SDCPJ Teaching Speech
October 11 2008
The Political Economy of Capitalism
and the Emergence of Fascism
by Dr Rich Gibson
I am to address the question of political economy. To me, that means Capitalism and we have seen plenty of that in the last month.
In regard to political economy: It is not just the study of money and markets which are given superhuman powers as if they represent God and the heavens.
It is the study of the social relations that people create in our struggle with nature in order to produce:
(1) the means of life as in work and production, to
(2) reproduce life and beauty as in sexuality, love, and aesthetics,
(3) to produce correct knowledge, the struggle for the truth, and
(4) for freedom---for freedom is key to all the rest.
The political economy of Capitalism is for the most part a secret as, until recently, the word has been a secret. Capitalism hid these facts (a nod to Bertell Ollman):
*the people who rule this society are capitalists who own the means of production and who reap the benefits of others’ work in a way similar to how Masters robbed Slaves,
*Capital hid that the government is the executive committee and armed weapon of the rich, meaning that this is a capitalist democracy which bears the same relationship to democracy that the Pope does to “do unto others,” (capitalist democracy is designed to not answer the question that should be asked of any government–Is this for the common good?—rather capitalist democracy at base winds up with individuals huddled alone inside a voting booth asking capital’s favorite question, the one that upholds the thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps capitalism alive—“What about me?”
*hid that those of us who cannot live on inheritance, profits or rents are workers,
*hid that workers conditions are bad and as capital requires and sharpens inequality, conditions get worse while the bosses lives get better,
*hid that over time productive and industrial capital becomes dominated by finance capital which leads to periodic crises of overproduction, depression, and endless warfare to win raw materials, markets, and cheap labor,
*hid that everything is in place for everyone on the planet to live fairly well if we could retain what was progressive about capitalism, abolish what is not, including capitalists, and create a new society rooted in freedom and equality,
*hid that capital is not the natural and highest state of humankind but something that will be overcome, but only by a mass base of class conscious people who connect reason to power and who are willing to make life and death sacrifices over a long time to win a just world,
*and capital lied about everything I just said and if we could really grasp it, we could rid ourselves of capitalists and win a just world behind the ethic and slogan that has caused the death of tyrants for centuries: Freedom and Equality!
In the last month we have seen, not steps toward justice, but the rapid acceleration of the emergence of fascism, something that has always existed inside capitalism, but now shot as out of a slingshot. This happened in at least three ways: (1) The $700 billion bailout, a bipartisan robbery that won the votes of both Obama and McCain and was matched by a largely unnoticed 700 billion dollar check written to the Defense Department, not for the wars but their operating budget, the wars will cost more. (2) The wars which the US is losing, being overrun by the Taliban (people who chased off 300,000 Russian troops), fought to a standstill by an enemy unfit to be called an enemy in Iraq, and (3) the election itself which is elevating nationalism–the lie that we are all in this together when every message from the real world says this is an international war of the rich on the poor—the election elevated nationalism to new levels, using the Church’s old maneuver of picking off a bright child of the poor to turn him back against his birth community: Obamagogue.
So, I am going to talk about political economy in regard to the emergence of fascism and the current spectacle that even competes with Judge Judy, who is America’s last moral compass—the Election.
*teaching people the lie that someone else should interpret reality and act for us, when no one is going to save us but us,
Specifically what to do? Build a social movement rooted in the reality and solidarity of class war.
In San Diego, SDCPJ authorized a strategic planning group which concluded we should focus on schools and the military. But that was never done. There are 49 million youth in schools today, ½ of them draft eligible in the next 3 years, and they are being taught lies using methods so disjointed and obscure that many students learn not to like to learn. We need to paralyze this kind of schooling and, simultaneously, attempt to fashion Freedom Schools that function in the midst of civil strife. Build direct action resistance in the military and the military feeding machines--schools.
What is ahead? Expanded wars, a draft, a million pronged attack on poor and working people, from wages, jobs, hours, and health benefits, to, from the other angle, inflation wiping out savings and paychecks, food costs, gas prices etc. That attack will take place working up a ladder, hitting those who were born with the least hardest and worst, meaning people of color, women, and children first. It is a ruling class tactic that works, unless we remember the fact that an injury to one only goes before an injury to all—and overcome the racism and sexism that has already allowed that ladder of oppression to be built.
We do not have to allow the few to rule the many to the point of our own ruin. We can fight back united as a single clenched fist. Whether or not we can turn back the emergence of fascism as a mass based popular movement—that is up to us. When they say Cutback, we must say Fightback!
Down the Banks
Up the Rebels