"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The Nature of the Crisis
American finance is a sorcerer no longer able to control the powers of the nether world which he has called up by his spells. For the past two decades, the history of American economics is the history of the revolt of productive forces against the conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the American finance and its rule. We have been confronted with a culminating series of financial crises that, by their periodic return, put the existence of the entire banking system in jeopardy, each time more threateningly than before. In each crisis, existing productivity, as well as what was previously achieved, is destroyed. An epidemic has broken out that in earlier periods would have seemed absurd - an epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself in a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine or a war had cut off our subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed. Why? Because there is too much finance, too much productivity, too much leverage.
The financial forces in our society no longer support the development of productive growth. Instead, they have become too powerful to be constrained by productivity, by which they are fettered, and as soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole order of global capital, even endangering the property of Wall Street investment bankers. The conditions of the American economic order are too narrow to constrain the wealth created by neoliberalism. And how can the neoliberal order confront this crisis? On one hand, through the destruction of productive forces by outsourcing manufacturing; on the other, by the more thorough exploitation of the endlessly gullible American public, who now believes that they must give up their life savings to save Wall Street bankers. Thus is the way paved for more extensive and more destructive crises - by diminishing the means whereby they can be prevented.
In order to continue the oppression of the American middle and lower classes, certain conditions must be assured under which the middle class can continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the American middle class worker, under the yoke of the global finance, managed to achieve middle class status. The modern worker, on the contrary, instead of achieving wage increases corresponding to his or her increased productivity, sinks deeper and deeper into stagnation and eventual poverty. And here it becomes evident that American capital is unfit to be the ruling elite, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as a whole. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into a state of depravity. It has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Global society can no longer exist under American capital, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with human existence.
What Wall Street has produced, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the American worker are equally inevitable.