Monday, April 9, 2018

Capitalism Is Teetering On The Edge Of Its Demise

article image
The behavior of the markets in the last three months have confirmed the many predictions that a gargantuan economic crash is coming. The Dow has been alternately swinging up and down several hundred points, while hovering well below the level it was at during its peak this year. This stock market-and the finances in general-are estimated to be at their most inflated state since before the Great Depression. So there’s no telling how big this next crash will be, other than that it will be worse than 2008.
A new housing bubble has appeared as real estate prices are near where they were before the last crash; stock and bond prices are higher than they were before that crash; the manipulations of the big banks and the Federal Reserve have resulted in an unprecedented mountain of debt, making for what James Howard Kunstler describes as the “great period of America lying to itself.” And similar problems existin the the Chinese banking system, as well as in European institutions like Deutsche Bank.
What will happen in this crash is an unparalleled crisis for capitalism. After half a century of attacks on workers’ rights, austerity, regressive taxation, corporate trade deals, and expanded corporate control, the poor and working classes of the world are ready to rise up. All they seem to need is a major disruption that makes action feel like their first priority.
The efforts to counter the oligarchy during the last financial crisis showed us a smaller version of what’s coming. Resistance to the banks’ attempts at taking more control after the 2008 crash was widespread around the world, with enormous protests taking place against the bailouts and austerity policies. These may have been largely ineffective, but they helped exacerbate the chaos that Wall Street was under during that time. The banks, as Naomi Klein has observed, were “on their knees,” with bank nationalization being a possibility during the peak of the crisis.
These efforts failed, wrote Klein last year in her book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, partly because they didn’t articulate a clear vision for what would come after the corporations were defeated. “In the West there is little popular memory of any other kind of economic system,” goes one passage. “There are specific cultures and communities-most notably Indigenous communities-that have vigilantly kept alive memories of other ways to live, not based on ownership of the land and endless extraction of profit. But most of us who are outside those traditions find ourselves fully within capitalism’s matrix-so while we demand slight improvements to our current conditions, imagining something else entirely is more difficult.”
When the factors of social unrest converge for a major protest movement, this movement will need to clearly offer a vision of a socialist future. We aren’t just here to “reform” capitalism. We’re here to transform our economic system in a way that completely takes away corporate and military power. Remember to push this message as we move into this project, which could start very soon.
May Day is a key date for those who hope to ignite this kind of movement. It’s been marginalized as an exclusively “communist” holiday, and then separated into a new September Labor Day holiday, for a reason. It’s dangerous to give the poor a yearly reminder that they’re capable of taking action, so this year we need to confirm the capitalist class’ fears.
On Tuesday, May 1st, we’ll need to refuse to go to work or to buy products. To the extent that each of us can manage this, we’ll hopefully carry the general strike into that entire week. And if it doesn’t have impact, we’ll keep striking, in bigger and bigger numbers, as the economy continues to teeter. Already the teacher strikes are intimidating the government, and they’re still spreading around the world. If enough people join these teachers, the power of the ruling class will come more and more into question.

No comments:

Post a Comment