Heute ist Marx‘ 200. Geburtstag!

Die Einheit der Gegensätze<br />
Die von Karl Marx entwickelte Dialektik ist heute aktueller denn je...
+ zb ARTE Themenschwerpunkt
-> Die Geschichte aller bisherigen Gesellschaft ist die Geschichte von Klassenkämpfen… -dazu kurz u knackig: in einer Minute u vier Sekunden: Rudi Dutschke: über Revolution od. darfs etwas ausführlicher sein?…
dann zb „Eine Welt ohne Hunger und Krieg – Die Revolte der 1968 Bewegung“ Teil1, Teil2, Interview mit Günter Gaus

neu aufgelegt zur feier des tages: The Communist Manifesto.pdf von Karl Marx u Friedrich Engels, mit einer einführung von Yanis Varoufakis

kompakt u doch präzise die „politische ökonomie“ des kapital-ismus dechiffrieren?!? exemplarisch dazu zb Freerk Huisken oder Peter Decker

-> „1918 – 1968 – 2018 – Zeit für Veränderung – Wo bleibt die Revolution?“: Etappen auf dem Weg dorthin: attac Sommerakademie, Degrowth-Sommerschule, Klimacamp Leipziger Land, Klimacamp im Rheinland

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EIN aspekt daraus gefällig?

stichwort UNSERE Imperiale Lebensweise -Zur Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur in Zeiten des globalen Kapitalismus von Ulrich Brand u. Markus Wissen (mehr) – (buchvorstellung des verlages, radio- u. zeitungs-interview, videos: 10.10.17 Bamberg, 11.10.17 München, u. exemplarisch: eine rezension -u eine zweite u weitere, Ulrich Brand: Die Krise der Demokratie, „Perspektive Degrowth & Grundeinkommen“ u. Tagung in Tutzing: Überwindung der imperialen Lebensweise – „Gute Arbeit ohne Wachstum?“: Teil1 u Teil2

u

andrerseits: .


-> crimethinc.com: „Alles verändern – ein anarchistischer Aufruf“ -dazu: „etwas“ rückschau gefällig?: youtube.com/watch?v=-ipnMAXrS88 u youtube.com/watch?v=v4SWg_ojwfM, paris-luttes.info/ni-dieu-ni-maitre-rencontre-debat, youtube.com/watch?v=-h1ifMu9sgM

Ergänzung vom Dez. ’19:
Richard D.Wolff (Democracy At Work) takes a deeper look at the life and work of Karl Marx: I, II, III, IVCapitalism vs. Socialismon the Common Ground between Libertarianism and Socialism u. => mehr zum Lesen!!!

theintercept.com: Marxist Scholar Professor David Harvey Talks about the Crimes of Capitalism, Alienation, and Debt Peonage in the Age of Trump (video):

JS: For the past year, we’ve all experienced an intense sort of political or news vertigo. And I believe it’s making us dumber by the day. Of course, part of this is due to the fact that Donald Trump is president and he constantly scoops the story of the latest outrage about himself by performing yet another outrage just as we start discussing the previous one. It’s exhausting and brain melting.

But this is also because major media organizations have all chosen to constantly chase the rabbit. In a way, all of us in media are complicit. When we’re constantly on the run, it’s very difficult to take stock of where we are and where we’ve been. To take a good look at the big picture becomes a luxury that none of us seem able to afford.

And this is going to have serious consequences. Our brains are actually being altered. The way we process news and information, our ideas about what constitutes resistance and what constitutes tyranny. In general, we live in a society that doesn’t study its own history — I mean its unvarnished history. And often current events are analyzed in a vacuum that almost never includes the context or history necessary to understand what’s new, what’s old, and how we got to where we are. We’ve become detached from our own reality and our own work.

Having said all of this, I thought it would be fascinating to talk to David Harvey about the Trump moment. He is one of the leading Marxist thinkers in the world and an authority on Marx’s “Das Kapital,” which turned 150 years old late last year. Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York and he was one of the pioneers of the discipline of modern geography.

David Harvey has a new book out. It’s called “Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic reason.”

JS: David Harvey, welcome to Intercepted.

David Harvey: Thank you.

JS: First, I’m curious having now read your book: How did we get Trump?

DH: If I had to simplify it would be one would be one word: alienation. That you have a population that’s increasingly alienated. It’s alienated from its work process, because there are not very meaningful jobs around. It’s been promised kind of a cornucopia of consumerism and they find a lot of products that don’t really work, they find themselves having to renew their phone every two years. You find them having to live a lifestyle which is, you know, they’re disillusioned. And of course they’re disillusioned with the political process; they realize that it’s big money that buys it. They’re disillusioned in lots of ways. And it’s not only in this country. Alienated populations don’t necessarily behave in kind of a way that would probably make sense to somebody like me. They don’t go to the left, for example, they just kind of say: Give me something that looks different. And I think when Trump came along and said, “I’m going to be your voice,” he actually, completely trumped — if I can use that term — Hillary Clinton. And I think the same thing you will see over the Brexit vote in Britain, where the metropolitan areas which are doing OK, but you’ll find alienated populations in those small towns where the economic basis of life has just disappeared. So, you get this kind of real rash of neo-fascist, populist, right-wing kind of people who are coming along and saying, “Listen to me, listen to me, I have a different answer to all of these kinds of questions.” And I think that that sort of thing is going on, not only in this country, but elsewhere.

JS: Do you do you believe that Trump has any ideology based on the actions that he’s taken officially as president or the ideas that he floats when he speaks or tweets?

DH: I think he has some ideas, whether it adds up to an ideology or not. For instance, one of his ideas is to dismantle everything that Obama did. That’s almost instinctual on his part. So, he has ideas.

An ideology? I don’t think he has a clear ideology. But he certainly has a persona who is — it’s about me, me, me, and the narcissism is obvious. But I think this is a classic sort of situation of populist leaders.

JS: I mean, Trump’s brand of what, you know, a lot of observers call his populism. But Trump has multiple mantras that he sort of repeats and his favorite when he talks about his successes is the stock market keeps breaking records, people’s 401ks are just going through the roof. He never mentions that the vast majority of workers in this country actually have no pension and are not participating in 401k plans.

DJT: The stock market is hitting an all-time, high record, for another, and think of this, 86 times since Election Day. And then you look at all of the money that you folks are making. Oh, I wish I could take 10 or 15 percent. But I think you’re not going to do that right, you’re not going to do that? But it’s getting better and better, your pensions are getting bigger and bigger —

JS: What’s going on right now on Wall Street and with the stock market? I mean clearly it is breaking records. Trump is totally right. The Dow is above 25,000. I mean, it’s nuts if you think about it. What’s happening on Wall Street?

DH: I think it’s just a matter of that, since the problems of 2007 and 2008, what we’ve seen is essentially central banks adding to the money supply. And the money has to go somewhere. And it mainly goes into the stock market and, of course, that money goes into the pockets of the top one percent. So actually if you look at the indices of inequality since 2007, 2008, they’ve increased markedly, not only in the United States but worldwide.

And so, in a sense, what you’ve done is you’ve run into a difficulty in 2007, 2008, and you answered it by throwing money at it, which has been great for the stock market and all rest of it. But as we know, the incomes of ordinary people have not improved at all, peoples’ situation hasn’t, and hardly any of the benefits of the small recoveries been since 2007, 2008 have gone to anybody other than the top one percent. That’s the bondholders solution to the economic problem. And the last tax cut was really bondholders’ charter.

So this has been the case in the United States that in fact the bondholders are creating an economy, which is good for the bondholders.

JS: If someone were to arrive here from a different universe and you were asked the question, “What is the wages that workers are paid or the money that exists in the stock market or the money that changes hands from ‘we the people’ to companies like Amazon, what’s it based on?”

DH: Well, the dollar should be worth whatever it will buy which is the commodities and so on that people want. And we want useful commodities. And the trouble with that is that capitalism is very good at making commodities that don’t work, or break down, or only last two years. I mean, I often use this example: I’m using my grandmother’s knives and forks. If capital made things that lasted 100 years, what would it do? Instead it makes computers that actually don’t function if they’re more than about three or four years old.

One would like to think that capital was a rational system, but it’s not. It’s irrational, it introduces these irrationalities because that’s the only way it can reproduce itself. And I think, again, people are beginning to see that this is not exactly the good life that they thought they might have at some point down the line, particularly for the mass of the population now, who are indebted, and who have to pay off that debt — whether it be credit card debt, or mortgage debt, or consumer debt, or — this is this is the world we’re living in. We’re living in a world of debt peonage, in which must of the population is actually — their future is foreclosed by the way in which the capital is wrapped around them. This kind of thing about the good life is: Borrow money and then everything will be OK.

JS: What about the role of Amazon, Google, Facebook in our lives? I mean is this something new in the evolution or devolution of capitalism?

DH: I don’t think it’s new. I just — look at this historically: We went through this from the 1970s onwards, with what we call deindustrialization, the loss of industrial jobs and the loss of manufacturing jobs. And the result was the unions which were very strong — everything gets lost.

So, the deindustrialization of the manufacturing sector was one big thing. Now we’re seeing the same thing happening in retail and marketing. We’re seeing it through Wal-Mart, we’re seeing it through Amazon, we’re seeing it through online purchasing. And we’re going to see happening in the retail sector the same thing that happened in the manufacturing sector.

And so, then, the question is what kind of jobs are going to be anywhere? And those places that do have the jobs are going to do what Amazon does, which is to say, “Well, you’re not really doing anything significant. You’re just doing manual work, just packaging things and sending it out. This is a rather meaningless kind of work, this is what I mean about alienating kind of work.

I mean so here we have a real transformation in labor processes which I think is going to have a real big impact upon the American economy. The example of deindustrialization and what happened to industrial communities is now going to hit big consumer centers which rely upon the retail business.

JS: What is your critique or problem with the idea that competition is going to give not only consumers, but nation states, the highest quality product.

DH: First off, I’d like to say: What competition? We’ve got a tremendous amount of monopoly. I look at it in energy, look at pharmaceuticals, look at it everywhere and actually there’s a lot of monopoly around. So, the competition is kind of fake competition in lots of ways.

And, internationally, of course, there is some sort of level of competition going on between different nation states in terms of — but notice what it does. Basically what you’re supposed to do is to create a good business environment. That’s what the state is supposed to do. And the better the business environment, the more capital will go to it. So that means lower taxes — again, the last tax bill was very much about trying to improve the United States as a business environment — so you’ve got to give, actually, money to corporations. And that’s the astonishing thing that corporate capital doesn’t seem to be able to survive these days without subsidies from the public sector.

So, in effect, the public is perpetually supporting large corporations and they’re not really competing. They’re simply using their monopoly power to assemble a great deal of wealth in few hands.

JS: When it comes to electoral politics in the United States, what do you make of the argument that — I mean, first of all, there was a pretty ferocious debate on the left in the United States about the 2016 elections. And I think very significant chunk, even of leftists, ultimately held their noses and voted for Hillary Clinton as a way of sort of voting against Donald Trump. Where do you come down on these questions when it comes to electoral politics?

DH: Well, I think where I come down is to say, “well we’ve got to organize something which is very different and alternative on the left, instead of having, what I call, in a sense, the party of Wall Street governing in both parties.”

The sorts of things that worry me about Trump is what he’s doing with the environment, what he might do with nuclear war —

DJT: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

DH: He’s totally irrational about some of those kinds of things. So, yes, I would rather have Hillary in, but I don’t want to be in a situation in which I say the only answer to somebody like Trump is Hillary, because that seems to me is going back into exactly all those problems that we hit with the first Clinton administration which was the beginning of this process of the selling out of the U.S. government to the bondholders and Wall Street. So, we’ve got to find something which is a non-Wall Street kind of party. And we’ve got to have a real, solid, good left movement, which you began to see elements of that crystallizing around Bernie Sanders and the like. But we need to go further than that, I think.

JS: Bernie Sanders identifies himself as a Democratic Socialist and yet his voting record indicates that he supported regime change in Iraq, he said he would continue the drone assassination program as it existed under Obama.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Drone is a weapon. When it works badly, it is terrible and it its counterproductive. When you blow a facility or a building which kills women and children, you know what, not only doesn’t do — it’s terrible.

Chuck Todd: But you’re comfortable with the idea of using drones if you think you’ve isolated an important terrorist.

BS: Yes.

JS: What form of socialist would you describe Bernie Sanders as? I mean, is he a Marxist in your view?

DH: No, no, he’s not a Marxist at all. He’s, as you say, kind of a Social Democrat. But Social Democrats have a rather long history of being rather warlike about all kinds of things and believing in things like military humanism and those sorts of issues. The history of social democracy is rather a bit tainted by all of that. And so, I think that there has to be a genuinely left socialist movement.

And I think that Sanders, the more he got into sort of talking to the millennials, I think his rhetoric began to shift well away from social democracy to a more socialist line. So, talking about a single-payer system and talking about free access to higher education.

JS: What’s your assessment of the current state of the Democratic Party?

DH: I mean, somebody like Chuck Schumer, for example. He’s raised more money off Wall Street than almost anybody else in Congress. So, I mean, while rhetorically he can say some certain things, I think that he’s very much part of that. Nancy Pelosi also.

Representative Nancy Pelosi: Well, I thank you for your question. But I have to say, we’re capitalists. And that’s just the way it is.

DH: I think the leadership in the power structure within the Democratic Party is antagonistic somewhat to a kind of real socialist push. And my nervousness is that they will simply have to say, “Well, they are the alternative to the crazy man Trump.” And they will get into power. But that’s not going to make any real difference. It’s going to actually exacerbate the problems as I see it.

And I don’t see them taking on the kind of question of, say, student debt and I don’t see them taking on single-payer and those kind of questions at all.

JS: The term neoliberal is thrown around so much these days by people that I think have literally no clue what neoliberal economic policy is or neoliberalism. Give people a definition: What does neoliberalism mean?

DH: I took it to be a political project, which originated in the 1970s with the Business Roundtable, and The Rockefellers, and everybody else, which is to reorganize the economy in such a way as to restore power to an ailing capitalist class. The capitalist class was in difficulties in the late 1960s, early 1970s, because the worker movement was rather strong, there were lot of community activists, the environmental, there were all of these reform things coming through, the formation of the EPA and all those kinds of things. So they decided, through the Business Roundtable, that they were going to really try to recuperate and accumulate as much economic power as they could amongst themselves.

And that had a number of elements to it. For example, if you were faced with a situation of bailing out the people or bailing out the banks, you would bail out the banks and let the people struggle. You would always, say if there’s a conflict between capital and the well-being of the people, you choose capital. That was the simple form of the project.

Now some people say it’s just an idea about the free market. Well, yeah, a free market to some, personal responsibility, yeah. A redefinition of citizenship such that a good citizen is not a needy citizen. So, any citizen who’s needy is a bad person. Social services get set up to punish people as opposed to really assist them and help them.

JS: And what I often think of as one of the most visible aspects of neoliberal economic policy is the notion of austerity measures that are imposed on economies in the global South, but also in the case of Greece, for instance. You see this demand from the creditors that the first thing that has to go, if we were to give you this debt, is your social programs, and the money that you would normally spend on those is going to go toward paying off either the principle or the interest on the money that is being generously lent to you.

DH: Well, it’s the debt peonage again. You organize debt peonage in such a way as to lock people in, and then they have to pay. But, you don’t take the money away from the bondholders. I mean, in the case of Greece, for example, it wasn’t as if anybody went after the French and the German banks who lent all that money to Greece. They kind of basically socialized their debt, turned it into the IMF, and the European Stability Fund, and all the rest of it, and then made the Greeks pay.

Well, actually, if the banks made a bad judgment they should pay. But they didn’t and this is this neoliberal principle at work. And I tend not to like the term austerity, because austerity is used for policies which are administered to the population. Austerity is not for capital.

JS: Right. Right.

DH: Absolutely not for the financial institutions, and it’s not for the top one percent. So austerity is about social programs. And, in fact, the state has been heavily, heavily involved in subsidizing capital. So, the banks never get hurt. This is what the neoliberal order is about.

JS: When you have politicians campaigning in part on this idea that they’re going to reduce the debt or eliminate the debt of the U.S. federal government, what are they really talking about?

DH: Well, this is a sort of a baseball bat which is taken to politics periodically. Remember Dick Cheney saying that “Ronald Reagan taught us that debt doesn’t matter.” Because Reagan went into debt like crazy, mainly on the military side, Bush also, was going into debt.

Then the Republicans turn around when Obama comes in and says, “We got to something about the debt.” And that becomes the excuse to stop any kind of programs going through. So, the question of the debt — and we see now the Republicans are back into power, what do they do? They increase the debt by a half trillion dollars or something like that.

I don’t think there’s a real issue here, what is simply a political excuse to raise the rhetoric about indebtedness and we’ve got to deal with the debt on our children, but then, of course, it’s turned around. And like this last tax bill, nobody cares about it when, in fact they’ve been bleating on about the debt for ages, and ages, before that. But it’s a political tool which you use in this particular way, in a particular historical moment.

JS: Who owns the U.S. debt?

DH: China owns a great deal of it, and actually Russia owns quite a bit. Japan owns quite a bit. And, in fact, there’s a very interesting story about that if you want to know, when in the middle of the crisis when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and AIG were all kind of going dim, the Russians went to the Chinese and said to the Chinese, “Let’s sell all our debt in those institutions and that will crash the U.S. economy.” And it would have done, because, actually, the holders of the debt of those institutions were primarily China and Russia. China refused, for a very simple reason: They didn’t want the U.S. economy to crash because it’s a main consumer market. But if Russia and China decided at that moment to sell all of their holdings in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and AIG, the U.S. economy would have gone down.

JS: What would it look like if we were to radically reorganize U.S. society under a philosophy or an ideology rooted in Marxism? Or that the social good was actually a priority in this country rather than, sort of everyone fend for themselves? What would that mean in a country as big and as populated as the United States?

DH: If I put it sort of crudely: I think the future of the U.S. in so far that it has a radical future, lies more with some sort of what I would call almost non-ideological anarchism. I don’t think that it’s ready for the kind of collective endeavor that would really be required to confront the power of the Federal Reserve and find an alternative. I don’t think it’s ready for thinking about a mass movement of some kind that will actually start to redefine how the economy works.

I think if there’s going to be any real kind of left, it’s going to be a kind of a socialist-anarchist kind of left politics that will remerge, which has, many redeeming features. Coming out of a Marxist history was supposed to be very hostile to anarchism, but I have a great deal of appreciation for the anarchist tradition. And I think there’s an ideological area of overlap that has something which will be distinctive to U.S. history and culture, and I think we have to recognize the significance and importance of that history.

JS: There’s no there’s no plausible path to that short of a complete collapse of the capitalist state in the United States. Am I wrong?

DH: Well, no, I think that one of the things that is going on to some degree on the left is the attempt to redefine forms of governmental power, if you want to call it that, which are alternative to the existing state structures. And, to some degree I see the activism that’s going on at the municipal level as an interesting kind of way to start to explore what those alternative structures might, might look like. Can we create democratic forms of municipal governance for example?

If, so, what kind of institutional structures would work, so that people become involved, become un-alienated, as opposed to alienated entirely from the rather corrupt structures of government that we now have. So, I think there would need to be already in place the capacity of people to organize themselves into alternative structures of collective governance, which are outside of the conventional forms of the state apparatus.

JS: The technology that exists right now in the world is such that the world could easily be destroyed many times over, by single actors in some cases: United States, Russia, China could instantaneously destroy the world.

DH: Right. Right.

JS: The guns and the caliber of weapons that people have in this country are much more fierce than ever before in history. And I’m not even sure that Marx or anyone from that era would have been able to imagine the level of destruction that could be caused by one individual person with these weapons. Does that factor into how you think about the future and the possibilities of rebellion or transformation in society, just the sheer level of destruction that could be wrought by a very small groups of people?

DH: Yeah, I mean —

JS: Do you understand what I’m saying? Because people are obsessed with dystopic novels and everything, but it’s like: This guy who killed all these people in Las Vegas? I mean the amount of firepower that that individual had, not just in his hotel room but also in other properties, I mean, 200 years ago, it would be unthinkable that one person could hold that kind of power in their hand.

DH: I agree, and I think that politics really has to take account of that. I mean there’s no such thing, I mean what happened in the American Revolution couldn’t happen today. What happened in the French Revolution couldn’t happen today.

JS: Right.

DH: I mean the thing that struck me about Ferguson was the sight of those militarized police — I mean, there’s no way, it seems to me, that a political movement could imagine taking to the streets and storming the barricades and getting anywhere. They would simply be mowed down. And so therefore politics has to start to think about a kind of progressive transformation which does not involve confrontation and violence of that sort. Because, quite simply, I think any movement of that sort would lose. And therefore, we have to think of something that is an alternative kind of movement.

The difficulty is that movements which are, say, attempting to construct some kind of alternative will get criminalized. And so, we see the criminalization of environmentalists. We see the criminalization, as we saw in the Dakota [Access] Pipeline, kind of thing, you criminalized people who are engaged in protest. And then of course you have the right to go in and kill them.

This is, if you like, the problem on the left. The left has to think of an alternative strategy and not have dreams of the Russian Revolution or the American Revolution or anything of that kind. Because right now it’s not so much that there’s one person that’s got a finger on a button. I mean if Trump pushes the button, then, we’re not going to be here to talk about anything.

JS: It’s a very big button. Much bigger than your button, let me tell you.

DH: Right. So that’s not what worries me so much. But what worries me is the militarization of social control. And the intense militarization and the super-militarization of it. So that even something like Occupy, which was a fairly innocent kind of affair in some ways, got treated as a criminal organization which had to be smashed. Even something as elemental as that, it seems to me, is that it’s not going to be able to do very much. The closer we get to actually doing something about the real centers of political and economic power in society, I think that we will be treated as criminals.

JS: Something that I’ve said when I’ve had debates with people who say, “Oh, you know, there’s going to be a coup in the United States that the military ultimately is going to take over. Or that they’re going to build these FEMA camps, etc.” And I’ve often argued with people, including from my own world on the left, and said, “The state doesn’t need to do any of that. They don’t need to build the camp to put you in. They’re already winning.”

That’s capitalism in this country: The idea that people think that it requires a finite group of fat, white men, smoking cigars, coming up with a way to lock up all of the dissenters because of their thoughts — that’s not how that kind of a force operates. It’s much more ingrained in every aspect of our life.

DH: Yes, and that’s why I come back to notions of debt peonage. One of the ways in which social control is exercised is to get people so deeply in debt they cannot imagine anything in the future other than simply living in such a way as to pay off their debt.

And if you kind of say what is one of the biggest checks on the radicalism of, say, the millennial generation, it’s the huge student debt that hangs around them. And, I think that cognizant of that, they’re not going to rock the boat. Debt peonage is the order of the day.

JS: For young people listening to this right now, what advice would you give them about how to be better contributors to society and making the world more just. Like what, what should young people read and what ideas should they explore as they kind of go further and further out into the world to make it better?

DH: Two things. First, while being on Snapchat and all the rest of it, try and cultivate a circle of very close friends that you can have real communication with, because there has to be some ground-truthing, as they sometimes say in these words, of what all these abstractions, which you’re getting through the internet, are about.

And I think that by having a group, sitting around a table with none of the devices on, and talking and drinking or whatever, you know. I mean just so that you have a real human closeness and you can talk about a lot of the issues that you’re encountering.

And I would be very much in favor, and I think this has been going on a lot, of forming reading groups: eight, ten people sort of get together and once a week they get together and they talk about: I’m not saying everybody should do “Kapital.” But you have reading groups of that kind so that you can discuss ideas and alternatives.

But I also recognize that when I talk to people who form those reading groups and that they’re doing something significantly different from what goes on in terms of — I’m not against all of the new stuff, I mean, I tend to have a slightly Luddite view of some of this, I’m more in favor of a lot of it — but there has to be something else going on as well. And that’s something else, it’s something which has to be actively constructed. Not in opposition to, but as a companion to what is going on around them in the internet.

JS: What a great note to end on. Professor David Harvey, thank you very much for joining us on Intercepted.

DH: Well, thank you for this opportunity. It’s been great. Thank you.

JS: David Harvey is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York and author of many books. His latest is “Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason.”

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