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Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
Racism after Apartheid, volume four of the Democratic Marxism series, brings together leading scholars and activists from around the world studying and challenging racism. In eleven thematically rich and conceptually informed chapters, the contributors interrogate the complex nexus of questions surrounding race and relations of oppression as they are played out in the global South and global North. Their work challenges Marxism and anti-racism to take these lived realities seriously and consistently struggle to build human solidarities.
BRICS is a grouping of the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Volume five in the Democratic Marxism series, BRICS and the New American Imperialism challenges the mainstream understanding of BRICS and US dominance to situate the new global rivalries engulfing capitalism. It offers novel analyses of BRICS in the context of increasing US induced imperial chaos, deepening environmental crisis tendencies (such as climate change and water scarcity), contradictory dynamics inside BRICS countries and growing subaltern resistance. The authors revisit contemporary thinking on imperialism and anti-imperialism, drawing on the work of Rosa Luxemburg, one of the leading theorists after Marx, who attempted to understand the expansionary nature of capitalism from the heartlands to the peripheries. The richness of Luxemburg's pioneering work inspires most of the volume's contributors in their analyses of the dangerous contradictions of the contemporary world as well as forms of democratic agency advancing resistance. While various forms of resistance are highlighted, among them water protests, mass worker strikes, anti-corporate campaigning and forms of cultural critique, this volume grapples with the challenge of renewing anti-imperialism beyond the NGO-driven World Social Forum and considers the prospects of a new horizontal political vessel to build global convergence. It also explores the prospects of a Fifth International of Peoples and Workers.
Co-operatives in post-apartheid South Africa have featured in the Reconstruction and Development Programme, legislation, vertical and horizontal state policy and various discourses from Black Economic Empowerment, `two economies' and `radical economic transformation'. In practice, the big push by government through quantitative growth, seed capital and top-down movement building has not yielded viable, member-driven and values-centred co-operatives leading systemic change.
Government looks to the experience of Afrikaner nationalism for keys to success, while some co-operative development programmes are breaking new ground in co-operative banking and community public works programmes. Yet, government co-operative pathways are facing serious limits. At the same time, solidarity economy practitioners have been fostering pathways from below, both actual and potential, within various co-operative experiences. Solidarity economy practice is not seeking government validation nor demanding recognition through adoption. Instead, solidarity economy forces are seeking to work with, against and beyond the state to build institutionalised and decolonised solidarity relations in a society increasingly grounded in market values of individualism, competition and greed.
This volume builds on a previous collection, The Solidarity Economy Alternative: Emerging Theory and Practice (2014), and inaugurates a debate between leading government co-operative development practitioners and its critics, many of whom are working to advance bottom-up solidarity economy pathways.
Indexed in Clarivate Analytics Book Citation Index (Web of Science Core Collection)
Our contemporary world is plagued by a deep crisis that threatens the survival of our species and the planet. In the midst of this dire situation, we are being misled to believe by transnational corporations, governments, mainstream media networks and spin doctors that neoliberal capitalism has all the answers and can overcome any crisis. But can more of the same and a blind faith in capitalism save our world? Many are not convinced and there is a crucial awakening taking place. The rise of transnational activism, the World Social Forum, the Arab Spring, Occupy, the Climate Justice Movement and a post-neoliberal left affirm the need for alternatives to global neoliberal capitalism. A crucial idea and practice emerging from this ferment is the solidarity economy alternative. This book brings together contributions from leading thinkers and practitioners supporting the solidarity economy alternative in South Africa, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. For the first time there is an attempt to clarify, rather than codify, meanings of the solidarity economy, emphasise crucial theoretical concepts at work in the emergent solidarity economy, and highlight situated movement-building experiences and ways in which the anti-capitalist logic of the solidarity economy can be constituted from below. This book is for anyone concerned about democracy, transformative politics and emancipatory utopian alternatives. 'The Solidarity Economy Alternative propagates the radical impulse of democracy from below while affirming ethical values and principles like social justice. This book is an excellent guide to this powerful idea and an invaluable resource for activists in South Africa and beyond.' Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, patron of the Democracy from Below Campaign, South Africa, and former deputy Minister of Defence and Minister of Health 'A brilliant, contemporary effort to reconstruct, on a new basis, the transformative anti-capitalist vision. It is an immensely valuable, empirically grounded contribution to a fundamentally important debate.' Peter Evans, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, author of Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation Vishwas Satgar is a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a political activist and chairs the board of the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre.
Although Marx's writings on social transformation figured prominently in the global Left imagination for more than 150 years, by the late 20th century the relevance of Marxism was under question by both the Left (including Marxists) and the Right. Its revival in the second decade of the 21st century is finding new sources of inspiration and creativity from movements that believe that "another world is possible" through democratic, egalitarian, and ecological alternatives to capitalism built by ordinary people. The Marxism of many of these movements is not dogmatic or prescriptive, but open, searching, utopian. It revolves around four primary factors: the importance of democracy for an emancipatory project, the ecological limits of capitalism, the crisis of global capitalism, and the learning of lessons from the failures of Marxist-inspired experiments. This edited book introduces some contemporary approaches to Marxism. It shows how the 21st century has seen enormous creativity from movements that seek to overcome the weaknesses of the past by forging fundamentally new approaches to politics that draw inspiration from Marxism along with many other anticapitalist traditions such as feminism, ecology, anarchism, and indigenous traditions. Featuring leading thinkers from the Left, the book offers provocative ideas on interpreting our current world and will serve as an excellent reference book to introduce a new way of thinking about Marxism to students and scholars in the field.
With increasing regularity, we come across news headlines about the crisis within Cosatu. Analysts and commentators in the media, in academia, in business and even those in the labour movement itself have already proclaimed the death of Cosatu. Are reports of the imminent demise of Cosatu greatly exaggerated and does this issue concern anyone outside of Cosatu anyway? Labour is the cornerstone on which our economy is built - we are all directly or indirectly either suppliers of labour or buyers of labour; and as one of the most important labour federations in the world, Cosatu has played a crucial role in forging a rights-based industrial relations system, championing democratisation, and it has been a critical voice for workers. Today, the future of Cosatu is uncertain. Cosatu in Crisis, with contributions from renowned academics and labour specialists such as Eddie Webster, Mark Orkin, Roger Southall, Vishwas Satgar and Devan Pillay amongst others, puts the current crisis in historical perspective by showing how the unions, the workplace, the economy and broader social movements in South Africa have changed over the past few decades. It also compares the case of Cosatu to that of post-independence union movements across the African continent. The book traces the evolution of the crisis in Cosatu from the advent of democracy in 1994, the development of the fissures between Numsa and Cosatu and how the ‘Numsa moment’ impacts the future of the Alliance; with the result that it provides a nuanced picture of Cosatu’s crisis, the underlying causes and, more generally, the prospects for labour. Cosatu in Crisis, while not seeking to provide definitive answers, provides crucial perspectives on why organised labour is key to understanding the future of Alliance politics, industrial relations and democracy. So, what’s next for Cosatu? Whatever happens will affect the very foundations of the South African economy. Cosatu in Crisis is a must-read for unionists, business leaders, policy makers and academics – and for anyone interested in knowing how labour will continue to shape the future trajectories of South Africa.
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