The mainstream: meeting the historic challenges?

2 February 2021 — Michael Roberts Blog

Michael Roberts

Recently, newly confirmed US Treasury secretary and former Fed chief, Janet Yellen, spelt out the challenges facing US capitalism in a letter to her new staff.  She said: “the current crisis is very different from 2008. But the scale is as big, if not bigger. The pandemic has wrought wholesale devastation on the economy. Entire industries have paused their work. Sixteen million Americans are still relying on unemployment insurance. Food bank shelves are going empty.”  That’s now; but ahead, Yellen says that there were “four historic crises: COVID-19 is one. But in addition to the pandemic, the country is also facing a climate crisis, a crisis of systemic racism, and an economic crisis that has been building for fifty years. “

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Austerity Can’t Solve Crises of Capitalism By Gene Clancy

8 February, 2013

Millions of workers across the United States received a rude and unpleasant jolt this January when they discovered that their take-home pay had just shrunk by 2 percent. The Social Security payroll tax cut of 2009 was restored, costing workers an average amount of $850 a year, a significant wage decrease for workers on the edge of financial ruin.

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Obama's Second Term: Following Angela Merkel in the Oval Office? By Ingo Schmidt

29 November 2012 — The Bullet • A Socialist Project e-bulletin …. No. 737

A debt crisis in Europe, an electoral campaign in the United States, and Canada watching from the sidelines; this is how the trans-Atlantic world was depicted in the media over the past months. Though the votes had not yet been counted, warnings suddenly emerged about a fiscal cliff. In order to keep discussions of budget policy out of the campaign, the Republicans and the Democrats agreed on a pact earlier this year, which increased the debt ceiling of the federal government to the point that drastic spending cuts or tax increases could be postponed until after the election. If, however, the parties in Congress cannot agree on another budget by year’s end, expenditures throughout all departments will be automatically cut and the tax reductions provided by Bush and Obama in previous years will be revoked. Continue reading

“We Are Drowning” On A Road To Nowhere: New War on the Horizon By Danny Schechter

20 February 2012 — The News Dissector

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.” — Frederick Douglass, 1852 (From Military Resistance)

Oil prices are rocketing. Iranian warships are moving into the Mediterranean to shadow the US warships already there. Propaganda news is growing with rumors of Al Qaeda links with Iran, and, then, less speculative news about real links between the terror groups and the armed opposition in Syria.

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“I Demand to Know What You’re Demanding!” Some Remarks on Programme at OccupyLSX By Dan Hind

24 October 2011 — The Return of the Public

There is something very striking about the occupation in the City of London. From the outset the ordinary dynamics of protest appeared to have been suspended. The form was different, for a start. This wasn’t a march from A to B, with its accompanying sense of an ending. But more than that, the occupiers weren’t trying to stop anything or resist anything. There was no vote in Parliament that acted as a focus for popular outrage. The occupiers weren’t resisting, or trying to stop something. They were making something happen.

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European Conference Against Austerity & Privatisation: European Conference Declaration

4 October 2011 — Europe Against Austerity

After a day of intensive debate, analysis and planning for cooperation and action, the Europe against Austerity Conference heard Coalition of Resistance Secretary Andrew Burgin propose the following Declaration, on behalf of the European Preparatory Committee. The Declaration was unanimously endorsed by the Conference which was attended by over 600 people:

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Bizzaro Capitalism By Kim Petersen

11 June 2011 — Dissident Voice

Funding Hyperempire through Aggression

War is a racket. – US Marine Major General Smedley Butler

Imagine an unbidden exterminator comes by your house and begins to disinfect and kill pests around your house. You arrive home later to find your cat is dead, and your baby is turning green and a green slime is oozing from the corner of her mouth. You rush her to the hospital which is overrun with patients whose properties have received unrequested extermination treatments. While waiting in queue your daughter dies from a severe allergic reaction to the chemicals used by the exterminators.

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Spanish protesters cheer for ‘world revolution’ as ban on demonstration takes effect

20 May 2011 — The Raw Story – AFP

MADRID — Thousands of protesters in Madrid furious over soaring unemployment staged a silent protest and then erupted in cheers of joy as a 48-hour ban on their demonstration took effect on Saturday.

‘Now we are all illegal’ and ‘the people united will never be defeated,’ were among the chants of the protesters who crammed Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square and spilled onto side streets.

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Fernando Nabais, “Umberto Digital Haiku No. 2”

20 July, 2010 — MRZine

An interactive cinematic experiment that reinterprets a shot from the film Umberto D by Vittorio de Sica, manipulating it in response to the attention that the viewer devotes to it. Umberto D depicts Italy in 1952 in the middle of a deep recession, a mirror of the current economic crisis. Fernando Nabais, Project Manager, YLabs. Visit Nabais’s Web site:

CSRC Project-First Workshop: “The Roots of the Economic Crisis: Critical Perspectives” – Part 1

29 October, 2009 — Left Streamed

Facilitator: Carlo Fanelli.

This workshop explores alternative interpretations of the current economic crisis. The presentations are from organized labour, community activists and academics. The focus of this workshop is critical engagement, discussion and debate. Questions addressed include: How have various perspectives analyzed and understood the roots of the current economic crisis? Is there something fundamentally unsound about the current political-economic structure? Is the current crisis to be located within a set of recently established policies, or better understood over the long-term historical development of capitalism? How have the policy prescriptions and ideological rationales shifted over the years? And, more ambitiously, where do we go from here?

Andrew Jackson — is the National Director, Social and Economic Policy, with the Canadian Labour Congress.
Toby Sanger — is a Senior Economist with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Justin Paulson — is assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Carleton University.

How Much Longer Will You Remain Passive? By David DeGraw

15 October, 209 — Amped Status

I work for two news websites and spend 12 hours a day, six days a week analyzing the news. My eyes are strained and bloodshot, I fight through constant headaches, and the icing on the cake, I now work more hours while making less money then I ever have. Such is life in the online news business these days, during the greatest economic crisis of our lifetime.

I’ve had family and friends ask me why it is that I do this, ‘Why give yourself headaches and an ever-declining paycheck?’ they ask. The answer to this question is found in the essence of what I’m doing.

When you spend your time analyzing the news, researching vital issues, you realize the immense disconnect between the average person and the HORRIFYING REALITY OF THE DESPERATE STATE THE WORLD IS IN RIGHT NOW.

I’m not here to take the moral high ground, god knows that is a losing proposition, I am here because my survival instinct has kicked in! Plain and simple, humanity has reached a breaking point.

If you’re reading this right now, you are probably a news junkie and already aware of the disconnect between the average propagandized mind and reality. This disconnect is a primary cause of our current crisis. However, this disconnect has begun to unravel, as Americans are starting to be confronted by the harsh reality that they have been taught to disassociate themselves from.

How much longer can people remain passive?

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“There are signs the economy is improving.” George W Bush, 8-30-08

NEW YORK: The storm is coming. All eyes on the Doppler radar, the graphic swirls, the reporters bravely standing on Levee watch in New Orleans. This time, the evacuations are underway as if to say the government is finally looking out for its citizens and evacuating the people in harm’s way. Will it work? We will see and then see it live while we wait for the next epic disasto-tainment.

As we brace for what’s been called the “mother of all storms,” the platitude-pushing wonderland of TV has shifted the political debate overnight from the prospects of a man with a “funny name” to a gun toting former small town beauty queen turned Governor who hates polar bears and shoots moose.

One catastrophe may be coming. The other may be already here, and a third, well, no one wants to talk about that. You can move populations away from hurricanes. You can adore or make fun of unusual politicians. But what do you do about a financial tsunami that everyone knows is structural but many would rather ignore, until they can’t?

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