It isn’t the economy that’s in crisis; the economy is the crisis; it’s not that we can’t get any work, it’s that there’s too much of it; all weighed in, it’s not crisis but growth that’s depressing us.
– The Coming Insurrection, by the “Invisible Committee” (2007): 23
I asked academics, activists and authors to define “austerity” and to suggest how we might fight back. The result is Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity, a feature documentary that examines the nature of capitalist crisis, and some of the places where people have confronted capitalism including Greece, the G20 summit protest in Toronto, and the exhibition of mass solidarity in Madison, Wisconsin.
In the film, Chris Hedges (author of Death of the Liberal Class) and Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame) discuss the pathological character of capitalism. Hedges describes the BP executives as “executioners” at the helm of a system that will “kill most of us” if it is not stopped. I held a conversation with the unlikely pair back in July 2010, during the BP oil spill.
York University political scientists David McNally and Leo Panitch discuss the context for the current crisis of capitalism, which Panitch calls the “first great depression of the 21st century.” McNally suggests the Age of Austerity may last for “a generation.”
I talked to a variety of radicals. Michael Hardt, the Duke University professor who co-authored Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth with Tony Negri, discusses an autonomist Marxist reading of the Great Depression and FDR. In some sense, we have to see ourselves as the crisis. We have to acknowledge that we have agency, that we can determine the outcome of this ongoing social war.
Max Haiven, a professor from Halifax, talks about the social ways in which debt narrows the radical imagination, leading to a mass forgetting of anti-capitalist movements of the past, and produces gestural and ineffective forms of resistance.
Ajamu Nangwaya, a graduate student at the University of Toronto and a former VP of CUPE Ontario, warns us not to be confused by the apparent resurgence of Keynesian economics in mainstream media discussions. The ruling class, he says, will do whatever it takes to preserve the system. The embrace of Keynesian economics by some capitalists is not an endorsement of socialism.
Queen’s University professor Richard J.F. Day talks about the long history of capitalist accumulation. He also comments on Harper’s probable agenda at the G20 summit crackdown.
– Michael Truscello, “Austerity is Euphemism for Class War Waged by Rich: Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity”, Dissident Voice, 19 August 2011
The full movie is here (1:39:45):