The Revolution Issue

Capitalism Is Crisis

Suddenly alternative possibilities reveal themselves.
Photo by Janine Gordon

Photo by Janine Gordon

Audio version read by George Atherton


In Europe, national governments in the pocket of the IMF are imposing stringent austerity measures meant to deliver us from the present financial crisis. Put crudely, these measures save the banks and make the people pay. This reconsolidation of neoliberal capitalism is being met with differing levels of resistance, but for the most part we are caught between anger and action. Neoliberalism, we say with a sigh and a heavy heart, is here to stay. But why are we so unable to think beyond capitalism? The problem, I want to suggest, is one of possibility – and we must recognize another crisis: of the possible.

For too long we have been told what is and what isn’t possible. Late last year, the British cultural critic Mark Fisher published a book titled Capitalist Realism, that discusses neoliberalism’s propaganda project: its insistence that “there is no alternative.” This message has been hammered into our collective consciousness so consistently for so long that we have come to assume that neoliberal capitalism is our only option, that it constitutes our reality and we find it difficult to imagine anything else. Fisher reminds us of the quip made by both Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.

Everyone seems agreed that revolution is impossible. So what should be our response if not a descent into nihilism? Right now we certainly should argue as loudly as possible that austerity measures that involve the transfer of responsibility from the rich to the poor should be curtailed. But at the same time we need to explore other possibilities for the long term.

Fisher writes:

“The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the gray curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.”

We need, first of all, a revolution of the possible. We must confront, challenge and condemn the logic of neoliberal capitalism and do all we can to create a space where alternatives are made possible. While we must hold onto ideals of equality and fairness, we don’t want to work toward a glorified image of a utopian future society; that is itself to impose limits, to establish another regime of impossibility when we must open ourselves to all possibilities. By acknowledging how deeply we are immersed in capitalism, how capitalist logic has come to curtail our ability to imagine anything beyond itself, we might open up spaces in which alternative possibilities reveal themselves. We must extend the cracks in capitalism’s self-image to allow some as yet unimaginable possibility to reveal itself.

Sam Cooper is working toward a PhD at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on the adoption of Situationist theory in Britain.

40 comments on the article “Capitalism Is Crisis”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 40

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TN

and if there was a progressive tax structure for businesses, there would be economic incentive for small business, which would reduce the whole mega corperate oligargy partnership problem

TN

and if there was a progressive tax structure for businesses, there would be economic incentive for small business, which would reduce the whole mega corperate oligargy partnership problem

Anonymous

The problem is that capitalism and the nation-state arose together, and have forever been inextricably intertwined - see Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation" for a comprehensive history.

Anonymous

The problem is that capitalism and the nation-state arose together, and have forever been inextricably intertwined - see Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation" for a comprehensive history.

max

how about feudalism ;) as an alternative. which capitalism? capitalism wasn't born in a day, nor in the writings of the thinkers.it took some time and some billions of lives to have it as we live it today.
do you practice your alternatives (apart of talking about them)? how they work? would they work for your friends?

max

how about feudalism ;) as an alternative. which capitalism? capitalism wasn't born in a day, nor in the writings of the thinkers.it took some time and some billions of lives to have it as we live it today.
do you practice your alternatives (apart of talking about them)? how they work? would they work for your friends?

Annas I. Wibowo

Hizb ut-Tahrir, convened two press conferences in Beirut and London on Friday 3rd April 2009, a day after the London G20 summit, where it launched its new book "Towards a Tranquil Safe World under the Shade of the Economic System of Islam."

The book examines the global economic crisis, explains its reality, critically examines its symptoms and exposes the flaws in the solutions proposed by the flagbearers of Capitalism. The book concludes by illustrating the correct solutions to the economic crisis from Islam - solutions that are from the Creator of the universe and the Creator of mankind, who knows what is best for His creation.

On the panel in London were Dr Imran Waheed, Hasan al-Hasan, and Taji Mustafa. The event was chaired by Sajjad Khan.

After speeches in english and arabic, a lively question and answer session followed with questions from the audience and others around the world who were watching the live webcast.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/254-book-towards-a-tranquil-safe-world-under-the-shade-of-the-economic-system-of-islam

Sheikh Abu Yasin Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta is an Islamic jurist, ‘alim and writer and the Ameer of Hizb ut-Tahrir - the largest Islamic global political party under a single leadership. He was born in 1943 in the small village of Ra'na in the Hebron area of the Palestinian territories. He observed first-hand the Israeli destruction of Ra'na in 1948 and thereafter moved with his family to a refugee camp near Hebron. He was educated in Hebron, Jerusalem and Cairo, and is a qualified civil engineer.

Sheikh Ata joined Hizb ut-Tahrir in the mid-1950s and subsequently carried out party activism throughout the Arab world. He worked closely with Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani (May Allah give him Rahma), the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir and Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum (May Allah give him Rahma) who became the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir following Sheikh Nabhani's death in 1977.

In the 1980s he was a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Jordan and was appointed as Hizb ut-Tahrir's official spokesperson. He became the global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir on 13th April 2003 following the death of Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum (May Allah give him Rahma). Since assuming the leadership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, has addressed conferences across the world including Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan.

His other written works include Tayseer fi usool attafseer Surah al-Baqarah (2007), and Tayseer al Wusool min al-Usool.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/215-book-economic-crises-their-reality-and-solutions-from-the-viewpoint-of-islam

This book of the economic system in Islam is a precious intellectual Islamic fortune, rarely matched. It is the first book which crystallizes, clearly and obviously, in this century, the reality of the economic system of Islam in this period in an explicit fashion.

It explains the Islamic view of the economy and its objective, how to own property and increase it, how to spend and dispose of it, how to distribute the wealth amongst the citizens in society and how to establish a balance within it.

It explains the types of properties (private, public and State property) including the property due to the Bait ul-Mal and the areas over which it is spent.

It explains the rules of lands, whether ‘Ushriyya or Kharajiyya, and what is obliged in them of the tithe (‘Ushr) or land tax (Kharaj) and how to utilise, cultivate and allocate and also how to transfer them from one owner to another.

It also discusses the different types of currencies (Nuqud) and what occurs in them of Riba, exchange and what is obliged from them of Zakat.

Finally it discusses the foreign trade and its rules. The sole sources in adopting the rules mentioned in this book are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and what they directed to, namely analogy and Ijma’a as-Sahabah. No other source is taken in adopting these economic rules.

The book introduces the reality of the capitalist and socialist, including (communist) economic systems and their refutation, explaining their defects and contradiction with the economic system of Islam.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/199-book-the-economic-system-of-islam

Annas I. Wibowo

Hizb ut-Tahrir, convened two press conferences in Beirut and London on Friday 3rd April 2009, a day after the London G20 summit, where it launched its new book "Towards a Tranquil Safe World under the Shade of the Economic System of Islam."

The book examines the global economic crisis, explains its reality, critically examines its symptoms and exposes the flaws in the solutions proposed by the flagbearers of Capitalism. The book concludes by illustrating the correct solutions to the economic crisis from Islam - solutions that are from the Creator of the universe and the Creator of mankind, who knows what is best for His creation.

On the panel in London were Dr Imran Waheed, Hasan al-Hasan, and Taji Mustafa. The event was chaired by Sajjad Khan.

After speeches in english and arabic, a lively question and answer session followed with questions from the audience and others around the world who were watching the live webcast.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/254-book-towards-a-tranquil-safe-world-under-the-shade-of-the-economic-system-of-islam

Sheikh Abu Yasin Ata ibn Khalil Abu Rashta is an Islamic jurist, ‘alim and writer and the Ameer of Hizb ut-Tahrir - the largest Islamic global political party under a single leadership. He was born in 1943 in the small village of Ra'na in the Hebron area of the Palestinian territories. He observed first-hand the Israeli destruction of Ra'na in 1948 and thereafter moved with his family to a refugee camp near Hebron. He was educated in Hebron, Jerusalem and Cairo, and is a qualified civil engineer.

Sheikh Ata joined Hizb ut-Tahrir in the mid-1950s and subsequently carried out party activism throughout the Arab world. He worked closely with Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani (May Allah give him Rahma), the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir and Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum (May Allah give him Rahma) who became the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir following Sheikh Nabhani's death in 1977.

In the 1980s he was a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Jordan and was appointed as Hizb ut-Tahrir's official spokesperson. He became the global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir on 13th April 2003 following the death of Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zallum (May Allah give him Rahma). Since assuming the leadership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, has addressed conferences across the world including Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan.

His other written works include Tayseer fi usool attafseer Surah al-Baqarah (2007), and Tayseer al Wusool min al-Usool.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/215-book-economic-crises-their-reality-and-solutions-from-the-viewpoint-of-islam

This book of the economic system in Islam is a precious intellectual Islamic fortune, rarely matched. It is the first book which crystallizes, clearly and obviously, in this century, the reality of the economic system of Islam in this period in an explicit fashion.

It explains the Islamic view of the economy and its objective, how to own property and increase it, how to spend and dispose of it, how to distribute the wealth amongst the citizens in society and how to establish a balance within it.

It explains the types of properties (private, public and State property) including the property due to the Bait ul-Mal and the areas over which it is spent.

It explains the rules of lands, whether ‘Ushriyya or Kharajiyya, and what is obliged in them of the tithe (‘Ushr) or land tax (Kharaj) and how to utilise, cultivate and allocate and also how to transfer them from one owner to another.

It also discusses the different types of currencies (Nuqud) and what occurs in them of Riba, exchange and what is obliged from them of Zakat.

Finally it discusses the foreign trade and its rules. The sole sources in adopting the rules mentioned in this book are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and what they directed to, namely analogy and Ijma’a as-Sahabah. No other source is taken in adopting these economic rules.

The book introduces the reality of the capitalist and socialist, including (communist) economic systems and their refutation, explaining their defects and contradiction with the economic system of Islam.

http://hizb-america.org/multimedia/installation/199-book-the-economic-system-of-islam

Dave S

When I realized I was caught in a corrupt system that was too big to change, that was smarter and better-armed than I was, I became depressed. I am not a revolutionary. If this was Star Wars I would be Han Solo, or rather, the guy who was also running booze and guns like Solo, but who didn't get the girl and help save the Rebellion. I realized - the way to survive in a robust, corrupt system is easy - you cheat. You cheat your ass off.

I wonder though - what happens if we all cheat? Can we evolve the system rather than over-throwing it?

Dave S

When I realized I was caught in a corrupt system that was too big to change, that was smarter and better-armed than I was, I became depressed. I am not a revolutionary. If this was Star Wars I would be Han Solo, or rather, the guy who was also running booze and guns like Solo, but who didn't get the girl and help save the Rebellion. I realized - the way to survive in a robust, corrupt system is easy - you cheat. You cheat your ass off.

I wonder though - what happens if we all cheat? Can we evolve the system rather than over-throwing it?

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