doctrinal and counter-doctrinal lenses of others is: nothing.  Continue reading

Foreign Policy and the Knowledge Problem

Many try to measure foreign policy by its stated humanitarian aims, seeing the variables of intervention as the best means for securing the livelihoods of particular subaltern populations. However such a view makes a massive assumption, that being the capability of states/militaries to aggregate the levels of on-the-ground social and cultural knowledge. This knowledge problem (generally identified with economic knowledge by Hayek) is not simply overcome by abstract reasoning that is related to things such as human rights or democracy. It can only be overcome by either a huge institutional and demographic shift amongst the effected populations (genocide, displacement, imposed borders, etc.) or by the integration of local populaces into mutualistic mechanisms of governance. Continue reading

Voting isn’t a Civic Duty

With the recent election here in the UK, we see the barrage of comments that regularly follow it. It entails saying something along the lines of “if you don’t vote you can’t complain”. A statement so stupid and banal that it doesn’t deserve the credit it is given. Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t vote. Frankly I don’t care either way, and I’ll only vote if there is a candidate in my constituency worth voting for. But what frustrates me about this statement is the equivocation of voting with some kind of existential meaning, as if voting is the apotheosis of civic or political engagement. Continue reading

Corbyn Sits Firmly Within the Overton Window

While much is made of Jeremy Corbyn’s radical proposals, making him out to be a member of the far-left, the bulk of his policies fit well within the wider the capitalist framework of politico-economic understandings. His support for things like financial passporting, piecemeal nationalisation and some form of freedom of movement are policies well within the Overton window of accepted political opinion, despite the radical rhetoric that surrounds them. The idea that these things are somehow at odds with capitalism is frankly laughable, and usually presented by individuals who view the machinations of socialism or communism as purely connected to the state. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn is a Victim of Ideology

Since the general election has been called, the turgid slogan of strong and stable has been trotted out by the Conservatives, supposedly contrasting with a ‘coalition of chaos’ represented by Jeremy Corbyn. In this regard, Corbyn is seen as a useless and failed opposition leader. Such a view seems to be widely held by other elements of the political and media classes, as a quick Google search shows. Thus every political proposal in this election, despite their innate popularity, is kept within this narrative of uselessness. Even with internal party disparity, the lack of an electoral infrastructure and a young, inexperienced base, every electoral problem and Labour Party debacle is firmly placed on Corbyn’s shoulders. This seeming uniformity of opinion can cause concern amongst Corbyn’s supporters, posing the question: why is Corbyn consistently portrayed in this manner? Is it a rational perspective, or are there other narratives that belie this view. Continue reading

It’s a Matter of Scale and Control

The mantra of Brexit has been ‘take back control’. As seen with Nick Clegg’s piece on Brexit voters in Ebbw Vale, Wales a few months ago, such a mantra still holds significant importance. In this ‘dying town’, as it was described, we see the real effects of deindustrialisation and the limitation of employment opportunities that have come from this, as residents feel that their woes are due to the spectre of EU bureaucracy, which is faceless and unaccountable. Taking a wider perspective, I think many of these voters see the move from deindustrialisation to a “wage-subsidy” economy (that is fixated on flexible work, the decoupling of wages from productivity and the use of the welfare state to subsidise low-wages) as blameable upon the developments of globalisation, of which the EU happens to be the most representative case to many of these people. The new Speenhamland system that has been developed removes control from both the worker and the self-employed person, favouring a cartelised economy where employers are subsidised either through tax credits and a multiplicitous welfare system, or through the minimum wage which acts as a technocratic barrier to entry (favouring larger employers who can afford this overhead cost). Continue reading