INTERNATIONALIST PERSPECTIVE invites you to an open discussion meeting on
THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF A POST-CAPITALIST WORLD
The crisis keeps escalating, despite all the talk about the nascent recovery. First appearing as a housing or mortgage crisis (the bursting of the credit bubble), it led to a banking crisis, and has now morphed, as we predicted, into a sovereign debt crisis. What this string of disasters exposes is not a crisis of neo-liberalism or any other style of management but a crisis of the value form itself, of the commodification of life. Continuing to produce things for their exchange-value, for the profit they can yield, continuing to base human relations on the wage-labor/capital relation, while destroying all those relations that fall outside of it, guarantees far worse disasters ahead.
The plunge of the Euro, and the threat to the political/economic integrity of the world’s second largest economic entity (the EU), while themselves expressions of the escalation of the crisis, have brought some respite to American capital: capital from all over the world seeks refuge in what seems to be the strongest, most stable center of capitalism. The anchor. A role Europe envied but could not capture. The envy is understandable, since this position allows the US to increase its debts while keeping interest rates low. It has done so massively in response to its worst economic crisis since the 1930’s, while China has heated up its own economy to compensate for declining export markets and the social danger of economic slowdown. Now the EU Central Bank and the German government are planning to impose the sharpest basket of austerity measures aimed at the working class throughout Europe, since the end of World War Two. It’s only the beginning. More attacks on wages and pensions will follow, and the working class in America will not be spared.
For the ruling class, there is no other choice. Consumers, workers, companies, governments must spend less to make room for future payments to capital because otherwise, the value of existing capital collapses. But all these austerity measures undercut demand. The overcapacity of the economy increases. Opportunities for productive investment diminish. The trend pushes owners of capital towards speculative investment, to the formation of new bubbles of fictitious wealth whose implosions will create new shocks.
Governments are inevitably driven to contradictory policies. What they create with one hand, they destroy with the other. Their austerity measures undermine their recovery policies, and the latter, by creating new debt, new claims on future profit, undermine the former. Is there a way out of this dilemma? Some pin their hopes on the growth of the “green economy” (renewable energy, etc), others believe that information technology can give capital a new lease on life. But, as we will show, neither of these can reverse the downward trend of the creation of surplus value, the ultimate source of profits. The crisis pressures capital even more to replace living with dead (machine) labor in an effort to re-establish its profitability. Reducing living labor reduces the source of profit even though it seems the way out for the capital since it improves its competitiveness. While overproduction acts as a brake on technological change, it also accelerates the expansion of casualization and “precarious” conditions of labor, and leads to the expulsion of masses of workers from the productive process, thereby further reducing demand.
The continuous high unemployment combined with the austerity measures by the EU today, and the US tomorrow, amount to a major assault on the standards of living of the working class. Greece is now the first site of such a concerted attack by capital, one being imposed by a “Socialist” government. It can’t be denied that, if workers don’t accept wage-cuts, the Greek economy can’t be competitive. It can’t be denied that, if workers in China push up their wages, capital will go to where wages are lower. So it’s entirely reasonable to ask of the workers to sacrifice themselves, as long as you look at the world through the framework of the value form.
By refusing to obey the logic of capital, workers in Greece are refusing to be good commodities. Capitalism is threatening our survival. In struggles that spring from the will to live, the commodification of life may itself be questioned, first implicitly, then overtly. That will open the way to a post-capitalist world, to real communism.
QUESTIONS WE WANT TO DISCUSS AT THE MEETING:
– What are the ways in which capitalism can overcome its crisis?
– What can we learn from the struggles in Greece?
– Why is there not more working class resistance in the US?
– The position of Chinese capital and the struggle of the working class in that country.
– What should pro-revolutionaries focus on?
The discussion meetings of IP are characterized by their open atmosphere, in which everyone gets ample opportunity to explain her/his position.
Thursday, June 17
TRS Professional Suites
44 East 32 St., 11th floor
New York, NY