Journal of Socialist Theory

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Critique London seminar

Posted: 25 May 2019

Speakers Hillel Ticktin and Mick Cox outline some of the key themes in the June 1 Critique seminar:

"We can put nationalism, Brexit, Trump, China, Iran and contemporary governments in context if we look at the present period in the light of an irrevocable transition distorted and stymied by the bourgeoisie.

It was Trotsky who asserted that a transitional period began with the betrayal of the German Social Democrats in 1914. The point of our seminar is to interrogate the nature of this period and its limits today. Socialism in one country is not just a proven failure, it has held the world back for a century in the regressive nature of Stalinism itself. Many, including Trotsky, were hoping that there could be a breakthrough in one of the Stalinist countries. This did not happen. Yet capitalism, while it continues to function, is still in de facto decline as capital, ie as self-expanding value.

In a recent issue of the Financial Times, Gillian Tett repeated the often raised point that the capitalist class is not investing. Productivity is rising only slowly. In fact, this tendency preceded – and was reinforced by - the downturn of 2007-8.

This downturn is now over 10 years long. There is no sense in talking about a kind of short-term crisis, or recession. If we were in the 1930s, we would call it a depression. But what is a depression? In a declining capitalism?"

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