three myths about the crisis

Conrad Russell challenges common left myths about the meaning of the crisis

This article is designed to question a number of theoretical assumptions implicit in much Marxist – including autonomist or left communist – writing on the crisis. In particular, I want to question assumptions around capitalist contradictions, capitalist decline, and the role assigned to financial and ‘fictitious’ capital.

much left analysis of the crisis leans on a shallow understanding of the financial sector

My argument is that these assumptions paint a model of a decaying ‘collapsing’ capitalism (hence my term ‘collapsism’). They also fetishise the mechanics of capitalist functioning at the expense of the real social relation underlying them – the class struggle.  It is class struggle, not some quasi – mystical ‘debt meltdown’ or ‘falling rate of profit’, which constitutes capitalism’s permanent crisis. Continue reading “three myths about the crisis”

new pamphlet – “the crisis: an interview with andrew kliman”

For our latest pamphlet, on the subject of the current economic crisis, we interviewed Andrew Kliman (author of Reclaiming Marx’s Capital) on the crisis of global capitalism, prospects and alternatives. The text is reproduced below. Email if you would like to order a hard copy of the pamphlet (£1).

Q. Descriptions of today’s crisis have included headlines proclaiming the “collapse” of the system.  How would you characterise the current crisis?

A:  There hasn’t been a collapse yet.  If there were one, you’d know it.  But there’s indeed a danger of collapse-of the financial system, and thus of the capitalist system as a whole. That danger was most acute and severe in mid-to-late September, prior to the U.S. Treasury’s $700 billion-plus bailout measures, but it persists even now [November 2].

The crisis is a crisis of “confidence.”  “Confidence” here isn’t some general optimism about the future of capitalism, but lenders’ confidence that the monies owed them will in fact be repaid. When that kind of confidence is shaken, as it has been, lending dries up. But production and trade depend crucially on lending–not only loans to build factories, malls, and offices, and to buy additional equipment–but also loans just to get from today to tomorrow, to pay workers, buy supplies and inventories, etc.  So any “credit crunch” has an effect on the so-called real economy.  If confidence were to be severely shaken, such that there’s outright panic in the credit markets-we were evidently rather close to that point in September, and the threat of such panic persists-there would be almost no new lending to speak of.  The “real” economy would grind to a halt in fairly short order.  That’s a collapse. Continue reading “new pamphlet – “the crisis: an interview with andrew kliman””

‘march on the city’

by Jack Staunton

A demonstration has been called for 4pm on Friday 10th October at the Bank of England (Threadneedle St, London EC2, Bank tube) with the slogan “We won’t bail out the bankers”.

Chris Bambery writes in Socialist Worker that “we need to take to the streets to demand, “No bail out for the bankers – we will not pay for their crisis!” From small acts of resistance we can craft a political force that can knock back those running this destructive system.”

Of course, working-class action amidst the financial crisis should not be some instrument for building a party, but rather action which actually helps us weather the storm of the economic situation. While demonstrations mocking bankers like Friday’s may seem attractive, the most pressing matter is not to make shallow propaganda arguing ‘look: capitalism is crumbling’ as if power is about to fall into our lap, but rather for the workers’ movement to organise to defend ourselves from the worst concrete effects of the current economic climate (which is not limited to side-effects of the financial slump). Unemployment and underemployment, casual work with no stability (as experienced by many of the UK’s 750,000 call centre workers) and huge increases in utilities bills are all set to become even more aggravated.

We have produced a leaflet ‘the cost of living: it’s time to act’ about reshaping the workers’ movement for modern realities – the text is below. Continue reading “‘march on the city’”