FEATURES: Background to the Current Crisis and Recession / Reports on Crisis: England / What Recession Means for Us / Financialisation Primer / Analysis from Silvia Federici & George Caffentzis, Mario Tronti and Alain Badiou
"IT’S OVER! BUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
Capitalism lurches from crisis to crisis every decade or so, what is different and fascinating about this crisis is the global scale and depth of it. So what does come after neo-liberalism? That’s a really good question. For some of us who are a bit older, it seems like a miracle that the neoliberalism has finally crumbled. As revolutionaries over the last 25 years we have witnessed the crushing of the life-spirit of class struggles. It hasn’t been an easy time moving from a time of continuous combat against the capitalist class (strikes, riots, refusals, bloody-mindedness) to something docile and barely political. It seemed like the neoliberal economic re-structuring of the world would never end despite its inherent contradictions. Now we stand at the point of rupture. It could move quickly to being an all out revolutionary situation or we could be at the edge of a feral dog-eat-dog abyss. It would not be unknown that the capitalist class moves us towards war and fascism to get itself out of its crisis.
It is with all of the above in mind that we thought it would be a good idea to put something out that’s a basic introduction to Crisis – what it is and what it means for us. We do this to re-kindle a better understanding of capitalism. That understanding always seemed a bit wishy-washy in the late 90’s ‘anti-capitalist’ movements In the U.K. It often seemed like capitalism was seen as some external or symbolic ‘thing’ elsewhere in the world and not the obvious experience at the heart of our daily lives. So in one sense we are trying to prepare for what is undoubtedly ahead by talking again about class, work, workers struggles and the class war. It’s good times and bad times now! Things might actually go somewhere we want them to go! Or we might end up hungry, homeless, in jail or work camp or dead from the battle.
WE WON’T PAY FOR THEIR CRISIS
Here for your delight then is a quick selection of interesting articles about what has come to be called the ‘credit crunch’ but which must more accurately be called the ‘capitalist crisis’.
We start the collection with four basic summaries of where the crisis comes from, what is meant by financialisation and what the crisis means for us. After that comes three more analytical and theoretical pieces that we liked. Caffentzis & Federici’s text paints a clear global historical picture of debt as has been used to contain third world struggles and how debt has been used more recently in the US and UK to decrease wages but still pacify workers. Tronti situates his text where we situate this Introduction, with the notion that finally work and politics is ‘the real theme behind the crisis of civilisation’ and that if we don’t put it in these terms, ‘we will not be able to orient ourselves in the open seas of world-capitalism’ towards revolution (although we disagree with his conclusion of ‘a mass party’!). Badiou’s essay presents the finance economy as a kind of ‘show’ that many were entranced by. He then tries to elaborate a new political subjectivity that is bound by practical solidarity, a subjectivity that refuses the lie of democracy and electoral politics. This would be a subjectivity informed by the past but it will not take the forms of the past: mass parties, worker’s councils etc. The past is with us now but it is not the future. The crisis gives us a chance once again to use the past as a tool to invent new forms of political organisation now".