Archive | March, 2009

  • El Salvador: Voting in Rebel Territory

      Heading out from San Salvador to Chalatenango, the roads are covered with political propaganda from the ruling right-wing ARENA party.  In the lead up to the March 15 presidential elections in this small Central American country, all of the utility posts have been painted in the party’s colors of red, white, and blue.  Presidential […]

  • The moral importance of the Classic

    At the beginning of the Revolution the Olympics were an event for amateurs. When the concepts of developed capitalism managed to penetrate the Olympic Games, athletic activity ceased being an issue of health and education, its objectives throughout history. The only country in the world where that character was preserved was Cuba which, over many […]

  • Keynes, Capitalism, and the Crisis

    The essence of Keynes’s contribution was the demolition of Say’s law of markets. Say’s Law argued that supply created its own demand, so that there could never be an actual glut of production. Marx had rejected Say’s Law from the beginning, calling it “the childish babbling of a Say, but unworthy of Ricardo.” But neoclassical economics was built on it.

  • What Difference Does Inequality Make?

      Although many people believe inequality is socially divisive and adds to the problems associated with relative deprivation, what inequality does or does not do to us has remained largely a matter of personal opinion.  But now that we have comparable measures of the scale of income inequality in different societies we can actually see […]

  • Anti-communism with a Liberal Face

    Murali Balaji, The Professor and the Pupil: The Politics and Friendship of W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, New York:  Nation Books, 2007. W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson have been poorly served by their biographers.  David Levering Lewis and Martin Duberman found these two US communist revolutionaries about as congenial […]

  • Mauricio Funes: “We Have Signed a New Accord on Peace and Reconciliation”

    The president-elect of El Salvador Mauricio Funes, together with his supporters, celebrated the victory in the elections held this Sunday in this Central American country, giving a speech in which he said that with their vote the people had signed “a new accord on peace and reconciliation.” Shortly after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) issued […]

  • Decolonization’s Rocky Road: Corruption, Expropriation, and Justice in Bolivia

    Over 3,000 Bolivian and Peruvian indigenous activists recently marched in El Alto in commemoration of the March 13th, 1781 siege of La Paz, Bolivia launched from El Alto by indigenous rebels Tupac Katari and Bartolina Sisa.  The siege was against Spanish rule and for indigenous liberation in the Andes.  At a gathering the night before […]

  • Why the Islamic Republic Has Survived

    Obituaries for the Islamic Republic of Iran appeared even before it was born.  In the hectic months of 1979 — before the Islamic Republic had been officially declared — many Iranians as well as foreigners, academics as well as journalists, participants as well as observers, conservatives as well as revolutionaries, confidently predicted its imminent demise.  […]

  • From the Crisis of Distribution to the Distribution of the Costs of the Crisis: What Can We Learn from Previous Crises about the Effects of the Financial Crisis on Labor Share?

    Abstract The paper analyzes the possible distributional consequences of the global crisis based on the lessons of the past crises experiences.  The decline in the labor share across the globe has been a major factor that led to the current global crisis.  What we are going through is a crisis of distribution, and similarly the […]

  • Japan: Labor Think Tank Says Shorter Work Hours Can Create 4.53 Million Jobs

    The Labor Movement Research Institute (Rodo Soken) of Japan says that the strict application of labor laws and regulations and the shortening of work hours would create 4.53 million jobs.

    Rodo Soken, which has close working relations with the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), earlier estimated that 2.7 million jobs would be created by simply eliminating unpaid overtime and encouraging workers to use all their paid holidays.

  • Is President Obama a Socialist?

    It started in an interview with Chris Wallace during the presidential campaign. According to John McCain, Barack Obama was planning “redistribution of the wealth . . . [and] that’s one of the tenets of socialism.” Although McCain backed off his accusation shortly afterwards, Republicans have since revived it.  Rep. John Boehner, Republican leader in the […]

  • Who Profits from the Occupation?

    Last February saw the launch of the Web site “Who Profits?” (URL: ).  The Web site presents an extensive list of Israeli and multinational corporations that are financially involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, whether by the funding of businesses in illegal settlements or by the supply of services, as well as military […]

  • Iran’s Revolution 30 Years On: the Quest for Authenticity

    “Religious despotism is most intransigent because a religious despot views his rule as not only his right but his duty.” — Abdolkarim Soroush The French philosopher Michel Foucault, at the request of one of Italy’s biggest dailies Corriere della Sera, went to Iran to cover the growing unrest and protests against the increasingly despotic regime […]

  • Mess O’Potamia — The Iraq War Is Over

    Barack Obama announces that everyone is coming home except for several dozen thousands of soldiers. President Barack Obama: Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end. Jon Stewart: War — is — over . . . . (swaying to the song “Happy Xmas […]

  • The Crisis Will Be Profound and Prolonged. . .

    It’s been several months since the crisis of capitalism was unleashed on the international level, with its epicenter in financial capital and the US economy.  Now we have more evidence that this crisis will be profound and prolonged, affecting all the peripheral economies — including Brazil. Many analyses of the crisis have been published in […]

  • More news about the agonies of capitalism

    Today I read the cables from March 11th. They were continuing to rain information about the international economic crisis.

  • Arabic Thought in the Illiberal Age

    Peter Wien.   Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian, and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932-1941.   SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East Series.  London: Routledge, 2006.  x + 162 pp.  $150.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-415-36858-2; $39.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-415-46182-5. Sometimes — when read against the backdrop of a particular time and place — a book resonates beyond the immediate […]

  • Why Labor Doesn’t Need a “House of Lords”

    “Also being debated [at the AFL-CIO executive council meeting] is whether to create a mechanism to nudge past-their-prime union presidents to retire so unions are not stuck with tired, uninspired leaders.  One negotiator [of AFL-CIO/ Change-to-Win/NEA unity] talked of creating an advisory ‘Labor House of Lords’ to encourage older union presidents to step aside.” — […]

  • Interview with Deputy Nidia Díaz: FMLN Gets Ready to Combat the Salvadoran Right’s Electoral Fraud

    On the 15th of March, the Salvadoran people will go to the polling stations to choose their next president.  If the opinion surveys prove right, El Salvador will join the winds of change blowing across Latin America. In an interview aired by the Dimensión 550 program of YVKE Mundial, Deputy Nidia Díaz said that the […]

  • The agonies of developed capitalism

    Last Monday the 9th, like all the others, was a marvellous day in terms of the contradictions of developed capitalism in the midst of its incurable crisis.