The purpose of this blog is to provide analytical commentary on formal and informal labour organisations and their attempts to resist ever more brutal forms of exploitation in today’s neo-liberal, global capitalism.

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Australia Book Launch of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis.

Adam D. Morton and Andreas Bieler are delighted to announce the Australia book launch of GlobalCapitalism, Global War, Global Crisis, which will be at Gleebooks on 7 December, at 6:00pm and chaired by Elizabeth Humphrys. Having launched the book in the UK at the British International Studies Association (BISA) annual conference in Bath and at the independent bookshop FiveLeaves Books in Nottingham, as well as at the European International Studies Association (EISA) conference in Prague, we are very much looking forward to this launch in Sydney.

The originality of the book lies in its assertion of the necessity of historical materialist dialectics in rethinking ‘the international’ and, specifically, in its attempt to grasp the inner connections of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis within political economy. The book is therefore a revolt against the violence of abstractions, as Derek Sayer distinctively argued.

Our point of departure is a critique of ontological dualisms shaping understandings of ‘the international’ that commonly revolve around positing distinct spheres or variables that are treated as externally interacting relations, for example states / markets; agents / structures; ideational / material; or politics / economics, which then fail to grasp their always-already inner connections.

We embrace the philosophy of internal relations that we regard as the hallmark of historical materialism. It is this presence of dialectics that we see so valuable through an engagement with classical historical materialism in the form of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Antonio Gramsci, and Henri Lefebvre, or more contemporary figures such as Bertell Ollman, Derek Sayer, Ariel Salleh, Silvia Federici, Maria Mies, and Ellen Meiksins Wood.

So, if the hallmark of historical materialism is dialectics then the argument of the book is that Marxism distinctively delivers a philosophy of internal relations able to grasp the inner connections between Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis. We do so by addressing capital’s internalisation within 1) the states-system of uneven and combined development, 2) geopolitics, and 3) the global crisis conditions facing humanity embedded within the political economy of world ecology.

A radical philosophy of internal relations and the dialectics of historical materialism thus makes explicit a conception of capital through which connections are maintained and contained as a self-forming whole.

Famously, Bertell Ollman in his book Alienation cites Pareto as stating that ‘Marx’s words are like bats—one can see in them both birds and mice’. Embracing this as a positive means that historical materialism can capture the spiral form of development of concepts, categories and their conditions to establish the internal relation or inner ties that bind exploitation through value, labour, private property, class, capital, commodities, the state, nature and social reproduction.

Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis is structured into three parts. Part I has a set of Conceptual Reflections with chapters on agency-structure and the materiality of ideas. Part II has a set of Thematic Considerations with chapters on uneven and combined development, geopolitics, and class struggle. Part III then has a set of Empirical Interventions with chapters establishing specific vantage points on Global Capitalism (focusing on China), Global War (focusing on Iraq); and Global Crisis (focusing on the Eurozone].

These vantage points are based on the method of “postholing” (drawing from Richard Sennett) that invites theory to address the sweep of historical forces through the richness of detail stemming from delving into specific moments in space and time.

It was Henri Lefebvre who stated that we need to focus on:

‘the revolt of the “lived” against abstractions, of the everyday against economism, of the social and civil society against the “high rate of growth”, whose demands are upheld by the State’.

By advancing a necessarily historical materialist approach to dialectics, Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis then finishes on a consideration of radical ruptures of social transformation shaping the future. Rather than relegating resistance to future study, then, our book culminates in a detailed chapter on the relations of force and struggles of resistance shaping the contemporary world.

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