Category Archives: Uncategorized

Inspiring Victory of Grassroots Activism: Chile to Have Free Higher Education

Economic Sociology and Political Economy

Due to enduring civil, student-led protests, Chile to have free higher education. This is a huge victory to grassroots activism and social movements.

Chile Protest

The ‘Chilean Winter’ started in August 2011. A series of ongoing student-led protests across Chile have been sweeping throughout the country, demanding a new framework for education, more equality in access to education, more direct state participation in secondary education and an end to private profit-making in higher education. Chile‬, the cradle of Neoliberalism, has the most privatised and segregated education among the OECD countries. Beyond the specific demands regarding education, the protests have reflected a deep discontent with Chile’s high level of ‪‎inequality‬.
The Socialist Party’s Michelle Bachelet won presidential elections last year, defeating the center-right government, in part by promising to implement many of the students movement’s demands. But the popularity of Bachelet’s government had dropped amid heavy criticism of the

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Economists Dissing Economics

Unlearning Economics

For whatever reason, I found myself compiling a list of 20 or so quotes, mostly from well known economists, criticising mainstream economics. What’s most interesting is that although the quotes come from a wide range of economists, with different political views and from different times, they seem to have a lot in common.

The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.

― Joan Robinson

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

― John Kenneth Galbraith

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

― John Kenneth Galbraith

…the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.

― Thomas Piketty

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American Indian Culture: Traditionalism and Spiritualism in a Revolutionary Struggle

How are we supposed to view movements that are culturally different to ours? Isn’t it true that many Marxists always try to view things from a modernist perspective and the traditional Marxist way of looking at things will naturally consider these cultures, which believe in elements of spirituality and they are likely to be considered as “primitive” or “pre capitalist” or whatever…What should be the approach? This may be easily construed as racist and patronizing, with good reason too….as has been elaborated in this post..

Comrade Kim Goes Flying

This is extremely problematic. It reminds one of the propaganda that used to emanate from USSR even when it was at its repressive best. I think it is about time communists and other socialists start paying some attention to the harm that blindly supporting “actually existing socialisms” brings.
Even if one ignores the reality [or debate] regarding what the North Korean regime is truly like, one cannot overlook the usage of individual glory, which is very uncommunist-like. Marxism and other theoretical tool for social transformation speaks of the masses being the prime movers of history and not some individuals.
But it is no surprise, because in a regime where the supremo simply chooses the next one in line, as it happened in some damn monarchy, individualism of the most dangerous type is being practiced. Glorifying the leader and indeed glorifying any individual and then using it for political gains is definitely bourgeoisie individualism. The culture of personality cult in several such “really existing socialism”s is refused to be seen by many Maoists and many other brands of socialists.

Bombard the Headquarters!

No nation is as demonized today as North Korea. Portrayed on corporate media as a belligerent and militaristic “hermit kingdom” ruled by a mad man, it is said to be one big gulag labor camp guarded by nuclear weapons and perpetually suffering from famine.

Of course, as a country that challenges US imperialist hegemony, this antagonism from the world’s leading capitalist powers is to be expected. This is bound to intensify as the US continues its pivot to the Asia-Pacific and entrench its military forces in the region.

ckgf_posterA 2012 joint British-Belgian-North Korean film called Comrade Kim Goes Flying challenges these crude distortions. Telling the story of a North Korean coal miner who dreams of becoming a trapeze artist, the film offers valuable insights on life in North Korea.

Instead of the usual fare served by US imperialist propaganda we are shown how North Korea upholds  the rights and welfare…

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The Misogyny of India’s Cultural Elite: Kavita Bhanot

good article, but , with its own set of problems. Notions about “unthinking embrace of the ways of the West”, “love between a man and a woman” [as if it has to be of a certain way only] etc are problematic.
However, what almost every single article from progressive sections has failed to address is this:
That this was a position of power that the man acted from AND had the greater chance of getting away with it. It is not just a question of upper class women accepting the patriarchy and misogyny of suave and sophisticated English speaking men from the upper classes. It is also a matter of hierarchy, which the white collar workplace has created. This can be explained from the numerous ways hierarchical exploitation, mostly psychological, works in these workplaces.
Without a theory of hierarchy, the social legitimacy that sexual exploitation of the Tejpal sort, cannot be explained adequately

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Guest post by KAVITA BHANOT

Thanks to the brave actions of a woman who had the courage to speak out against her very powerful boss, something huge has happened in the last week in India. The very sophisticated, cosmopolitan English-speaking cultural elite of India has been forced, for once, to look at itself, to face up to the sexism and misogyny that it has long harboured.

For many years this elite has been protesting, exposing, judging, mocking the patriarchy of the lower classes – of the policeman, the religious fundamentalist, the ‘unpolished’ politician, the working class urban migrant, the eve-teaser on the street.  But rarely have the men, or the women of this class, looked, in public, at themselves – the men examining their attitude towards women and the women thinking about their own complicity, the ways in which they have allowed or turned a blind eye to the misogyny…

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