Re: [sixties-l] Re: Jacobs on Global Capitalism

From: Ronald M. Jacobs (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 09:36:01 EDT

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    Hi Jeremy,
    A couple thoughts on your response. Yes, I do beleive that much of the
    world's poverty can be traced to the development of capitalism and its
    historical antecedents. This doesn't mean that I don't consider the other
    isms to be responsible for their share--instead I see them as responses to
    capitlaism and its sole motivation--the drive for profit. As to the
    investments of folks like us in the stock market--if one looks at the
    percentage of shares held by individuals via restirement plans it takes up
    less than 10% of the entire market--the remainder continues to be held by
    the same banks and financial concerns as always. I concur with you that
    my piece was rather impassioned, but guess what? I was rather angry when
    I wrote it--police murders usuall do that to me. Of course, I understand
    the need for more compromise and nuamce, but the special police units in
    that were specially trained (and according to the Italian press--full of
    fascist sympathizers) to intimidate and attack the anti-capitalist
    protestors in Genoa, obviously have little use for either. In
    my mind, Compromise
    does not mean I should take a less radical position, but that I should go
    into any political fray with the understanding that my position will be
    modified once the debate is entered. I am not authoritarian, but I am
    principled. What I mean by this is that I would not force my political
    beliefs on others with guns (and am repelled by those who would), and
    understand that the only way to move forward is to work togehter with
    those whose positions differ from mine--but I will not alter my

    On Tue, 31 Jul 2001 wrote:

    > Dear Ron,
    > I am about as rad as they come and, like you, a student/scholar of the
    > mostmilitant wing of the New Left. Yes, the murder in Genoa is horrble, and
    > reveals the ugliest face of what is in many ways a brutal world economic
    > system.
    > But I must say: I would have thought your studies of Weatherman would have
    > convinced you that complex analysis is more helpful than macho,
    > anti-imperialist sloganeering. The world, alas, has grown vastly more
    > complicated than your cookie-cutter radicalism acknowledges. Ever heard of
    > nuance? Mediation? um, Marcuse, who wisely noted that the dichotomy of the
    > super-rich and super-poor no longer describes "advanced" forms of capitalism,
    > and that any genuinely radical movement would have to start from premises
    > other than those of a crude and antedated Marxism?
    > Yes, Capitalism kills. But what does it mean to even say that?!! Communism,
    > socialism, fascism, and likely most other isms by which states have been
    > organized kill too, if we look to Hungary in 56, Prague in 1968, Hitler for
    > his dreadful tenure, and so on.
    > And who is a "capitalist" anyhow? Any businessperson who generates, um,
    > capital? What about folks invested in the stock market? Are you aware that
    > labor unions are the biggest institutional investors in the Stock Market thru
    > pension fund portfolios? And what about the tens of millions of Americans,
    > many of modest means, somehow in the market? Are they all "killers" too?
    > And do you REALLY THINK that "global capitalism" is somehow the exclusive
    > cause of poverty and disease wordwide?
    > Look, I've marched, sang, demonstrated, written, petitioned, been locked up,
    > indicted, abused on behalf of the cause. Solidarity and all the rest. But
    > please, don't use righteousness to mask a lack of intellectual curiosity
    > about the world we live in (not the virtual world of ultra-left reduction),
    > or even your own analytical limitations. One of those former Weatherfolk,
    > whom I've interviewed, confessed that he is now "allergic to dogma." We
    > should all develop such allergies, and save our precious health for an honest
    > and intelligent fight.
    > peace,
    > Jeremy

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