fragments of an attempted writing.

on left populist myths and sentiments...

Continuing the discussion of bank transfer and the hate of big (as opposed to small) business in this radio interview with Sasha Lilley and Doug Henwood, here.

A description of the talk: Moving your money out of the big banks that have helped create the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression may seem like an excellent idea. But leftwing journalist Doug Henwood believes such actions--along with community currencies and attempts to abolish corporate personhood--are misguided. Henwood discusses the long, and problematic, history of American populism, and what a radical approach to finance might look like.

Also discussed is "End the Fed" fetishes, populism both left and right, a sort-kinda defense of Bernanke (as the best actor in this miserable opera), Marx on the creation of the corporation (and its need of being socialized), and more fun stuff.

Interesting and worth a listen.  His discussion on the need for "scope and scale" with regard to the existence of corporations chastises me.


  1. Agreed on your assessment of this talk: very comprehensive. The fetish that American political discourse seems to have about economic thought is avoiding like the plague the contradictions that take place at the point of production. Problems with capitalism always come from without, as in the Fed’s manipulation of the money supply, the “gummint”, the welfare state, foreign wars, immigrants, etc. The myth is that if the market is “left alone”, it would function most efficiently and justly. It’s an intoxicating myth, and related to Dunayevskaya’s supporters crusade to defend Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit: the idea that capitalism in the abstract doesn’t produce crisis, but real existing imperialist capitalism does, etc. Thus, for a large part of the left, “finance capital” becomes the boogey man, as does “late capitalism”, “neoliberalism”, etc. Same shit, different labels.

    Metaphysically speaking, I have always wondered what the reluctance to attribute the functioning of society to labor ultimately produces at the level of ideology. For some, the workings of the market, abstract individual self-interest, the consumer (“the customer is always right”), desire, etc. are what makes human beings tick, not the self-creativity in manipulating and creating their own world. What type of society do these ideologies produce? I think we see it every day.

  2. And what the Left needs to do is help build an alternate world system based on "self-creativity in manipulating and creating (our) own world"! This was the Situationist project and a major reason for the 68 riots... and something not really addressed by orthodox Marxist-Leninist groups. This is a major force of dissatisfaction with the capitalist system.

  3. Could it be that this self creativity IS individual self interest, desire, consumption etc?


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