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From 1945 to 1990 we were told a great struggle pitted capitalism against socialism/communism (chiefly the USSR and China). Yet still today, US leaders demonize Russia and China despite the end of communism in the USSR and a huge growth of capitalist enterprises in China. The explanation lies in US capitalism's long history of using nationalism (i.e. foreign dangers) to justify tax-payer funded government actions to protect, subsidize, and support major capitalists' dominant position in the US economy.
Wolff: "The origin of our foreign policy is the domestic struggle of an increasingly endangered capitalism to survive."
This week, Dr. Fraad and Prof. Forlano take on the NRA and militarism. The massive well funded lobbying of the NRA, disguised as a non-profit, has paid for friendly lawmakers.We can change that and enact and enforce laws to spur connection and fight male violence. We can change the culture of violence from gun shows to the glorification of violence in the media. We can join the rest of the world in emphasizing peace and negotiation on every level. We know how to do it!
Forlano: "There is some hope on the horizon, that the domestic violence advocates are getting together with like the anti-school shooting movement, as well as the anti-suicide folks. [They] are starting to all get together to see that the crisis of gun violence isn't separate crises and they are all driven by the things that we've all talked about, which of course comes back to capitalism [and] the exact same mental illness that is making cash out of weapons."
In this episode of All Things Co-op, Cinar and Kevin talk with Dardan Isufi, the Chief Operating Officer of the Eva Cooperative, a rideshare cooperative based in Quebec, Canada.
Isufi: "We believe we're building the great tools for driver communities, local taxi companies, local delivery companies, to literally own their own means of production, and sustain their own economy, instead of having to work for a dehumanizing platform which takes 25% commission."
A patron of Economic Update asks: "How can a progressive anti-capitalist movement survive 'capital flight'?"
This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “I've always been struck by the degree to which well-intentioned, well-meaning activists seem to think that this threat by capitalists is somehow definitive, devastating, and can't be overcome. And I would like, as strongly as I know how, to argue against that… A society, a government, a progressive movement have many weapons at their disposal. They cannot and should not be intimidated by threats of capitalists to leave. Capital flight is mostly a bluff, counting on the absence of a counter threat, and a counter strategy, which a self-developed, self-confident progressive movement could and should deploy in its own defense.”
A patron of Economic Update asks: "Hi Professor Wolff, I was wondering if you could discuss the link between racism and capitalism in the United States and the historical context that is implicated in the racial economic disparities that exist today."
This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “Every capitalism that we know of has always demonstrated a desperate urgent, ongoing desire to do what business schools call “economizing on labor costs.” That's a polite way of saying “trying to figure out how to get away in the production process with paying less for the labor you need to hire to complete the process of production.”... [One of the methods capitalists use to do this is to] carve out a portion of your working class, your pool of labor, give them a unique historical definition and then subject them to a kind of subordination to get them to be forced by circumstance to accept lower wages than the rest of the labor force is willing to work for… Capitalism needs scapegoats. Capitalism needs there to be people who can absorb the harsh aspects of capitalism… African Americans have been the shock absorbers of capitalism's instability and that's why capitalism works as hard as it does to maintain them (and if not them someone else) in that role… And that leads to the conclusion that to get rid of this horrible tendency it would be necessary to get beyond capitalism itself.”
In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff explains the origin and meaning of May Day.
Wolff: “As usual, the eight-hour day (like so many of the benefits that working people take for granted) had to be achieved by long, difficult, and sometimes deadly struggles against the determined opposition of capitalists… When people defending capitalism point to reductions of poverty, were there reductions? Yeah, but the capitalists didn't fight for them, they fought against them. Poverty has been eliminated for millions despite capitalism not because of it.”
Learn more about Prof Wolff's latest book, The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself.
Now also available as an eBook!