We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"A Political Explosion“: The Systemic Crisis of Capitalism and the Anger of the Working Class

Click here if you wish to access the script of the interview with American economist Richard D. Wolff conducted by Fabian Scheidler of a German left-wing website called Kontext, otherwise listen to Wolff's comments in the video below. 

In this first part of a longer interview Wolff summarizes the effects of neoliberalism on workers throughout the world with special emphasis on workers in the advanced capitalist countries. I think you can skip his commentary about bringing about change that he deals with in the remainder of the interview, but this first part, I believe, gives some accurate insights about the plight of workers in the advanced capitalist nations confronting the current contradictions that neoliberal capitalists have created.
“If you make a tiny group of people, say five percent, very very wealthy, and you plunge the mass of people into a declining, frightening situation, you will have a political explosion.” The shift of employment to low-wage countries and the dismantling of the New Deal and the welfare state have created a structural crisis of capitalism and, at the same time, a political crisis. The working class is “agitated and worried”. “The rich, knowing that the mass of people are angry, have decided to manage the situation by buying the political system, by literally taking it away from any democratic foundation.” The anger of the working class has contributed decisively to the shift to the right in Germany, the ascent of the Front National in France, the election of Donald Trump, and Brexit. 

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