NI 484 - Capitalism is spinning out of control - July, 2015

NI 484 - July, 2015

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Capitalism is spinning out of control

A note from the editor

Richard Swift

Seeking other paths

This month’s Big Story is a much-abbreviated version of my book SOS: Alternatives to Capitalism.*

Why SOS? SOS is, of course, a nautical term sent out by ships in distress meaning Save Our Souls. The title of this book adapts this to Save Our Species. And that, I believe, is what is at stake. Not next year perhaps, or even next decade, but certainly in the foreseeable future we are heading socially and ecologically down a slippery slope – the bottom of which promises a very hard landing. The main villain of the piece is our current system which is committed to runaway growth based on ecological destruction and levels of social inequality unimaginable just 30 or 40 years ago. SOS is an attempt to help us put on the brakes and show we have other options.

The purpose of this magazine – and the book from which it is drawn – is to tease out what such genuine alternatives to capitalism might look like. It looks at what the past experience of such alternatives has been, at the issues and problems that have haunted them – and some of the paths not taken. This is a bittersweet history of rich diversity marked by massacre, noble failure and tepid success. SOS then moves into the present to suggest ways out of the maze of life-threatening inequality and eco-catastrophe.

Elsewhere in the issue, we meet Masih Alinejad, the Iranian women’s rights campaigner making waves through social media; and Susana Baca, an award-winning singer-songwriter championing her marginalized Afro-Peruvian community.

* Special offers on book and e-book. See nin.tl/SOSoffer

Richard Swift for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

All illustrations for Alternatives to Capitalism by Volker Straeter unless otherwise marked.

All illustrations for Alternatives to Capitalism by Volker Straeter unless otherwise marked.

Capitalism’s stormy sea

Richard Swift begins his journey through political alternatives to capitalism by looking at the nature of the beast they seek to oppose.

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Capitalism as a total world system is a relatively new part of human experience. It has its roots in the 16th and 17th centuries, which means that it has been around for four or five hundred years at most, while we humans (Homo Sapiens) have been around for 200,000 years, reaching anatomical maturity some 50,000 years ago. Our ancestors (the less predatory Homo Erectus) go back over a million years. By these measures capitalism is merely the blink of an eye.

Yet for most pe...




Features

Illustration: Volker Straeter

The people’s flag is deep and red

From Karl Marx to Ed Miliband and François Hollande is a very long journey indeed. But all at least pay lip-service to socialism. So how has it worked as an alternative?

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Illustration: Volker Straeter

The anarchist impulse

The other great historic alternative to capitalism has been anarchism. Often dismissed as a dirty word, its influence ebbs and flows but its libertarian principles remain profoundly influential.

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Illustration: Volker Straeter

Eco-divide: this changes everything

The environmental crisis is proving not only a challenge to capitalism but forcing resistance movements to rethink their politics.

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Illustration: Volker Straeter

Pathways & possibilities

Richard Swift examines the history of Utopian thinking that fundamentally re-imagines democracy and equality.

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What should we stand for?

What should we stand for?

Richard Swift considers an alternative to economies based on over-consumption and growth-addiction.

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Farewell, democracy: using the Hunger Games’ three-fingered salute, which represents thanks and goodbye to a loved one, a Thai woman marks the perceived end of democracy in her country.Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

King and country

Together, the monarchy and the military hold tightly to the reins of power in Thailand. With little sign of popular resistance, Jo Eckersley wonders if this is likely to change.

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Photos: Marielle van Uitert

Safe but not free

Valeska Hovener and Marielle van Uitert hear how two Afghan women who have fled family abuse are learning to move on.

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Web exclusives

Why are Baltic States posing as anti-Greece?

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Daiva Repečkaitė explains how Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are clamouring to make themselves look good at the expense of Greece.

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Blog

‘Win-win’ investment in Tanzania?

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Dan Iles busts myths surrounding corporate farming and argues to place people first.

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Photo: Global Justice Now/Jess Hurd/NoTTIP under a Creative Commons Licence

TTIP disappointment: ISDS-lite gets the nod in Strasbourg

Guy Taylor is up in arms over today's TTIP vote in the European Parliament. 

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Agenda

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And the worst TNC is...

Hang your head in shame, ANZ bank.

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Police attack indigenous protesters at the 'Emperatriz' plantation where an activist was killed last April.Photo: Robin Oisin Llewellyn

Resistance is fatal

Robin Llewellyn reports on the murder of environmentalists in Colombia.

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Rana Plaza campaign victory

Rana Plaza campaign victory

Compensation award will bolster future efforts to hold manufacturers to account, reports Ilona Kelly.

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Stop forced closures!

Stop forced closures!

Amy Hall reports on the threat to remote communities in Australia.

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Photo: Epa/Nic Bothma

Introducing Julius Malema

The rise of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters party, and its leader, speaks volumes, says Richard Swift.

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Crack a squat for migrants

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30 years ago (and 35, and 20) in New Internationalist

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Chris Brazier looks back at what NI was covering three decades ago.

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Things are looking up for the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, thanks to its human neighbours.Photo: Andrew Walmsley

Monkey puzzle solved

Jess Worth on flourishing primates in Peru.

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Divestment glory in Norway

Divestment glory in Norway

Good news from Scandinavia, but the fossil-free fight continues, says Hazel Healy.

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Japan's drift away from pacifism

Japan's drift away from pacifism

Increased defence spending is just one sign that the country is pulling away from its pacifist moorings, writes Tina Burrett.

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Regulars

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the July/August 2015 magazine.

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Illustration: Sarah John

Letter from Bangui: Dirt cheap

Money may be in short supply, but mangos are definitely not, discovers Ruby Diamonde.

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Clockwise from top left: A container ship navigates Miraflores Lock, the first of three locks on the Panama Canal. A woman looks out from a doorway in Panama City’s old quarter, Casco Viejo. A worker at the Cigarros Joyas de Panama factory in La Pintada rolls a cigar. Wooden houses along the seashore of the island of Bocas del Toro. Fishers board their boats in Panama City’s harbour; the city skyline is visible in the background.Photos by Stefan Boness / Panos.

Country profile: Panama

Despite the recent boom, the country is still one of glaring inequalities, writes Louisa Reynolds.

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Open Window - Women's Freedom

Open Window - Women's Freedom

Osama Hajjaj from Jordan with 'Women's Freedom'.

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Photo: Monir Tag

Making waves: Masih Alinejad

Exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad is using social media to challenge Iran’s compulsory hijab law. Lucinda Homa Gray meets her.

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Photo: Alexandre Meneghini/AP/Press Association Images

And Finally... Susana Baca

Diane Ghogomu talks to Susana Baca, the award-winning singer-songwriter who has dedicated her life to getting recognition for her marginalized Afro-Peruvian community.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Hot Docs Film Festival special

Mixed Media: Hot Docs Film Festival special

Richard Swift picks out some highlights from the 2015 documentary film festival.

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Mixed Media: Music reviews

Mixed Media: Music reviews

Louise Gray listens to new releases from Checkpoint 303 and Xáos.

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Mixed Media: Book reviews

Mixed Media: Book reviews

Books by Leila Aboulela, Victor Pelevin and Charles Glass reviewed.

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Also out there...

Also out there...

More Film, Music & Book reviews from the July 2015 magazine.

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