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WRITTEN IN THE AFTERMATH of the 2008 banking crash and published in 2012, Andrew Kliman’s The Failure of Capitalist Production adds to the extensive literature on American decline. Kliman identifies the way that profits have tended to fall relative to investments since the 1970s and also the diminishing rate
Tony Cliff's recognition in his own moment of a certain kind of impasse within Trotskyism and his attempt to overcome it require full consideration and appreciation both in terms of the merits of its potential and a consciousness of its limits. A panel on the legacy of Tony Cliff opened the discussion at the Sixth Annual Platypus International Convention held in Chicago on April 4th, 2014. What follows are the opening remarks by English journalist and author James Heartfield.
THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY (SWP) is the largest political party left of the Labour Party, and has been active on the far left since 1977 and before that as the International Socialists since the 1960s. The party was led by Tony Cliff until his death thirteen years ago, and Ian Birchall, who has written this diligently researched memoir, is still a member since joining in the 1960s. Birchall’s “warts-and-all” examination is motivated by a marked unhappiness about A World To Win, the autobiography which Cliff apparently wrote based on recollection, without access to the relevant documentation.
“THE TERRORIST IS NOBLE, irresistibly fascinating, for he combines in himself the two sublimates of human grandeur: the martyr and the hero” (127). The man who spoke these words was Sergei Kravchinsky, the Tsarist officer turned anarchist who went on to assassinate the chief of the Russia’s secret police and expose that country’s autocracy before the world in the best-selling book Underground Russia.
One of the stranger sights in today’s banking crisis is the sudden popularity of Karl Marx. The Manifesto is flying off the shelves, and business execs are boning up on Marx’s crisis theory in much the same way that they used to lap up Sun Tzu’s Art of War, or parrot Heraclitus’ saying that there is nothing permanent but change. Today’s economic dislocation, though, does not correspond to the crisis of overaccumulation that Marx explained in the third volume of his book Capital. Marx’s analytical reconstruction of capitalism was made at a time of great forward momentum in industrialization, made under the discipline of what he called the ‘capitalist mode of accumulation’.