It has become popular today to say that we live in an era of what Benjamin Barber has labelled "Jihad vs. McWorld." The globalising powers of capitalism ("McWorld") are confronted with or resisted by the forces that Barber labels "Jihad" — the variety of tribal particularisms and "narrowly conceived faiths" opposed to the homogenising force of capital. Even those with a critical view of the growth of American empire and the expansion of what is erroneously termed the global market usually subscribe to this interpretation. In fact it is the critics who often argue that we need a better understanding of these local forms of resistance against the "universal" force of the market.
The terms of this debate are quite misleading. We live in an age, to adapt Barber’s nomenclature, of "McJihad." It is an age in which the mechanisms of what we call capitalism appear to operate, in certain critical instances, only by adopting the social force and moral authority of conservative Islamic movements. It may be true that we need a better understanding of the local forces that oppose the globalisation of capital; but, more than this, we need a better understanding of the so-called global forces of capital.
For May Day, we present our latest Five Book Plan: L.A. Kauffman, author of Direct Action, selects five essential histories of political organizing in the United States.
Black Panther women, West Oakland, 1970.
Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (ed. David J. Garrow), The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (University of Texas Press, 1987)
Many people know that Rosa Parks was a trained and seasoned political activist before the famous day when she decided to stay in her bus seat. But few are aware of the large, well-organized network of black women in Montgomery that transformed her arrest into a historic campaign of mass noncompliance. This engaging memoir by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, a key initiator of the Montgomery bus boycott, reveals the behind-the-scenes work of local organizers who had long been waiting and planning for the right opportunity to challenge racial segregation in their city when Parks was arrested. In an era when movements rely heavily on the internet to mobilize participation, there's much to learn from the extraordinary tale of how black women in Montgomery sprang into action the moment Parks was arrested, secretly distributing more than 50,000 leaflets throughout their community in fewer than 24 hours, and thus launching the boycott without tipping off the city's white leadership.
Susie Day's interview with organizer and artist Amin Husain was first published in Monthly Review online.
Rounding up immigrants, pissing on transgender bathroom rights, barring press from press briefings… The only good thing Donald Trump has done is to galvanize millions of people into political outrage. For months now we've gone to dozens of marches and rallies. Of course, this isn't enough, but what more to do?
Then I happened on a Facebook post by Amin Husain:"I wish I could share what's wrong and what's missing in how we're handling the Trump era without many of my dear friends thinking that I am just being a downer on the 'resistance.'" I had to hear more.
They said ‘No’. Called to vote on the lenders’ aid plan on 5 July, more than 61 percent of Greeks rejected it. And now? In some EU countries, with Germany in the lead, the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone is no longer a taboo.
In the following interview with Sarah Halifa-Legrand of L'Obs, philosopher and member of the Greek anti-capitalist Left party Antarsya, Panagiotis Sotiris, maintains that there is only one way to avoid humiliation: leave the euro. Translated from the French by David Broder; read the original French text here.
This morning, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis announced his resignation on his blog. This is despite the "no" vote in the country's referendum on austerity measures, a result which Varoufakis calls "splendid". Varoufakis said he "was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my... 'absence' from its meetings", and so he's resigning to help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reach a deal. He said he would "wear the creditors' loathing with pride".
Varoufakis's anti-austerity ideas are spelled out in his book The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy, published by our comrades at Zed Books. Below is the foreword, , to that book by Paul Mason, economics editor for Channel 4 News and author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed.