May 2014 issue of Fightback now online

may 2014 fightback cover

This issue of Fightback magazine comes out in preparation for our Capitalism: Not Our Future conference, to be held in Wellington over the first weekend of June 2014. Please check out the programme here.

 

If capitalism is not our future, what is? The bureaucratic states of Eastern Europe were a far cry from the endless possibilities of a post-capitalist future. But “the collapse of communism” means that it’s almost impossible for the average person to envisage any kind of future which doesn’t entail production for private profit, mindless consumption, and the steady erosion of both human civilisation and the ecosystem itself.

 

The Marxist answer is that the answer can’t be known in advance – it can only come about through the struggle of the working people. And this forms the centrepiece of this month’s issue. Auckland writer Dean Parker takes us through the history of May Day, the international working people’s holiday. Fightback’s own Ben Petersen discusses why we still need worker organisations today, while our comrades from the Committee for a Worker’s International (CWI) give a perspective on where the New Zealand union movement can go from here.

 

If there’s any part of modern society which shows clearly the truth of Marx’s insight that forces of production outrun relations of production, we can see it in the “digital economy”, where the increasing sophistication and speed of the Internet has meant a crisis of existence for the music and video industries. Fightback’s Byron Clark looks at why Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party resonates for so many people – even those who “can’t afford a computer”.

 

The “utopian” side of Marxism is further explored in the notes from a recent talk by Wellington Fightback member Joel Cosgrove on the nature of socialism. “Democracy, freedom and imagination” are not words that most people would have associated with the old Warsaw Pact nations. But they’re words which capitalism has taken and twisted, turning dreams of self-realisation into alienation and the massive accumulation of useless commodities. Socialists will have to re-learn this language to appeal to the digital outlaws and precarious workers of the 21st century.

 

Finally, we have a couple of snapshots of how hard the struggle for this better world is in the here-and-now. In Venezuela, a revolutionary government struggles against all odds to peaceably move to a post-market future, despite right-wing uprisings and corruption within the state. Meanwhile, China continues to push forward to becoming the dominant capitalist power on the globe – with its attendant costs in human misery and environmental catastrophe – while still claiming to promote “socialism”.

 

The fight for a post-capitalist future is therefore, in large part, a fight to determine what “socialism” means in the 21st century. If you’re interested in making that happen in the coming months and years, join us in Wellington on Queen’s Birthday weekend.

 

2014 May Fightback V3

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