Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Favorite Piece on the Crisis

"Promissory Notes: From Crisis to Commons"
by Midnight Notes and Friends

After five hundred years of existence, capitalists are once again announcing to us that their system is in crisis. They are urging everyone to make sacrifices to save its life. We are told that if we do not make these sacrifices, we together face the prospect of a mutual shipwreck. Such threats should be taken seriously. Already in every part of the planet, workers are paying the price of the crisis in retrenchment, mass unemployment, lost pensions, foreclosures, and death.

To make the threats more biting, there are daily reminders that we are in an era when our rights are everywhere under attack and the world’s masters will spare no atrocity if the demanded sacrifices are refused. The bombs dropped on the defenseless population of Gaza have been exemplary in this regard. They fall on all of us, as they lower the bar of what is held to be a legitimate response in the face of resistance. They amplify a thousand-fold the murderous intent behind the Athenian policeman’s fatal bullet fired into the body of Alexis Grigoropoulos in early December of 2008.

On all sides there is a sense that we are living in apocalyptic times. How did this “end-of-times” crisis develop, and what does it signify for anti-capitalist/social justice movements seeking to understand possible paths out of capitalism? This pamphlet is a contribution to the debate on these questions that is growing ever more intense as the crisis deepens and the revolutionary possibilities of our time open up. We write it in an attempt to penetrate the smokescreen now surrounding this crisis that makes it very difficult to devise responses and to anticipate the next moves capital will make. All too often, even within the Left, explanations of the crisis take us to the rarified stratosphere of financial circuits and dealings, or the tangled, intricate knots of hedge-funds/derivatives operations—that is, they take us to a world that is incomprehensible to most of us, detached from any struggles people are making, so that it becomes impossible to even conceptualize any forms of resistance to it.

Our pamphlet has a different story to tell about the crisis because it starts with the struggles billions have made across the planet against capital’s exploitation and its environmental degradation of their lives.

You can purchase copies of the 16-page pamphlet, saddlestitched from Autonomedia here or can download the PDF here

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