The Great Recession and the Failure of Capitalism, Paul Mattick,Professor of Philosophy, Adelphi University, New York, Part of the 2011 Ethics Awareness Week from the Center For the Study of Ethics.

29. Nov 2011   – Translation of the editorial of Kosmoprolet #3 by Friends of the Classless Society (Berlin)

All over the world, events are keeping up with the pace of a crisis, the end of which was just recently cheerfully proclaimed by people who thought ludicrous amounts of sovereign debt to be the recipe for an economic miracle. By racking up debt to their ears, governments worldwide were able to contain the so-called financial crisis; but then, the rating agencies presented them a bill that they promptly passed on to wage workers. The whole maneuver did not lead to recovery but to an even more menacing state budget crisis, the handling of which through uncompromising austerity measures has aroused anger. Resistance is mounting. We are at the threshold of a social crisis. Those who feel the effects of the governments’ austerity programs in their everyday life are starting to realize ever more clearly that these are not temporarily painful, yet necessary sacrifices. They are becoming aware of the fact that the drastic cuts will not only last for years or even decades, but that their own future is becoming ever bleaker. We are probably at the start of a new era: Ever since society was brought back down to the earth of cold hard economic facts, the culturalist carnival of differences has come to an end. Society’s colorful superstructure has scaled off to reveal, in Orthodox Marxist terms, the drab, universal base. And the crisis has achieved what activists striving to link struggles have been incapable of for decades: millions have taken to the streets simultaneously with the same purpose. All they’re left with is an ever more precarious survival under the reigning conditions. For them, it’s all or nothing.

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The crisis is not a natural disaster that simply happens; the crisis is the outcome of the choices of all those who want to maintain this system, in which we are exploited, repressed and governed. Their proposals on how to come out of the crisis do not differ from suggestions on how the existing situation could be reinforced and take root. Our propositions can be nothing less than strikes and solidarity, occupations and sabotage, expropriations and mutual help… in order to create the world that we choose for ourselves, against all kinds of segregations and hierarchy.

-Assembly of the revolted in (the island of ) Salamina, (and the neighborhoods of) Perama, Keratsini, Nikaia, Koridallos, Piraeus

While the IMF meets in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Greece’s financial troubles have continued to deepen. Greek Prime Minister Papandreou chose the remote Aegean island of Kastelorizo on Friday to announce his government was to activate the IMF-EU “rescue” plan, effectively throwing the proletariat and lower middle classes in the country at the mercy of international financial giants. IMF loans always have nasty strings attached, rules that force the recipient to re-structure their economy along a neo-liberal, privatized, U.S. friendly model due to the influential U.S. position in the IMF.

The current situation in Greece has many similarities to the IMF crisis in Argentina in 2002 that sparked a nation-wide rebellion and created a of worker-run businesses in its wake. Add to this crisis the recent revelations that the Greek ruling class has been evading paying its share of taxes for years, and you have a country that is turning into a powder keg.

This is social war at its peak; this is the guarantee that the Greek standard of living will be crushed, and that a dictatorship of capital shall reign.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Students in the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras have announced their plans to occupy both faculties on April 12th.

“Throughout the day we will have performances, music, poetry, art, work-shops and concerts. We will occupy against funding cuts, decrease of students rights and moratorium on tuition waivers.”

Ocúp(arte): The Humanities Manifesto

The Humanities faculty is yours, his, hers, and ours. Let’s transform it then, into an active and dynamic space filled with participation and collaboration. Let’s modify the State and the Administration-fed attitudes of competition and anxiety, and replace them with cooperation, compassion and youthful jubilation. As existing power structures have already started to crack and shown their anti-humanist agendas; so let today and tomorrow be filled with love and a call to action. Our academic spaces are under siege from the powerful, and must be reclaimed as tools for liberation. As humanists we can imagine and create all sorts of possible worlds. It is time to realize them.

We are occupying our faculty in order to find ourselves, to cast aside any attempt to separate and alienate us. Instead of this kind of death, we have decided to un-muzzle our mouths and let the world know that a new world has taken shape from our hearts. We are a multitude which thinks, reflects, and criticizes; a generation whose heartbeat is steeled by the shared interaction between the fist and a kiss. Read the rest of this entry »

LibcomA report on the working class struggles against austerity measures in Greece from Proles and Poor’s Credit Rating Agency aka TPTG a greek autonomous communist group.

In periods of crisis, such as the current period of overaccumulation crisis, capitalists use the politics of “public debt” in order to devise new ways to intensify exploitation. In contrast with capitalist upturns when the private debt is increased, downturns are characterized by the increase of the “public debt”. Private investment in state bonds ensures profits which are extracted from the direct and indirect taxation of the workers, aiming towards interest repayments, and leading, ultimately, to the reinforcement of the banking sector capital. Therefore, the “public debt”, contrary to what is usually said, provides help to private capital and, in this respect, should be counted in its profits.

Moreover, in the last 20 years, the “public debt” tripled in 20 out of 27 countries of EU because of massive expenditures for bailing out the financial sector. This is money that was not given through loans to (non-banking) private capital for productive investments. Furthermore, public borrowing was done and continues to be done on terms that exceed by far the average profit rate, making investments in state bonds far more profitable than investments for the creation of production units, and, all the more so, since this kind of investment is exempted from the risks of class struggle in the sites of production.

The global economic recession of the previous years, which is the most recent manifestation of the permanent crisis of reproduction of global capital in the last 35 years –a crisis interrupted only by temporary recoveries– inevitably affected domestic capitalist accumulation. However, apart from the consequences of the reduction of global economic activity to the exports of greek capital, especially in the shipping and the tourist sectors, it became also the peg for the revelation of the permanent crisis of exploitability and disciplining of the proletariat.

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Democracy No Escape

March 13, 2010

*This is a communique that was circulated in Athens and Thessaloniki during the 3/11 demos

Democracy

There’s no escape.

The big pricks are out.

They’ll fuck everything in sight.

Watch your back.

Harold Pinter (He already said it on February 2003)

In the historical point we are now in, the contradiction of capital is increasingly becoming clear worldwide. Proletarians around the world are in turmoil while their own reproduction becomes more and more difficult. As it is already difficult for the proletarians to continue their lives, it is capital itself as a relation of exploitation which is in a reproduction crisis. The current struggles of the proletarians are the expression of the current form of this relation of exploitation.

During the last year in China where the economy still grows very quickly, all kinds of contradictions are rising. Clashes of workers with the police is common for a number of reasons: because of demands for increasing the very low wages (on which steep economic growth is based), because of preventing land enclosures in villages, because of attributing compensation to dismissed workers, against the inadequacy of the health system resulting in high mortality rate of children. In USA where a historical low record of workers’ demanding struggles has appeared, thousands of homeless and unemployed people occupy vacant houses which have been seized by banks and students occupy universities in California and New York writing on their banners: We have decided not to die, demanding this way what was until recently taken for granted, that is, just their ability to continue being students. The reproduction of their own life (of course from a much worse position imposed by the hierarchy of capitalist states) proletarians in South Africa and Algeria demand as well as they clash with police because they still do not have water or electricity and are forced to live in slums; in India as well, because the price of bread suddenly rises and they starve to death. Last year in Spain workers in shipyards which are shut down burn police cars; in South Korea dismissed workers as well occupy factories and clash with police for two and a half months; in Bangladesh, dismissed workers again, clash with police and burn factories. In France and Belgium, dismissed workers kidnap their bosses, placing explosives in the factories and threatening to blow them up if not compensated for their dismissal. In India and China they kill their boss during the conflicts because of thousands of upcoming dismissals. In this historical phase proletarian struggles are objectively struggles for the assertion of the reproduction of life itself.

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occupyca – As our frequent readers probably know, Greece was racked by riots in December, 2008, after a 15-year-old boy was murdered by the police. These riots followed on a series of occupations, which tore through the education sector in 2006-7, spreading from universities to high schools. At the end of 2008, a major question was: would the insurrection spread from the students, youth, and the immigrants — that is, those systematically excluded or marginalized in the production process — to the unionized workforce of regular and semi-regular employees? For an analysis at the time, see The Glass Floor by Theorie Communiste, as well as other writings by TPTG and Blaumachen (available from libcom.org).

For a while, it seemed that the rioters would receive nothing more than repression for their troubles. A socialist government took power in the aftermath of the riots, wasting no time in cracking down on the  milieu. At the extreme, government forces continually violated the sanctity of the Exarchia district in Athens (Exarchia had been declared a police-free zone after students played a key role in bringing down a US-backed dictatorship in the mid-1970s). Greece was racked by bombing campaigns, both from the extreme left of the “Nuclei of Fire” and from the extreme right of Greek fascists, who attacked social centers and other movement strongholds.

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