Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Friday, March 06, 2009

Robert Brenner on the world economy

Long and wideranging interview with American Marxist economist Robert Brenner in the most recent Against the Current. This is just from the conclusion:

Do you expect that there will be an opening for progressives in a world with recent failures of neoliberalism?

RB: The defeat of neoliberalism is definitely creating major opportunities that the left did not have before. Neoliberalism never much appealed to large parts of the population. Working people never identified with free markets, free finance and all that. But I think that large sections of the population were convinced of TINA, "There Is No Alternative."

But now the crisis has revealed the total bankruptcy of the neoliberal mode of economic organization, and you can already see the change very powerfully manifested in the opposition by American working people to the bail-outs for the banks and financial sector. People are saying today is that "We are told that saving the financial institutions, the financial markets, is the key to restoring the economy, prosperity. But we don’t believe it. We don’t want any more of our money going to these people who are just robbing us."

There is an ideological vacuum, consquently there is an opening for left ideas. The problem is that there is very little organization of working people, let alone any political expression. One can say there is a big opportunity created by the change in the political environment, or the ideological climate, but by itself that will not provide a progressive outcome.

So once again, the top priority for progressives — for any left activists — to be active is in trying to revive the organizations of working people. Without the recreation of working- class power, little progressive change will be possible, and the only way to recreate that power is through mobilization for direct action. Only through working people taking collective mass action will they be able to create the organization and the power necessary to provide the social basis for a transformation of their own consciousness, for political radicalization.


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