FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Capital Strike?

So what if it is a capital strike that we’re facing?  Wouldn’t the answer lie in a genuine national bank?  It’s an interesting question to raise this month as China privatizes a fifty-year-old agricultural bank.  What the Maoists could teach us is that when capital is not forthcoming in time of national crisis a national bank can step in for five or more decades to tide the people over.  Nothing has to last forever.

At the level of pure concept there is no reason why the contemporary crisis of labor paralysis cannot be directly addressed at the speed of light by bit torrents of micro investments lightning-flashed to entrepreneurs looking for a little startup help organized around heartland exchanges in places like Omaha.  And there are probably a few folks in Omaha who could rack a server for this kind of thing by Labor Day.

The problem with the capitalists who are on strike now is that they are living under an antiquated paradigm of exotic genius, channelled communication, and crony networks.  Their secret hero is John Galt of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged who privately invented the secret to prosperity but refused to share it with the workers who would be needed to make it so.

The appropriate answer to this calculating heart of striking capitalists is to say, but John Galt you are not.  Just because you own the vaults where you have stashed the fruits of labor past does not mean you own the future.  As San Francisco economist Henry George argued, capital does not pay wages.  Wages are produced by labor.

I’m no economist, but anyone can see that it is a bad deal for any community when the needs of the community are no longer being produced by the community itself.  A capital strike is a way of saying that a part of the community has the power to shut down the wherewithal of the whole.  A capital strike withholds the tools to make value with, leaving labor out to rot.

Nor am I a labor historian, but usually when workers go on strike you can find some leadership who represents workers’ demands.  In a capital strike on the other hand, as Ayn Rand instructed us, the workers can spend the rest of their puny little lives asking questions like, “who is John Galt?”  or “where did he hide his demands?”

If there is a capital strike afoot as internet chatter suggests, then there ought to be a way of publicly discovering the strikers’ motives and forcing the issues into arbitration.  Profits, like any other form of private property, are distributed by legal conventions that ultimately rest upon the consent of the governed.  Profits are handed over to capitalists because there is an implied social contract that expects the profits to be converted into new tools of value creation.  If capitalists are going to break the cycle deliberately, and withhold next year’s tools, then it is time for some kind of renegotiation.

I think that the value of negative social mood might lie in the way it determines us to revisit all the things we used to trust.  Either employers are going to come out and level with the workers they are striking against, or the struck workers are going to have to find new ways of creating employers they can trust.

The dot com boom brought us not only the tools to more rapidly reconfigure our networks.  It also generated a cooperative model of open source productivity energized by genuine engagement from folks who have organized themselves to build value.  The open source consortium is neither anti-corporate nor pro-corporate.  It is a way of organizing community needs while parsing consensual divisions of labor between use value and exchange value.

In the emerging Facebook world order, where all ideas can be YouTubed and PayPalled, there is no reason for all us little tugboats in the harbor to waste our engines pushing against the hull of some delusional USS Ahab.  It ain’t hardly American to wait for anybody’s high up permission to get along as best we can.  The Constitution is ours only if we keep it.  It will sink with Ahab only if we let it go.

“Labor coop seeks entrepreneurs and engineers,” says a notice that is not yet found via Google search.  “Meet us down at the national bank.”

GREG MOSES is editor of TexasWorker.org and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence.  He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rothstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail