Liberalism and Wall Street

Original article, by Barry Grey, via World Socialist Web Site:

In an op-ed piece published January 10 entitled “The Other Plot to Wreck America,” New York Times columnist Frank Rich denounces the criminal actions of Wall Street executives and the official cover-up of their operations. He correctly asserts that the havoc created by the bankers poses a threat to the American people “on a more devastating scale than any Al Qaeda attack.”

It’s unquestionable that the economic crisis has been devastating to millions of Americans, not to mention the rest of the world’s population. There continues to be the dread that another shoe is going to drop, and that the bankster frauds are continuing on the merry way as if nothing really happened. Such is the state of the nation: We’re waiting to see what the oligarchy has in store for us.

He writes: “Americans must be told how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin.”

They’ve been told: They haven’t listened. Or, if they have, they don’t care. Look…250 channels of TV!

He accuses both parties and, by implication, the Obama administration of aiding and abetting the looting of the country by the banks. He points out, for example, the key role played by Clinton’s treasury secretary and former Citigroup executive, Robert Rubin, in dismantling the last vestiges of the Roosevelt-era bank reforms, and the complicity of Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in secretly funneling tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street banks in the government bailout of the insurance giant AIG.

So far, so good. I’ll let you read the rest of the article. The major point being that as long as liberalism (and I’d argue progressivism) is tied to capitalism, nothing is going to change. The bosses see that liberals and progressives are brought into the ruling duoparty through campaign donations and the like. It’s worked like a charm. Very few, if any, of the mainstream organs of liberalism and progressivism are calling for a break away from capitalism. A re-regulated capitalism seems to be what their hoping for, thinking of the glory years post WW II, where the US dominated the world in so many ways.

The difference between now and the end of WW II is that it’s the American economy which is in shambles, and it isn’t in position to triumph economically in helping the rest of the world recover from the economic crash.

Until the liberals and progressives are willing to make the break with capitalism, and see it for the predatory system it is, nothing will change. That’s the lesson we should be learning from the actions of Obama and the Democratic Congress. Their failure is making all of us economic slaves.

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  1. Arise, ye workers from your slumbers!

  2. rjones2818 likes to quote what I call “facile marxism.”  The problems for mainstream marxist writing, or facile marxism, stem from the idea that one can just promote “socialism,” in a brown paper bag no less, without having to get too deeply into the problems of replacing the capitalist system with something better in an era in which capitalism threatens daily to “supersede itself” with something far WORSE.  (Well, those are the problems for facile marxism common to THIS era; the facile marxists had to deal with everything from Stalinism to Sandinismo in the last century.)

    Or, to follow up on a quote from the Communist Manifesto, the bourgeoisie produces its own grave-diggers, but not in the way Marx intended.  Marx thought the grave-diggers would institute “socialism” — instead what we are likely to see are a bunch of graves, a world in which the conditions currently applicable in Haiti apply everywhere.  Facile marxists haven’t thought too carefully about this possibility.

    The problem is that the term “socialism” is rather undefined, and a mere re-reading of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program will not solve that problem.  Facile marxist writing tends to become boring Marx hagiography, in which the moral of every story is that “Marx had all the answers.”  This is generally what’s so disappointing about the writing of John Bellamy Foster.  You can tell from the occasional editorial in Foster’s publication, the Monthly Review, that Foster is capable of so much more than facile marxism, but generally Foster plays to the audience for which the Monthly Review is known: facile marxists.

    If you want to read a discussion of “what it’s about” in this day and age, read Joel Kovel’s The Enemy of Nature, second edition.  Joel is quite specific about what he wants to see in the world.  

    The difference is that Joel does not write for an audience of facile marxists.  Joel writes for an audience of progressives searching for an answer.  Barry Grey writes for facile marxists.

  3. That’s why they voted for Obama and the Democrats.  The problem is not that the American people are stupid or distracted–they aren’t.  (Well, not that stupid or that distracted.)  The problem is that we don’t have a political party that represents us.  We thought we did up until 2009 (or maybe, for some of us, 2007).  Now we know different.  The current election polling in Masasachusetts demonstrates with awful clarity that nobody now much wants to vote for either of the “two” “parties.”  (Coakley should be leading by 25 points.)  Opportunities abound for anyone who can or will take a genuinely new political approach.

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