imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Capitalism in Crisis

by Gary Sudborough Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Some thoughts on the current economic crisis and capitalism

If one watches the business channel on cable television, they seem to have a multitude of different explanations for the recent financial crisis from letting Lehman Brothers go under to misspending the government bailout money to not giving the capitalists even more money, etc., etc. They say the consumer has stopped spending, but this seems to mystify most of these commentators, who evidently believe consumers are sitting on a pile of cash and just being stubborn and petulant about spending it. If anyone mentions unions, let alone socialism, and this person suggests a wage considerably above the abysmal bare minimum wage might just enable workers to save enough to say buy a new car, the majority on the business channel seem to go into some sort of apoplectic fit, contending that it is the business men who need the money in the form of capital gains tax reductions. They do this in the face of statistics that show that world wide wealth is rapidly being siphoned from the poor to the rich. In the United States 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. The reason the crisis goes on and on is not just because of bad mortgages or a credit crunch, it is because of overproduction. Workers are not being paid nearly enough to buy back all the goods and services they produce. Hence, the inventories of cars and practically everything else are at record levels. Every individual capitalist looks at only his own profit margin, trying to maximize it by breaking unions or holding down labor costs. They never look at the purchasing power of the economy as a whole and hence overproduction of goods and services builds to such an extent that not even the credit card can alleviate it. To compensate for declining sales and profits, the individual capitalist lays off workers, which further exacerbates the problem because of another decline in purchasing power. It is like a snowball rolling down hill. Each round of layoffs decreases purchasing power further, resulting in more layoffs and an ever worsening economy.

In the depression of 1893 there was no such thing as a safety net. Little children and indeed often whole families had to work to make ends meet. Capitalists liked employing children because they had nimble and agile fingers, would work for less, and rarely caused the labor problems that adults did. When the depression came and layoffs occurred, there was no unemployment compensation, Social Security, disability insurance or any other measures like those enacted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression that might have softened the blow. In 1893, unless one had generous relatives in a better condition, one could starve to death, die of disease or freeze to death in the streets. It was a harsh world for all but the capitalists, who, no matter how many millions they lost in the stock market, had plenty more to live a very lavish life style, while something like Dante's Inferno went on around them. Can one imagine if in the current crisis in capitalism, a safety net did not exist, agencies like the Federal Reserve the IMF and federal governments couldn't pump money into the system, what a catastrophe would already be at hand? There would probably be World-Wide revolution. This is the system conservatives call "free enterprise" and claim works best when left completely alone. Yes, indeed, it works wonderfully for capitalist thieves when left to itself. Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved capitalism and for thanks he got a plot against his life by some of the largest capitalists in the country.

The Savings and Loan heist, the accounting firm crimes of Arthur Andersen and others, the robbery of energy consumers by Enron and the other energy companies, the packaging of mortgages by banks into a kind of stock which they could sell and make considerable profits and the continual taxpayer bailouts of corporations are just the most blatant forms of robbery of working people by the capitalist class. There is a constant and less conspicuous form of robbery. According to the labor theory of value all wealth results from labor exerting its influence over the natural world. Profit is a part of that value which is expropriated by the capitalist and rightly belongs to the worker. The more workers a capitalist employs in good times the more of this profit can be siphoned off from each worker and the richer each capitalist becomes. The more machinery, which increases the output of each worker, the capitalist owns the larger the profit margin. Naturally, the longer this machinery can be kept running in each individual day, the more profit. Hence, there arose in the early days of capitalism, many workers putting in 12, 14 or 16 hour days. The only hindrance for capitalists was that these natural machines called human beings needed rest, food and shelter. Otherwise, they had a tendency to break down. Of course, in countries like China where labor was virtually limitless, workers could be actually worked to death and were, including children.

One might reasonably ask where the capitalists came by all the wealth they used to buy the land, buildings, machinery and labor they employed. The common myth employed by capitalists is that very prudent workers took their meager earnings, saved and gradually step by step became capitalists. The flaw is that workers were paid so little they actually went into debt, rather than being able to save anything. There is a very accurate song sung about coal miners called 16 Tons. It goes something like this: "You load sixteen tons and what do you get- another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store." The actual way the early capitalists got their control of wealth was by heredity, thievery and sometimes violence. The nobility in Europe already had vast sums of capital, but the incredible amounts of gold and silver stolen from Mexico and South America increased the capital existent in Europe greatly. Spain and Portugal owed much of the expropriations of this wealth to English and French banks. This and other factors resulted in the industrial revolution occurring in France and England first.

The other ingredient that capitalists needed besides capital was a great deal of labor and the population of most European countries at that time was rural. Not only that, but most peasants would rather farm than be tied to some machine, performing the same repetitive task over and over again all day. The peasants had something to fall back on, even though they gave much of their produce to the nobles. It was called the commons. As the name suggests, it consisted of large tracts of forests, arable land, lakes and streams where peasants could farm for themselves or fish and hunt. To deprive the peasants of this resource for survival, the capitalists bought up this land and fenced it in. This forced many peasants into the cities where they were a ready labor supply for the capitalist's factories. Much of this information is in a book called Das Kapital by Karl Marx and is even more relevant today than it ever was. Due to relentless corporate propaganda over decades and decades the very name Karl Marx scares most people away from reading his work, which is a terrible shame because without an informed working class, fascism can easily result due to a crisis in capitalism. Germany in the 1930s is an example. Das Kapital like The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin will always be relevant because it is scientific and tells the truth.

Whenever, I write an article like this, I am always told that socialism has failed and that there is no alternative to capitalism. Well, I say, a certain kind of socialism has never been tried on a large scale and on a smaller scale was destroyed by force. Noam Chomsky tells about the mill girls in Massachusetts in the 19th century who were adamant in the belief that they ought to own and run the factories themselves. The IWW always taught that the workers should own and run their enterprises. Remember the Hollywood movie called 9 to 5, where three women workers kidnapped their tyrannical boss, imprisoned him and then proceeded to make all sorts of improvements to their company, like day care for employee's children, flexible hours and a multitude of other beneficial things. In the movie the tyrannical boss was eventually freed, the big boss came by and approved of the improvements and the three girls were given promotions. Why not just take the next step and get rid of the big boss and put ownership and operations of the company in the hands of the employees, since they proved they could do the job. I guess Hollywood was afraid of being too radical. Socialism is the answer to the current misery caused by capitalism, but don't expect to hear any discussion of it on television or any media owned by the super rich. They would rather see the world go up in smoke than lose any of their colossal wealth.


Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 8 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Wage Increases mous Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008 at 5:04 PM
But what type of socialism.... mous Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 at 4:37 AM
!?! why? Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 at 10:24 AM
?! mous Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 at 5:53 PM
answer Sure is! Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 at 6:19 PM
ok ok mous Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 at 10:00 PM
still studying mous Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 at 8:23 PM
GS Repeal mous Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2008 at 2:16 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy