On August 15, 1971, without prior warning to the leaders of the other major capitalist powers, US president Nixon announced in a Sunday evening televised address to the nation that the US was removing the gold backing from the dollar. The commitment by the US to redeem international dollar holdings at the rate of $35 per ounce had formed the central foundation of the post-war international financial system set in place at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. Nixon’s unilateral announcement dealt it a fatal blow.
Nick Beams is a member of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site. He is an authority on Marxist political economy. Beams was politically radicalised during the international upsurge of workers and youth of 1968, and played a key role in the establishment of the Socialist Labour League, the predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), in April 1972, and its affiliation to the International Committee of the Fourth International several months later. He retired as national secretary of the SEP in 2010, after having served in that position for 35 years.
Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, delivered a lecture on “World War Two: Lessons and Warnings” to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne in November, 2009.
This lecture was delivered at San Diego State University on April 29. It was the eighth in a series entitled "Killing for a higher cause: Political violence in a world in crisis" sponsored by the Institute on World Affairs within the Political Science Department of the San Diego State University.
The aggressive character of German imperialism represented the drive by the most dynamic section of European capital to reorganise the old continent to create the conditions for its expansion.
In his afterword to the second edition of Capital in 1873, Karl Marx noted that the scientific character of bourgeois economics had come to an end about 1830. At that point the class tensions generated by the development of the capitalist mode of production itself made further advances impossible.
This is the first of a two-part review of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Part two will be posted on February 28.
On September 28, the World Socialist Web Site held a public meeting in Wellington, New Zealand entitled “Five years since September 11: Causes and consequences of the ‘war on terror’” (see “WSWS holds public meeting in Wellington, New Zealand”). The meeting was addressed by Nick Beams, Socialist Equality Party (Australia) national secretary, and John Braddock, New Zealand correspondent for the WSWS (see “The New Zealand Labour government and the ‘war on terror’”).
SEP meetings in Australia
This is the first part of a report delivered by Nick Beams to Socialist Equality Party public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on November 4 and 8 respectively. Part 2 was published on November 12. Beams is the national secretary of the SEP, Australia and a member of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board.
The following lecture was delivered by Nick Beams, Socialist Equality Party national secretary and a member of the WSWS Editorial Board, to public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne over the past fortnight.
The following is the first part of a report delivered to a public meeting held in Sydney on May 12, 2002, organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia. Part 2 was published on Thursday May 23 and Part 3 on Friday May 24.
The historical significance of the founding of the Fourth International in 1938 and the 70-year struggle to defend and develop the program of Trotskyism, led since 1953 by the International Committee of the Fourth International, is being underscored by the tumultuous events now unfolding in the world economy.
The following is the first part of a report delivered by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Australia and a member of the World Socialist Web Site international editorial board, to public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on April 9 and 15. Part 2 and Part 3 of the report will be published on April 17 and 18 respectively. Beams, an international authority on Marxist political economy, is the author of regular WSWS articles and analyses on globalisation and political economy.
A lecture by Nick Beams
The following is the first part of a lecture delivered by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, to audiences in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney in November and December, 2008. Part 2 will be published tomorrow and subsequent parts over the next few days.
The globalisation of production has prepared a new period of social revolution. This is the inevitable outcome of the vast changes in the structure of world capitalist economy over the past two decades -- the culmination of processes stretching back over 200 years.
The pandemic has made clear that the tiny minority of corporate and financial oligarchs, and the profit system over which they preside, stand as an obstacle to the rational organisation and scientific planning of the economy and society necessary to deal with the threat to human life.
The following is the text of a report given by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), to the WSWS/SEP/ISSE regional conferences, “The world economic crisis, the failure of capitalism, and the case for socialism.”
The advent of the 21st century has quite naturally prompted a retrospective examination of the past 100 years and raised questions about the future development of civilisation. Such questions are provoked not merely by the turn of the calendar but by the sense that society is passing through an immense transformation, which is going to shape events for generations to come.
The French prime minister, Lionel Jospin, has indicated his support for one of the main policy demands of the European anti-globalisation movement.
The failed World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Seattle last December was a significant political event in two vital respects. In the first place, the collapse of efforts to launch the Millennium Trade Round marked a new stage in the deepening commercial and financial conflict between the major capitalist powers—the US, the European Union and Japan.
The failure of the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle will prove to be a turning point in the affairs of global capitalism with far-reaching implications. While the representatives of the major capitalist powers attempt to put the best face on a bad situation by presenting the breakdown as simply a hitch or a “time out”, there is no denying the significance of what has taken place.
September 14 was the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Capital by Karl Marx. It marked a turning point in mankind’s intellectual and historical development.
This is the fourth part of a series of articles by Nick Beams, a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, dealing with the life and work of radical political economist Paul Sweezy, founder-editor of the Monthly Review, who died in Larchmont, New York on February 27, 2004. Part 1 was published on April 6, Part 2 on April 7and Part 3 on April 8. The final three parts of the seven part series will be published next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12-14.
No matter how much it seems that “value” can simply be created out of thin air, the gargantuan mass of fictitious capital and debt ultimately rests on the surplus value obtained from the exploitation of the working class.
Varoufakis completely distorts Marx’s analysis of capitalism in order to justify his program of trying to save capitalism from itself.
The following report by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), was delivered to an aggregate meeting in Sydney.
The problems of climate change are so profound and far-reaching that they require the rational mobilisation of all available economic, material, scientific and technical resources, something that is only possible only under socialism.
Despite the wealth of vitally important data, there was a paucity of historical and political analysis on how ever-widening social inequality can be overcome.
Nothing of value can be learned from the official outpourings that have followed the death of Australian Labor Party leader Gough Whitlam
Some of the most hated figures in world politics have come together to praise Hawke and laud his achievements.
This is the first in a two-part series.
The overt shift by Socialist Alternative into the imperialist camp is bound up with the new political requirements of the Labor government.
Claims that the Australian-led United Nations military intervention in East Timor is motivated by “humanitarian” concerns are belied by the historical record. The tragedy befalling the East Timorese people is the outcome of intrigues and manoeuvres, stretching back over decades, by the very imperialist powers now proposing to “save” them. As much of this record is not well known, it is worthwhile reviewing it in some detail.