The 2020 summer program, directed by Gabriel Rockhill and Jennifer Ponce de León, will take place from June 29 to July 17 at the EHESS in central Paris. It is open to graduate students and faculty, as well as advanced undergraduates, independent researchers, writers and artists. Invited guests for 2020 thus far include, in addition to the directors, Timothy Bewes, Christine Delphy, Massimiliano Tomba and Antonio Vázquez-Arroyo. Past speakers have included thinkers like Seloua Luste Boulbina, Jacques Rancière and Domenico Losurdo. Continue reading
I had the opportunity to discuss the current French strike and contextualize it in relationship to global class struggle on “Keeping Democracy Alive with Burt Cohen.” Click here to listen (description below). This discussion is partially based on my article in CounterPunch, “Understanding France’s General Strike in the Context of the Yellow Vests and Global Class Warfare.”
There’s been no coverage in America of the extended turmoil engulfing France since early December. But it is huge, and it is a major intensification of a worldwide struggle against neoliberal globalism. As Macron’s government and so many others aim at privatization of public services protestors are shutting down the French economy. On this show France expert Professor Gabriel Rockhill explains how the current labor action arises from the context of the Yellow Vest movements. And how established labor leaders are being overpowered by the rank and file who demand a genuinely democratic government instead of top down austerity. And how have the police reacted? According to Rockhill, France has greatly increased its police budget and they are now at the cutting edge of advanced militarized police technology. The police regularly attack peaceful crowds, a lot of injuries have occurred. And he explains that this economic and political struggle is part of the global fight against climate change, protecting the bioshphere for humans and other species.
France’s Strike: Another Symptom of Neoliberalism’s Legitimation Crisis
France’s public sector strike against pension reform is in its seventh week, the most serious such strike in French history. It fits very well in the context of the global revolt against neoliberalism, says Prof. Gabriel Rockhill.
Excerpt: “The credibility crisis of the Macron regime is thus connected to a broader legitimacy crisis for the international system of pseudo-representative governments working for the capitalist class. As William I. Robinson has explained in books like Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity, the transnational elite has sought to establish a neoliberal consensus in the era of globalization, which has required the mobilization of a social base that consensually supports it. Although the ruling class has succeeded in integrating the upper-echelons of society and organic intellectuals through ideological and material rewards, the system of global capitalist accumulation has simultaneously undermined the basis for wider hegemonic rule by stripping the popular classes of the material base necessary for their consent. In this regard, the widespread discontent with Macron’s “government of the rich” is indicative of a broader crisis of legitimacy for the global elite technocracy, which is tasked with maintaining or increasing capitalist accumulation while pacifying or subduing all of those who suffer from it.”
This seminar will elucidate the fundamental tenets of Marx’s philosophy, as well as their importance for understanding and transforming the contemporary world order. It will begin by explaining key concepts like historical materialism, class struggle, alienation, the labor theory of value, ideology and revolution. It will then briefly discuss a few of the important debates in the deep and broad history of Marxism in order to explore some of the ways that Marx’s work has been interpreted and transformed by subsequent generations. Finally, the course will focus in on what Marxist analysis has to contribute to contemporary debates and struggles by demonstrating how it can help us understand phenomena such as the environmental catastrophe, the increasing social inequality of globalization, the carceral state and its relationship to electoral democracy, the military-industrial-academic complex, institutional racism and gender inequality. Although the course will be directed at a lay audience, it will pedagogically build up its analysis in such a way that it will also serve the interests of those with a working knowledge of Marx and Marxism.