[Marxism] theses on the economic crisis

Matthew Russo russo.matthew9 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 29 16:05:30 MST 2009

OK, let me take a swing at this.  Perhaps I am a bit more optimistic,
because the old adage "politics makes strange bedfellows" IS true, as in
that the twists and turns of "crisis" and its resolution are more convoluted
that we ever think.

I think what is described below is a crisis of the working class, its
organization, "consciousness" etc.  That's old news, and well predates the
present _capitalist crisis_ (reworded to avoid the semantical confusion).
As one historical example - and warning, it is ONLY by way of example, the
intent is not to delve into a period-specific discussion cast in terms of
dead terminology from a now-dead era:  At the time of the first WW, the
large majority of workers of Europe and the U.S. believed in fighting and
dying for "their own imperialism", because they believed  that "the crisis"
was the encroachment of the others on "their own turf".  Very very few
listened to the Zimmerwald Left.  They listened to the Dobbs/Limbaugh/Beck's
of their time. Yet this did not prevent the Russian Revolution from opening
up a whole era of revolutions of all sorts, an era that lasted until the
1980's.  So go figure.  It is impossible to project the dull sameness of
yesterday and today in the face of a potentially deep crisis of what is
after all the dominant system.

And I listen to Dobbs/Beck (not Limbaugh, what a Repug hack bore); my fav is
Michael Wiener, or Winer, or whatever, aka "Savage", based right here in
SF.  And I read Capital, and maybe so does Wiener for all I know.  Hey,
whatever happened to him, he's been off the air for some time?

BTW, you forget that types like Dobbs also piss off a lot of Latinos, and
politically speaking I'm a lot more interested in this sector of the U.S.
working class, especially in connection with the immigration question.  It
is almost analogous to the "Slave Question" before the Civil War, because it
involves a "racially despised" super-exploited population stripped of civil
rights, in connection with a supposedly "hard and fast" territorial
question, Mexico and the border.  (in fact it was the original war with
Mexico that created the present situation, that also lit the fuse for the
actual Civil War, when it came time to consider the status of the California
territory as either free or slave)  When, like the Zimmerwald Left, I'm
looking for cracks of light in the dull pall of unconsciousness that is a
lot of the U.S. working class, I look there.


Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 21:19:29 -0800
From: Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari at berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] theses on the economic crisis
Cc: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Message-ID: <4B120461.7030903 at berkeley.edu
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

At this point, I would say that those who say that this is a crisis of
the deregulation of the banking sector alone clearly outnumber who think
that this crisis is also rooted in the structures of capitalism itself.

I would also say that those who say this crisis stems from overly loose
monetary policy or the Greenspan put, plus the GSE's pushing loans to
underqualified minorities in an attempt to realize Clinton/Bush's
ownership outnumber those who think this crisis has something to do with
capitalism itself by a number also of 90 to 10. In other words, there
are a lot more people listening to Dobbs/Limbaugh/Beck than reading
Marx. Americans don't read anyway.

And those who think the financial crisis originates in China's anti
capitalist mercantilist policy of oversaving clearly outnumber the
critics of capitalism who would argue the increasingly unequal
distribution of income brought about by capitalist competition  is the
root cause of the crisis (oversaving by the rich that did not make sense
to invest given stagnant workers' income and was thrown into a global

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