G'day Bob,

>I say that the destruction of the Soviet Union and the deformed workers
states can not be absorbed into post war         >capitalist economic
politics. That this event more then anything else is taking us to the
brink.One thing for the capitalist >to load the past periodical crisis's on
the poeble a whole other ballgame when it comes to establishing "free"
markets in >the east.

I agree, as I think I said back in '97 when things first went perar-shaped
in Russia and SE Asia, that capitalism had a hard time of it sucking in a
few hundred million extra cheap workers in conditions already marked by
excess capacity.  The productive capital that was burned was erstwhile
eastern bloc stuff and SE Asian stuff - and it was the Wall Streeters who
applied the match through deliberate currency destructions.  Wall St now
owns a lot of the productive capital left in these places, having picked it
up at ten cents in the dollar.  China's assimilation will be harder still,
but with an intelligent and gradual destruction of half a billion
livelihoods or so, it can be done.  Healthy capitalism and unhealthy people
- hand in hand.  Of course, half a billion life-long quasi-communists
suddenly in desperate straits is a social problem for which there is no
ready fix, and China could simply burst apart at the seams.  Possibly, the
recent bouts of demonising cults and pointing Kalashnikovs at Taiwan might
be read as a government attempting to unite the insecure masses against a
publicly constructed common foe - that's worked before.  Risky game with
high stakes, though.  And Russia could go a long way in any direction very
quickly, too.  It's a bloody disgrace how superficial has been the coverage
of the wholesale human destruction going on throughout Russia (if life
expectancies are plummetting, I reckon you've got a pretty good indicator on
your hands of something big).

>Actually what did these billions do? A lot of it went to create and shore
up bourgeois regimes in the making but hardly >will be helpful in the
longrun to stop the clock from heading in the direction that people like
Lenin and Trotstsky         >desdcribed as the death gnall of the
capitalist/imperialist system.

The contradictions are ever more bold in profile, but most of the world's
coercive power resides very neatly with the world's financial strength and
interests, too (eg. America has so far found it pretty easy to enlist the
tacit or active support of others for its military adventures - eg. Iraq and
Yugoslavia).  And popular reactions to this have been more generally
theocratic and/or nationalistic in character - not internationalist, and not
particularly socialist.  People seek a rallying identity already entrenched
in their self-concept and world view - for many that is their pantheon,
their tribe, their race or their nation.  China and Russia are interesting
here, as at least the words and aspirations of socialism do dwell in their
scrawny bosoms.

>Do you really think that capitalism/imperialism can solve the future of
mankind? Or are we heading towards the cliff. I >mean there ain't no way we
can live in the never never land of plenty for all for ever.It took the
dismantling of the       >welfare states and many of the reforms fought for
to fianance the present operation and where we are now. But where >are all
the billions gonna come from to feed the enormous blackhole in the future.
And there are plenty of nationalists  >and fascist demogues waiting in the
wings to take over when the house of cards falls down.

Exactly, Bob.  Plenty.

>Seems to me that you have become the Guru of the soft intellectual left who
find it so comfortable in the present order >of things. Well I got a hunch
that the house of cards you are building is gonna get a rude awakening. But
thge left that >supports your ideas will unfortunately wind up screaming for
their own bourgeoisie to save them I'm afraid.

I reckon you're catching more than Doug's throwing here, Bob.  And hasn't
Doug got a point about the 'late capitalism' history of first-world
left-turns?  We started doing it tough in the seventies, and it was then the
left started to expire on the vine.  I do believe a first-world financial
(and consequently social) crisis is built into our currently exultantly
irrsesponsible multiplication of digital wealth - where M1 seems magically
to become M2 overnight without any reference whatsoever to the
C-in-the-middle - especially apparent is the outrageous assumptions about
production and profits in the near future.  I don't reckon the relatively
sound Europe or the possibly rejuvenated Japan could withstand such a crisis
at all.  But I don't know what (chaotically generated?) event will start the
dramatic debt crunch I expect.  It would have to be quite rapid and intense
for the kinds of amelioration measures Doug describes not to do their thing,

I also reckon those hundreds of billions who are paying the price for the
dramatic redistribution of wealth of the last decade are becoming desperate.
 And I even reckon a whole lot of still well-off workers are terribly
concerned about these strange and unsettling times - not quite convinced by
the Dales and Kudlows and all that 'Dow 36 000' stuff, and realising exactly
who gets destroyed when 'gales of creative destruction' are on the blow.

But the thing is to make something of these social processes AS THEY RUN
THEIR COURSE - not afterwards.  'Coz if my doomsaying is even half
warranted, afterwards (whenever that is) could be a Nostradamic nightmare
whence no kernel of hope could be had.  So, tap into the uncertainty,
explain the joyous data and juxtapose it with its empirically verifiable
social costs at the global level, draw pictures of a blindly rampant and
directionless Accumulasoarus stomping all over their environment and their
values, and remind them they have more of a hand in all this than a grudging
minute at the ballot box every few years.  I tend very much to Simon's take
on this stuff - masses of people are what political cultures are made of,
and the lefty's remit for the day is one of having a little something to do
with colouring that political culture globally pink.  I don't reckon you do
that with programmes and small revolutionary parties (not in the west,
anyway).  You do that with strategy, not tactics.  Compromise, not purity. 
Uniting on basic principles, not dismembering ourselves on arcana.  Analysis
of the historical moment and measured publicity.  Not grand metanarratives
and stirring calls to arms.  Gradualism.  Not breathless appeals to the
decisive revolutionary moment.

Of course, times change.  And the above will all be wrong one day.  But here
and now, I reckon it's just the ticket, that's all.



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