Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.
Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
We’re re-sharing a relevant episode from last year in place of a new episode this week. This week's show is dedicated to a discussion of the signs of US capitalism's decline. US history as the passage of US capitalism from its birth, through its state-supported growth and expansion, to its global peaking from 1945 to 2000. Wolff presents the causes of its ongoing decline this 21st century, and then offers a conclusion on the right, center and left political responses to decline.
Wolff: “The good news, the silver lining in the cloudy spectrum of options: what we haven't tried in the United States is to go to the left. To be progressive. To do things that we have done that have worked in the past.”
Prof. Harvey considers the hostility and glorification of ignorance—a legacy of McCarthyism—towards the teachings of Marx, especially within academia and the mainstream media. Academia has become a money-making institution and even liberal mainstream media, claiming to be tolerant, espouse repressive tolerance. Harvey draws on his experience writing and teaching about Marxism to reject the need to define the current phase of capital. We are not regressing back towards feudalism and we don’t need to find more adjectives to put in front of capitalism. Rather than trying to fit our current conditions into a preconceived notion, we simply need to consider the qualities of the conditions in order to challenge the power of capitalist institutions and move forward.
Harvey: “The hostility and the glorification of ignorance about Marx, while at the same time absolutely accepting that it is absurd, this is a really, really difficult problem. How to bring Marx into the mainstream is a real issue, is a real challenge. And I've been struggling most of my life to do that.”
In this holiday-themed episode of All Things Co-op, Kevin speaks with Ellis Roberts of New York State of Pine, a worker cooperative selling Christmas trees in New York City. They discuss the exploitation of workers and huge markups for consumers from traditional Christmas tree companies, New York State of Pine’s democratic centralist model for decision-making, the question of scale, and the importance of working with and getting to know working-class people as communists and socialists.
If you live in NYC and haven’t gotten your Christmas tree yet, visit NY State of Pine at 323 St. Johns Pl in Prospect Heights, 75 7th Ave in Park Slope, or Metropolitan Ave and Bedford Ave in Williamsburg!
Ellis Roberts: “We're out here nine to nine every day, and I think as workers we're building, we're transporting, maintaining the trees, and selling the trees, we deserve every penny of it, besides what the farmer deserves for actually producing the trees. And we figure, as a worker co-op, we can give the farmer better pay for per tree and the customers can get better prices and we as workers, as worker owners, can get better wages.”
Richard Wolff and David Harvey discuss misconceptions of mainstream or bourgeois economists who deny the Marxist concept of contradictions and make critical errors that have real and painful consequences for the majority of people.
Wolff: “It's fine when everything's going fine but in a crisis, [Marx] says all your Bourgeois economists can do is to say 'this would not happen if only capitalism would perform the way I depict it in my textbook!' It's a wonderful kind of thing to kind of say, you know?”
An audience member of Ask Prof Wolff LIVE asks: "If inflation is a result of employers increasing prices to make higher profits, how does the Fed connect the interest rate as a way to directly control inflation?" To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.
Wolff: “Why am I critical, and why [do] I think you ought to be as well? Because this is not the only way to deal with an inflation. In fact, it's not a very good way. It often doesn't work and it is awfully soft on the employer, when it's the employer's decision to raise the prices which give us the inflation problem in the first place. So, what else could the Federal Reserve do? I'm going to give you one of many examples…”
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