Work councils could be the future of Australian industrial democracy in an ABCC world

Analyses

 

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Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, University of Technology Sydney

Work councils are one model of industrial relations that could potentially fill the enormous gap in Australian industrial democracy left by precarious employment and the decline of the union movement.

Canberra was once again the scene of further blows against construction workers and their union when the federal government this week passed legislation to hasten the onset of laws linked to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

In something of a one-two combination for the Australian union movement, the ABCC’s return accompanies reports that national union coverage has dwindled to its lowest ebb. Union membership now stands at around 15%.

In Australia, the growth of casual jobs outstrips the creation of permanent jobs by nearly two to one. Such precarious employment prevents workers putting down roots in their workplace, joining a union or engaging in enterprise bargaining.

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10th Anniversary Wheelwright Lecture: Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene    

10th Anniversary Wheelwright Lecture: Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene    

Events, Katherine Gibson

Invitation       

About the lecture

Debates about the future of manufacturing in Australia return to prominence every few years, prompted by the latest downturn in employment or closure of a plant. The overarching narrative of change is one of decline. Since the heyday of protectionism when 30% of the workforce was employed in manufacturing, today only 8% are employed in the sector and union membership has sunk to an all-time low of just over 12%.

The prognosis of decline has intensified with recent plant closures in the foreign owned automotive industry and the shedding of 20 per cent of the manufacturing workforce between 2008 and 2015. Yet, there is strong popular support for maintaining and strengthening a manufacturing base in this country and, according to the promos for the 2017 National Manufacturing Summit, there are signs that manufacturing  industry in Australia may be ‘turning a corner’.

Clearly manufacturing is far from dead, but the apparent invisibility of a buoyant manufacturing culture is worrisome. In this lecture Professor Katherine Gibson will approach the issue of a manufacturing future for Australia by asking: what kinds of manufacturing cultures might be up to the challenges of the Anthropocene? Professor Gibson will present initial findings from qualitative research she is conducting with colleagues at Western Sydney University and the University of Newcastle, on a range of innovative manufacturing enterprises, and whether there are businesses in Australia that genuinely sustain equitable communities and healthy ecologies while remaining financially viable. The research is framed by the diverse economies research agenda which opens analysis to the diversity of ways of producing and distributing new wealth and seeks to displace the primacy of an abstracted and capitalocentric model of enterprise behavior.

About the speaker

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Theorizing the Rise of Right Wing Populism in the Post-Globalist Era: Toward an Integrative Approach

Theorizing the Rise of Right Wing Populism in the Post-Globalist Era: Toward an Integrative Approach

Events, Lawrence J. Saha, S A Hamed Hosseini
Seyed A. HOSSEINI FARADONBEH, The University of Newcastle, Australia and Lawrence SAHA, Australian National University, Australia

 

Abstract Text (Abstract ID: 101047):

Populism, as a concept, generally implies a mobilized support for the political, cultural and economic preferences of the populace as opposed to those of the elite, foreigners, intellectuals, media, government, corporations, scientific bodies, ethnic minorities, immigrants/refugees, or any other social group or community whose identity or interest differs from the widely-idealized image of a typical countryperson. However, populism does not always appear in society as a well-articulated doctrine or a coherent group attitude with a number of detectable rigid principles. It normally emerges in the form of popular rhetoric that taps into the populations’ emotions, and advocates quick solutions without a proper understanding of the root causes of the problems and the complexities of social institutions.In this process, on the one hand, macro socioeconomic status appears to be a primary factor but only in association with other primary determinants (e.g. age, regional/rural residential status, ethnicity, gender, education, religion, and occupation), and this association occurs only in a relative sense (e.g. a relative decline in the middle-class status compared to lower/under class status). On the other hand, social psychological factors such as social anxiety, sense of insecurity, resentment, uncertainty, humility, and ressentiment (e.g. waning white privileges recently accelerated by economic liberalization and austerity regimes), mediate the macro factors. In addition, the social historical residues of centuries of colonialist-patriarchal culture, such as class-racial discrimination, patriotism, misogyny, and racism, plus personality factors like dogmatism, closed-mindedness and authoritarianism play a role in the translation of macro-structural changes and political discourses into personal and group actions and attitudes. In this paper, we develop a more macro and micro integrative approach to theoretically explain the emergence of right wing populist movements in the post-globalist era.

Presentation at ISA World Congress in Sociology, Toronto, July 2018

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Researching Collective Action and Social Change: Extending Michael Burawoy’s Extended Case Method

Researching Collective Action and Social Change: Extending Michael Burawoy’s Extended Case Method

Events, Thomas Muhr

Author: Thomas MUHR and Susana MELO, Habib University Karachi, Pakistan

Abstract Text:
This paper proposes a socio-spatial ethnographic methodology to research projects and processes of
neoliberal mainstream contestation. We build on Michael Burawoy’s extended case method and the notion of ‘global ethnography’, which we put in dialogue with theorisations of place, space and scale. We argue that a case can socio-spatially extend out beyond a particular place-bound ‘site’ or ‘case’ in order to account for multiple interconnected places at different geographical scales. This approach allows for empirically sustaining how neoliberalism as a project and as a process of social transformation is being counteracted and displaced in different geopolitical configurations. Muhr’s spatial ethnography of the construction of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America Peoples Trade Agreement (ALBATCP), as a distinct post-neoliberal democratic project, illustrates the deployment of our methodological proposal.

Group: RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change
Session Selection: Future(s) of Democracy in the Post-Neoliberal
Era: Problems, Protests, and Prospects Continue reading “Researching Collective Action and Social Change: Extending Michael Burawoy’s Extended Case Method”

The Future of Capital and Its Alternatives in 21st Century: The Essentiality of Economic Democratization

The Future of Capital and Its Alternatives in 21st Century: The Essentiality of Economic Democratization

Barry K. Gills, Events, S A Hamed Hosseini
Seyed A. HOSSEINI FARADONBEH, The University of Newcastle, Australia and Barry GILLS, University of Helsinki, Finland

 

Abstract Text:

In 21st century, “Capital” requires a more comprehensive and applicable definition than merely a social process where money makes more money through production relations. Capital, in its material manifestation, is a socially organized ‘process’, through which surplus value is produced and controlled by ‘unsustainable’ and ‘un-sovereign’ ways of exploiting labour (both manual and intellectual), land (and other commons), nature (non-renewable sources of energy and the earth’s bio-capacity including the climate). It is, however, important to equally emphasize, and theorize how Capital can also immaterially but objectively colonize and depoliticize societal/communal solidarities (from the level of household, to the level of world community).Thus, a critical analysis of Capital/ist relations requires the theorization of not only the exploitation of labour, land and nature, but also the systemic colonization of communal solidarities as non-material Commons, through the de-democratization of collective production and reproduction relations. Austerity regimes, for instance, are not only about protecting the corporate interest, e.g. by dispossessing social welfare, but also about an antagonistic relation towards democratic self-management, collaborative determination, and self-sufficient uses of resources. The colonization of social solidarities by Capital creates a fertile breeding ground for the resurgence of ethno-populist responses. We will argue here that the profound democratization of economic relations can liberate the transformative movements from the immense gravity of Capital by overcoming the dilemma of surviving while transforming ubiquitous capitalist relations.

Group: RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social ChangeSession Selection: Future(s) of Democracy in the Post-Neoliberal Era: Problems, Protests, and Prospects

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Democratic Eco-Socialism as a Real Utopia: Transitioning to an Alternative World System

Democratic Eco-Socialism as a Real Utopia: Transitioning to an Alternative World System

Books, Hans Baer

A/Prof. Hans Baer

As global population growth continues to skyrocket, increasingly strained resources have made one thing clear: the desperate need for an alternative to capitalism. In Democratic Eco-Socialism as a Real Utopia, Hans Baer outlines the urgent need to reevaluate historical definitions of socialism, commit to social equality and justice, and prioritize environmental sustainability. Democratic Eco-socialism, as he terms it, is a system capable of mobilizing people around the world, albeit in different ways, to prevent on-going human socio-economic and environmental degradation, and anthropogenic climate change.

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Researching the Emergence of Right-Wing Populism in the 21st Century

Researching the Emergence of Right-Wing Populism in the 21st Century

Events

RC42 Social Psychology (host committee)


Populism is both a political and academic concept which varies widely in its use. As found within the social sciences, it is generally regarded as a  mobilized support for the political, cultural and economic preferences of the mainstream populous as opposed to those of the elite, intellectuals, media, governments, public institutions, and scientific and civic organizations. There are populists of the left, center and the right on the political spectrum, but currently attention has focused on right-wing populism as an increasingly transformative force. The social psychological and sociological accounts of populism are much related to the research traditions of studies of authoritarianism, dogmatism, Fascism and closed-mindedness, and the social conditions which facilitate their emergence. How perceptive/effective is this legacy for understanding today’s populist resurgence? For this session, we specifically wish to focus on the recent upsurge of right-wing populism, particularly since it is linked with many contentious attitudes, such as anti-immigration, anti-elites, Islamophobia, homophobia, and national isolationism, among others. The session is open to micro and macro studies which help the understanding of populism using either qualitative and/or quantitative data.

Session Organizers:
Lawrence SAHA, Australian National University, Australia, lawrence.saha@anu.edu.au
Seyed A. HOSSEINI FARADONBEH, The University of Newcastle, Australia, hamed.hosseini@newcastle.edu.au
Future(s) of Democracy in the Post-Neoliberal Era: Problems, Protests, and Prospects

Future(s) of Democracy in the Post-Neoliberal Era: Problems, Protests, and Prospects

Events

RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change (host committee)

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology (July 15-21, 2018):

Globally, neoliberalism is no longer the mobilising tool it once was. The neoliberal mainstream has been displaced, initially from the radical Left, but increasingly, and simultaneously, from the far Right. From anti-austerity to left nationalism, from solidarity economy to the eco-social commons, democratic alternatives to market rule have gained considerable ground, but have faltered with the emergence of new forces for autocracy and ethno-populism. This panel addresses the major challenges faced by these post-neoliberal democratic movements, in the current context of authoritarian populist resurgence, rising ethno-nationalism and global geopolitical polarizations., How are these democratic alternatives emerging, surviving, or evolving through social movements, and where are they gaining ground or declining? How may they be converging? How may they respond to the authoritarian alternatives? Where are they marginalised, and why? In this spirit we seek new theory and reflection beyond the current political nexus.

Session Organizers:
Seyed A. HOSSEINI FARADONBEH, The University of Newcastle, Australia,
Barry GILLS, University of Helsinki, Finland,
James GOODMAN, University of Technology Sydney, Australia,  
Globalization, Resource Extraction, and Social Movement Mobilization

Globalization, Resource Extraction, and Social Movement Mobilization

Events

RC24 Environment and Society (host committee)

The colonization of the Americas and other regions has gone hand in hand with natural resource extraction, which has included economies built on minerals, forestry resources, fisheries, and – more recently – oil and gas. Shifts towards globalization and knowledge-based economies within the urban centres of the global north have not resulted in moving away from resource extractivism. Rather, we see a reconfiguration of the commodification and extraction of earth resources that underlies contemporary lifestyles of overconsumption for the affluent of the world. This reconfiguration of natural resource extraction has often involved reaching further and further into new sites in remote and rural areas, including extensive “land use change” in biomes such as the Amazon Basin, Boreal forests and the Arctic. It has also involved the increasing commodification of resources such as drinking water. At the same time, this reconfiguration of resource extractivism has been met with resistance by environmental and Indigenous social movements. This session invites papers that focus on social processes of mobilization and resistance to resource extraction. The objective is to transcend the north-south division that has influenced research and provide a space for comparison.

Session Organizers:
Mark STODDART, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, mstoddart@mun.ca,
Deborah DELGADO PUGLEY, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, deborah.delgado@pucp.pe
Carbon Capitalism, Climate Capitalism, Energy Democracy

Carbon Capitalism, Climate Capitalism, Energy Democracy

Events

RC02 Economy and Society (host committee)


Although the scientific consensus on causes and implication of global warming is well established, the climate crisis has provoked three distinct political-economic projects, rooted in differing class fractions and social interests, which currently vie for hegemony at different levels and regions of the world-system. Carbon capitalism is a project of ‘business as usual’ (in the Stern report’s terminology), with efficiency improvements (and possible sunsetting of coal) but no major changes to the political ecology of contemporary capitalism. Climate capitalism proposes the ecological modernization of the energy base of capitalism, by redirecting flows of capital away from fossil fuels, and toward more climatically benign sources of energy including hydropower, solar, wind and nuclear. The first two projects are capital-centric: they leave the class structure of capitalism untouched, including the concentration of economic power in the hands of a relatively small group of major investors, executives and corporate directors. In contrast, energy democracy finds its social base in environmental and other progressive movements, including sections of the labour movement. It mandates a dual power shift, from fossil-fuel power to renewables (decarbonization) and from corporate oligarchy to public, democratic control of economic decisions (democratization). This session welcomes papers exploring the sociology of these projects, singly or in combination, especially analyses that foreground issues of political economy and political ecology.

Session Organizers:
William CARROLL, University of Victoria, Canada, wcarroll@uvic.ca
JP SAPINSKI, University of Victoria, Canada, sapinski@uvic.ca
Reorganizing Globalization

Reorganizing Globalization

Events

RC07 Futures Research (host committee)

How do the major political changes of 2016 (Brexit, election of Trump) fit into the larger transformations of globalization? What are the features of 21st century globalization compared to 20th century globalization? What are pattern changes in the roles of advanced economies and emerging economies (such as China and the BRICS)?

Session Organizers:
Jan P. NEDERVEEN PIETERSE, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA, jnp@global.ucsb.edu
Barry GILLS, University of Helsinki, Finland, barry.gills@helsinki.fi
Social Movement Theory Beyond Developmentalism

Social Movement Theory Beyond Developmentalism

Events

RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change (host committee)

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology (July 15-21, 2018):

This session debates developmentalism in social movement theory. Social movement theory, implicitly or otherwise, defines the movement by its developmental epoch. Periodisation commonly constructs ‘leading edge’ movements in the socio-economic heartlands, as ‘new’, relegating the rest. With the globalization of development crises – from climate crisis to financial crisis – development ideology has become politicized, for all societies. The ‘developed’ world has itself become the key site of global development problems, while late industrialisers now claim a role as drivers for alternative social models. Increasingly, social movements can gain a key role in challenging and transforming developmentalist models and ideologies. In this context, movement projects can circulate and find new traction across global divides – from occupy the squares, to climate justice. With transnationally-defined social and ecological crises, social movement theory can find new scope and relevance by engaging with critiques of developmentalism. What might this add to our understanding of social movements? What possibilities may this open-up, especially for strengthening Southern theory of movements? What may be its epistemological assumptions or methodological biases? And where, in terms of places and social forces, may it have most application and purchase?

Session Organizers:
James GOODMAN, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, james.goodman@uts.edu.au
Debal SINGHAROY, Indira Gandhi National Open University, India, debal_singharoy@yahoo.co.in
2017 Students of Sustainability Annual Conference

2017 Students of Sustainability Annual Conference

Events
Friday 30 June – Tuesday 4 July 2017 –

Students of Sustainability is an annual environmental and social justice conference which brings together activists, students, educators and artists from around Australia for a week of education, culture, networking, celebration, delicious food and camping. In 2017, SOS will be held in Newcastle, New South Wales on Awabakal and Worimi Country.

Rethinking Capitalism: From Ineffective to Effective ‘Alternative’ Solutions to Climate Crisis

Rethinking Capitalism: From Ineffective to Effective ‘Alternative’ Solutions to Climate Crisis

Essays

Reviewed Essay by: Elizabeth Murphy-May (University of Newcastle, Australia)

Accepted on 4 May 2017

The intensification of the global economy, such as neoliberal capitalism, has caused a severe climate crisis in which the world faces today. More specifically, the foundations and values of what capitalism is built from have caused a destructive ecological trajectory, therefore limiting the sustainability of capitalism. As a result, not only has the adverse impacts of the environment been affected, but also contribute to the growing social, political and economic inequalities faced by some of the world’s poorest communities in both majority and minority worlds. In this connection, these ecological changes are directly associated with, if not, then a mutual relationship, with the neoliberal globalization and has therefore affected the capacity for those most affected by these changes to have sustainable economic development. However, alternatives to capitalism are existent and aim to rectify the climate crisis through different means that will be addressed. Significantly, alternatives to capitalism that aim to reduce the high levels of human induced ecological changes are either supportive of a capitalist reform that favors the existence of capitalism but mandating it to be more ecologically friendly, whilst others are more radical which advocate for a structural change against capitalism. In order to demonstrate this, this essay will briefly address and discuss the relationship between globalization and capitalism, and how this is affiliated with ecological matters. Secondly, this essay will analyze how the evolution of capitalism came to be through identifying the core values such as the inevitable ‘growth’ factor deriving from an anthropocentric foundation, both of which contradict the protection and management of the environment. Thirdly, this essay will then demonstrate examples in which wealth and power between the ‘global North’ and the ‘global South’ is dichotomized and has demonstrated the inequalities of the ability for the global South to inhibit resilience towards the climate crisis. Finally, this essay will compare and contrast the differences in the two alternative systems indicated above, arguing that a structural change is most beneficial in order to effectively, directly and efficiently attend to the climate crisis we face today.

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Global Civil Society and Transversal Hegemony

Global Civil Society and Transversal Hegemony

Books, Karen Buckley

Karen Buckley

This book provides a conceptual history of global civil society and a critical examination of the politics of resistance in the global political economy. It uses a dialectical method of analysis to illustrate the conceptual stasis of mainstream approaches to questions of globalization and contestation, while demonstrating the potential of a Gramscian approach to reconstitute hegemony as a key analytical and explanatory tool. Buckley offers insight to the movements of transversal hegemony and existent and anticipated modes of social relation through the case studies of the World Social Forum and the World People’s Conference on Climate Change.

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Alternative Globalizations

Alternative Globalizations

Books, S A Hamed Hosseini

S A Hamed Hosseini

Are the growing oppositions to neoliberal market globalism (especially in the aftermath of global economic meltdown) able to develop meaningful alternative ideologies? Is there any substantial alternative to the world capitalist system on the horizon? How would the ideologies and ideas address the dire dilemmas of economy vs. ecology, redistribution vs. recognition, global vs. local, reform vs. revolution etc.?

This book answers such important questions by examining the intellectual structure of the so-called ‘anti-globalization’ or ‘global justice’ movement. It explores the formation and transformation of ideas, identities, and solidarities in the movement. The book also develops an analytical model to explain the movement’s ideational novelties and continuities in terms of both activist social experiences and global social changes.

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Climate Action Upsurge The Ethnography of Climate Movement Politics

Climate Action Upsurge The Ethnography of Climate Movement Politics

Books, James Goodman, Stuart Rosewarne

Stuart Rosewarne, James Goodman, Rebecca Pearse

In the late 2000s climate action became a defining feature of the international political agenda. Evidence of global warming and accelerating greenhouse gas emissions created a new sense of urgency and, despite consensus on the need for action, the growing failure of international climate policy engendered new political space for social movements. By 2007 a ‘climate justice’ movement was surfacing and developing a strong critique of existing official climate policies and engaging in new forms of direct action to assert the need for reduced extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Climate Action Upsurge offers an insight into this important period in climate movement politics, drawing on the perspectives of activists who were directly engaged in the mobilisation process.

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Modes of Cognitive Praxis in Transnational Alternative Policy Groups

Modes of Cognitive Praxis in Transnational Alternative Policy Groups

Journal Articles, William K Carroll

William K. Carroll

Transnational alternative policy groups (TAPGs) are networks and centres within and around which counter-hegemonic knowledge is produced and mobilized among subaltern communities and critical social movements. Based on in-depth interviews with practitioners at 16 TAPGs, this article presents eight modes of cognitive praxis and discusses how they appear in the work of alternative policy groups. The eight modes are not sealed off from each other, but overlap and interpenetrate. In combination, these modes of cognitive praxis strive to produce transformative knowledge concomitantly with knowledge-based transformation. The analysis evidences tracings of a double dialectic in the cognitive praxis of alternative policy groups: a dialectic of theory and practice, and one of dialogue. It is in a forward movement—fostering solidaristic dialogue among counterpublics in combination with the iterative integration of theory and practice—that alternative knowledge makes its indispensable contribution to counter-hegemony. (Full text)

Pursuing happiness: it’s mostly a matter of surviving well together

Pursuing happiness: it’s mostly a matter of surviving well together

Analyses, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy

Katherine Gibson, Western Sydney University; Jenny Cameron, University of Newcastle, and Stephen Healy, Western Sydney University

This article is part of a series, On Happiness, examining what it means and how it might be achieved in the 21st century.


Understandings of happiness are shifting. More and more research is finding that we cannot spend our way to happiness. Increasing incomes do not necessarily lead to increasing happiness. Even in a country such as China, average incomes have increased fourfold since the 1990s while life satisfaction has decreased over the same period.

Research is also finding that happiness is less an individual matter and more a collective endeavour. The quality of our relationships with others is pivotal. These others include those closest to us (our immediate family and friends) as well as those unknown to us but with whom we comprise a society.

In a climate-changing world, this relational understanding of happiness also has to extend to our relationship with the planet on which our survival depends.

The shift in understanding happiness could not be better summed up than in the words of the first elected prime minister of Bhutan in 2008:

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Take Back the Economy An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities

Take Back the Economy An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities

Books, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson

J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy

Take Back the Economy dismantles the idea that the economy is separate from us and best comprehended by experts, demonstrating that the economy is the outcome of the decisions and efforts we make every day. Full of exercises and inspiring examples from around the world, it shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies.

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Eco-sufficiency and Global Justice Women Write Political Ecology

Eco-sufficiency and Global Justice Women Write Political Ecology

Ariel Salleh, Books

Ariel Salleh (Editor)

As the twenty-first century faces a crisis of democracy and sustainability, this book attempts to bring academics and alternative globalisation activists into conversation. Through studies of global neoliberalism, ecological debt, climate change, and the ongoing devaluation of reproductive and subsistence labour, these uncompromising essays by internationally distinguished women thinkers expose the limits of current scholarship in political economy, ecological economics, and sustainability science. The book introduces groundbreaking theoretical concepts for talking about humanity-nature links and will be a challenging read for activists and for students of political economy, environmental ethics, global studies, sociology, women’s studies, and critical geography.

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Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: An Introductory Text

Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: An Introductory Text

Books, William F. Mitchell

Prof W F Mitchell (Author), Prof L R Wray (Contributor), Prof M J Watts (Contributor)

The Global Financial Crisis demonstrated beyond any doubt the poverty of the mainstream, free-market economic approach that is almost universally taught in university courses around the world. The failure of the system to self-regulate exemplified what Marx, Keynes, Kalecki and other heterodox economists have known for a long time – that the Capitalist system is inherently unstable and requires strong government oversight.

This text goes further though because it is the first teaching program based on what is now known as Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which has emerged over the last two decades and now presents itself as the only viable body of macroeconomic thought that can not only detail the operational realities of the monetary systems that nations employ but also explain why the mainstream approach is inherently misleading and erroneous.

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Constructing Twenty-First Century Socialism in Latin America: The Role of Radical Education

Constructing Twenty-First Century Socialism in Latin America: The Role of Radical Education

Books, Sara Motta

Authors: Motta, S., Cole, M.

Motta and Cole explore the role of the politics of knowledge and pedagogy in the reinvention of socialism for the twenty-first century. Through a critical analysis of Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela they deconstruct the mechanisms of neoliberal control as an epistemological project of monologue, closure, and violence against all ‘others’. The authors develop an affirmative engagement with the traditions, practices, and politics which seek to challenge this closure through the policies of the counter-hegemonic government of Venezuela, the struggles of social movements in Brazil and Colombia, and the daily resistance of critical educators working in formal educational settings in all three countries. This mapping and analysis not only contribute to struggles for alternatives to capitalism in Latin America, but are translatable to other contexts.

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The Great Eurozone Disaster From Crisis to Global New Deal

The Great Eurozone Disaster From Crisis to Global New Deal

Books, Heikki Patomaki

Heikki Patomaki (Translated by James O’Connor)

With Greece, Portugal and Ireland already driven to the brink of economic catastrophe, and the threat that a number of other EU countries are soon to follow, the consequences for the global economy are potentially dire. In The Great Eurozone Disaster, Heikki Patomäki dissects the current crisis, revealing its origins lie in the instability that has driven the process of financialisation since the early 1970s. Providing a captivating narrative about how Europe ended up in its present predicament, Patomäki presents a radical new vision for ‘global economic democracy’ as the only viable way out of the current crisis.

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Rising Powers and South-South Cooperation

Rising Powers and South-South Cooperation

Barry Gills, Books

Edited by Kevin Gray, Barry K Gills

This book examines the extent to which a space has opened up in recent years for the so-called “rising powers” of the global South to offer an alternative to contemporary global economic and political governance through emergent forms of South-South cooperation. Contributions to this volume address the question of whether such engagement, particularly on a “South-South” basis, can be categorised as a “win-win” relationship, or whether we are already seeing the emergence of new forms of competitive rivalry and neo-dependency in action. What kind of theoretical approaches and conceptual tools do we need to best answer such questions?

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Commoning as a Post-capitalist Politics

Commoning as a Post-capitalist Politics

Jenny Cameron, Journal Articles, Katherine Gibson

J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy, 2016. “Commoning as a postcapitalist politics.” In Releasing the Commons: Rethinking the Futures of the Commons, edited by Ash Amin and Philip Howell, Chapter 12, Routledge.

In this chapter we explore how the process of commoning offers a politics for the Anthropocene. To reveal the political potential of commoning, however, we need to step outside of the ways that the commons have generally been understood. We argue that commons can be conceived of as a process—commoning—that is applicable to any form of property, whether private, or state-owned, or open access.

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South–South Cooperation and the Geographies of Latin America–Caribbean Integration and Development: A Socio-Spatial Approach Authors

South–South Cooperation and the Geographies of Latin America–Caribbean Integration and Development: A Socio-Spatial Approach Authors

Journal Articles, Thomas Muhr

Thomas Muhr

Structured around the case of South–South cooperation in the construction of “complementary economic zones” among the member states of the ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe, CARICOM and MERCOSUR, this article argues for a socio-spatial approach to the study of the Latin America–Caribbean integration and development … While this South–South cooperation space is not per se non-capitalist, a socio-spatial analysis also facilitates “seeing” the production of a socialist “counter-space” within this South–South cooperation structure.

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Building Other Possible Worlds The 99% and the 2015 Tunisian World Social Forum

Building Other Possible Worlds The 99% and the 2015 Tunisian World Social Forum

Journal Articles, Karen Buckley

Karen Buckley

 

The World Social Forum 2015 being held in Tunis may not present a welcome prospect for those who await the immediate consolidation of an alter-globalization agenda. However it does suggest that the process of resistance may yet be as important as any outcome.

 

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Climate, Water, and Livelihood Skills: A Post- Development Reading of the SDGs

Climate, Water, and Livelihood Skills: A Post- Development Reading of the SDGs

Ariel Salleh, Journal Articles

Ariel Salleh

Did the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
agree to the recommended carbon emissions target of 1.58C? No: citizens and activists observing
the December 2015 Paris meeting simply encountered business as usual. But climate politics will
go nowhere as long as peoples’ movements remain locked into debates over arithmetic. It is time
to reset the start line for climate struggles in a place that transcends silo thinking and its reductionist
episteme. (read more)

Theorizing Alternatives to Capital: Towards a Critical Cosmopolitanist Framework

Theorizing Alternatives to Capital: Towards a Critical Cosmopolitanist Framework

Barry Gills, James Goodman, Journal Articles, S A Hamed Hosseini

Barry K. Gills, James Goodman, S A Hamed Hosseini

We are living in an era of multiple crises, multiple social resistances, and multiple cosmopolitanisms. The post-Cold War context has generated a plethora of movements, but no single unifying ideology or global political program has yet materialized. The historical confrontation between capital and its alternatives, however, continues to pose new possibilities for social and systemic transformations. (read more)

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Toward Transversal Cosmopolitanism: Understanding Alternative Praxes in the Global Field of Transformative Movements

Toward Transversal Cosmopolitanism: Understanding Alternative Praxes in the Global Field of Transformative Movements

Barry Gills, James Goodman, Journal Articles, S A Hamed Hosseini

S A Hamed Hosseini, Barry K. Gills, James Goodman

This article critically reflects on theoretical dilemmas of conceptualizing recent ideological shifts and contention among global transformative movements. Some studies conceptualize these movements as ideologically mature and coherent, while other inquiries highlight disorganization, fragmentation, disillusion, and dispute. (read more)

Five cities that could change the future of Antarctica

Five cities that could change the future of Antarctica

Analyses, Paul James

Juan Francisco Salazar, Western Sydney University; Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania; Liam Magee, Western Sydney University, and Paul James, Western Sydney University

Antarctica is at a crossroads. This frozen continent at the bottom of our planet has the potential to either become one of the most fiercely contested zones in the world, or the most collaborative.

Antarctica is one of four internationally recognised global commons along with the atmosphere, the high seas and outer space. These are all areas that have historically been guided by the principle of the common heritage of humankind.

The continent is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System, a complex set of arrangements developed to regulate relations between states with interests and territorial claims in the region. As of today, 29 states are “consultative parties” to the treaty. They demonstrate their interest in Antarctica by carrying out substantial scientific activity there.

Several states have very specific and long-standing interests in Antarctica, which not only determine national policies about engaging with the continent, but can also complicate those engagements. Seven have territorial claims including the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile.

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Student school elections and political engagement: A cradle of democracy?

Student school elections and political engagement: A cradle of democracy?

Journal Articles, Lawrence J. Saha

Lawrence J. Saha, Murray Print

Studies have found that prior involvement in student politics while in school seems to be a good predictor of adult political engagement. While most studies of adults have obtained retrospective data on participation in school elections, there have been few studies of students about this activity. We contribute to this latter relatively unexplored area by reporting the results from a national survey of Australian secondary school students about the relationship between participation in school elections and future intended political engagement activities. We found that voting in school elections is positively related to feeling prepared to vote as an adult, to being committed to vote when 18, to political knowledge, and to engagement in forms of peaceful activism. Running for student government office is related to political knowledge and participation in peaceful activism. These results reinforce the findings of adult retrospective studies, and show that participation in school elections serves as a beneficial experience in the preparation of students for life as an active adult citizen. (read more)

After capitalism, what comes next? For a start, ethics

After capitalism, what comes next? For a start, ethics

Analyses, Capital, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy

Jenny Cameron, University of Newcastle; Katherine Gibson, Western Sydney University, and Stephen Healy, Western Sydney University

If the comments generated by the recent publication of excerpts from Paul Mason’s forthcoming book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, are anything to go by, its release at the end of the month should kick up a storm.

Mason’s book is about a seismic economic shift already underway, one that is as profound as the transformation from feudalism to capitalism. In the excerpts, Mason observes that:

… whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm.

The shift is evidenced by developments such as collaborative production and the sharing economy. Mason attributes this economic transformation to advances in information technology, particularly the global networks of people and ideas that are now possible.

Such large-scale pronouncements inevitably generate an equally strong pushback, albeit in very different ways. For example, some comments on the published excerpts align with Fredric Jameson’s observation that sometimes for the Left:

… it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.

Other comments are more aligned with climate-change denialism and the sentiment that “it is easier to desire the end of the world than to desire the end of capitalism”.

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Alternative Capitalisms vs. Alternatives to Capitalism

Alternative Capitalisms vs. Alternatives to Capitalism

Multimedia

Capital and Its Alternatives

Capital and Its Alternatives

Analyses, S A Hamed Hosseini

Why capital in 21st century needs a better definition?

By S A Hamed Hosseini

David Harvey in his short criticism of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in 21 Century, rightfully questions Piketty’s definition of ‘capital’ as one of his central difficulties:

“Capital is a process not a thing. It is a process of circulation in which money is used to make more money often, but not exclusively through the exploitation of labor power. Piketty defines capital as the stock of all assets held by private individuals, corporations and governments that can be traded in the market no matter whether these assets are being used or not. This includes land, real estate and intellectual property rights as well as my art and jewelry collection. How to determine the value of all of these things is a difficult technical problem that has no agreed upon solution.”

However, David Harvey’s definition capital remains very much influenced by its 19th century Marxian understanding of industrial capitalism. In 21st century, capital deserves a more comprehensive and a more representative definition than just a process in which money makes more money through production relations. I, therefore, propose the following definition:

Capital is a ‘social process‘ , through which surplus value is produced and controlled by ‘unsustainable’ and ‘un-sovereign’ ways of exploiting labor (both manual and intellectual), land (and other commons), nature (non-renewable sources of energy and the earth’s bio-capacity including climate), and societal cohesion/solidarity (from the level of household to the world community level).

Capital is a social process and not just an economic one, since it involves specific sociocultural and political modes of sociability as well as particular modes of livelihood. It is based on exploitation rather than ‘self-sustaining use’ of human and natural resources. Here, ‘exploitation’ is distinguished from ‘use’, since the former makes (1) the resources to lose their capacity to be sustainability reproduced over generations, and (2)  the communities to lose their capacity to ‘determine’ the levels and ways of use democratically and autonomously.

Thus, a comprehensive analysis of capital and capitalist systems requires not only the theorization of the exploitation of labor, land and nature through the processes of production (the first dimension of exploitation), but also of financial speculations, enclosures and hoardings, that are determined undemocratically through the chaotic interplay between the uncertainty of market mechanisms and the plutocratic influences of financial monopolies or corporate powerhouses. The latter includes what David Harvey calls ‘capital strike’ used by monopolies to cause “artificial scarcity” and thereby increase the “rate of return” or what I would like to call in more general terms, ‘spurious surplus’, which has real impacts on real production processes. Despite acknowledging this fact, Harvey (unlike Piketty) unjustifiably excludes the latter process of producing spurious surplus from his definition of capital!:

Money, land, real estate and plant and equipment that are not being used productively are not capital. If the rate of return on the capital that is being used is high then this is because a part of capital is withdrawn from circulation and in effect goes on strike.

The withdrawal of capital from productive circulation is part of (and has become increasingly a significant component of) today’s capital. This is because, according to our new definition of capital, even ‘capital strikes’ are about creating and controlling surplus (no matter how spurious it is) and it prevents democratic determination and sustainable use of resources associated with the withdrawn capital.

Accordingly, ‘alternatives to capital’, from this point of view, consist of a broad range of approaches from reformist orientations to democratic social regulations of ‘capital’ (like post/Keynesian visions), to antipodal alternatives to the existence of capital (like anti-market, anti-trade initiatives).

 

Social Movements for Global Alternatives: Livelihood, Collaboration, Transformation

Social Movements for Global Alternatives: Livelihood, Collaboration, Transformation

Events

2016 – Conference Presentations – 

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:20

Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))

3rd ISA FORUM OF SOCIOLOGY, VIENNA

Seyed A. HOSSEINI FARADONBEHThe University of Newcastle, Australia
Barry GILLSUniversity of Helsinki, Finland 
 Abstract 
We live in a neoliberal era of multiple crises, social upheavals and political flux. Yet the continuing confrontation between neoliberalism and its alternatives creates new possibilities for social and systemic transformation. Critical analysis of ideological divisions among today’s alternative projects/initiatives – via examining the historical, ideational, and practical roots of these differences – is important to understand past and present shortcomings and the continuing difficulties in creating coherent solutions. How do such projects construct alternative livelihood and social agency, beyond market-based individuation? To what extent do alternative initiatives engage collaboratively, and work across different approaches? The main objective of this paper is to examine how far the ‘alternatives to capital’ are being co-articulated, co-envisioned, and co-inspired, enabling cross-fertilizations, and integration. It proposes a comparative analytical framework to examine the co-evolutions and contestations between a number of case studies that are influenced by four major alternative ideologies, i.e. ‘global Keynesianism’, ‘left inter-nationalism’, ‘solidarity economy’ and the ‘ecological commons’.