| LuXemburg Special »New Class Politics«

The question of class rests at the center of a left-Marxist project. Nonetheless, ‘class’ has not really played a role in recent stratecig debates and political praxises. The reasons are manyfold: since the 1970s, social democracy has abandoned the question of class in favor of models that assume a diversity of social strata; distancing themselves from an understanding of class reduced to male industrial labor, new social movements have turned to questions of modes of living, gender relations, the post-colonial legacy and ecology; and the ‘end of socialism’ has also done its part. At the same time, social antagonisms have intensified in Western industrial countries, and the gap between the poor and the rich is greater than ever as a consequence of a financialised capitalism in crisis and declining profit rates. The latter are being ‘compensated’ for by means of flexibilization, downward pressure on wages, and the destruction of public infrastructure, carried out on the backs of the majority of the population. Most recently, the successes on the right – from BREXIT through the Front National and AfD up to the election of Donald Trump in the USA have, in a strange way, put the question of class back on the agenda: the mostly legitimate anger on the part of those who feel they are being held back by this system and aren’t being represented has in many places been expressed by a rightward turn.
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| Ecological Class Politics

by Bernd Röttger and Markus Wissen

The Historical Contradiction between Ecology and Emanicipation [1]

Ecology and the emancipation of the working class are, considered in a historical sense, a contradiction. Or at least, that’s the case for the Global North.  Local struggles for social and political rights, as Timothy Mitchelll (2011) demonstrates in his book Carbon Democracy, considerably profited from the fact that in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, coal as an energy source began to play a prominent role economically.
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| The Impositions of Class: Manifold Identities and Socialist Class Politics

By Alex Demirović

The recent success of authoritarian-populist politicians and the critique of globalisation, unemployment and social insecurity they advocate has prompted renewed attention to the question of class. In Germany, this debate has been accompanied by discussions surrounding the publication of Didier Eribon’s recent book, Returning to Reims. From afar, these debates could leave one with the impression that the left had abandoned the social question in recent years in favour of an exclusive focus on questions of social recognition and “identity”, e.g. questions of gender and sexual emancipation, or the struggle against racism and nationalism. This line of argument also tends to imply that these concerns are the domain of the urban, well-educated petite bourgeoisie, open to new communicative and cultural practices while consuming expensive, fair-trade organic products, yet blinded to the living conditions of the overwhelming majority by their own bourgeois Lifestyle.
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| “Asys[1] go home!” Canvassing as a Strategy Against Division

by Anne Steckner

The current debate about immigration is polarized and racially charged. The political right is successful at presenting the pending challenges of an immigration society as a relation of competition and a conflict of distribution between “us Germans” and “the immigrants”. By posing the social question along ethnic lines, they connect with extant modes of thinking and present supposed solutions: the community of natives with corresponding preferential rights for the well-established. Interwoven with this narrative is the neoliberal tale of personal success, available to everyone, if he or she just properly strives for it.
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| The Left in an Immigration Germany: Emancipatory Class Politics for a Solidary Immigration Society

by Barbara Fried

The social question is back, returned to the political agenda as a question of global (in)justice by the migration movements of recent years. The dramatically unequal global distribution of wealth and imperial mode of production and way of life underlying said distribution constitute a central source of worldwide migration. Even Angela Merkel was compelled to acknowledge as much in 2015, remarking that the globalisation which many in Germany have experienced as relative beneficiaries in one of the world’s leading export countries had now returned in the form of refugees.
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| “Feminism Is for Everyone” – Perspectives for a Feminist Class Politics

by Barbara Fried

2017 began with a global wave of feminist protests. Opposition to Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States was expressed most visibly by the Women’s Marches – and not only in the US itself. In Poland, resistance to restrictions on reproductive rights by the country’s right-wing government continued, while 8 March brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets from Buenos Aires and Istanbul to New Delhi. In Germany, as well, International Women’s Day witnessed demonstrations the likes of which we had not seen in decades.
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| For a Queer Feminist Class Politics of Shame

by Volker Woltersdorff

It’s rather curious. A book in which the author, Didier Eribon (2013a), vehemently demonstrates that we always also experience class relations sexually, and that there is a class dimension inherent to every form of sexuality – indeed, that without this interrelation, one is not able to consider one thing nor the other – unexpectedly becomes a bestseller. The enthusiastic German reviews – with the exception of that by Dirck Linck (2016) in Merkur – overwhelmingly act once again as if one can be separated from the other. Often enough, they degrade the author’s homosexuality to the status of a footnote to a class analysis untouched by it. Yet the author himself asserts that shame is the mode of functioning of both sexual and class-specific stigmatization.[1] Why does that not lead to sounding out the sexual dimension of shaming in the countless professions of class-specific shaming following the publication of the book?
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| A Question of Class

by Mario Candeias

New Class Politics – A Connective Antagonism

 It’s not that the class question could ever be pushed aside totally. It preserved a shadowy Marxist existence. Sometimes, however, it surfaced surprisingly in the feature pages of newspapers, only then swiftly to disappear again. At this point, hardly anyone denies it: we are living in a class society (again). Inequality is rising, social divisions are becoming more entrenched, social guarantees once taken for granted have yielded to a generalized culture of insecurity and a common fear of decline.
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| An Enticing Offer. Die Linke as a Party of Trade Union Renewal

by Bernd Riexinger

The 2007 founding of Die Linke, or the Left Party, in Germany marked a crack in the social-democratic hegemony that characterizes Germany’s trade unions. This hegemony had been eroding since the 1990s, but in the wake of mass protests against the “Agenda 2010” reforms, fractions of the trade unions finally broke with the neoliberalized Social Democratic Party (SPD) to participate in the founding of Die Linke.[1] The party has thus far been able to fill the gap it created and establish itself as a strong minority wing within the trade unions. At the same time, it faces the challenge of extending its support to unionized wage earners and expanding its “use value” within the struggles for better living and working conditions.[2]
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| The Class Question at the Checkout Counter. CONSUMPTION, CLASS, CRITIQUE

by Mario Candeias and Anne Steckner

In view of the overexploitation of natural resources, the immense generation of waste, and the ongoing destruction of the planet’s ecological foundations the critique of consumerism is in vogue. On all sides there is criticism of the madness of the growth society and mass consumerism. The dominant critique has come from the social conservative and green bourgeois camps. The economist Meinhard Miegel and the social psychologist Harald Welzer, respectively, can be taken as exam- ples. Both capture the contemporary mood. In their arguments we find the elements – cultural-pessimist, neoliberal, and critical of capitalism – that name the problems, address the distress, and capture people’s desires. But they offer a limited understanding of consumption and the satisfaction of needs, because they do not consider class relations and often argue moralistically instead of politically. Consumption, however, is a class issue.[1]
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