Audio and video recordings of interviews and talks about the crisis.
Chair: Geoff Bailey
Peter Thomas - Confronting the Crisis: Gramsci and the Politics of Hegemony
Alberto Toscano - Democracy and Catastrophe
Paul Blackledge - Ethics and Anti-capitalism: Crisis, Revolution and the problem of Organization
Discussant: Banu Bargu
Origins of the Current Crisis
Chair: Alberto Handfas
Fred Moseley - The Crisis is far from over
Andrew Kliman - Roots of the Economic Crisis
Simon Mohun - What is the Present Crisis a Crisis of?
DIMENSIONS OF THE PRESENT CRISIS
Chair: Francesca Manning
Joseph Patrick of the German Marxist quarterly GegenStandpunkt
Lecture and Discussion in San Francisco, California
September 3, 2009
Unfortunately, what the overwhelming majority has learned from the recent collapse of the financial sector and the general breakdown of business is how much they need the success of banks and business in general. The worse things get for them in this crisis-stricken economy, the more they are convinced that basically everything in the capitalist system is their means for making a living – including bank profits, booming stock markets and even complex derivatives. Faced with capital’s failure to grow and with the malfunctioning enrichment of the rich, the masses and the elite demand that all of that be made to function again. The public’s initial outrage at the machinations of investment banks has long since turned into the hope that these greedy speculators get back on their feet again and do business in a more stable fashion. Meanwhile, capitalists are rescuing their property and protecting their profits by passing on the damages to their employees, sacking them and exposing them to greater deprivation. And the victims – they accept that sacrifices will have to be made in order for “our” economy to get off the ground again.
For those on the democratic left, the crisis has confirmed their doubts about the beneficence of “the market” and its capacity to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number. They demand more state regulation, perhaps even the nationalization of certain banks and key industries, so that “the economy” can function more reliably! For the more radical left, capitalism’s real flaw is that it is prone to crises; without them, one wonders whether they would have anything to criticize about it.
In drawing these lessons from the collapse of finance and the subsequent “great recession,” both these groups show disregard for the lessons that the crisis itself is teaching. All the more reason to raise some critical questions:
What sort of an economy is this, if failed speculation in the most remote spheres of finance brings production to a halt and radically increases the poverty of the masses?
What sort of a country is this, if banks are its most crucial element? What do unprecedented government bailouts of the banks reveal about the wealth of modern nations?
What sort of a world economy is this, if a nation’s standing is determined by its ability to successfully uphold its collapsed financial sector? Every nation knows that crises are times of dramatic shifts in terms of national wealth and power and they all are eager to take advantage of “the worst crisis since 1929” to revise the global “balance of power.”
The answers to these questions suggest that the capitalist system doesn’t deserve to get back on its feet, but to be abolished. The domination of capital reveals its absurdity and brutality all the more in times of economic crisis, when the expansion of capital – because it doesn’t succeed – strangles the entire material life-process of society.
Audio from Left Forum April 18, 2009
"On the Brink of Depression: Turning Point in World Capitalism?"
# Jack Rasmus, Economics and Politics, St. Mary's College
# Nomi Prins, Author, "Other People's Money"
# Michael Hudson, Institute for the Study of Long Term Trends
# Hillel Ticktin, Critique
Capitalism and Its Discontents, a 5 part series, delves into
the roots of the crisis gripping the economies of the Global North and
South -- and the political upheaval it has spawned, from Iceland to
Capitalism and Its Discontents: A 5 part series on the financial meltdown - February 9, 2009 at 10:00am
Doug Henwood talks about the US economic stimulus package. Ian Bone
talks about how the crisis is affecting the UK, where wildcat strikes
have erupted in recent weeks. And political economist David McNally
talks about the roots of the slump.
Capitalism and Its Discontents: A 5 part series on the global financial meltdown - February 10, 2009 at 10:00am
A look at the state of welfare in the US in the midst of recession
with Frances Fox Piven. Salvatore Engel-DiMauro speaks about the
International Monetary Fund's massive bailout of the Hungarian
economy. And Patrick Bond talks about how the economic crisis has
affected South Africa and the Global South.
Capitalism and Its Discontents: A 5 part series on the global financial meltdown - February 11, 2009 at 10:00am
A look at social ferment in France, in the wake of a general strike.
Andrej Grubacic talks about the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil.
And radical geographer Richard Walker speaks about getting a handle on
finance capital in the midst of the crisis. With host Sasha Lilley.
Capitalism and Its Discontents: A 5 part series on the global financial meltdown - February 12, 2009 at 10:00am
Hauker Mar Helgason talks about the protests which brought down the
government of Iceland. A look at the boom and bust in global food
prices with Eric Holt Gimenez. George Katsiaficas talks about how
South Korea and East Asia are weathering the current slump. And
Canadian political economist Leo Panitch speaks about the role of the
state under economic liberalization and whether the global crisis will
strengthen the US as an imperial power.
Capitalism and Its Discontents: A 5 part series on the global financial meltdown - February 13, 2009
Labor scholar Janice Fine talks about the prospects for union
organization in this country in the midst of recession. A look at
activist efforts to prevent owners and tenants from being evicted from
foreclosed homes with Gifford Hartmann and Gerard Jamin. Economist
Matias Vernengo speaks about how the economies of Latin America are
faring. Joel Kovel talks about the dangers of rightwing resurgence
during times of economic ferment, while Barbara Epstein discusses what
ingredients tend to generate social movements of the Left in such