[Marxism] Eight theses on the economic crisis

brad bauerly bbauerly at gmail.com
Sun Nov 29 19:44:20 MST 2009

> Well, I was just about to say, "What do you mean people carrying on as if
> nothing was going on..."  by pointing out the NYT article on the soaring
> use
> of food stamps, but Matt did that for me, so I'll move on to some other
> items.

Yes, but, unemployment is what, 20% if we really count it, so this is not
yet a majority or even a quarter of the population who have been seriously
thrown out of their lifestyles by the crisis. And, yes I agree it will get
worse.  However, none of this means a movement or even a piercing of the
veil of liberal ideology.

> But I don't think "neo-liberalism" is the movement. Now the Christian
> Right... that's a movement.  The anti-abortion terrorists... that's a
> movement.
I don't think I called it a movement.  I said it was/is a ruling class
offensive.  A movement implies a mass base, in my mind, versus a ruling
class offensive that does not.  Why doesn't it?  Because its ideology is so
strongly embedded.

> Agree again:  Nothing's automatic, everything must be constructed-- but it
> doesn't get constructed out of thin air.  But isn't a belief in automatism
> really contained in discounting of the actual material conditions based on
> the supposed passivity of the working class.  The passivity exists.  It
> does
> not automatically go away when times get tougher. It has been created over
> many years of asset-stripping, capital flight, downsizing, reduced real
> wages, defeats of strikes.    So in reversing that passivity, and in
> constructing what we call class-consciousness, we have to know, to truly
> apprehend what's going on in the circuits of capital... hence "the endless
> chatter" concerning economics that Carrol finds so wasteful...  Just so
> that
> it will make some sense to everybody else when Marxists go on record as
> opposing bank bailouts,  government guarantees of  money markets,
> government assumption of the debt of the GSEs, and instead argue for
> canceling the debts, expropriating the banks and declaring null and void
> all
> loan covenants, collateral requirements attached to asset-back securitis,
> CDOs,  credit default swaps, etc. etc.

Agree, and very well put.

> I think the decisive factors in the bourgeoisie "rescuing" accumulation are
> in destroying the very components inherent in capital that undermine
> accumulation--  labor as wage-labor, the means of production as private
> property.  I agree with you,  the bourgeoisie think they can get out of
> this
> crisis. ...I am certain that the price that will be paid for
> the bourgeoisie to get out of the crisis will be horrific.  Look at the
> price paid throughout the world when capital isn't confronted with
> trillions
> of dollars in non-performing assets-- then multiply that by a trillion.
> Yeah, I just think it is interesting, and strategic, how they are sort of
piece mealing out the crisis and its impacts- use the state to kick the
major destruction of capital can down the road a bit and allow the original
shock and awe blow to the neoliberal ideology to wear off a bit.  This too
has its limits and I may be giving too much credit and control to them.

> IMO,  opportunities here and now in the US:  1) immigrant labor-- we have
> to
> develop a campaign to mobilize workers to force employers to not allow
> employment records to be used for detaining, arrest, interrogation, and
> deportation of workers.  2) health care-- universal health care,
> decentralized/centralized--  neighborhood health care centers staffed by
> professionals but reporting to a communist oversight board on a) specific
> but widespread health problems in the community  b) programs of mitigation
> and prevention of those problems
> Again, agreed and well put.  I would add Jobs and climate change to your
list and we could have a winning political platform.  But mainly we need to
focus (and this is why I keep harping on this and hope to overcome the
tendency to think we can sit back and wait for it to get bad enough. We need
to seize the moments that are and will being handed to us by the
bourgeoisie's failures/successes.  The thing will not negate itself, it
creates its own gravediggers but not its own death.  That
takes socialist/communist agitation and eventually a movement to take hold
of the moments that are opened up by crises.


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