Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2008
From: Alex Foti
Subject: <nettime> a to-do list
dear sisters and brothers,
call it the big slump, the great recession, the new depression: a major capitalist crisis is among us, and nettime saw it ahead of imf and goldman economists.
last week’s debate seemed to focus on two possible ways to go about the new historical situation:
i) let’s finally secede from the mad and corrupt world of capitalism and build the new society from scratch, a place were solidarity and sharing are in and inequality and exploitation (of women, peoples, nature) are out; let’s call it the steampunk solution.
ii) the great recession is a once-in-a-century opportunity to build radical political and social organizations/federations/coalitions that can impose redistribution (and thus economic sustainability) and push for the redesign of basic social structures toward ecological compatibility; let’s call it the commonist solution.Actually I don’t think the two strategies are mutually exclusive. For instance, a massive increase of public spending that goes toward financing alternative, sustainable communities, as well as environmental remediation public works are likely to be progressive ways out of the recession, while a new postcapitalist culture won’t be able to thrive if there aren’t enough spaces and hoods that experiment with new ways of collective living and explore new dimensions of social conflict.
Here’s an (unorganized) list of statements that I submit to the discussion; in my wet dreams, it should spring european radicals into common action now that capitalism is in crisis and neoliberalism has been finally defeated:
— we all oppose capitalism here so let’s refrain from cross-excommunications, although postcapitalism is not a goal fixed in time but a process that evolves according to changing historical circumstances (i.e. acting in the late 90s is not the same as acting in late 00s);
— the eu is engulfed by the great recession and is reverting to national sovereignties to solve the credit crisis: one more blow at the already vacillating political legitimacy of council and commission; but in the present sociopolitical climate a rightist, authoritarian and xenophobic, even outright fascist outcome is more likely than a leftist outcome (reformist and/or revolutionary don’t matter here) in europe
— in fact, the elites are in disarray: they don’t know how they sank into shit so fast and don’t know the way out; and even if the free market suddenly has no longer any appeal for the media or the population at large, the central bank’s rabid monetarism has yet to be demolished; wages and social spending won’t be able to recoup their due until frankfurt’s fundamentalism is defeated in open battle
— the recession is going to deepen and this will provoke escalating labor conflict (e.g. belgium’s general strike this week, which paralyzed the whole economy), but the precarious generation must build its own organization or be left out from the redesign of economic institutions
— 2G, as second-generation immigrant youth (first-generation europeans) are called in italy, will be at the forefront in the social conflict vis-a-vis securitarian and cryptofascist powers
— today islamophobia is the functional equivalent of antisemitism in interwar europe: it’s the faultline between right and left in europe; in recessive conditions, which will fan the flames of xenophobia, only a transeuropean revolutionary social organization can bridge the gulf between immigrant and native workers, service and creative labor, between rebellious 2G youth and dissident white youth
— politically, it’s high time that we build a european federation of autonomous/anarchist/antiracist/queer metropolitan zones and movements sharing common symbols, tactics, strategies. A hanseatic league of social centers, if you will. The circle and the jagged arrow (aka the Blitz) is probably the most universal symbol of european insubordination. For all my quest for a new radical iconology, let’s adopt the inherited one as common signature of our struggles: live it! squat it! fight it! block it!
ciao for now,