Stagnation

Maybe the trick is to develop a strategy that will take advantage of the defensive struggles that capital is having itself. It is stuck in stagnation for good reasons – the collapse of its ability to refinance further rounds of accumulation (credit crunch continuing because the ratio of constant to variable capital is impossibly large), and now austerity brings crisis upon crisis since valourisation fails all the more with stagnation-driven desperation and cuts. The new technologies that frame a hoped for solution to the long term composition imbalance have seen initiatives in circulation (delivery drones! ocado home delivery, hardly high level labour growth here) but the staples remain resources and weapons (always good for productivity, with suitably racist ideological gimmicks like 9/11, 7/7, Libya, Syria, Charlie Hebdo to push along public approval). But new delivery technologies are hardly the ‘frames’ that Ned Ludd and the like attacked, though to be sure, the Luddites soon identified the enemy as the people wielding the new technologies not the frames themselves. Targetting those that manage the delivery systems is one level of activity. The other areas are weapons, mining, policing, war, and then privatisation as the attempt to monetise the entire private sphere in a last ditch scramble to colonise new domains for production, but there is only so much scope, and austerity limits consumer drives in any case.
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In all this, I think the targeting of profit taking is key. But not just the corruption, bonuses, tax breaks and peripheral moments of profit. The central crime is surplus value extraction and those overseer Captains of Industry who need to turn that surplus into capital through some sort of valourisation process with investment and innovation, well, they are probably the most fragile part of the plan. What would hurt profit taking more than having service workers, military and high tech workers all challenge the basis of that extraction? Under the banner of abolition of the wage system of course (and not some swap out for barter or work chits, but rather) A living wage for all, irrespective of origin, capability or age or sector of work. CEOs and the unemployed on the same rate (‘unemployment for all, not just the ruling class’, would be the slogan to appeal to the luxuriant fraction amongst us). Universal across the board abandonment of money and the money changers not just out of the temple, but the temples torn down, repurposed into hospices, refugee welcome halls, and bingo for everyone. Saul from Breaking Bad calling out the numbers. Huzzah!

3 thoughts on “Stagnation

  1. internal discussion going on in plan c so just collecting my bits here as the discussion board interface is unwieldy:

    I see the emergence of interest in ‘shifting to another terrain to make it difficult to profit from privatisation and unattractive to invest in privatisation’ as key. There is a semi secret world of plunder behind the desperate attempts to recover from the valourisation crisis (valourisation crisis = generally capital finding it difficult to get credit to fund expansion because the ratio of fixed capital – machinery, plant, tech etc – to variable – the collectivity of producers who add more value than the receive in wages or non-wage maintenance – means stagnant economy means austerity means slow sales means no credited funds for ‘growth’). As in Wall Street, in the crisis those with cash reserves – the really rich – can swoop and buy up speculative options and dismantle the assets. That the Tories, and New labour before them, and Thatcher before that, have been offering up public sector chuncks for this plunder for years just shows how deep the valourisation crisis goes. The garage sale of the former Soviet states and DDR kept things afloat for a while, then the innovation of subprime space cadet speculations, and a little bubble of growth around tech innovation and delivery systems, and of course the fundamentals of weapons sales and mining, but now it seems really desperate to be selling off the whole kit and caboodle willy-nilly to any offer at all. I want to see and pursue research and actions to expose this desperate privatisation of everything – the diametric opposite of everything for everyone.

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  2. Better heads than I could explain how the state was previously made to compromise, because private capital was anxious after WW2, because a strong international alternative existed, and a because strong western left was supporting, at least in some form, that alternative, hence the historic compromise, NHS, buy off of the western working classes, welfare etc. That compact has been rapidly dismantled in the daddy warbucks economy of today. I don’t see left support for the Global South yet matching the old Left’s support for the USSR, or Maoism, but we need to build that too. So, I would suggest we think of mining companies RTZ and their participation with state events too (they made the medals for the olympics for example, arcelor mittel funded Anish Kapoor’s fucked up eiffel tower/awful tower as Emile calls it)….

    in some back room a team of slick suited nasty party dudes map out what is considered fit target for privatisation, and what not. Carrion birds squabbling over the not quite dead zombie state assets of very late capitalism. The carcass still warm, but their vision of the future is well beyond thunderdome. Turn a profit from asset stripping or from subsidies for essential services now monetised, with captive clientele and declining resource. I think its necessary to more clearly name an opposition strategy of targeting investment to make it uncomfortable – it might be that this is a kind of wholesale fifth column activity, a financial futures revolutionary defeatism, with effort to make venture capital flee ‘by any means necessary’ etc. That then begs the question of where Capital goes if not here. The objective interests argument of old was concerned with how attacking business undermined jobs, but such little Britain anxiety should not detain us, even as it obligates us to internationalist joined up thinking and liaison.

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