The focus of the current issue of Transform is the crisis of the capitalist economy and of the whole reproduction process it governs. It is far from being overcome, as the mass media would have us believe. In fact, the shifting of the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working population has, especially in Europe, just begun. In some countries there has been, and there is, massive resistance to it; in other countries massive austerity measures are being pushed through without large protest actions.
This issue’s Essays section contains fundamental analytical articles on the character of the crisis and its consequences. They deal, on the one hand, with the stubborn persistence of the current crisis phenomena in the EU and world economies, and, on the other, with the systematic cutbacks in the reproductive conditions of the working population, which threaten to lead to a new phase of national-position competitiveness. One of the bases for the underlying over-accumulation of capital is the increasing precarisation of an ever greater number of workers. In “Modern Times” Karola Boger, Thomas Händel and Frank Puskarev uncover the underlying conditions of this development as related to working-time regimes in Europe.
Aspects of the crisis are also featured in the contributions in our Focus section. In the ESF/WSF section, there is an assessment of the development of the European Social Forum, which needs more initiative and engagement, above all in relation to the situation that is gaining ground in the USA and which the WSF is confronting. The challenges are illuminated from an African point of view in the interview with Demba Moussa.
The Chronicles section contains reports and analysis of the consequences of the crisis in individual countries. For various reasons, no comprehensive overview can be given. Completing and filling in these reports will be the task of upcoming issues of Transform!
Our journal itself is in a kind of transitional phase. In the General Assembly of transform! last September, a European Editorial Board was elected, which includes the following people: Walter Baier, Lutz Brangsch, Elisabeth Gauthier, Haris Golemis and Ruurik Holm. The main responsibility for the journal’s preparation is now being assumed by Lutz Holzinger (who was, among other things, editor-in-chief of the “Volksstimme”, until 1992 the daily newspaper of the Austrian Communist Party).
The cover and illustrations for this issue of Transform! were created by Magdalena Steiner. The artist lives in Vienna where she attended the Graphic Conservatory. After a series of passionate nude drawings and her work with handicapped people in Vienna’s Centre for Drama, she studied painting from 1985 to 1990 in the Conservatory for Applied Art in Vienna. She has to her credit numerous exhibitions, stage scenery, calligraphic work, teaching in schools, workshops and seminars and illustrations. She says of her work: “The human being is my theme. Politics, philosophy, literary elements, social criticism and religion have meaning. Painting, drawing, art is my language. The language of images, which constantly changes its colours and its expression, which is in movement, which exaggerates, loud, soft, incomprehensible, brutally open. I don’t let myself be defined or categorised”.