The US’s particular brand of capitalism required exterminating a continent’s worth of indigenous people and enslaving millions of kidnapped Africans. And all the capitalist industry was only possible because white women, considered the property of their fathers and husbands, were performing the invisible tasks of child-rearing and housework, without remuneration. Three cheers for free exchange.
It should be intuitive that capitalism, which glorifies rapid growth amidst ruthless competition, would produce great acts of violence and deprivation, but somehow its defenders are convinced that it is always and everywhere a force for righteousness and liberation. Let them try to convince the tens of millions of people who die of malnutrition every year because the free market is incapable of engineering a situation in which less than half of the world’s food is thrown away.
…most of the greatest art under capitalism has always come from people who are oppressed and alienated (see: the blues, jazz, rock & roll, and hip-hop). Then, thanks to capitalism, it is homogenized, marketed, and milked for all its value by the “entrepreneurs” sitting at the top of the heap, stroking their satiated flanks in admiration of themselves for getting everyone beneath them to believe that we are free.
The anti-hierarchical structures and rhizomes of late capitalism are its successful ad campaign. Modern capitalism has to manifest itself as flexible and even eccentric. Everything is geared towards gripping the emotion of the consumer. Modern capitalism seeks to assure us that it operates according to the principles of free creativity, endless development and diversity. It glosses over its other side in order to hide the reality that millions of people are enslaved by an all-powerful and fantastically stable norm of production.
The problem is not the greed of individual capitalists (though they are greedy). It’s structural. Capitalists are merely social agents who fill positions that are required and generated by capital as it reproduces itself. Capital has motion, necessities, a life of its own. Capitalists, the stewards or servants of capital, are compelled to maximize surplus value by whatever means necessary. Capitalism is currently facing a convergence of crises: of overproduction, financial instability, and ecological catastrophe. Yet they can’t ease up on production, but continue to forge ahead. It reaches such irrational proportions that in China, there are 12-24 massive cities built each year that have no people living in them At the same time, not coincidentally, 80% of that country’s rivers no longer support aquatic life.
Inspiring creative writing by Tim Etchels:
“Participation and belonging are not objects – they are not things which can be achieved solidly or owned concretely – they cannot be acquired, they are processes which need to be worked at, lived in and through… processes which along with togetherness, sharing and mutuality also involve difficulty, dissent, and disagreement, hard work, uncertainty, doubt and dispute. They flow. They alter. They contradict. They involve tension and change.”
“A promise of belonging that does not insist on (acknowledge, offer or make space for) process, dispute and dissent is basically a false promise – an offer of supposed benefits without the true troubles, responsibilities and relations implied by those terms.”
read the whole entry, as the story has a particular context: timetchells.com