DiEM25 Is Taking Shape

I have my own criticisms and reservations, but I support what I see at this point, simply because they have a unifying pan Europe(an) vision, which is a bigger vision than any other movement or group with any momentum has at this point. And, it’s something, as opposed to nothing, which is saying a lot at this moment in history, but whatever happens in whatever country – or collection of countries – we need a worldwide movement to fight the forces of capital.

This is part of my criticism. The elite will never act in good faith and the powerful will never give up power because someone has a winning argument. This may be too little too late, but the hope is that things change along the way – and we have to start somewhere. There is no reason this movement or something like it can’t spread around the world.

A worldwide movement is the only thing that can win the struggle against capitalists. I don’t believe an alternative model can be implemented which will organically replace capitalism. Capitalists have fought a vicious battle against most of us our entire lives. And they won. But it’s not enough. They’re still fighting, still amassing more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands, at our expense and on the backs of poor people throughout the globe. They are terrorizing the world and creating more suffering every day. They are bent on total ecological destruction and total war. It’s organized worldwide corruption on a scale that has never existed in history. It’s driven by the logic of capitalism, which is ceaseless accumulation and the commodification of all things. That can’t be confronted with reform – which takes us back to the beginning of my criticisms and reservations, but, at this point, I’m willing to back DiEM25 as a starting point – but it is only for the lack of more effective radical options. So, I suggest Europeans join DiEM25 and that they do so – and it sounds even more utopian than a Europe-wide movement – with an eye toward a worldwide movement, as I believe that is ultimately our only hope for long-term survival as a species.

Mark Blyth: Austerity, The History of a Dangerous Idea

This is a great whirlwind explanation of how the financial crisis happened, encompassing everything from the philosophical roots of modern capitalism to why Australia’s housing bubble is bound to pop. After his talk, one could be forgiven if they thought Europe to be in real trouble and the u.s. to be on its way to recovery. While this may be relatively true in a global macroeconomic sense, Blyth seems to completely gloss over a few important facts. We in the u.s. have had de facto austerity because wages have remained stagnant for decades and the cost of living has risen – especially in the years since 2008. The price of commodities like food and oil have have been inflated through speculation with almost free money from the Fed and there is no check on rent seeking or continued fraud by the perpetrators of the original crisis. Now with sequestration we have de jure austerity – and this is without taking into account unemployment and structural changes that are creating low wage jobs. So, yes, for the rich and people with good jobs who own stocks, this may look like the beginning of a recovery; for everyone else? I don’t think so.

The biggest take away from this talk is that banks and financial institutions caused this and we’re paying for it while they reap record profits – and of course that the system of what we call democracy was designed to keep the great unwashed from killing the capitalists in the first place, but that is just history…