Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crisis Update: Thursday, November 27, 2008

This week was a very critical one. In many respects, the true depth of the crisis is beginning to be revealed with the “official” acknowledgement that the US FED has committed close to 8 Trillion in the attempt to resolve it. According to the NY and Financial Times this amounts to nearly half of the US economy. I share the opinion that this 8 Trillion figure is actually a conservative one, perhaps a very conservative one.

The announcement by the US Treasury and Reserve on Tuesday, November 25th (see “US details $800 Billion Loan Plans” below) demonstrates that the bourgeoisie still does not have a grasp on this crisis. But, it also demonstrates that elements of this class are willing to spend to no end to try and resolve it. How much can the US bourgeoisie pledge to spend to address this crisis and how much paper they can print to cover it remains to be seen. What is clear is that their short term measures are primed to create many long-term contradictions – stagflation being perhaps the least of them.

Obama’s appointments this week continue confirm his right political orientation. They also demonstrate his administrations commitment to neo-liberal economic polices - thus challenging many progressive allegations that neo-liberalism has been thoroughly discredited.
On the fight back side, the “Which Way Forward for the Left in the Age of Obama & the Economic Crisis” forum held by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and Revolutionary Work in Our Times featuring Chokwe Lumumba; Bill Fletcher, Jr.; Kate Griffiths; and Aijen Poo on Sunday, November 23 in NYC was a good example of the types of revolutionary multi-tendency discussions that have to take place during this period. An audio recording of the program can be found at of-which- way-forward/. Many more of these types of discussions must to be held. And they need to probe deeper and deal with programmatic proposals that revolutionary anti-imperialists can collaborate on in the much needed effort to create a “Peoples' Plan” to orientate our work and struggle during this next period.

Be on the lookout for the next installment of “Navigating the Storm” within the next week as I attempt to consolidate a number of strategic demands and programmatic proposals.

Republican Committee keeps the heat on Obama”, by Peter Baker, November 27, 2008. NY Times.

Adding to the Stimulus”, November 26, 2008. The Economist.

Obama picks Volcker to head new economic panel”, by Jeff Zeleny, November 26, 2008. NY Times.

New efforts for stimulus in Europe and China”, by Keith Bradsher, November 26, 2008. NY Times.

Workers face painful wage cuts”, November 26, 2008. BBC News.

New White House and Congress hope to have bills ready for inauguration”, by Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn, November 26, 2008. NY Times.

Common Ground for Defense Chief and Obama”, by Thom Shanker, November 26, 2008. NY Times.

Save the Economy, Save the Planet”, Editorial, November 26, 2008. NY Times.

US details $800 Billion Loan Plans”, by Edmund L. Andrews, November 25, 2008. NY Times.

Data shows sharper US contraction”, Tuesday, November 25, 2008. BBC News.

First World Said to Face Protracted Slowdown”, by DAVID JOLLY, November 25, 2008. NY Times.

US pledges to top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit”, by Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry, November 24, 2008. Bloomberg News.


Michael said...

Kali, how do you locate the failure of the Detroit auto industry, the pleas of various auto and supplier CEOs for bailout founds, and the role of the UAW within the larger analysis? I feel somewhat contradicted, in that there might be a trickle-down benefit for workers if capital is transfered to these corporations, and also that helping the auto industry feels better (in a lesser of two evils sense) than helping the finance industry, while at the same time knowing that most of the funds will be squandered by execs, Board Directors, Cerebrus Capital and the like. Do you see any benefit to a quasi-nationalization of the auto industry, with the concomitant appointment of a "car czar"?

Kali Akuno said...

Greetings Michael,

I think the only thing that is clear is that capital and management are using this crisis to bust the UAW - and with it try do deliver a death blow to organized labor in the US. Can or will the conditional loans that being given save the figurehead US auto industry, I personally doubt it in the larger scheme of things. China and India's car industries are gaining competitive advantage on the US, Japanese, and German auto industries. And China was and is likely to continue pursuing the purchasing of Detroit to get a direct foothold in the US. A quasi-nationalization of the US industry under present global economic conditions might backfire, in the sense heightening inter-imperialist rivalry. Now, would that be the case with a worker takeover? I doubt it. However, a workers takeover might elicit the reverse response, the unity of international capital to lock the worker controlled products out of the global market. I think this is something we have to keep a close eye on during the 1st 100 days of the Obama administration to see how it is going to handle the unions in particular to get a deeper understanding of how this will play out.