Tag: Capital

Eco-Technics: Notes on the Thought of Jean-Luc Nancy

Nancy coins the term eco-technics to describe the current global politico-economic conjuncture. Hillis Miller explains: ‘“Eco” comes from the Greek word oikos, the house or home. The prefix “eco-” is used more broadly now to refer to the total environment within which one or another “living” creature “dwells”’ (Hillis Miller 2012, 66). Thus, at stake…

Blockupy Frankfurt 2013 – appeal for action this spring

            “Resistance in the heart of Europe’s crisis regime” – under this slogan the Blockupy Alliance is planning renewed international protests in Frankfurt this spring. In a nationwide meeting on Sunday in Frankfurt’s DGB-200 Active House it was agreed to push on with preparations for the days of action and…

On the Right to Peace and the Environment

Peace and the environment are two equally wide-reaching topics, and consequently they could be studied separately and from a variety of perspectives. In this article, we will endeavour to demonstrate the relationship between peace and the environment starting with the idea that the preservation of both is significantly compromised by the current economic system. Our…

The Amazon Archipelago

On Wed­nes­day night prime Ger­man tele­vi­sion chan­nel ARD broad­cast under­cover report­age con­cern­ing the treat­ment of for­eign work­ers at Amazon’s huge dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house near Bad Hersfeld in cent­ral Ger­many. State par­lia­ment­ari­ans called the report “unspeak­able”, “shock­ing”, “bey­ond the pale”, and the Left Party spokes­per­son stated:

“We call on the state gov­ern­ment to carry out promptly and with all at its dis­posal checks of the complainant’s social secur­ity fraud, the use of an appar­ent neo-​Nazi secur­ity com­pany through Amazon and the inhu­mane place­ment in a so-​called ‘resort’”.

Bad Hersfeld backs up against the old bor­der with East Ger­many at the point, the Fulda Gap, which the US determ­ined was the prime stra­tegic entry point for Soviet forces in any inva­sion of Europe. As a con­sequence this wooded up-​country became a back­wa­ter of barbed wire and check­points after the war. It is here that Amazon has had built one of its massive dis­tri­bu­tion centres for Ger­many, and it is here that under­cover report­ers infilt­rated.

The Wealth Clock

A group of German trades unions, academics, and militants have attempted to seize back the clock as a powerful mode of political expression with their “Wealth Clock”. It seems to be a direct response to the relative success of the US’s National Debt Clock, instituted in the late 80s by property developer Seymour Durst, in impressing into the public consciousness the claimed urgency of dealing with the US national debt, as a route to neoliberal austerity measures. Leaving aside the many arguments that can be levelled against Durst’s fears, the image of a constant up-ticking of a national debt has had its echoes in European states, not least Britain and Germany as flag-bearers for austerity.

Ireland, Suicide and the Virtual Reality of a Political Elite

It has been apparent to many people in Ireland, across Europe and much further afield that the professional political class are living in a sort of virtual reality. [In Ireland] we have a political system that has been described as corrupt in all areas of public life in the Mahon report [a report on corruption…

A Bailout of the People by the People – Will it Work?

From 15 November 2012, a part of the Occupy Movement in the U.S. led by Strike Debt will be operating a “Rolling Jubilee” which their website describes as:

“A bailout of the people by the people.

We buy debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, we abolish it. We cannot buy specific individuals’ debt — instead, we help liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.”

David Graeber, for example, has been tweeting about this enthusiastically and the Rolling Jubilee Facebook page has a picture of Slavoj Zizek holding the linked “Strike Debt” logo and a statement claiming that he too supports the campaign. My initial reaction to the plan was open-minded bemusement and a question which I see keeps recurring on the Rolling Jubilee FB page: “How does this work?.”

In Germany insolvency law becomes financialised

The Amendment of the German Bankruptcy Act,1 which came into effect six months ago, has opened the door to widespread abuse alleges the industry association VID, which claims to represent more than half of liquidators. “A few influential and wealthy creditors now threaten to dominate proceedings”, the VID chairman Christoph Niering said in Berlin. “In addition,…

The Political Economy of Indigenous Dispossession: Bare and Dispensable Lives in the Andes

The expan­sion of the extract­ive indus­tries has, as coun­ter­parts, first, the reac­tion of indi­gen­ous com­munit­ies in the defense of their com­munal goods (land, water, graz­ing, etc.), and second, the viol­ent counter-​​attack of the state through police and mil­it­ary repres­sion, legit­im­ated many times by the of excep­tion (in Peru the “state of emer­gency”, a kind of state of excep­tion, has been applied by gov­ern­ments in pre­vi­ous years to con­trol socio-​​environmental protests). Polit­ical eco­nomy and legal policy are both rel­ev­ant to this situ­ation and both are func­tion­ally connected.

In respect of polit­ical eco­nomy, let us bring to mind what David Har­vey calls “accu­mu­la­tion by dis­pos­ses­sion”, which is just the the­or­et­ical update of the “prim­it­ive accu­mu­la­tion” described by Karl Marx, that is to say: cap­it­al­ist expan­sion requires the viol­ent trans­form­a­tion of com­mon goods into com­mod­it­ies in order to be appro­pri­ated and then used by exchange mech­an­isms.

LIBOR (and other mythical beasts)

Martin Wheatley, British financial regulator charged with solving the LIBOR crisis, has returned from his Crusade carrying, we are told, a splinter of the True Cross which he assures us is capable of procuring miracles. Not common or garden miracles involving the lame, Galilean fish stocks, or talking asses, no. Something really impressive: announcing the…

Finance’s contribution to GDP – another sleight of hand?

Yesterday’s publication of further dismal GDP data for the UK is an opportunity to reconsider its basis as the justification for many aspects of the current neoliberal order. Bracketing out the question of whether economic growth is a valid lodestar for any just society, there comes the old but under-frequented question1 about what constitutes growth…

Securitisation outfit fined USD125m for obtaining false credit ratings

In my previous post I asked somewhat rhetorically what else banks had felt able to do during the credit crunch if the belief had arisen that “market stability” (sc. bank survival”) trumped criminal law. The U.S. Securities and Exchnage Commission (“SEC”) has obligingly provided an example. Yesterday (19 July 2012) the Securities and Exchange Commission…

LIBOR: City absolutism and raison de marché

What’s the difference between Monaco and the City of London?  One is a micro-territory governed by absolute fiat, hollowed out by property speculation, gambling, and the concealment of great crimes of wealth, and the other is Monaco. In case your wondering, Monaco does have branches of HSBC and Barclays, and, if you need anything tricky…

Investment Arbitration: Restricted Area

With a Procedural Order issued on June 26th, an ICSID Arbitral Tribunal has made a decision concerning an amicus curiae petition filed on 23 May 2012 by an ensemble of Petitioners formed by an international NGO and four Zimbabwean indigenous communities. Reversing the recent trend toward transparency and participation in investment arbitration, the Panel has…

In solidarity with the Greek People

For joint actions around the Greek elections, and for large Euro-Mediterranean’s mobilizations in autumn 2012! The response to the financial and economic crisis is the same everywhere: cuts in expenditure and austerity measures under the pretext of reducing deficits and the repayment of a public debt which is the direct outcome of 20 years of…

Elections in Greece and France

The Eight of May was the Fête de la Victoire in France. It was also the day of François Hollande’s first public appearance as president-elect. The right-wing Le Figaro featured photographs of ‘deux presidents sous l’Arc de Triomphe’, in which Sarkozy managed to look even more disgruntled than usual and Hollande looked as if he…

Delinking, Decoloniality & Dewesternization: Interview with Walter Mignolo (Part II)

Christopher Mattison: To continue our earlier discussion about Bolivia in relation to “refunding” or “decolonizing”—you’ve stated on a number of occasions that capitalism or socialism, as they are currently constituted, are not the answers? One of the alternatives that you offer to this issue is “delinking.” Could you expand on what you mean by delinking in this particular instance and how it integrates into modes of dewesternization and the various layers of decolonization? ¶ Walter Mignolo: Let me first re-state that the world is currently moving towards both rewesternization and dewesternization. The political ambition of the US (announced by Hillary Clinton in Honolulu and followed up by President Obama) is to mold the Pacific into the American Century. This is in line with President Obama’s politics of regaining world leadership for the US, which was severely shaken by the presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Obama’s famous discourse in Cairo was one of the first moves in this direction. The turn to the Pacific was the second. However, this move came too late because of the growing confidence of the remaining world, most specifically in the Pacific.

Debt as a Mode of Governance

Capitalism has complete control over life: it has “biopolitical” control. In the primitive society, debt is charged through the primitive inscription, or coding, on the body. Blood-revenge and cruelty address a non-exchangist power. In the despotic society, all debts become infinite debts to the divine ruler. In capitalism, all debts finally break free from the sovereign and become infinite by conjoining flows. With capitalism, debt is continuous and without limit: student debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, medical debt. Whereas in the primitive system debt is incurred through inscription and, in despotism, exercised by divine law, in capitalism “the market-eye keeps a watch over everything”. In other words, the market-eye becomes the new normal that constitutes the biopolitical control around a weightless, infinitely circulating, immortal debt. We now live in the era of debt in which it is the soul of the individual that is imprisoned […]