Predavanje Primoža Krašovca

 

Nekoliko otvorenih pitanja vezanih uz teoriju ideologije

Mreža antifašistkinja Zagreba, Pavla Hatza 16, 19. srpnja, 19h

Predavanje ću početi poznatom Foucaultovom kritikom (marksističke) teorije ideologije: da ona 1) uvijek odvaja laži od istine, 2) da se uvijek fokusira na nešto povezano sa subjektom i da 3) pretpostavlja primarne odnose moći u usporedbi s kojima ideologija nastupa kao derivativni, sekundarni diskurs. Po pitanju zadnje točke, provjerit ću Foucaultovu kritiku na Marxovoj teoriji fetišizma iz Kapitala i pokušati pokazati da Marx tu, za razliku od nekih ranijih formulacija problema ideologije, fetišizam ne shvaća kao nešto što je sekundarno i odvojeno od ekonomskih odnosa moći u kapitalizmu, nego kao nešto što im je imanentno. To omogućava kritiku ekonomskih ideologija koja ne pretpostavlja teorije zavjere, manipulacije ili indoktrinacije.

U drugom dijelu predavanja ću se posvetiti drugoj Foucaultovoj kritičkoj tezi (prvu ću donekle uz treću uključiti u prvi dio predavanja) o pitanju ideologije i subjekta. Tu ću ukazati na granice shvaćanja ideologije kroz koncepte subjekta i subjektivacije pomoću, s jedne strane, teorije tjelesnih tehnika (od Maussa do Bourdieua) i pitanja učinaka vlasti na tijelo koje zaobilazi kognitivno-simboličku razinu,  a s druge strane preko teorije afekta (od Eliasa do nekih suvremenih deleuzeovskih autora), koja pokazuje da isključivi fokus istraživanja ideologije na odnos između materijalnih interesa i diskursa ostavlja sa strane čitavu emocionalnu i afektivnu razinu djelovanja medija, rasizma, društvenih fobija, političkih strasti…

Primož Krašovec (1979) je asistent na Odsjeku za sociologiju na Filozofskom fakultetu u Ljubljani gdje, između ostalog, predaje i teorije ideologije.

 

Program Centra za radničke studije podržava Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Predavanja :: Klasna prelamanja

 

Pozivamo vas na posljednja ovogodišnja predavanja u ciklusu Centra za radničke studije posvećenog klasnoj problematici. Bavimo se klasnom dimenzijom suvremenih lijevih političkih strategija, kao i specifičnom klasnom dinamikom u uvjetima raspada jugoslavenskog projekta.

 

Makroekonomske politike u klasnom kontekstu

Marko Kržan

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Mreža Antifašistkinja Zagreba, Pavla Hatza 16, 21.12..2015., 18h

U posljednjih nekoliko mjeseci doživjeli smo uspone i padove socijalističkih parlamentarnih političkih grupacija. S jedne strane uspjesi na izborima u Španjolskoj, Sloveniji i Grčkoj, a s druge kapitulacija Sirize u borbi s Trojkom, kao i izborne poraze ljevice u Brazilu, Argentini i Venezueli.

Ti porazi vjerno ilustriraju granice lijeve parlamentarne politike u trenutnom kontekstu: jedinstveno tržište i monetarna unija u Europi, kao i logika međunarodnog financijskog i drugih globalnih tržišta uopće, pogotovo u slučaju Južne Amerike.

Što takav kontekst znači za strategiju parlamentarne ljevice? U izlaganju ću predložiti tri odgovora:

- u parlamentarnom radu se zalagati za radikalan socijalni program protiv bijede i marginalizacije te za radničko upravljanje u granicama sadašnjeg sustava i na taj način demonstrirati izbornoj bazi da su promjene moguće i da parlamentarne politike mogu korespondirati s njihovim neposrednim interesima

- zalagati se protiv prenošenja  suvereniteta na međunarodne organizacije i sustave u suradnji s drugim državama koje zastupaju multipolarnost u međudržavnim odnosima

- težište političkog rada prebaciti s parlamentarnog na vanparlamentarni i formirati vlastite komunikacijske kanale, istraživačke centre i ostale institucije za idejnopolitički i aktivistički rad, imajući na umu da su socijalističke i komunističke partije kroz povijest najviše napredovale kad su dobrovoljno ili prisilno bile isključene iz parlamentarnog rada, tj. kad su izgubile iluziju da bi se do radikalne promjene moglo doći isključivo kroz parlament.

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Marko Kržan je sociolog marksističke orijentacije i ekonomski savjetnik zastupničkog kluba Ujedinjene ljevice (Združene levice) u slovenskom parlamentu.

 

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Kontinuitet društvenih sukoba: Borovo 1987. – 1991.

Sven Cvek, Snježana Ivčić, Jasna Račić

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Galerija Nova, Teslina 7, 22.12.2015., 18h

Fokusom na strukturne promjene, ali i materijalne i ideološke uvjete koji su radnicima stajali na raspolaganju za njihovo razumijevanje, istraživanje “Kontinuitet društvenih sukoba: Borovo 1987.-1991.” teži rekonstruiranju iskustva radnika u trenutku duboke ekonomske krize i sveobuhvatne društvene reforme. Apstraktni pojmovi poput “demokratizacije” ili “tranzicije” pokušavaju se demistificirati na razini konkretne radne i društvene organizacije, otkrivajući procese potrebne kako bi se logika funkcioniranja jednog sistema, jednog grada i jednog poduzeća zamijenila novom.

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Sven Cvek je docent na odsjeku za anglistiku Filozofskog fakulteta u Zagrebu, Snježana Ivčić je doktorandica politologije, dok je Jasna Račić zaposlena u Centru za mirovne studije.

Program Centra za radničke studije podržava Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Seminar :: Class, Class Theory, Class Struggle

 

Zagreb, 17-18th October, MAZ, Hatzova 16

Few concepts developed by Marx and the many theoretical and political currents claiming continuity with his critical project can rival ‘class’ in in their distinctive association with Marxism in all its contested plurality. Yet, the widespread consensus on the centrality of the concept for Marxism, shared by both proponents and detractors, is significantly complicated by the persistent disputes over its theoretical content. As a central category in the Marxian/Marxist theoretical arsenal, it remains subject to a wide variety of conflicting interpretations and mutually exclusive theoretical projects. Marx himself failed to provide a systemic treatment of the concept. Notoriously, the discussion of class at the end of Volume III of Capital was left a mere fragment, while the conjunctural analyses presented in political and historical writings such as The Eighteenth Brumaire and The Class Struggle in France raise questions as to their compatibility (or lack thereof) with the systemic development of categories in Capital and other texts of Marx’s mature critique of political economy.

This seeming lack of coherence facilitated the development of diverging traditions, providing textual footholds for often mutually hostile approaches. The history of Marxism is thus in large part also the long history of disputes between what usually have been called ‘structural’ and more historically founded attempts at tackling the problem, with deep implications for the explanatory status of class and class struggle in Marx’s overall project as well as questions pertaining to political subjectivation, agency (their limits and conditions) and political strategy – all of which remains disputed terrain to this day. To this must be added various attempts to improve on perceived deficits or omissions in Marx’s theory by recourse to other, non-Marxists/non-Marxian theoretical traditions and approaches, amongst which more or less explicitly ‘Weberian’ approaches occupy a privileged position. Predictably, though, the often eclectic and merely additive character of many such ‘innovations’ did not go unnoticed. Rather than overcoming or silencing earlier questions as to the possibility of an internally coherent Marxist class theory, capable of plausibly superseding or bridging the longstanding structural/historical divide, such approaches more often than not amounted to their proliferation and amplification, eventually adding to them the question of the possibility of their coherent integration with various stratification theories.

While these disputes may be considered to some extent ‘internal’ – arising from fundamentally affirmative approaches to the question of class and its explanatory relevance for contemporary capitalist societies, the rise of ‘new’ social movements and the perceived crisis and limits of older forms of class-based politics since the 1960s resulted in new challenges, often in the form of an outright dismissal of the ‘privileged’ status of class and class politics, in both their explanatory and political-organizational dimensions. The spreading and deepening of the influence of these new theories and the related shifts in political focus on the left – conducted under the banner of a critique and rejection of ‘class reductionism’ (often a mere code-word for Marxism itself) – has placed class-theoretical approaches in a defensive position. Ironically, this radical revision of the core inventory of the conceptual arsenal of the historical left gathered pace at a conjuncture which in retrospect may most plausibly be conceptualized as an intensification of class politics from above in the form of what has often been labeled the neoliberal offensive or ‘counterrevolution’.

In Eastern Europe, the crisis and collapse of  ‘real socialism’ and the subsequent drama of capitalist restoration intensified the predicaments and disorientation of the left, often leading to its wholesale dissolution in favor of an assertive and confident (neo)liberalism, virtually erasing class – considered irredeemably ‘contaminated’ by its association with the legitimizing discourse of the toppled communist regimes – as a subject of theoretical and political concern at the very moment of deep and traumatic shifts in the class composition of these societies.

This Seminar will try to confront the following (and related) questions: Is there a coherent class theory in Marx? What to make of the cacophonic plurality of class theories within and around Marxism? Can the explanatory centrality of the concept of class for the understanding of contemporary capitalist societies be maintained and coherently argued for? What is the explanatory scope and where lie the explanatory limits of class-based approaches to the understanding of the complexities of capitalist societies? How to approach the vexed problem of political subjectivation and what is its relation to class? How to respond to challenges to class-based politics from within the left? What are the limits and possible virtues, both of a class-based approach and of the various challenges to it? Is it possible to theoretically and politically integrate these challenges into the project of a non-reductive renewal of class analysis and politics or is such an endeavor doomed from the start? On what grounds may such an encounter be made both analytically and politically productive?

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Schedule and abstracts:

 

Saturday 17.10.

11.00h

Marxism, class theory and the need to differentiate levels of abstraction

Stipe Ćurković

The third volume of Marx’s Capital ends with a short chapter on class, albeit an unfinished one. Based on some recent scholarship on class theory in Marx’s mature writings from the domain of the critique of political economy, I will argue that these writings nevertheless contain a coherent structural class analysis of the capitalist mode of production in its ideal average. What they do not contain, however, is a theoretical basis for the ‘optimistic fatalism’ of much of traditional marxism, i.e. the belief in the inevitability of an anti-capitalist or revolutionary political orientation of the working class. In fact, Marx’s analysis in Capital can be shown to provide systemic theoretical arguments against such a reading. To say that the passage from the analysis of the structural class position to (revolutionary) political subjectivation cannot be assumed to be predetermined and/or automatic is not to deny the relevance of structural class analysis for anticapitalist politics (as post-marxism would have it). Rather, it points to the necessity to differentiate between levels of abstraction in analysis: investigating the explanatory scope and limits of structural class analysis of the capitalist mode of production and differentiating it from empirical, historical and sociological class analysis of concrete capitalist societies is a necessary step in overcoming reductionism and developing a more adequate understanding of the complex relationship between class and politics.

Stipe Ćurković is a member of Centre for Labour Studies.

 

15:30h

The working class and the middle classes: allies in a common anti-neoliberal strategy?

John Milios

After the outbreak of the 2008 global economic crisis, extreme neoliberal austerity policies prevailed in many parts of the developed capitalist world, especially in the European Union (EU) and the Euro-area (EA). Austerity has been criticized as an irrational policy, which afflicts the vast majority of society, as it further deteriorates the economic crisis by creating a vicious cycle of falling effective demand, recession and over-indebtedness. However, these criticisms can hardly explain why this “irrational” or “wrong” policy persists, despite its “failures”. In reality, economic crises express themselves not only in a lack of effective demand, but above all in a reduction of profitability of the capitalist class. Austerity constitutes a strategy for raising capital’s profit rate.

This paper examines under which conditions the prevailing capitalist strategy of neoliberalism and austerity may mould a broader anti-labour social coalition, by enforcing the consensus of a part of the “middle classes”, defined as (i) the traditional petty bourgeoisie, (ii) the new petty bourgeoisie and (iii) middle bourgeoisie.

John Milios is a professor of Political Economy at the National Technical University of Athens and author and co-author of many books, including Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist Rule and A Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism: Demystifying Finance. He was chief economic advisor of Syriza until March 2015.

 

17:30h

General discussion

 

19:15h

Talk with John Milios on Greece, Syriza and Popular Unity

Chairman: Marko Kostanić

In this conversation we will tackle recent political developments in Greece, political trajectory of Syriza and prospects for Popular Unity as a new organization on the Left. Based on Greek dynamics we will try to discuss some broader political lessons for the Left which can be learned from this example. John Milios will also talk about his experience of being chief economic advisor of Syriza, with a special accent on relations between Marxist analytical framework and concrete political struggles.

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Sunday 18.10.

 

11:00h

How Class works? Developing a class map for post-socialism

Dora Levačić / Mislav Žitko

The post-socialist period in Croatia has been marked by abandonment of class analysis in the social sciences and public discourse. The rise of nationalism and consolidation of capitalist market institutions, together with the discovery of postmodern sensibilities in academia, have forged the conditions for displacement of class to the margins of economy and society by virtue of its inherent connection with the ‘Marxist ideology’. In the first step, this paper aims to develop a notion of class by taking into account the recent contributions developed by Goldthorpe, Savage and others. The paper will offer arguments against ‘employment-based’ and ‘cultural theory of class’. In the second step, a class map based on a variety of indicators pertinent to the Croatian social structure in the post-socialist period will be put forward and discussed on conceptual and methodological level. The overall objective of the paper is to bridge the gap created by the suppression of class analysis in the last quarter century and embed the discourse on social class in post-socialism in the discussions that are currently taking place in the advanced capitalist societies.

Dora Levačić is a sociologist and a member of Organisation for Workers Initiative and Democratisation from Zagreb.

Mislav Žitko is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and a member of Centre for Labour Studies

 

15:30h

Balance of forces and working class organisations in Slovenian transition

Branko Bembič

This paper is composed of three parts. The first part interprets the specific path of Slovenian transition from self -managed socialism to capitalism by disentangling the class alliances underlying the transitional balance of forces and its gradual transformation in the past decade. This is followed by an account of the current situation of working class organisations inSloveniaand the challenges they face. Finally, the paper outlines the idea of working class organisation structured as a research organisation capable of tackling the problems identified in the second part of the paper.

Branko Bembič is a PhD candidate at the University of Ljubljana. His main fields of interest are the critique of political economy and the class culture of workers.

 

17:30h

General discussion

 

Programme of Centre for Labout Studies is financed by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe

 

Predavanje Alexa Demirovića

 

Je li koncept klase još uvijek održiv? 

Transformacije u kapitalističkoj društvenoj strukturi, intersekcijski oblici dominacije i njihov odnos s klasom

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Mreža Antifašistkinja Zagreba, Pavla Hatza 16, 22.6.2015., 19h

Predavanje će se baviti naširoko diskutiranim pitanjem da li je koncept klase još uvijek primjeren za razumijevanje kompleksnosti današnjih kapitalističkih društava. Prekarni životni uvjeti, seksističko nasilje, eksploatacija prirode, iscrpljenost subjekata, privatna i javna zaduženost – sve su to aspekti dijagnoze intersekcijskih kontradikcija i kapitalizma lišenog perspektive i uočljivog subjekta otpora. Argumentirat ću da se isplati uložiti napor u ponovno promišljanje koncepta klase – koji se često percipira krajnje zastarjelim – i ponovno ga uvesti u rasprave.

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Alex Demirović je marksistički teoretičar. Autor je opsežne monografije o teorijskom razvoju Frankfurtske škole, monografija o teoriji države i Nicosu Poulantzasu te brojnih knjiga iz oblasti teorije demokracije. Između ostalog, član je uprave Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, uredništva časopisa Prokla, znanstvenog savjeta njemačkog Attaca i sindikata ver.di.

 

Program Centra za radničke studije podržava Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Predavanje Joachima Beckera

 

Ovogodišnji ciklus predavanja Centra za radničke studije koji započinjemo predavanjem Joachima Beckera posvećen je klasi i klasnoj teoriji. Nedvojbeno je da se te teme nalaze u samome središtu Marxove teorije i marksizma u širem smislu. Unatoč tome, kontroverze oko tih pitanja ne jenjavaju sve do danas. I unutar same marksističe teorije postoje brojne konkurentske konceptualizacije i teorijski projekti. Tom često kakofoničnom pluralizmu pogodovale su određene ambivalencije u različitim Marxovim spisima i nedovršeni karakter njegova zrelog projekta kritike političke ekonomije: kao što je poznato, poglavlje o klasama na kraju trećeg toma Kapitala ostalo je puki fragment. Tome treba dodati i brojne konkurentske, nemarksističke pristupe, počevši od onih koji se nadovezuju na rad Maxa Webera, a koji su poticali i različite pokušaje “sinteze” s marksističkom tradicijom.

CRS-ov ovogodišnji ciklus predavanja za cilj ima domaću publiku upoznati s različitim relevantnim suvremenim pristupima tom važnom sklopu pitanja, doprinijeti jasnijoj kritičkoj diferencijaciji među njima te potaknuti produbljivanje rasprava na tu temu u regionalnom kontekstu, koji je dugo bio odsječen od doticaja sa relevantnim međunarodnim raspravama, pa i po ovome pitanju pati od recepcijskih zaostataka i teorijskih deficita.

 

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Klase, država i politika

Mreža antifašistkinja Zagreba, Pavla Hatza 16, 28.5.2015., 19h

Pozicije društvenih klasa ograničavaju polje mogućih političkih strategija, ali ih ne determiniraju. Radnici mogu štrajkati, ali ako su nezaposleni ne mogu pribjeći metodi štrajka. Njihove političke akcije moraju uzeti drugi smjer. Naprimjer, argentinski su radnici svojevremeno svoj protest izrazili blokiranjem prometnica. Nazvani su piqueterosi s jasnom referencom na štrajkački picket line, iako nisu blokirali tvornice već prometnice. U perifernim i poluperifernim zemljama klasne strukture su heterogenije nego u zemljama centra, što čini uspostavu klasnih saveza nezgodnijom i predstavlja jedan od ključnih izazova za lijeve pokrete u tim državama.

No, heterogenost klasnih struktura i ograničeni materijalni resursi države uobičajeno limitiraju i dosege konsenzualnih strategija vladajućih snaga. Izgradnja klijentelističkih odnosa i izravna represija uglavnom igraju izraženiju ulogu u (polu)perifernim nego u zemljama centra. Nedostatak ili u najmanju ruku ograničeni karakter hegemonije može otvoriti politički prostor za lijeve snage, no istovremeno slabe ekonomske strukture ograničavaju manevarski prostor za lijevu vlast. Ogromne prepreke s kojima se Siriza suočava nastojeći implementirati alternativne ekonomske politike nisu vezane isključivo uz snažne pritiske Europske unije i vlada zemalja centra, prije svega Njemačke, već su nastale i uslijed slabih proizvodnih struktura grčke ekonomije.

Joachim Becker predaje razvojnu ekonomiju i teoriju države na sveučilištu u Beču. Težišta njegovog recentnog rada su polarizacija Europske unije na centar i periferiju i istočnoeuropske ekonomije.

Program Centra za radničke studije podupire Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

 

Predavanje Saše Furlana

 

Novac i država

Mreža antifašistkinja Zagreba, Hatzova 16, Zagreb, 17.12.2014., 19h

Pozivamo vas na posljednje predavanje u ovogodišnjem ciklusu CRS-a posvećenom teoriji kapitalističke države:

U klasičnoj političkoj ekonomiji i neoklasičnoj ekonomici teorija vrijednosti i teorija novca postavljene su u izvanjski i kontingentan odnos. U oba se slučaja teorija novca tretira kao nadopuna teorije vrijednosti, a ne kao njen intrinzični dio. Također, obje teorije pretpostavljaju da se vrijednost robe teorijski može objasniti bez uzimanja novca u obzir i da je novac, praktički, samo tehničko oruđe koje olakšava razmjenu. Marxova teorija vrijednosti je oštro suprotstavljena tim teorijama jer upravo premošćuje taj jaz. Teorijskom eksplikacijom intrinzičnosti odnosa između vrijednosti i novca pokazuje da novac u kapitalizmu nije samo tehničko pomagalo, već logička nužnost. Kao što su naglašavali Backhaus, Heinrich i ostali, Marxova teorija vrijednosti mora se razumjeti kao monetarna teorija vrijednosti. Međutim, u Marxovu izlaganju koncepata vrijednosti i novca pretpostavlja se da je novac roba. S obzirom da je u modernom monetarnom sistemu robni novac zamijenjen ne-robnim novcem, u predavanju ću Marxovu monetarnu teoriju vrijednosti razmotriti iz te perspektive.

Zastupat ću stav da Marxova monetarna teorija vrijednosti nudi opći okvir za teoriju novca koja može teorijski objasniti postojanje i robnog i ne-robnog novca. Međutim, prijelaz s robnog na ne-robni novac iziskuje preispitivanje odnosa između novca i države. Naime, dok u monetarnom sustavu zasnovanom na robnom novcu država obavlja samo tehničke operacije održavanja glatkog funkcioniranja monetarnog sustava, u monetarnom sustavu zasnovanom na ne-robnom novcu država obavlja mnogo važniju ulogu s obzirom da njen autoritet funkcionira kao temelj opće prihvaćenosti novca. Nadalje, u monetarnom sustavu zasnovanom na ne-robnom novcu, izdavanje nekih od najvažnijih oblika kreditnog novca pod monopolom je države, odnosno centralne banke. S obzirom na preispitavanje odnosa između novca i države, razmotrit ću domete i limite državnog monetarnog intervencionizma u modernom monetarnom sustavu.

 

Sašo Furlan je postdiplomski student političke teorije na Fakultetu za društvene znanosti Sveučilišta u Ljubljani i član tamošnjeg Instituta za radničke studije.

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Predavanje će se održati na engleskom jeziku.

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Program CRS-a podupire Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Predavanje Lea Panitcha

 

Kapital, država, rad – čija kriza?

Mreža antifašistkinja Zagreba, Pavla Hatza 16, Zagreb, 11.11.2014., 19h

Kriza kapitalizma koja je započela 2007. godine otvorila je u intelektualnom polju niz pitanja koja se tiču odnosa nacionalne države i kapitalističkih tržišta u kontekstu rasprave o međunarodnoj podjeli rada i novom režimu akumulacije. Različiti nacionalni odgovori na krizu, te promjena odnosa rada i kapitala izazvana mjerama štednje i još izraženijim pritiscima prema komodifikaciji javnih institucija i usluga zahtijevaju promišljanje spomenutih pitanja kao preduvjet teorijski smislenog i politički adekvatnog djelovanja ljevice. Iako se proteklo razdoblje u nekim aspektima pokazuje kao povratak u kapitalizam 19.stoljeća, različiti momenti od financijalizacije do stvaranja novih oblika prekarnog rada ukazuju na nužnost preciznijeg analitičkog pristupa suvremenim kapitalističkim odnosima. Četvrto ovogodišnje predavanje u programu CRS-a posvećenom teoriji države dotiče se središnjih problema suvremene ljevice, podjednako značajnih za njezino intelektualno i političko pozicioniranje u tekućim raspravama.

Leo Panitch je profesor političke teorije na Sveučilištu York u Torontu. Član je uredništva časopisa Socialist register i autor niza značajnih studija među kojima se ističu The End of Parlamentary Socialism Renewing Socialism: Democray, Strategy and Imagination. Za posljednju knjigu, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire, napisanu u koautorstvu sa Samom Gindinom, nagrađen je prestižnom nagradom Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize.

 

Program CRS-a podupire Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Seminar: Capital, the State and European Integration

 

net.culture club MaMa, Preradovićeva 18, Zagreb, 17-18.10.2014.

Until not too long ago, even amongst parts of the left, the historic decline of the relevance of the state was taken as a ‘given’. Under the umbrella of ‘globalization theory’ far-reaching proclamations on deep tectonic shifts were the height of fashion. At closer inspection, however, the impatiently sweeping character of many such generalizations more often than not revealed itself to be the consequence of a lack of both conceptual rigor and empirical scrupulousness, embarrassingly echoing much of the imaginary of neoliberalism’s triumphalism and its intellectual proponents.

The onset of the financial and economic crisis of 2007/2008 and its consequences made many of these theoretical constructs seem obsolete over night. Large, coordinated state interventions and rescue packages were the order of the day, pointing to complexities in the relations between states and capital which simplistic end-of-state narratives seemed decisively badly equipped to tackle, let alone explain in any meaningful fashion. In some quarters this then lead to talk of a ‘return of Keynes’ or, more generally, proclamations of a ‘return of the state’ itself. But this pendulum swing in the opposite direction proved to be no less superficial and premature than what had preceded it. Rather than leading to a restoration of post-war Keynesianism, the dominant drive of crisis policies reaffirmed a preference for neoliberal solutions, now of an increasingly authoritarian character, devoid of old democratic niceties and former procedural inhibitions. Here too, a complex and often untransparent assemblage of markets, transnational institutions, nation states and their mutual interactions confirmed the deficiencies of much left thinking to adequately account for these processes and the shifting institutional architecture underpinning them.

Yet without a proper understanding of the contemporary configuration of relations between capital, the state and transnational institutions, it will be impossible to judge the plausibility or implausibility of various competing proposals on the left and their respective strategic projections. Nowhere more so than within the European Union, where deepening integration now assumes the seemingly paradoxical form of deepening socio-economic fragmentation along national lines and a palpable regional polarization into core and periphery. Centripetal and centrifugal forces seem to overlap and intertwine in a complex process with as of yet unclear long-term consequences for the future of the European project itself. The increasingly authoritarian character of ‘crisis-resolution’ policies pose long-term dangers for the subaltern classes and endanger formal-democratic standards long considered an irreversible historical achievement. In parallel, a new surge of right-wing populism all over Europe seeks to take advantage of the ensuing socio-economic degradation and political disillusionment…

In trying to address these complex issues, the seminar will revisit fundamental questions on the nature of the capitalist state, the degree of transfer of its prerogatives to EU and transnational institutions, the ensuing ‘division of labour’ between national and transnational levels, the class character of these processes, their implications for democratic standards, as well as their possible contradictions and future perspectives. The political stakes are clear: only by properly understanding the structural conditions of the current conjuncture, its institutional complexities, inherent limits and contradictions, can viable left strategies be formulated.

 

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PROGRAMME

Friday, October 17th

11.00 – 12.30

Lecture

Jens Wissel: The EU as a New State Project

15.30-17.00

Lecture

John Kannankulam: Competing Hegemony Projects in the Current European Crisis: a Historical Materialist Policy Analysis on Political Struggles

17.30-19.30

General discussion

 

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Saturday, October 18th

11.00 – 12.30

Lecture

Werner Bonefeld: European Economic Constitution and the Transformation of Democracy: On Class and the State of Money and Law

15.30-17.00

Lecture

Bob Jessop: States and State Power: A Strategic-Relational Approach

17.30-19.30

General discussion

 

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ABSTRACTS:

The EU as a New State Project

Jens Wissel

Against the backdrop of a global trend towards neoliberal constitutionalism, the EC/EU became, from the mid-1980s, an important supporter of a Europeanised fraction of the capitalist class showing first signs of transnationalisation. This development was a result of the emergence of the competition state. It is also manifest in the formation of a European power bloc, for which European and transnational institutions are of increasing importance.

In contrast to mainstream state theory, materialist state theory does not perceive the state as a unified actor. Here, the state represents a material condensation of social relations of forces, which includes international constellations of forces. The individual apparatuses are linked, in a specific form, with the social relations of forces; as a result, the state has to be viewed as a complex ensemble of competing power and decision-making centres within and between state apparatuses. Accordingly, this ensemble consists of a “multiplicity of diversified micro-policies” (Poulantzas). The EU can be seen as a new state project, on whose terrain a new scalar structure and hierarchies between state apparatuses emerge. This concerns both the European and national state apparatuses. The relationships between and the positions of the various apparatus are fairly flexible; they result from a constant process of negotiating. Notwithstanding the dynamic of this new state project there is still no consensus on the hierarchy of scales in the EU. As a result, the EU and the national and European apparatuses are not only pervaded by social contradictions, but also, and to a stronger degree, by the competition between the different scales and different state projects. The emergence of a European border regime and the production, at a European level, of processes of inclusion and exclusion transform the EU into a territorial entity.

In this context a new control regime of global mobility evolves producing specific zones of stratified rights.

Jens Wissel is a Fellow at the Institute for Social Research at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, currently employed as a Research Associate at the University of Kassel.

 

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Competing Hegemony Projects in the Current European Crisis: a Historical Materialist Policy Analysis on Political Struggles

John Kannankulam

In his paper John Kannankulam follows the question which specific relationship of forces – to follow the famous notion of the Marxist Greek-French state theorist Nicos Poulantzas – are to be identified within the recent authoritarian neoliberal European crisis programs like e.g. the Economic Governance and the Fiscal Treaty. Following an approach that has been developed out of an recently finished research project about the struggles around a common European migration policy (www.staatsprojekt-europa.eu), which following Ulrich Brand has been labeled as Historical Materialist Policy Analysis (HMPA), Kannankulam presents the concept of “Hegemony Projects” – which are analytically aggregated common strategies of different actors around a political conflict – as a mode to operationalize relationships of forces in the struggle around hegemony.

John Kannankulam is an Assistant Professor for the Political Economy of European Integration at Marburg University, Germany.

 

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European Economic Constitution and the Transformation of Democracy: On Class and the State of Money and Law

Werner Bonefeld

The contribution contends that the economic constitution of Europe amounts to a system of imposed liberty. It explores the roots of this construction in the neoliberal critique of unlimited mass democracy and introduces and assesses specifically the accounts of Friedrich von Hayek and Alfred Mueller-Armack on the market-facilitating benefits of European integration. In their view, European economic integration is beneficial because it restrains the democratic element of the liberal-democratic state, reinforcing the market facilitating purpose of the (neo-)liberal state. The paper holds that class is fundamental to the understanding of processes of European integration, and the institutions of monetary union in particular.

Werner Bonefeld is a Professor of Politics at the University of York, UK.

 

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States and State Power: A Strategic-Relational Approach

Bob Jessop

State theorists have usually attempted to theorize the state but this is a misleading focus that risks treating the state as a simple instrument or machine, a reified apparatus that is primarily a source of constraint on political action, or a more or less rational subject that exercises power. Such positions have been criticized from many alternative theoretical positions as well as proven unhelpful in empirical analyses. One important line of criticism, developed in a range of theoretical perspectives (e.g., Marx, Gramsci, Poulantzas, Foucault, Latour), is to refocus the analysis on the modalities of the exercise of state power considered as a complex social relation. I develop the implications of this strategic-relational perspective and consider its relevance to the transformation of state power in the present phase of imperialism.

 

Bob Jessop is a Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK.

 

Programme of Centre for labour studies is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Predavanje Ishaya Lande

 

Liberalizam, fašizam i zagonetka masovnog društva

Filozofski fakultet, dvorana 6, Ivana Lučića 3, Zagreb, 20.9.2104., 19h

U izlaganju ću preispitati standardno poimanje fašizma kao ”masovne politike” ili čak ”masovne histerije”. Pristup koji su desetljećima branili i perpetuirali bezbrojni stručnjaci i promatrači iz različitih disciplina i perspektiva oslanja se na duboko ukorijenjenu sliku – ovacije gomile i masovni spektakli, mračna simbioza demagoga i mase. Ova slika se uzima za suštinski izraz fašizma. Udaljavajući se od takve analize predložit ću razumijevanje međuratnog evropskog fašizma kao sveobuhvatnog pokušaja nošenja s izazovom koje je masovno društvo predstavljalo tradicionalnim pozicijama moći i višim društvenim slojevima.

Fašizam je bolje sagledati kao radikalnu negaciju modernog fenomena znanog kao ”masovno društvo” i njegovih raznovrsnih aspekata: društvenih, političkih, ekonomskih i kulturnih. Negaciju koja je upregnula i inkorporirala različite ideološke razvoje i poticaje iz prošlosti – konzervativne, elitističke i, ne i najmanje važno, liberalne. Upravo je liberalni pedigre fašizma od posebne važnosti za procjenu prirode fašističke intervencije. Dopušta nam kritičku konfrontaciju s liberalnom analizom fašizma kao fundamentalno masovne forme, ishodom preuzimanja države od strane rulje. Takav je pogled bio(i još uvijek je) često popraćen idejom da otpor imanentnoj opasnosti fašizma podrazumijeva razne oblike ograničavanja političkog utjecaja masa i čuvanje države pod kontrolom kvalificiranih elita. Previđajući srodnosti između ovih dviju političkih tradicija i značajan kontinuitet ultimativnih ciljeva, liberalna analiza implicira jasnu cezuru u prijelazu od liberalne prema fašističkoj državi. Nasuprot tome, alternativna perspektiva koju ću ocrtati sugerira da najbolji protuotrov fašizmu leži u punom ostvarenju onoga što će se nazivati ”masovnim projektom”.

 

Ishay Landa predaje povijest na Otvorenom sveučilištu Izraela u Ra’anani od 2009. godine. Njegovi istraživački interesi uključuju ničeanizam, marksizam,  političku teoriju i popularnu kulturu. Napisao je dvije knjige – The Overman in the Marketplace(Lexington, 2007.) i The Apprentice’s Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism(Brill, 2010.)

 

Predavanje je dio ovogodišnjeg programa posvećenog teoriji kapitalističke države.

 

Program CRS-a podržava Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe.

Predavanje Hrvoja Paića

 

Država i transformacije na europskoj poluperiferiji: slučaj Hrvatske

Filozofski fakultet, Dvorana 4, Ivana Lučića 3, Zagreb, 27.6.2014., 19h

Tematski fokus predavanja je obrazlaganje i kritika obilježja teorijskog pristupa fenomenu države kakav je razvio Nicos Poulantzas. Bit će ukazano na teorijske inovacije pristupa kao i na moguće načine promatranja empirije hrvatskog društva i državnosti kroz pojmovnu prizmu ovog (neo)marksističkog teoretičara. Elementi pojmovne aparature kojima će biti posvećena posebna pažnja na predavanju su internacionalizacija kapitalizma, dihotomizacija kao teorijski alat i država kao klasni odnos. Refleksija ovih pojmova uključit će ispitivanje njihovih analitičkih prednosti i nedostataka.

 

Hrvoje Paić 2009. završava doktorski studij na Institutu za političke znanosti Sveučilišta u Beču. Fokus njegova doktorskog istraživanja je teorija države. Disertacija “Internacionalizacija kapitalizma – transformacije na periferiji” mu na jesen izlazi iz tiska kod austrijsko-njemačke izdavačke kuće Wiener Verlag für Sozialforschung. Od 2010. radi kao istraživač i predavač na Centru za istraživanje jugoistočne Europe Sveučilišta u Grazu.