Marxism: Ferguson’s And McNally’s Article Analysis

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Ferguson’s and McNally’s article (F&M) ”Precarious migrants: gender, race, and the social reproduction of a global working class” in Socialist Register is an example of Marxist analysis because it discusses immigrants who come to another country for work and how low standard of living they are provided in the welcoming state. It also states that these immigrants lower the wage rate of the country, in those fields they are working.

As a political ideology, Marxism was created as an alternative to liberalism and conservatism that had dominated Western culture in the so-called modern era. Marxism in the form of an international communist movement has also been the main opponent of Western capitalism at least in 1917-1991. The collapse of communist parties in the late 1900s did not lead to the Marxist political system of death, as many Marxists had rejected their support for the Soviet Union before. Marxist ideology tells about inequality in society and the threat of capitalism. According to analytical Marxism, the proletariat is no longer the driving force behind change, nor is it the leading class of a new socialist society. In this article (F&M), immigrants are seen as vulnerable and weak people who are taken advantage of capitalist in western countries who try to get rich and rise their economic growth through foreign employees who does not require as high salary as citizens would ask for.

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In his ontology, Karl Marx emphasizes material good and money, which are, in his opinion, important to capitalist people. He also states that classes exist objectively. They want cheap labour to maximize their profit. On the other hand, the article points out how even labour based increases xenophobia and racism.

The other theoretical concept is class struggle, which shows in this (F&M) article. People are from foreign countries seek a low paid job so that they could have a higher standard of living compare to the country they come from but are really poor in the country they live. These same people send remittances to home country and many states live through these remittances and have build their economy around foreign money. Those people who travel for work leave their families and social life just to get a wage and help their family out of poverty. In the welcoming country, on the other hand, they face racism and hate, bad working hours and above all, work with a low wage.

The most vulnerable part of the society are those who do not have papers or are illegally doing work. Employees can do everything they want because this person does not have any other options than stay. He or she might have a poor family back home or has sought an asylum from a country and then got a negative decision and after that got a job through a black market. These situations are the worst because no one can help you if your employer behaves like a bad person. Usually those who work legally can complain to labour unions who will defend the victom even in court with their lawyers. Those who do not have papers are very dependent on their employer, which gives the employer a chance to behave unjust.

Article also discusses women’s role in capitalistic world. For women, it has been a positiv thing because they have gotten jobs and upgraded their lifeftyles even though they are still getting lower salary compare to men, but women’s sex trafficking has, for instance, decreased.

Foreign labour who rises economy and keeps wages down are considered in some groups of people as a threat. Marxist are mostly concerned about the class difference between rich capitalist and poor labour force but the right wing in political parties sees immigration as a huge cultural problem. Some people do not assimilate and get social security when they begin their jobs in Europe or America. This sometimes lead to utilization of the system. Concervatives are worried about their nation state, culture and own people who are being at the same time jobless. And these are the reasons why the Right wing have gained power for example during Brexit referendum.

Post-structuralism is a widespread term for the development of continental philosophy and critical theory that began in France in the 1960s. The prefix ‘post-‘ suggests that many post-structuralists, such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva, were very critical of structuralism. While structuralism considers the meanings to be socially or culturally constructed products, post-structuralism emphasizes that the study of such meanings is itself a social or cultural product, and therefore all interpretations and truths are always subjective. Post-structuralism is interested in the historical processes of producing meanings.

The concept of post-structuralism is difficult to define or summarize. There are mainly two reasons for this. First, the essence of post-structuralism is that it rejects definitions that claim to contain ‘truths’ from the world. Secondly, very few philosophers have spontaneously considered themselves to be a post-structuralist, but instead have been named by others. This means that no one has actually defined a program declaration of post-structuralism.This can be used to argue about the true nature of post-structuralism or whether it can actually be considered as one of the philosophical trends or schools of thoughts. Post-structuralists support deconstruction, whereby the meaning and concepts of texts always move in relation to a myriad of variables. The only right way to understand these meanings is to deconstruct the presumptions and information systems that produce the illusion of one particular meaning. Critism might be that they are too political bacause they deny the idea of “neutral researcher” which means that they may end up becoming with biased analyses. They also want to explain complex ideas and challenge those things that other scholars have taken for granted.

In post-strurcturalism, people are seen as more like individuals and less as a member of a homogenous collective such as labour unions. This may be one critique from post-structralism to F&M article which argues that labour unions and other organizations should speak for every member and even for those who are not members in these unions who provide promotion of interest.

The article “Left-wing populism in the European periphery: the case of SYRIZA” argues that SYRIZA is a populist power, and that its appeal is due to its populist discourse, and secondly, given the almost exclusive association of populism to extreme right-wing movements in a European context, SYRIZA poses a populist danger to European values. It is clear that it is impossible to seriously investigate the alleged populist nature of SYRIZA and to complete these two issues without a clear formulation of the criteria, in other words, the sophisticated and operative theory of populism. (S&K, 2014)

One of the features of populism is to share society with those who have power and those who suffer from undernourishment. Both articles contains the same features where capitalists want to get rich using those who are in need of help and in SYRIZA’s case, government and the right wing implementing tough economic decisions which will make people poorer. The text illustrates how the European union can aggravate the economic situation of one country as a major actor and big structure.

The Laclau’s Method reveals a large number of individual demands made by a popular movement that, in accordance with the populist definition of the thesis, combine into a heterogeneous grouping. This seemingly unified identity of the people is united and brought together by common dissatisfaction with the current ruling elite as well as domineering markers representing the entire pluralistic system of claims. In other words, SYRIZA gave simple answers to complex situation and questions and everyone believed in their narrative because they think they will archieve their little needs through a populist party which, for a long time, challenge current power structure. In most cases, populist parties who find a way to the power loose their votes in next elections because structures are so high and global law and agreements that they cannot fullfil their agenda which disappoints voters later on.

In simple terms, discourse means a crystallized set of ways of thinking, perceptions (values, norms, attitudes) and assumptions that are maintained by various social institutions. It can be a language that is used or even a simple picture about a middle aged man who speaks for the whole country and he is seen as a credible person. If a young lady would be in that same picture stating about politics she would not be as credible as this old man is and this explains yhe structure we live in.

Both articles gives criticism to neoliberal economic globalization. F&M mainly discusses how capitalist people are obsessed with wealth and material good even though they are not giving the majority of the wealth to workers. The solution is probably to strengthen unions and other organizations so their wages do not loose its purchaising power or to close borders from those who seek low wage jobs. This prevents class problem and wages who tend to decrease with immigrant labour. S&K points out populistic movement that find democratic structures like EU as a threat. There was no clear solution for outcome but we usually know that populist parties want to gain power and change the state policy but most of the time fails. On the other hand, other political actors start to sharp their own policy and change some structures because they want to maintain power, so populist parties have archieved something even tough they are not competent to change everything. SYRIZA gain a lot of power by criticising EU Comissions cutback and economic spending discipline.


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