Bob Gould is back

Bob Gould’s Ozleft site has been quiet for so long I was wondering if it was ever coming back. But now Bob’s posted another of his patented election analyses. Check it out. It’s a little different from mine in that Bob stresses the value of work within the ALP. I can see why leftists in the ALP would not want abandon the field to the party’s right, and Bob’s right that it’s worth defending the position of the unions within one of the parties of government.

The left in the Greens and the left in the ALP are on the same side. But that sure doesn’t mean we refrain from attacking the ALP in government. Socialists in the party ought to welcome a serious challenge from the left as strengthening their own position within Labor. The party won’t change without external pressure. For all the constitutional power of union delegates within the party, they don’t have much to show for their efforts to get a decent industrial relations policy.

Where I most agree with Bob – and it’s a line he’s been running for ages – is the importance of engaging with real political forces rather than isolated little sects.

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Published in: on 30 November, 2007 at 7:38 am  Comments (3)  

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  1. Hey Mike,

    I am plowing through David Harvey’s the Condition of Postmodernity, which is a sort of survey of twentieth century political economic development that ties changes in productive organization to the postmodern subjectivity supposedly experienced by us subjects of late-capitalism from about 1973. It’s a rather thrilling read, highly informative and insightful, etc, but the book was published in the late 80s so it doesn’t treat the most recent geopolitical trends. I was wondering if you knew of any book or collection that was written recently that took a similar tact, only on the last 20 years.

    Thanks.

  2. Hey JCD,

    Yeah that’s a great book, probably the book most responsible for turning me towards economics. I can’t think of anything else like it. I can recommend plenty of things focusing on the economics and politics of the last 20 years, but nothing including the cultural sweep of that book.

    Economics-wise, you could try Dumenil and Levy’s ‘Capital Resurgent’ and/or Robert Brenner’s ‘Economics of Global Turbulence’. In both cases though be sure to read discussions of them in the journals, esp. the two issues of Historical Materialism devoted to Brenner, which contain a number of great articles on the late 20th-century by many of the big names of Marxian political economy. It’s the discussion they open as much as the works themselves that are valuable. I think Brenner is fundamentally wrong but his book is wonderful anyway and asks many of the right questions.

    The weakest point is finance, which is true of Harvey also (especially his recent neoliberalism stuff). There’s a tendency to see the financialisation of the last few decades as just speculation and froth, and/or to get caught up in its own self-image as master of the universe. Neither of which is true.

    For shorter books, check out Andrew Glyn’s ‘Capitalism Unleashed’ and Harvey’s own ‘A Short History of Neoliberalism’ – though I think Harvey’s recent stuff is much less interesting than his fantastic 1980s work.

  3. Thanks Mike. I’ve read ‘A Short History of Neoliberalism;’ it was good, but you’re right, it doesn’t really touch the ‘Postmodernity’ book.

    I’ve added the other books to my library list.


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