ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Looking Left at a Time of Crisis

In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives by Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch (New Delhi: Aakar), Indian Edition, 2011; pp 140, Rs 325 (hardback).

In and Out of Crisis by three North American political economists is a welcome addition to the literature on the global capitalist crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. The authors present an analysis of how the crisis came about, why we are at the present impasse, and suggest a way forward for progressive movements.

They raise an important question about the crisis for the present historical conjuncture. Apart from undermining the ideological appeal of self-regulated markets that has been crucial in maintaining the sway of neo-liberal global capitalism since the 1970s, has the crisis led to a reconfiguration of class relations and the structure of state power? They argue that the crisis has certainly led to a loss of credibility for financial capital and the intellectual leaders of the neoliberal regime of capitalism, but it has stopped short of bringing about any radical transformation of the institutions that govern global capitalism and the balance of class forces that underlies the system. Why is this the case? Their main thesis is that the Left and labour movements, especially in the advanced capitalist countries, are still on the defensive, despite being presented with the greatest opportunity to transform institutions into a progressive direction since the Great Depression of the 1930s. For a genuine democratic alternative to emerge for the global capitalist system, they believe that a movement spearheaded by organised labour has to be constructed, one that combines the immediate popular demands and the larger radical issues.

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