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Re: <nettime> The Precariat and Climate Justice
Brian Holmes on Fri, 6 Nov 2009 03:00:56 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> The Precariat and Climate Justice


Thank you ALEX for writing a great visionary political text that takes 
the strongest theoretical arguments and addresses them directly to the 
people in the streets! I haven't read anything this interesting in a 
dog's age, that is, since 1999...

 > From the ashes of early 21st century
 > free-market liberalism, a new form of social and political regulation
 > of the economy will have to emerge if the crisis is to find a
 > democratic solution. In fact, just like in the interwar period,
 > especially in Europe, the danger of authoritarian and xenophobic
 > solutions to the Big Crisis is significant.

Every half-decent historical theory of industrial capitalism shows that 
after initial technological booms we run into deep regulation crises 
that can only be fixed by changing the institutions of government, 
exchange and redistribution. And every half-conscious theorist knows 
there is no guarantee that it will be done except for the direst 
necessity. "So it falls onto the anarchists, feminists, precarious, 
immigrants, on those radical actors that have a stake in subverting the 
present financial order, to fight for real climate justice, to bring the 
economy back under the control of polities and communities," that's it 
and what a responsibility... For those who haven't read the historical 
stuff I wanna point their braincells to a Left Curve piece you wrote a 
few years ago, which seems like the foundation this new text builds on:

http://www.leftcurve.org/LC31WebPages/Grid&ForkTable.pdf

Compare it to the schema of a smart mainstream theorist like Carlota 
Perez, you can see the overlap and also the kind of depth and detail 
that Alex is working off:

brianholmes.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/perez-installationdeployment1.jpg

 > The Great Recession, just like the Great Depression three generations
 > ago, is a major demand crisis leading to mass unemployment and
 > underemployment. It won't be solved until the collective fruits of
 > social productivity finally accrue to the employed and unemployed
 > instead of managers and financiers. This requires massive fiscal
 > redistribution from the tiny Ãlites to the precarious multitudes. Free
 > public health and education, basic income and leisure expansion, green
 > jobs and new labor and property laws are the first-aid tools to
 > address the crisis and ferry us toward a postcapitalist society, where
 > corporations and investment banks are dismantled, credit is
 > socialized, copyright is abolished, culture and knowledge are freely
 > shared, the global economy is regionalized, food distribution networks
 > are localized, energy production is decentralized, and political power
 > is federalized, in regional and transnational federations of
 > autonomous cities and liberated lands.

Rhetorical question: Who said our movements aren't proposing anything???

But now I wanna ask some real questions, means, ones where I don't 
already have the answer. First, does Green Capitalism even exist? I 
definitely see what you call "eco-keynesian regulation lite," but the 
environment being protected by all those massive monetary injections is 
the environment for speculation, basta. I know if California's 
Proposition 7 would've passed last year it would have stoked a green 
boom, cause half the state's energy would've had to be clean by 2025 - 
but it didn't pass. What do you suppose green capitalism really is? Are 
there industries starting, or new molecular economic practices? I'm out 
of it, tell us what you know about this...

> if green capitalism is just greenwashing, i.e.
> marketing hype unsupported by hard facts, ultimately the ecological
> crisis will end up endangering capitalist accumulation leading to the
> the common ruin of today's contending social classes: the global Ãlite
> and the transnational precariat. If, on the other hand, green
> capitalism is the harbinger of a fourth industrial revolution (first:
> steam and textiles; second: electricity, steel, chemicals; third:
> electronics, networking; fourth: genomics, greenomics), productivity
> will rise and this would create a favorable context for victories on
> wages and labor conditions, as well as ease political resistance to
> income redistribution

This is the heart of your economic argument, so I wonder what you see as 
a possible fourth industrial revolution (or maybe a fifth, 'cause a lot 
of people start with water mills and then put railroads and steam in 
before in before steel and electricity). Couldn't capitalism already 
grow, and grow intelligently and greenly, on the basis of an egalitarian 
distribution of informatic production? You know, genetic engineering is 
more or less informatics, it's DNA interpreted on the informational 
model. I'd say neoliberal aka financial capitalism is a failed 
regulation of informational production. Is what we need a green 
regulation of informationalism that clears out all the financial waste, 
or is informationalism consubstantial with financialization and do we 
need something entirely different? Anyway, I'd like to hear more about 
the next revolution if you see it in the wings!

> Yet, economic growth only has a meaning if measured in money terms,
> not in physical terms. So, in principle a socially regulated form of
> capitalism can be envisaged that still grows in dollar terms (and this
> overcomes the economic crisis), but not in entropic terms. A stage of
> the economy where immaterial growth becomes the norm, along with the
> maximization of collective knowledge and social well-being, rather
> than corporate profit or private wealth. An economy where people
> mostly exchange immaterial services rather than material goods. In
> other words, a world where there's money to be made in the economy,
> because informational as well as green jobs are available in large and
> increasing numbers.

Is this the anarcho-green solution to the riddle of cognitive 
capitalism? So far, all the proposals for a basic income in Italy and 
France that I know have excluded the green issue or any other question 
of socially constructive activity and have instead been based mostly on 
the idea of a solution to precarity and a pathway to free desire. What 
you're talking about is a validation in monetary terms of different 
kinds of productivity. That would ultimately mean a redefinition of what 
productive capital is, since so far it has been defined as 
concentrations of alienating machines and hierarchical management. Am I 
behind the times on the "reditto di cittadidanza" crowd? Are there 
theorists in Italy who are making these ideas explicit?

 > Increasingly, the Italian and
> German traditions of autonomia are intertwined with anarchist,
> antifascist and antiracist strands to form an anarchoautonomist
> synthesis across Europe. A generation totally oblivious of 20th
> century ideological disputes does not distinguish between anarchist
> and autonomous resistance: on the barricades, all you see is black
> hoodies fighting state repression and corporate domination.

Alex, tell me, isn't there a major major major problem of political 
articulation right here? You say the aim of the anarcho-autonomist wing 
is SMASH THE STATE. But all your argument says TRANSFORM STATE 
CAPITALISM. Where's the bridge? We know it in practice: education, 
social services and income redistribution, give people what they want 
and what they need. But doesn't there have to be some redefinition in 
theory of the basic aim, if only to avoid getting chucked in the 
terrorist bucket by the fascist fossil capitalist types who are really 
still a majority? Or a damn powerful big loud uberminority anyway? I 
think the question is serious, because so far, every ultraleftist 
upsurge produces a stronger fascistoid reaction and I am not sure those 
days are over...

Nobody wants a vanguard and not me either, but don't we have to think 
seriously about a class fraction that can mediate between the excluded 
precariat and the clueless green capitalist liberals? You know, my big 
idea now is that the whole thing stands or falls on the capacity to 
really take over the universities, and then all the smash the state 
folks think I'm a proto-traitor...

> Redistribution of wealth and power toward the precarious, growth of
> immaterial knowledge, cultural enrichment of society and massive
> expansion of leisure are fundamental social preconditions for the
> horizontal eco-social design of a resilient postcapitalist society,
> freeing the time to pursue ecohacktive and permacultural activities,
> giving the time and money back to precarized people to work for
> environmental remediation and think collectively about their own
> future, cutting the need for quick consumption and instant
> satisfaction. 

We are dyin' for it and that ain't no joke!

ecored anarchosolidarities,

Brian


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