Hatzova 16, Zagreb, Hrvatska
Klasa, klasna teorija i klasna borba
Klasna analiza centralan je moment Marxove analize kapitalističkog društva. No duga povijest recepcije njegova rada uvelike je i povijest teorijskih i političkih prijepora o eksplanatornom i političkom dometu klasne analize, usko vezana uz sporove o definiciji samog pojma klase. Pitanje o unutarnjoj koherenciji i kompatibilnosti koncepta klase u radovima iz domene kritike političke ekonomije s jedne i političko-historiografskim spisima s druge strane i dalje se diskutira. Seminar Centra za radničke studije ima za cilj konfrontirati regionalnu publiku s nekim od pristupa tom problematskom kompleksu i potaknuti diskusiju. Teorijska kompleksnost problematike ne znači međutim da je njen domet isključivo "akademski". Upravo u kontekstu ponovnog buđenja interesa za marksističku kritiku kapitalističkih odnosa u regiji nakon desetljeća potiskivanja i ideoloških čistki teorijskih i javnih rasprava te ponovne pojave političkih inicijativa koje su kritične spram kapitalizma, političke implikacije naizgled apstraktnih pitanja klasne teorije sve su evidentnije. Perspektive i strategijsku orijentaciju tih inicijativa nije moguće diskutirati bez kritičke rasprave o adekvatnosti njihova razumijevanja klasnih odnosa i njihovih političkih artikulacija.
Vremenski raspored i sažetci izlaganja (na engleskom jeziku) / 17.10. - 18.10.2015
17. listopada 2015.
11:00 - 13:00
‒ Stipe Ćurković - Marxism, Class Theory and the Need to Differentiate Levels of Abstraction
The third volume of Marx’s Capital ends with a short chapter on class, albeit an unfinished one. Based on some recent scholarship on class theory in Marx’s mature writings from the domain of the critique of political economy, I will argue that these writings nevertheless contain a coherent structural class analysis of the capitalist mode of production in its ideal average. What they do not contain, however, is a theoretical basis for the ‘optimistic fatalism’ of much of traditional marxism, i.e. the belief in the inevitability of an anti-capitalist or revolutionary political orientation of the working class. In fact, Marx’s analysis in Capital can be shown to provide systemic theoretical arguments against such a reading. To say that the passage from the analysis of the structural class position to (revolutionary) political subjectivation cannot be assumed to be predetermined and/or automatic is not to deny the relevance of structural class analysis for anticapitalist politics (as post-marxism would have it). Rather, it points to the necessity to differentiate between levels of abstraction in analysis: investigating the explanatory scope and limits of structural class analysis of the capitalist mode of production and differentiating it from empirical, historical and sociological class analysis of concrete capitalist societies is a necessary step in overcoming reductionism and developing a more adequate understanding of the complex relationship between class and politics.
Stipe Ćurković is a member of Centre for Labour Studies.
15:30 - 17:30 - John Milios - The Working Class and the Middle Classes: Allies in a Common Anti-neoliberal Strategy?
After the outbreak of the 2008 global economic crisis, extreme neoliberal austerity policies prevailed in many parts of the developed capitalist world, especially in the European Union (EU) and the Euro-area (EA). Austerity has been criticized as an irrational policy, which afflicts the vast majority of society, as it further deteriorates the economic crisis by creating a vicious cycle of falling effective demand, recession and over-indebtedness. However, these criticisms can hardly explain why this "irrational" or "wrong" policy persists, despite its "failures". In reality, economic crises express themselves not only in a lack of effective demand, but above all in a reduction of profitability of the capitalist class. Austerity constitutes a strategy for raising capital’s profit rate.
This paper examines under which conditions the prevailing capitalist strategy of neoliberalism and austerity may mould a broader anti-labour social coalition, by enforcing the consensus of a part of the "middle classes", defined as (i) the traditional petty bourgeoisie, (ii) the new petty bourgeoisie and (iii) middle bourgeoisie.
John Milios is a professor of Political Economy at the National Technical University of Athens and author and co-author of many books, including Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist Rule and A Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism: Demystifying Finance. He was chief economic advisor of Syriza until March 2015.
17:30 - 18:30 - General Discussion
19:15 - Talk with John Milios on Greece, Syriza and Popular Unity / Chairman: Marko Kostanić
In this conversation we will tackle recent political developments in Greece, political trajectory of Syriza and prospects for Popular Unity as a new organization on the Left. Based on Greek dynamics we will try to discuss some broader political lessons for the Left which can be learned from this example. John Milios will also talk about his experience of being chief economic advisor of Syriza, with a special accent on relations between Marxist analytical framework and concrete political struggles.
18. listopada 2015.
11:00 - 13:00
‒ Dora Levačić / Mislav Žitko -
How Class Works? Developing a Class Map for Post-Socialism
The post-socialist period in Croatia has been marked by abandonment of class analysis in the social sciences and public discourse. The rise of nationalism and consolidation of capitalist market institutions, together with the discovery of postmodern sensibilities in academia, have forged the conditions for displacement of class to the margins of economy and society by virtue of its inherent connection with the ‘Marxist ideology’. In the first step, this paper aims to develop a notion of class by taking into account the recent contributions developed by Goldthorpe, Savage and others. The paper will offer arguments against ‘employment-based’ and ‘cultural theory of class’. In the second step, a class map based on a variety of indicators pertinent to the Croatian social structure in the post-socialist period will be put forward and discussed on conceptual and methodological level. The overall objective of the paper is to bridge the gap created by the suppression of class analysis in the last quarter century and embed the discourse on social class in post-socialism in the discussions that are currently taking place in the advanced capitalist societies.
Dora Levačić is a sociologist and a member of Organisation for Workers Initiative and Democratisation from Zagreb.
Mislav Žitko is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and a member of Centre for Labour Studies.
15:30 - 17:30 - Branko Bembič - Balance of Forces and Working Class Organisations in Slovenian Transition
This paper is composed of three parts. The first part interprets the specific path of Slovenian transition from self -managed socialism to capitalism by disentangling the class alliances underlying the transitional balance of forces and its gradual transformation in the past decade. This is followed by an account of the current situation of working class organisations in Slovenia and the challenges they face. Finally, the paper outlines the idea of working class organisation structured as a research organisation capable of tackling the problems identified in the second part of the paper.
Branko Bembič is a PhD candidate at the University of Ljubljana. His main fields of interest are the critique of political economy and the class culture of workers.
17:30 - 18:30 - General Discussion