Johanna Brenner interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, both politically and academically? Johanna Brenner: I grew up in a staunchly liberal family and remained politically liberal until I joined the movement against the Vietnam war, where I was introduced to anti-imperialist politics and then Marxism and ‘third-camp’ socialism. In the late 60’s I was part of the student left that turned toward organising the working-class. I was a student at UCLA. We organised student support for a teamster wildcat strike and we had a group called the
by Chris Armstrong ‘The age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning, that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in its present form.’ The campaign season for April and May’s French Presidential elections, now in full swing, requires some nuancing of, but does not fundamentally detract from, political scientist Peter Mair’s diagnosis.
by Jordy Cummings These with a thousand small deliberations Protract the profit of their chilled delirium, Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled, With pungent sauces, multiply variety In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do Suspend its operations, will the weevil Delay? TS Eliot, Gerontion 1. Roger Stone is a DC troublemaker of the old school. Stone was close to Lee ‘Willie Horton’ Atwater, supported the Contras and reaction more generally throughout the ‘New Cold War’ of the eighties. Stone and another backroom operator, Paul Manafort even lobbied for Marcos and for Mobutu,
Laleh Khalili interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically? Laleh Khalili: I grew up in Iran in the 1970s and early 1980s and being the daughter of Iranian leftist revolutionaries – and later political prisoners and later still exiles – indelibly marked the way I look at the work. On the one hand, growing up in an intellectual leftist household meant introduction to a rich seam of literature and history – not only those of Europeans, but also of Russians and Latin Americans. It
Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically? Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.
Paul Mason interviewed by Malise Rosbech Capitalism is on its last legs. According to the British journalist, writer and activist, Paul Mason, capitalism develops in cycles of 50 years. For Mason, the 2008 financial crisis was the abrupt end to capitalism’s fourth wave and we are now in the fifth and final wave. Like Marx, Mason claims that capitalism will collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions – postcapitalism has already begun. But it is neither the left or the proletariat which is the engine of socio-economic transformation; rather, it is information technology and the networked individual.
Kevin Gray interviewed by George Souvlis. George Souvlis: Would you like to present yourself by focusing on the formative experiences (academic and political) that strongly influenced you? Kevin Gray: My undergraduate degree was in Chinese Studies, although I quickly became aware of the limitations of Area Studies in terms of its methodological nationalism and its related tendency to try and explain all social, political and economic phenomena with reference to historical and cultural legacies internal to the country in question. While the thought of Mao Zedong, for example certainly contains within it influences of traditional Chinese literature and philosophy, this hardly
by Amar Diwakar The great normalisation has commenced. The universal belief amongst the establishment that Trump would be catastrophic for the Republic has given way to sycophantic supplications that the grandiosity of the highest office in the land will eventually mollify much of his incendiary proposals. Whether it is Hillary Clinton declaring that Americans “owe Trump a chance” in her post-mortem concession speech, or Nancy Pelosi promising to engage with him on policy issues related to infrastructure, childcare, and early childhood education.
by Andrew Johnson The 2 March election for the Northern Ireland Assembly is, barring a huge upset, likely to see a rough continuity in the strength of the political forces. The real question is whether the DUP and Sinn Féin – who will almost certainly retain their dominance on both sides of the sectarian divide – will be able to revive their joint government, or whether a period of instability and direct rule from Westminster will follow.
by Benjamin Kunkel The acute capitalist crisis of 2008 has in the years since developed into a chronic complaint, to be managed but not overcome. In wealthy countries, ultra-low interest rates prop up consumer spending and, for investors, prolong the ‘asset-price Keynesianism’ described by Robert Brenner in the 2000s: the money conjured into being by government deficits no longer boosts the economy, through public investment and purchases, in the way of old-fashioned Keynesianism, but takes the form of cheap loan capital, which (funnelled through private banks or wagered on a bank’s own account) inflates the prices of stocks, bonds, and other