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October 16, 2011

Comments

Richard

I rather hope the Left will take a look at this for an anti-statist antidote to the current system: http://radgeek.com/gt/2011/10/14/markets-not-capitalism-1st-ed/

Proof that not all libertarians are on the Right or believe that the future should be an Ayn Rand theme park.

George Hallam

"From the 80s onwards, the left lost interest in economics and class"

The 1980s? Well, at the very least, this needs to be amended to “the 1960s”. It would be better, though, to think again about what you mean by "the Left".

Arguably, "the Left" has always been more about people defining themselves in relation to the world ( e.g. "not in my name") rather than trying to understand it, much less change it.

If you take a strong moral stand on an issue then you can usually pass as a leftist. It doesn’t seem to matter much what position you actually take so long as it's for moral reasons.

For example, Galloway on abortion, or Livingstone on bombing Serbia. On a more general level, I know lots of leftist who are consistantly anti-trade union.

Given this orientation towards morality it's no surprise that the economic and class dimensions of politics become downgraded and ignored.

Luis Enrique

When you talk about class power being used to enrich bankers at our expense, are you talking about the status quo before the crisis, or the bailouts? if the latter, in what way do you think bankers were enriched?

Never mind radical ideas, I'd settle for any well thought out idea for reforming the financial sector. Aside from a lot of hot air, the only practical plan I have seen is for a State investment bank. Meh.

I think you are wrong about the state too. The state is where solutions have to comes from. Legislation, taxation, expenditure, policy.

CahalMoran

If they had a laundry list of demands it would defeat the entire point of the movement. Michael Hudson has a great video on this:

http://michael-hudson.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-st-systemic-change-please/

Chris

I think Norman Geras is being rather harsh. In modern western countries (and especially America), politics has become so right-wing and so dominated by moneyed interests that it's unsurprising if expressions of resistance and class struggle come without clear demands of the sort lefty intellectuals like ("Nationalise the commanding heights!", "All power to the soviets!" etc). People in a country dominated by the ultra-capitalist Republican Party and the ultra-capitalist Democratic Party don't have a strong radical tradition to inform their actions. They're in a sense scrabbling about in the dark, but it's good that they're doing something.

Shuggy

I agree it's harsh - and more than a little pompous, frankly - given the shite we had to listen to from the hard left in the eighties. They had concrete demands - it's just that so few of them made any sense. More than a little irritated with those dismissing the protests as inchoate and lacking structured demands. It's not that this criticism isn't valid but one rather gets the impression that most of those describing the protesters as politically 'immature' are in reality too middle-aged and comfortable to have been much affected by the Great Recession.

Ralph Musgrave

Another bizarre aspect of the political left and economics is thus. The vast majority of money in circulation originates with private banks, not central banks. You’d think the political left would object to private banks having their own printing presses. But such is the economic illiteracy of the political left that they don’t even know what’s going on here, far as I can see.

In contrast (irony of ironies) I’m a member of the wicked “far right” BNP, and have been putting a HUGE amount of effort into opposing the creation of money by private banks.

Tom Addison

Shuggy - "It's not that this criticism isn't valid but one rather gets the impression that most of those describing the protesters as politically 'immature' are in reality too middle-aged and comfortable to have been much affected by the Great Recession."

I'm one of those people who has accused the protestors of this, and whilst I'm not middle-aged, I've definitely been lucky with regards to not feeling the effects of the recession, and I think you make a valid point. To people in full-time work, over 2m unemployed is becoming more and more of an emotionless statistic.

But maybe a problem is that people like me assume (or have assumed) that most of these protestors are in their late teens or early twenties, and so we think that, as a whole, they don't really know what they're on about. One lad I went to Uni with (who has been quite vocal on the problems of recent times) spent most of his Uni years being a drum 'n' bass DJ and smoking weed, and so is more your Michael Moore lefty than something more intellectually respectable.

But I'm sure they're not all like him.

dirigible

"Norm criticises the Occupy Wall Street movement for not having articulate, concrete demands."

Sure, it's working in practice, but what about in theory?

The demands are obvious (it's not Occupy Broad Street), and not reducing them to sectarian code helps to build support.

This is an expression of lived experience and a recognition of economic self and class interest. There used to be a strain of politics that had something to say about that sort of thing.

Jena

After seeing the news in the last couple of days, all the arrests and desperation on people's faces... I don't like where this is going to be honest. There will be no change.

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