Oct 28, 2008

U.S.: Neo-nazis charged over Obama 'assassination plot'

"Daniel Cowart, 20, from Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman 18, from Arkansas, are charged with making threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of a sawn-off shotgun and conspiracy to rob a gun dealer"

This is the second reported bust up of a plot to assassinate Democratic Presidential nominee, Barak Obama. The first publicized "plot" was during the Democratic National Convention this past August.

The reports of this new plot are horrendous. The reports state that two neo-Nazis were going to murder 88 Black people, beheading 14 of them. The killing spree was to begin at a school and end in the high-speed car ramming of Obama. The neo-Nazis are reported to have said that they did not expect to succeed in the assassination of Obama, but that they were willing to die trying. Unlike the first plot from August where Obama was the sole target, this new plot was aimed at everyday Black people who are unconnected in any way to the election or Obama. The victims would be targeted because of their “race”. This attack resembles both the murder spree by neo-Nazi WCOTC Matt Hale’s one time right-hand man, Ben August Smith, and the recent beheadings supposedly carried out by Russian neo-Nazis against ethnic Dagestanis and Tajiks. Anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations must keep a watchful eye on the fascists and reactionaries for the possibility of violence and murder. There has to be education and organizing against such threats.

But there is also a real need to look on these reports with a critical eye. Not in that we should think that such plots are absurd or fabricated by the Federal government or media. We are acutely aware of the potentials for plots against Obama and symbols of the Federal Government if there is to be a Democrat/Obama Administration. Attacks against Obama and what he is considered to represent will happen. That should be considered fact. What should also be considered fact is the increased level of Federal counter insurgency against the various manifestations of the “Far-Right”. The System is at constant war with its various antagonists.

Looking back in thinking about the future, before 9/11 it was with the Clinton era that the largest act of recent domestic fascist resistance took place, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. This bombing took place during the tail end of the rise of the Militia Movements and was in partial response to the ATF/FBI attacks on figures such as White Separatist Randy Weaver, and the FBI siege against David Koresh and the Branch Davidians at Waco, TX. The symbolism of the Democratic Party in power is to the various Far-Right populist and reactionary (and fascist) movements a symbol of these movements own disenfranchisement to the System. While most radical far-Righters have little sympathy for the Republicans the Democrats represent a set of politics and organization to be fought tooth and nail. Looking deeper at the ideologies of the Far-Right and fascist movements, Matthew Lyons writes,

By right-wing I mean a political orientation that reinforces or intensifies social oppression as part of a backlash against movements for greater equality, freedom, or inclusiveness. Populism means a form of politics that uses mass mobilization to rally "the people" around some form of anti-elitism…Combining these two concepts, right-wing populism mobilizes a mass movement around a twisted anti-elitism (often based on conspiracy theories) at the same time that it intensifies oppression. In place of leftist conceptions of class struggle, fascists often draw a phony distinction between "producers" (including "productive" capitalists, workers, and middle classes) and "parasites" (defined variously as financiers, bureaucrats, foreign corporations, Jews, immigrants, welfare mothers, etc.) Right-wing populism appeals largely to middle groups in the social hierarchy, who have historically formed an important part of fascism's mass base.

Returning to the example of the Militia Movement, I cite Lyons again with this passage from a little further down the same essay,

The Patriot movement, which included armed "citizens militias" and peaked in the mid/late 1990s, represented the United States' first large-scale coalition of committed nazis and non-fascist activists since World War II. The Patriot movement promoted the apocalyptic specter of an elite conspiracy to destroy U.S. sovereignty and impose a tyrannical collectivist system run by the United Nations. The movement's program centered on forming armed "militias" to defend against the expected crackdown, but more extreme proposals circulated widely, such as bogus "constitutional" theories that would relegalize slavery, abolish women's right to vote, and give people of color an inferior citizenship status. A loose-knit and unstable network mainly based among rural, working-class whites, the Patriot movement attracted millions of supporters at its height. It fed not only on fears of government repression but also reactions to economic hardship connected with globalization (such as the farm crisis of the 1980s), the erosion of traditional white male privilege, the decline of U.S. global dominance, and disillusionment with mainstream political options. (Many of the same impulses fueled grassroots support for Pat Buchanan's 1992 and 1996 Republican presidential campaigns. Buchanan blended attacks on immigrants, homosexuals, and feminists with a critique of corporate globalization and an anti-interventionist foreign policy, but did not challenge the established political framework.)

Making a few final comments, when I said we should question these reports, it is meant to raise the idea of how these plots come into being. Past activities of the FBI/ATF included posing as members of the Far-Right and fascist movements. The attacks on Weaver at Ruby Ridge were precipitated when ATF agents posed as Aryan Nations supporters and asked Weaver to supply illegal weapons. ATF agents later approached Weaver threatening arrest for the “possession and sale of illegal weapons” if he did not cooperate with authorities in becoming a mole in the Aryan Nations. Weaver’s refusal to aid the authorities resulted in their attacks on his home and murder of his wife and son.

The recent assassination/rampage plot by these two Nazis is suspicious. Either these two Nazis were just stupid in their photo posing and online chit chat, or that there are workings that we don’t see. Questions should be asked about who encouraged these people and what surveillance took place. How did the ATF/FBI come to pinpoint these Nazis and understand their plot? Any serious paramilitary cell would not have been identified and broken up so easily. The specter of fascism and Far-Right reaction is real, but the System and its adjunct forces also bolster their own influence and control through the promotion/exposure of “Far-Right” – like all other “terror” plots - as away to scare people into accepting government authority and control.

Oct 23, 2008

Notes on Loren Goldner's "Fictitious Capital for Beginners"

I'd like to point Three Way Fight readers to another essay on the roots of the current financial crisis that relates closely to many of TWF's particular concerns and objectives. It's Loren Goldner's "Fictitious Capital for Beginners: Imperialism, 'Anti-Imperialism,' and the Continuing Relevance of Rosa Luxemburg."

Loren Goldner is a left communist who has been writing about capitalism, working class struggles, racial oppression, and other topics for decades. Many of his writings can be found on his website, Break Their Haughty Power. I first got interested in his work when I stumbled across some of his writings on fascism. (If you want an antidote to the dogma that fascism is a ruling-class tool, see Goldner's "An American National Bolshevik" and "From National Bolshevism to Ecologism".) Since then I've delved into some of his writings on other topics, and we've corresponded a bit. While I don't necessarily agree with all of his work (and some of it is simply over my head), I've learned a lot from him and find his stuff vastly more interesting than a lot of what passes for radical analysis.

Written in 2007, "Fictitious Capital for Beginners" describes the decades-old growth of a financial pyramid, as paper claims unsupported by real wealth ("fictitious capital") have burgeoned close to the point where they are no longer sustainable and must be wiped out to restore equilibrium. Nowadays this is a familiar theme among commentators left, right, and center. But Goldner doesn't blame this house of cards on the usual suspects such as deregulation, "casino capitalism," or greed. He blames it on the global economy's increasing dependence on primitive accumulation -- the systematic looting of goods, labor power, and raw materials that Rosa Luxemburg identified as the embodiment of imperialism. (Goldner argues that Luxemburg's theory of imperialism is far more useful than Lenin's, and he disputes Lenin's claim that imperialist super-profits have been used to buy off a Western labor aristocracy.)

Primitive accumulation contrasts with "normal" capitalist exploitation, in which the ruling class reaps profits from workers' labor power, but in exchange has to pay the costs of social reproduction. ("Social reproduction," Goldner writes, "means at least replacing if not expanding used up machinery, materials, and infrastructure, on one hand, and permitting today's working population to raise a future generation of people capable of working with contemporary technology.") Marx wrote about the African slave trade and peasants being forcibly driven from the land as key examples of primitive accumulation that enabled capitalism to jump-start itself. Luxemburg, in contrast to many Marxists, recognized that capitalism relies on this kind of plunder not just to get started, but permanently. From Luxemburg's focus on imperialism, Goldner extends this to encompass capitalism's assault on the environment as well:

"When Western capital sucks Third World labor power, whose costs of reproduction it did not pay for, into the world division of labor, whether in Indonesia or in Los Angeles, that's primitive accumulation. When capital loots the natural environment and does not pay the replacement costs for that damage, that's primitive accumulation. When capital runs capital plant and infrastructure into the ground (the story of much of the U.S. and U.K. economies since the 1960's) that's primitive accumulation. When capital pays workers non-reproduction wages (wages too low to produce a new generation of workers) that's primitive accumulation too."

Luxemburg argued that capitalism had a permanent need for primitive accumulation to stave off the system's inherent tendency toward a declining rate of profit (a tendency that is a key point of Marx's critique of capitalism). Goldner's main departure from Luxemburg's analysis is to add fictitious capital to the mix. While she wrote that capitalism exported "real" goods such as surplus industrial products in exchange for imperialist plunder, Goldner argues that international loans, representing an every-growing financial bubble, are the main export.

"The implicit final stage of this process," Goldner writes, is "the self-cannibalization of the system, if and when the sources of loot outside the 'closed system' are exhausted" -- a capitalist self-destruction that evokes Marx and Engels' reference to the potential "common ruin of the contending classes." Paralleling Don Hamerquist's argument in "Fascism & Anti-Fascism," Goldner cites Nazi Germany as an example of this process: "Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler's finance minister, ran up a huge debt pyramid to finance German rearmament in the 1933-1938 period, while holding real wages at 50% of 1929 levels. The difference between Germany then and the U.S. today is that Germany had been shorn of most of its external sources of loot after its defeat in 1918, and hence had to seize some new ones militarily after 1938."

While U.S. capitalism today still enjoys external sources of loot, Goldner notes, its own debt pyramid (vast quantities of dollars exported in exchange for real goods, from China and elsewhere, then borrowed back so that U.S. consumers can pay for those goods) increasingly threatens U.S. economic dominance. "As a Japanese minister, weary of the growing dollar reserves in Bank of Japan, said not too long ago: 'give us 15 years, and we won't need the U.S.' With the dollar declining by the day on world exchanges, how much longer will the Chinese, the Koreans, the Japanese, the Middle Eastern oil sheiks, the Russians, the Venezuelans, and the Medillin drug cartel -- all major holders of dollars -- be willing to hold onto a depreciating asset?"

Goldner argues that the "cracking" of U.S. global hegemony -- like the eclipse of the British-led imperial system in 1914-1945 -- could usher in a working-class revolutionary offensive, but it could also lead to a new imperial system, centered in Asia but spanning across the Middle East to parts of Africa and Latin America. In this context, Goldner warns against a misguided leftist "ideology of 'anti-imperialism,' in which a diffuse 'Porto Alegre'/World Social Forum mood today enlists such 'progressive' forces as Hugo Chavez, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Iranian mullahs, the Taliban, the Iraqi 'resistance,' and perhaps tomorrow Kim jong-il; yesterday it included Saddam Hussein."

"Fictitious Capital for Beginners" does not develop this line of thought very far; hopefully Goldner will do so in other writings. Three Way Fight is premised on the idea that significant portions of the right are hostile to both the radical left and global capital. Goldner's argument is related but different: that conflict within global capital itself may make right-wing opponents of U.S. imperialism into stalking horses for a new hegemonic capitalist bloc. We would do well to look at this argument closely.

For further discussion, see the "Comment" below as well as a separately posted reply by
Juan de la O (posted December 27, 2008).

Oct 17, 2008

from Bring the Ruckus. response by McBee on Crisis and the Three Way Fight

from Bring the Ruckus. excerpted response by McBee:

I believe that it is important to discuss the ramifications of a permanent "left" establishment, at least in urban centers and at a national level, and a disenfranchised far right, clinging to it's reactionary white supremacy and xenophobia, and of course, it's guns. Looking towards the recent past, the rise of the insurgent right, It occurs to me that the State's struggles with armed right wing cadre eclipsed most of the overtly armed phase of the left urban guerrilla offensives of of the late 60's and 70's. Waco and Oklahoma city are two of the most salient examples of this escalation. If the farming crisis and imposing neo-liberalism domestically gave birth to the Army of God, and the Militia's, one shudders at the response to a rapid dismantling of most of white supremacy.

I think most of us have assumed that the capitalist state would be in league with fascist elements in opposition to a revolutionary left challenge. This may not be the case, as a truly radical and autonomous fascist movement may constitute a far more potent armed challenge to their order. 3 way fight indeed. But it may afford us some space. Both because the challenge from the right would be presumably primarily violent, and perhaps more controversially, a "left" establishment may be easier to compromise, to maneuver around (or through).

More from Bring The Ruckus!

1) More Discussion on the Crisis and the Three Way Fight: 3 Responses

An example of a “state capitalist” ruling class perspective, & what is a “liberal” capitalist program?

comments by Nick Paretsky.

There’s analysis and commentary all over the internet on the pending nationalization of the banking system throughout the advanced capitalist world; here’s a little more.

2) Capitalism Hits the Fan

Richard Wolff a professor of economics at UMass Amherst talks on the current "financial" crisis and capitialism in general. A form of socialism is presented as a possible alternative. This talk was presented by the Asociation for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism


Dear Midnight Notes Friends,

The breakdown of the Wall Street financial machine makes the task
that we outlined in our June meeting more urgent. In June we planned
to rethink Midnight Notes in view of the restructuring of the
accumulation process and class relations carried out through the
neoliberal turn and Structural Adjustment. We can now define this
project more precisely: what do the current crisis and restructuring
of the financial system imply for us as we join the rest of the world
in the dog house of structural adjustment in the twilight of the
American empire?

In response to these questions, it is important, first, that we
realize that the so-called Wall Street “meltdown” is certainly the
end, but also the completion of the neoliberal program. Let us be
clear about it. To think otherwise is to ignore the lesson taught to
us by the event that opened the present capitalist era: the 1973 coup
again the Chilean working class experiment with socialism, that led
to the victory of strong state backed market economy. Karl Polanyi’s
theory that the single most important cause of the rise of fascism
and Nazism in Europe was the inability to control the financial
market after the 1929 crash also resonates here. In other words, we
should not read the restructuring taking place as a turn to

4) Finance Capitalist George Soros Debates Marx, the End of Capitalism, and Human Subjectivity

The entire program can be found here:


BILL MOYERS:Welcome to the Journal.

You are not alone if you are worried about the financial melt down. So is my guest George Soros, one of the world's best known and successful investors, making billions in times of boom or bust. He's been warning for years of a financial melt down fueled by easy credit and sleepy regulation. Now he's out with this timely book, "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means....."

....BILL MOYERS:Let's imagine for a moment that we're not in a New York studio but we are in Neely's Barbecue Stand in Marshall, Texas, my hometown, and we're surrounded by people I know, people who have lost half of their 401(k)s in the last three or four weeks, and what they want to know is does this financial meltdown represent the end of the American dream as they have known it.

Oct 13, 2008

An example of a “state capitalist” ruling class perspective, & what is a “liberal” capitalist program?

comments by Nick Paretsky.

There’s analysis and commentary all over the internet on the pending nationalization of the banking system throughout the advanced capitalist world; here’s a little more.

During the seventies, when capitalism was entering a long period of crisis, (a crisis some argue never really was resolved), some radicals thought the U.S. ruling class would be forced to turn to state planning of the economy, emulating the planning methods of European and Japanese capitalism. Paul Sweezy of Monthly Review predicted “a great leap into state capitalism” was coming (this is in a 1975 issue of Monthly Review). The Reagan recession of the early ‘80s kept alive the analysis that capitalism was on the verge of a new phase of development in which the state would have a much greater role in the economy. I think this view was influenced by Marx’s belief that the contradictions of capitalism grow in intensity as it develops, that the resolution of crises, such as the Great Depression, eventually leads to contradictions surfacing at a higher level down the road. This analysis turned out to be wrong (at least in the short term), but now Paul Sweezy’s 1975 prediction that a “great leap into state capitalism” was around the bend (he said this Monthly Review) is coming true.

It seems likely that the vast nationalization that will be underway will only prop up the corporate sector, but won’t resolve underlying structural problems in capitalist economies. There is still an absence of a coherent, long-term perspective or program for capitalism within the ruling class. But capitalist thinking about this is beginning.

One important center of organized support within the ruling class for a more statist form of capitalism seems to be the Council on Foreign Relations (a U.S. ruling class body) and the closely linked Trilateral Commission. I monitor the CFR & the Trilateral Commission because past research (in a past life as a graduate student in sociology) seemed to me to show that these organizations, during the ruling class economic strategy debates of the seventies and early ‘80s, were vehicles for a capitalist policy current supportive of a more active economic role for the state.

(When looking at international capitalist policy-planning organizations, everybody’s heard of the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, and Davos, but there are others, including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the Atlantic Institute for International Affairs. There’s a good article examining these organizations and their slightly different policy orientations by William K. Carroll and Colin Carson in the journal Global Networks. 3, 1. 2003. “The Network of Global Corporations and Elite Policy Groups: A Structure for Transnational Capitalist Class Formation?” pp.29-57. Carroll and Carson take the view that we are dealing with a global ruling class. The article’s apparently no longer available for free on the internet, but I can provide a PDF copy if anyone’s interested.)

Last Friday the CFR’s website posted an interview with a member of the CFR’s board of directors, David Rubenstein (http://www.cfr.org/publication/17508/grasping_radical_economic_change.html).Rubenstein is a cofounder of the Carlyle Group, a big private equity firm which had some temporary notoriety after 9/11 because of its dealings with the Bin Laden family via George Bush Sr. Rubenstein is also a board member of the Institute for International Economics, a think tank closely connected to the CFR and Trilateral Commission. He’s also been an adviser to JPMorgan-Chase. Rubenstein gives an honest (capitalist) appraisal of the situation:

“The leaders in our government today, and the leaders of the business world today, do not really have a clear understanding of what needs to be done. I’m not sure anybody does. Everything that has been thought of has been tried and it hasn’t yet worked. I do think that at some point we will hit a bottom and people will say this is as far down as the markets should go. The problem is that by the time we hit that bottom, it may well be that many companies do not survive, that unemployment has gone up much higher than people can tolerate, that the credit system is not fatally but near-fatally wounded, and the entire economic construct under which the globe has conducted itself has to be radically changed. Nobody has ever anticipated something like this, nobody has ever seen anything like this, and it’s therefore taxing everybody’s abilities to find out what the solution is.”

Rubenstein goes on to advocate the kind of massive equity injections in banks now being supported by Paulson, and also argues that industrial and other non-financial companies will need similar government investment. He briefly calls for government-business “cooperation,” in a way that sounds to me like French-style economic planning of the post-World War 2 period, and Japan’s planning “miracle.” He also talks, like a good businessman, about the opportunities for making money out of the crisis. He doesn’t unveil a comprehensive, point by point program for change, but I think he’s talking about a new model of capitalism, not just a temporary set of measures to prop up the system that can be dispensed with after a while, allowing a return to neoliberalism. (Government ownership itself is, of course, not all that new: there’s the French case in postwar reconstruction, and during the Great Depression in the U.S. the Reconstruction Finance Corporation did the same thing. But Rubenstein seems to be thinking of permanent arrangements in which government ownership becomes a central mechanism for economic growth.)

How do we define “Liberal, Centrist, Conservative” sectors of the ruling class? What is the “liberal” capitalist position? It’s possible for capitalists to support a great deal of state intervention without being “liberal” in the New Deal, Ted Kennedy sense, where there’s a welfare state and organized labor is made a “partner” in the government planning process. John Connally of Texas and people around him advocated large-scale government bailouts of corporations while being hostile to trade unions and other New Deal constituencies. Remember, also, that “liberal” capitalists in the recent past who have advocated government ownership have not been all that liberal: the prime case being the financier Felix Rohatyn, active in the Democratic Party, who advocated during the early 1980s a new Reconstruction Finance Corporation to make equity investments in companies as a tool for “reindustrialization”. Rohatyn’s liberal brand of state interventionis, involved a lot of austerity for the working class. Rohatyn is famous for overseeing the rescue of NYC from bankruptcy in the 1970s, a rescue which involved squeezing the working class. Rohatyn endorsed “right-to-work” laws.

Is Rubenstein a “liberal” capitalist? He was an official in the Carter administration. He probably supports Obama. But in his brief interview he shows no concern with creating a new “compact” with labor, or with creating some welfare safety net for all the those who are being and will be emmiserated and devastated by the crisis. (He might address these issues elsewhere.)

Any state interventionist capitalist program is going to be faced with certain problems over the long haul which will force more authoritarian, repressive forms of rule, not only directed at the working class but also at certain sectors of capital. Not only will governments have to take ownership positions in companies, they will also be forced to make choices about the fate of individual firms, such as which will be allowed to live and which must die. There will be capitalist resistance to these decisions. There may be struggles within the state apparatuses between different capitalist groupings over the direction of restructuring. A heavy hand will be needed to keep recalcitrant capitalists under control.

With widespread nationalizations, a problem for the ruling class will be the politicization of the economy. There will be demands for state action to serve the interests of the working class (a bailout for the banksters, why not for ordinary people), which may not be easily be accomodated. An ideological benefit of neoliberalism was that economic conditions – such as unemployment, low wages, and general working class misery – could be portrayed as being the result of the impersonal, almost “natural” forces of the “free market”. When economic life is no longer governed by the “invisible hand,” and economic conditions are the result of visible. conscious, collective decisions by the state and capitalists, the state becomes a target of protests; the class character of the state is more clearly revealed. The class struggle becomes politicized, state power becomes an issue.

Raw Story: Did anti-Muslim documentary spur Ohio mosque gassing?

From the Raw Story website:

by Muriel Kane
Published: Monday September 29, 2008

In the wake of an alleged attack on a mosque in Ohio during a prayer session celebrating the final days of the holy month of Ramadan, questions are being raised about whether the distribution of millions of copies of an anti-Muslim documentary by supporters of the presidential campaign of John McCain may have contributed to the attack.

During Friday prayers at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, many of the 300 celebrants were suddenly overcome with fits of coughing and difficulty in breathing. Babies and children who were in a separate room were the most strongly affected, and according to the Dayton Daily News, one child told fire investigators of having seen two men spray something through the window of that room from a white can.

read more

Muslim student Attacked at Chicago University

From the Chicago Sun Times:

A student who says she was attacked by a masked gunman at Elmhurst College Thursday night was the target of anti-Muslim graffiti a week ago, authorities say...

The student — who is Muslim — reported being struck by the masked gunman but but no shots were fired, Henderson said. The attacker was described as a white male, about 5-foot-8 and wearing a ski mask.

From Chicago 7 News at 5:

The same student who was attacked Thursday night discovered threatening graffiti in her locker just eight days ago. The words "Die Muslims, rid us of your filth" were scrawled in magic marker on her locker along with a swastika. It is front page news in the college newspaper and the school started an investigation.

click on link for video

RIP Fyodor "Fediay" Filatov. Another Russian Antifascist murdered.

In the morning of October 10th 2008 Fyodor Filatov died in hospital from numerous knife wounds. At 7:30 AM he was attacked by four unknown persons armed with knifes, while leaving his home on his way to work. There are no doubts that the attack was well-planned. Russian Neo-Nazi scum always saw Fyodor as one of their arch enemies. His photos were published on a lot of Neo-Nazi websites along with death threats.

Fyodor Filatov was one of the founders and most active members of Moscow Troyan Skinheads – a community of Antiracist and Antifascist skinheads from Moscow and Moscow region. Nobody does as much as him for the development of Russian Antifascist skinhead movement.

He was only 27 years old.

He died for his beliefs.

We must never forget.

http://ru. indymedia. org/newswire/display/21024/index. php

Anarchists arrested after clash with BNP activists in East End

From the East London Advertiser:
SIX anarchists were arrested in a street fight after they discovered BNP activists had duped a vicar into letting them use his church hall for a rally by saying it was a "book club" meeting.

The six were part of a group of about 30 supporters of the Antifa anti-fascist group who had been lying in wait for the British National Party in Bethnal Green on Sunday.

The anarchists had found out that some 40 BNP members, including former Millwall councillor Derek Beackon, were staging a strategy rally in the church hall of St John on Bethnal Green.
read more

NYTimes: Italy’s Attacks on Migrants Fuel Debate on Racism

MILAN — The metal shutters are closed at Shining Bar, a coffee shop near the central train station here. On the facade, someone has written “proud to be black” and spray-painted “Abba Lives” in red.

The men who attacked Mr. Guibre, 19, suspected him of stealing money, the authorities said.

Abba was the nickname of Abdul William Guibre, who was born in Burkina Faso, raised in Italy and beaten to death here last month by the bar’s father-and-son proprietors. The two, Fausto and Daniele Cristofoli, suspected Mr. Guibre, 19, of stealing money and set upon him with a metal rod, the authorities said, when it appeared he had stolen a package of cookies. During the altercation, the attackers shouted “dirty black,” lawyers for both sides said.

read more

Oct 10, 2008

The bailout and capitalist worries about the parliamentary democratic form of rule

reposted from previous post Bailout Rejected

After the problems getting Congress to agree to the bailout the ruling class surely must be having some doubts about the viability of parliamentary democracy, at least in handling major, systemic crises. (Domestic counterinsurgency planning and the general movement towards greater state repression, of course, also points to what leading sectors of the bourgeoisie see as the long-term prospects for traditional “liberal democracy” in the US, and is a manifestation of the secular crisis of capitalism.) Since the ‘70s, discussions have periodically emerged in rc circles about the weaknesses of the US state structure, with its “checks and balances,” which constrain the executive branch from taking strong, decisive action. (Think of the old Trilateral Commission report, “The Crisis of Democracy”.) The Iran-Contra episode reflected this growing rc impatience with Congress getting in the way. Now, with a Congress that has been very pliable so far, in areas including warmaking and domestic political repression, something went wrong again. Congressional opposition to the bailout notably included some stalwart conservative Republicans, who usually could be counted on to support the Bush administration on anything.

The near failure of the bailout bill to pass is again stirring up rc questioning of the reliability of Congress. This can be seen in a recent editorial in the Washington Post (Oct 1) by Michael Gerson, a policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations (long the premier capitalist policy-planning organization in the foreign policy arena) (accessed at the CFR’s web site, http://www.cfr.org/publication/17406/). Gerson:

“America’s economic crisis has become a political crisis – with the second now compounding and exceeding the first.… America is left with one portion of one branch of government that does not seem to work.… [I]t is now clear that American political elites have lost the ability to quickly respond to a national challenge by imposing their collective will. What once seemed like politics as usual now seems more like the crisis of the Articles of Confederation – a weak government populated by small men. And this must be more frightening to a world dependent on American stability than any bank failure.”

If a global regulatory framework has to be established to deal with the financial meltdown, Congress may again prove to be an obstacle to crisis management, and again illustrate the “tension between the political and economic interests of global capital and the national frameworks that field armies, raise taxes, and print money” (d. Hamerquist). (I don’t believe there is a genuinely global ruling class, just yet, but I’m starting to believe there is a tendency in that direction.)

Nick Paretsky

To the 2008 Anti Racist Action Network Conference

Solidarity from the antifascist webblog, threewayfight: an insurgent blog against fascism and the State.

We wish your conference well and look forward to hearing of your organizing - now and for the future.

We are facing an increasingly uncertain future: the global capitalist crisis and a deepening recession; continuing War and Occupation; militarization of the State via the Patriot Act in the name of a “War on Terror”; mass raids and deportations of working peoples carried out by ICE; and an election that in many ways is unprecedented but in the end offers only differing visions of maintaining a capitalist System.

The total sum of these situations open up both risks and opportunities for those opposed to the current Order. But the potentials for mass opposition movements are neither limited to nor guaranteed to be movements relating to or emanating from “our side”. We must be conscious of and prepared for the emergence of popular and reactionary movements taking shape and offering their visions of “community” and survival in the face of a desperate time.

Whether Conservatives who feel the System is beyond their control and influence to far-Right religious fundamentalists to anti-immigrant forces to outright fascist groups in the style of the NA and their ilk, there are real possibilities that we could see these groups reemerge and strengthen as society becomes more polarized.

The antifascist movement - as represented by movements like ARA - have been on the front lines of developing the needed analysis and the means of fighting back and building a recognized and independent political alternative. It has not been easy. We have faced repression and even murder. We have seen splits within our ranks over strategy. And at times we have fallen short of the mark we set. But the efforts and example of our work has added to the vast experiences of people in motion and struggle. It is our ability to access the lessons from these experiences that will determine our future viability as radical and pro-liberation antifascist movements.

Once again, we wish you luck.

In Antifascist Struggle,


Potentials and Pitfalls: Debates on the Global Economic Crisis and the Three Way Fight

from Bring The Ruckus:  

For the past few months, members of BTR, the Threewayfight blog, and others have been debating fascist potentials and their significance for a liberatory political project. The questions which this debate provokes lead to the need for an evaluation of current conditions, and an assessment of what has changed since previous high points of struggle. In the midst of this debate, capitalist markets were rattled with what has now become a global economic crisis. We're posting edits from the two sections of the debates here: debates on the crisis, and debates on fascism. We hope that folks find them useful, and will weigh in. 

read debates

Debates on Fascism

from Bring The Ruckus:

We're publishing the following debates in the hope they will stir a broader debate. They've occurred as internal and external conversations between BTR members, contributors to the Threewayfight blog, and others. The opinions expressed do not represent organizational positions, but those of members themselves.

read debates

Oct 9, 2008

Diane Rehm Show: The Future of American Capitalism

Thursday's show features several leading U.S. financial analysts discussing the impact the crisis is having on national and global capitalist trends and planning, as well as the uncertainty of the future.

While not from an anti-capitalist point, the show is helpful in further understanding how sections - liberal, conservative, and centrist - of the ruling class perceive the crisis, but also is important in that in the public discourse there is an actual questioning of the viability of "capitalism" as we have "known" it.

11:00The Future of American Capitalism

Some say the efforts to address the economic crisis in the U.S. could lead to long-term and fundamental changes in the American model of capitalism. A look at possible changes ahead in our economic system.


Kevin Phillips, political and economic commentator and former Republican White House Strategist, his 13 books include "American Theocracy" and "American Dynasty."

William Greider, national affairs correspondent for "The Nation" author of "The Soul of Capitalism" and soon to be published: "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country"

Stephen Moore, member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and former President of the Club for Growth

John Makin, economist, visiting scholar at American Enterprise Institute, and former consultant to the U.S. Treasury, the Congressional Budget Office, and the International Monetary Fund

listen here. click on link and follow to the "Listen to this Segment" tab on the left of the page

Direct Action? Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld knocked out at Gym

This occurred after giving testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about how CEO Dick Fuld led his company, Lehman Brothers - one of the Wests largest financial services firms - into bankruptcy after its shares fell 2 weeks ago (their value falling 90%) and inducing a Dow Jones tumble of near 500 points while Fuld and other executives walked away with millions - Lehamn's layed off near 9,000 employees. While at the Lehman's Gym, another member walked up and punched Dick in the face and knocked him out. Great stuff! The only unfortunate thing is that so far this type of direct action is only taking place between executives. We need to catch up and start leveling some direct action of our own against these crooks and their system. 

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Oct 3, 2008

Audio file: The cause of the crisis and the opportunites it presents

Paul Bowman of the Irish anarchist organization, the Workers Solidarity Movement, presents a talk of the nature of the current crisis and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) both from the perspectives of the capitalist ruling classes as well as for revolutionary anarchists and the anti-capitalist movements.

While Bowman is speaking to an Irish audience, he makes his presentation relevant to on international basis, just as this recent crisis of capital is itself international.

link to article, audio file and presentation slides at indymedia ireland

"A very detailed talk on the cause of the current world financial crisis that starts off by explaining the background economics in an easy to understand manner, moves on to the role the war and other events apart from the sub-prime crash played and concludes with a look at what opportunities have been created for anarchist by this sequence of events."

Oct 2, 2008

Dave Ranney comments on Capitalism in Crisis?

the following was forwarded to us and is a response to D. Hamerquist's, Capitalism in Crisis?

Generally Don's short note on crisis fits with things I am thinking about and incorporating into talks. There are some important details that could not be covered in such a short post. I argued in my book and generally in talks that the present period represents a new mode of accumulation as a response to the crisis that emerged in the mid seventies. I agree with Don's formulation of crisis as capitalist production reaching the limits of the law of value. I have outlined elements of this new mode elsewhere. One important thing of the mode of production is that it turned debt into a global commodity to the extent that it heightened the duality between use value and value for many of the commodities it was financing. This was seen most clearly in housing in the U.S. where the price of the house is driven by the trading of mortgage backed securities and housing itself took on the appearance of a pure exchange value. I argued back in 2000 that the global credit structure in turn was evolving into a new manifestation of crisis that amounts to a Ponzi or a huge game of musical chairs.

One key thing about labor mobility being a possible social base for an internationalist perspective is that part of this new (since mid 1970's) mode of accumulation is that labor is not simply mobile but "flexibilized." Flexible labor means labor being "declassed" as they are reduced to individuals who can not only work anywhere but also be part timed, two or three tiered etc. This has necessitated an international attack on labor organization and an international ideological assault to individualize labor.This seems to me to be an important and critical area for struggle. So I think I am simply underlining what Don said about this.

With regard to the contradiction Don notes between the continuing need for a nation state and capital mobility there are some important issues regarding how this is being approached by capital that also point to important arenas for struggle. There are two interesting issues of NACLA Journal (September/October, 2008 and January/February 2007 in this regard. In the 2008 issue several articles point to how NAFTA broke the concept of social compact which had been the framework within which the left in
Mexico struggled against the state there. They define "neo liberalism" as a world of actors who are all "sovereign individuals" unregulated by the state. The institutional arrangement of NAFTA, WTO and IMF rules created a total dependency on the U.S. economy, fragmented and flexibleized the peasantry and working class and essentially undermined all the old clientist relations that were the power base of the PRI and the target for the left. Mexico depends on the U.S. economy for 85% of trade including basics like food. The model for the role of the state is emerging in this context with the creation of a regional defense based initiative called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in 2005 by the Presidents of the US, Mexico and Prime Minister of Canada. The SPP web site says that the initiative -- part of NAFTA Plus -- "understands North America as a shared economic space" in which "security leads to prosperity." This was referred to by the State Department as "armoring NAFTA." This has been presented under the general rubric of a regional component of the war on terror and war on drugs. With the failure to negotiate FTAA, a series of bi national trade agreements are also being used as a wedge to extend the reach of the SPP agenda. Even Bolivia has a unit of the military completely trained and equipped by the U.S. to "conduct the war on drugs. Generally there have been more people trained at the new versiion of School of the Americas in the past 10 years than through the entire cold war era. A key componet of this is that after the overthrow of Somoza by the Sandinistas in 1979 the U.S. abandoned its cold war era practice of supporting and arming brutal dictators to control and contain "communism." It was replaced by a form of "democracy building" that NACLA calls "Plutocracy" or rule of the few using democratic electoral processes. What I believe is happening now is the development of a crack in these initiatives that is tied to contradictions of the current mode of accumulation. In South America and parts of Central America the contradictions of neo liberalism have become so severe that there is growing unity among nations that is grounded in being anti neo liberalism. What these nation states are for and the class forces they represent are quite varied and often contradictory. But U.S. capital is responding by trying to intervene and "tame democracy." Argentina's defiance of IMF seriously undermined its political and even economic viability. But it was a real shot across the bow.