Weekly Roundup: March 15, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Workers take over factories, Ponzi scheme capitalism, protecting food & healthcare from profits

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: Social Security, Ohio Derailment, Puerto Rican Poverty - US Capitalism Provokes

Prof. Wolff focuses on the struggle over Social Security- real versus false alternatives- and the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment tragedy. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Alexis Colón about the colonial status of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans fighting against it.

Colón: “We are owned by Congress and we don't have voting representation in Congress. Our president is the U.S. president and yet we cannot vote in presidential elections. So to me, all of this is evidence that we are indeed a colony of the United States of America.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Circulation of Fictitious Capital

Prof. Harvey explains Marx’s analytical techniques of presupposition and posit and applies them to today’s capital circulation system and the crises that may emerge from the ever-growing fictitious capital investments. By looking at the presupposition, or what came before a system, and the posit, what happens as a result of an established system, Harvey takes apart the complex systems and issues today, such as climate change or the instability of fictitious capital investing in itself, and is able to illuminate some possible futures if we continue down these paths. 

Harvey: “Fictitious capital is the global Ponzi scheme, in which an ambient form of capital is available worldwide for anybody to invest in at any time. And people are making their money simply out of speculating on the different qualities and quantities of financial capital in our in circulation. And there is a huge gap between the fictitious capital which exists and the real capital which exists.”

All Things Co-op: People Power - Imagining a World without Bosses

Kevin and Cinar speak with sociologist, political scientist, author and documentary filmmaker Dario Azzellini. They discuss recuperated workplaces—workplaces that have been abandoned by private capitalist owners and taken over by workers and reorganized to be democratically controlled—and why the process of engaging in struggle with fellow workers builds an enduring ecosystem of trust. They also explore critiques of the Mondragon corporation, why co-ops should be rooted in community and social movements, the dangers of co-op owners identifying as entrepreneurs, the long history of worker struggles around the world, and more.

Azzellini: “I think that the problem over the past decades with a lot of cooperatives, and you can see how in universities they all moved suddenly cooperatives studies into business schools, where it's just like an alternative model for business, not for society, not for life, but just for business. And that's a problem that created then the idea in these workers that they’re entrepreneurs.”

Global Capitalism: Challenging Capitalism

France is shut down by a general strike. Women have become 50% of the workforce and radicalized leaders in labor. People are uniting against a large-scale assault on the working class. China’s contradictions circle below the surface. Richard Wolff sees the writing on the wall of these global events. Will any, or all, of these struggles create the most profound challenge to capitalism?

Wolff: “What may well be happening in the world today is the most profound challenge to capitalism slowly emerging out of these four different kinds of challenge of capitalism and that challenge is: employer-employee organization of the workplace is the problem.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Can Profits Be Excluded From Food and Healthcare?

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Would you agree that for large monopolistic industries that the entire society depends on for survival, like food, energy, defense, and health care, worker coops would not go far enough? If we're serious about our long-term survival, wouldn't we have to remove the profit motive entirely and give all citizens democratic control over these industries?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “Profit never should have been the only one and that it was a tribute to the power of capitalism and capitalists because remember, they're the ones who get the profit. We are the ones who get the wages and the salaries.”

Wolff Responds: Why Did Silicon Valley Bank Collapse?

Prof. Wolff discusses the Silicon Valley Bank collapse: how and why it happened, and the many consequences to come.

Wolff: “Silicon Valley Bank is the second largest bank to collapse in American history. We're talking about a bank with tens of billions of dollars, a big deal everywhere in the world. It failed. It collapsed. It wasn't clear to the rest of the world that it was anywhere near collapse, so there are questions of secrecy perhaps or knowledge not being available. You know what that says to an investor everywhere else in the world? Don't hold all your money in the United States. Don't hold it all in the big American Banks who knows how far this has gone or will go.”

Learn more about d@w latest book, Stuck Nation: Can the United States Change Course on Our History of Choosing Profits Over People?

by Bob Hennelly





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