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The real looters

The coalition government has placed an emergency army battalion on standby and is considering authorising the use of water cannon and tear gas to quell disorder and looting around the country.

But the threat of a mailed fist is a desperate response to an out-of-control social and political crisis. It cannot possibly solve the deeper issues that lie behind the anger and contempt for authority seen in British cities since Saturday night.

The looting of sportswear and plasma screens from high street shops shrinks to insignificance in comparison with the havoc wreaked in the global economy by those in charge. The hard men and women who have come to the aid of the ailing capitalist system have their own economic wrecking ball.

Governments in the United States, Europe and elsewhere have sought to resuscitate growth and bring about a recovery of production following the 2007/8 credit collapse. But their attempts have precipitated a new, far deeper crisis as the debt tsunami engulfs the world’s richest nations.

The truth now emerging is that a return to profitable growth is impossible without imposing equally impossible intolerable conditions of exploitation. ‘Austerity’ doesn’t even begin to describe what must follow if capitalist society is to survive.

It’s not only government cuts that will hurt people. Over the last seven days alone, £200 billion was wiped from the market – and about £300 billion in the past month, drastically reducing people’s pensions and savings.

The United States, still the world’s biggest economy, is no longer able to inspire confidence in the global financial markets. On Friday it experienced a humiliating downgrading of its debt. Standard and Poor, one of the credit rating agencies which speak for the gamblers, speculators – so-called ‘investors’ – whose interests seem all-powerful today, expressed their contempt for the outcome of the US political process and are driving the crisis into a new, more dangerous stage.

President Obama whistled in the dark when he responded on Monday to the historic downgrade of US debt. “No matter what some agency may say, we have always been and always will be a triple-A country,” said the President, as he tried to reassure the investors whose power commands governments.

But whether or not Obama believed that his words could unite the warring factions amongst Democrats and Republicans into accepting his demand for slashing cuts to Medicare and tax increases, they failed to halt the world’s stock markets plunging into the darkness.

The Federal Reserve’s despairing decision to hold interest rates at historic lows for two years cannot restore the US economy any more than it has in the UK in the last two years or in Japan in the last decade. The towering edifice of fantasy credit and debt has to be eliminated, and as a consequence the capitalist economy will contract. Surplus productive capacity has to be physically destroyed.

The nature of the capitalist system is the heart of this crisis – a system first revealed around 150 years ago when Karl Marx published the first volume of Das Kapital, his analysis of the capitalist mode of production.

The words of a critic were incorporated into an afterword to the second German edition in 1873. “The scientific value of such an inquiry” he said “ lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx’s book has.”

Resolving the current crisis by replacing the present system with a democratised economic and political form of society is on the order of the day.

Gerry Gold
A World to Win economics editor
10 August 2011

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Jonathan says:

While I agree unconditionally, and absolutely with the above, in fact I would recommend fly-sheeting it and getting it to those youth and youth leaders. I note in passing a few matters. Where we have: 'anger and contempt for authority 'one of the more telling comments as to observers views was as to the 'presentation' of those on the street, a sense of ownership is as near as I can remember, I noted that the BBC tried to turn this into 'you mean a power trip', -'no, not that, as if they had shrugged off entrapment', is as near as I can paraphrase it, and would not put it in without references if it weren't so telling. Certainly not a classroom when 'the teacher wasn't there'. Yesterdays excellent comment by Patricia Dodd Racher The story of a riot foretold (which I do have some issues with non-the-less, but they are in the circumstances 'less') a background was given. On BBC Radio 4 on the Today program this morning (Wednesday 10th) in the segment 'How is the world viewing the lawlessness, looting and riots in England? ' a comment was taken with some surprise- what does that say as to their separation from the city they work in and are reporting on. Contrast the comments of the NY journalist Ravi Somaiya with these comments by Patricia. In London as Ravi pointed out the extreme of wealth and poverty is greater than anywhere else on The Polluted Planet. 'Who buys property in London? The foreign super-rich. Well they did: ' Well, a phrase made famous as to the longest most destructive war in European history; The Thirty Years War, and really partly itself responsible, through the Counter Reformation, for the incompleteness of the national development most strikingly of Germany was: 'When there is blood on the ground buy property'. The background tone to what Patricia puts are those massive divisions of wealth and poverty in this city.

Seldom since the Paris Commune has a matter of a series of sparks turned one reality into two opposing views; one based on wealth, one based on Being. In Paris the Prussians surrounded the city and the French national elite, a set of toadies, capitulated while Parisians held the guns. Now, it is no exaggeration to say Global Capital surrounds the city. It is not just wealth as such, it is 'virtual' wealth, not just the fast cars that pass by on their way to outer city comfort, but the millions that pass through computers in the City while the coin counts for little. Nor the news that carries speculators on what is decaying, but living in what is decaying; it is real separations of wealth and ownership, access and exclusion, a meaningless vote and no vote in the case of a lot of these youth. 'If you are old enough to carry out these acts you are old enough to vote, if you are old enough to be subject to Laws, you are old enough to vote for the legislator.' And in the case of the long passed Assembly at Westminster – the replacement must be inclusive. Don't wax lyrical as to the vote when it is not universal for those who needs voice and is meaningless for those – also silenced, a corralled of eyes cast away, where it exists. It is where they see Harman capitulate – while looking round at the lack of jobs, the removal of benefits, mete the heavies from DWP, see their parents struggle as to this or that, and Harman, well dressed, well spoken, and not, nor ever able to deliver. It is what they see on the news and who controls the outlets: then, suddenly their corrupt nature is seen openly. It is these outlets show 'policing with consent' and the – recruited outside London – asking no consent when stopping and searching, or wrestling to the ground, or throwing in a cell – or moved on. Where, sitting watching a film the ads come on the sound automatically goes up – and consumer goods are well outside anything but desire. Then the lies are rolled out, then the contrast to how it is presented, and by whom it is presented, and the closure of clubs, the withdrawal of the education maintenance allowance – and the responses to demonstrating: nothing has impact. This was shown in Parliament as a dead parrot and the youth connected by a link to an excellent address was 16, i.e. disenfranchised. All this coverage prepared us for the matters unfolding. The extreme, real and virtual, separation of wealth and power is expressed to a great swath of youth (and others) as a failure of leadership – even if they express it somewhat quaintly: load of self-serving bastards. We know it as a crisis of leadership, they know it as no-one gives a flying fuck.

While Governments may well have been trying to 'resuscitate growth ' it has never been at the expense of the banks or profit takers; who also bet on losses, and hedge against growth. A contradiction which means the 'hope' of growth, the pretence at resuscitation is just that – in short a lie. Global Capital can go ahead without national capital, and without giving way, as international capital did, to national governments: they must follow what the market demands. This is not, and a lot of decay since, the circulation of the total product. What they need to break unions and militarize youth for is to squeeze to pay the state expense and the national debt. Then the rest is handed to Global Capital without any legal or other defences. All proceeds without the need to take into account national 'problems'. I learnt that mostly from AWTW.

More importantly intuition, a matter of supreme importance here, allows this to be reflected in the mind, without the necessary grasping of, and holding to the political raising to consciousness; of categorization – by all those ground down, marginalized, isolated – alienated. It is further than alienated from the total product it has become from social being itself. It is picked up daily by a billion events and their relationships world wide, and shared, sometimes shallowly, sometimes with finesse – sometimes bitterly, even without identifying the object – and results in activities. Last week it was clear the Market drove decision making, and like any money lender, like the greedy porn-broker, – debt, and general trouble, is profit, the deeper, the worse, the better. And when I say clear, it was clear to nearly all those who saw it, it wasn't a matter of 'a raised consciousness' though it immediately did that. How would all hold this in their mind and relations without a method, without knowledge of being a result and expression – an actuality - of historical being.

But without joint, social activity that develops a leadership, a sense of direction, a purpose, there are dangers. This, this very nature of leadership as a sense of joint direction is sometimes missed, replaced by an idea of elitism. As a science obviously it demands, it insists, on being held in the heads of those that practice it. But joint, united, action, this is essential when we are talking of the state machine: - and we are most definitely now. That doesn't make it elitist – these are fears most definite held by libertarians, and not understood in the heat of reaction – but we are social beings. We must, it is demanded by the nature of what is existent, role it into a ball, more, a fist.

It is worth noting a small reminiscence. In my mid teens in Belfast we used to punch, initials, slogans on coin or mark (if lucky enough to have them) notes. There were numerous legal tender, and banks that printed their own notes. So they circulated within the market of those involved. Scottish notes, Irish coins and notes, three Northern bank notes and Bank of England coins and notes. Then wait to see if our 'own' returned: a game, political slogans then untriggered by the dormant national question. Then the social question kick started the national question. I read Karl Marx’s Capital. And I can't tell you how that game came in handy as to political economy. The differing roles of money, their 'special laws' therefore have been deep. Capital and Finance capital had to wait till I read Lenin's short work. Imperialism the highest Phase of Capitalism.

The reference to S & B demonstrate this tension and separation, this dislocation of 'the whole' as its parts become in total, not limited, total, opposition. And these cronies in 'power' know it. They have 30 multimillionaires on the front bench alone. These, and bumptious Boris are a direct provocation to these youth, to these whole estates. We must 'hold this sensuous being' of the youth fast in our mind in each judgement. I am much too 'bitter' and have personal experience of the levels of poverty to make this a purely 'theoretical' matter a 'bit to close to a rat infested damp decayed home'. And indeed personal property destroyed by riots, and robbed on numerous occasions – a matter encouraged by the 6 counties police in Ireland as to claim you had to go to the RUC, and this attempted to break up the solidarity of communities, recruit informers, and collect on their vast data base information on communities – and it was part of training of the Special Branch. And, importantly for them, to 'corrupt' those who had to come forward. It allowed 'good' people to be turned, even so gradually, to become compromised, and then part of the state 'outsourcing'. And not infrequently these same 'hoods' were used; for arrested, let go, nearly Siamese twins, to create 'disturbance'. And in the case of the six counties, the right, the reaction 'aspect' of society was embedded in the protestant community, separated by area and therefore easy to identify; this is not the same in the organised Right in Britain, also 'alienated' and alien to the state it undoubtedly would have played a role in events. The EDL would have seen Norway as a alarm call to organise. Vigilance is the necessity to return always to objective reality, land with a sharp, and open, method.

And the reason for the thefts and the riots, at least in some forms; look at London.

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