The Carnivalesque Rebellion Issue

Crack Capitalism

Is there a way out of the apparently unstoppable advance of capital?
Crack Capitalism
Pakistani flood victim Mohammed Nawaz hangs onto a moving
raft waiting to be rescued. (Paula Bronstein, Getty Images)

We are all in a room with four walls, a floor, a ceiling and no windows or door. The room is furnished and some of us are sitting comfortably, others most definitely are not. The walls are advancing inwards gradually, sometimes slower, sometimes faster, making us all more uncomfortable, advancing all the time, threatening to crush us all to death.

There are discussions within the room, but they are mostly about how to arrange the furniture. People do not seem to see the walls advancing. From time to time there are elections about how to place the furniture. These elections are not unimportant: They make some people more comfortable, others less so; they may even affect the speed at which the walls are moving, but they do nothing to stop their relentless advance.

As the walls grow closer, people react in different ways. Some refuse absolutely to see the advance of the walls, shutting themselves tightly into a world of Disney and defending with determination the chairs they are sitting on. Some see and denounce the movement of the walls, build a party with a radical program and look forward to a day in the future when there will be no walls. Others – and I among them – run to the walls and try desperately to find cracks, or faults beneath the surface, or to create cracks by banging on the walls. This looking for and creation of cracks is a practical-theoretical activity, a throwing ourselves against the walls and also a standing back to try and see cracks or faults in the surface. The two activities are complementary: Theory makes little sense unless it is understood as part of the desperate effort to find a way out, to create cracks that defy the apparently unstoppable advance of capital, of the walls that are pushing us to our destruction.


Is the advance of capital unstoppable? Can we create cracks? Leave your comments for what we (and everyone) could do during this November’s Carnivalesque Rebellion November 22–28.



John Holloway is the author of Change the World Without Taking Power, a book about the Zapatista movement. His most recent book is Crack Capitalism, Pluto Press.

78 comments on the article “Crack Capitalism”

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Anonymous

"Change is needed regardless of the minor casualties" -- that's exactly what people said during the Industrial Revolution in England when massive social dislocation occurred at the cost of technological "progress." People were willing to watch people starve, because they assumed that in the long run, people's lives would be better off. I understand where you're coming from, I just want to encourage you to watch your words....

Anonymous

"Change is needed regardless of the minor casualties" -- that's exactly what people said during the Industrial Revolution in England when massive social dislocation occurred at the cost of technological "progress." People were willing to watch people starve, because they assumed that in the long run, people's lives would be better off. I understand where you're coming from, I just want to encourage you to watch your words....

Anonymous

marijuana legalization slowly spreads throughout the US -> more and more people realize how much better off they are being self sufficient, growing it for themselves -> self sufficiency spreads and takes down capitalism which cracks away at other forms of hierarchy

maaybe

Anonymous

marijuana legalization slowly spreads throughout the US -> more and more people realize how much better off they are being self sufficient, growing it for themselves -> self sufficiency spreads and takes down capitalism which cracks away at other forms of hierarchy

maaybe

hamo_bu

Analogies are great for explaining, but can't be used to draw conclusions about a thing you are trying to explain. With any analogy there are limitations and hidden assumptions.

World is certainly changing, but is it for the better or worse? Despite the growing pessimism, we are healthier, safer and have more than any time before in human history. Even poorest kids in USA have way more than I did growing up in Yugoslavia in eighties, and I was relatively well off. I, in turn, grew up with things my father could could only dream about, and he grew up with things his father could only dream about.

Of course, there are real risks at the horizon, but there are also great opportunities. We are living in an age of great personal empowerment, for example, and anyone with a computer and Internet account can start a cascade of change. Replacement organs are around the corner.

And our lives are better, not only in a large leaps, but also in small imperceptible increments. Debilitating mental illnesses for example, that were not even recognized previously are being treated. Growing up, I remember smart kids who had trouble with reading all the way up to high school. Those kids were treated as being stupid, but perhaps they were merely dyslexic. Kids like that would finish trade school - or worse - turn to crime and substance abuse.

It is little improvements like that which are unnoticed, and pushed aside by newly created problems that solutions bring. It is easy to complain about $4 per gallon of gas, but try pushing Toyota Corolla for 30 miles, and all of a sudden $4 per gallon does not seem too bad.

hamo_bu

Analogies are great for explaining, but can't be used to draw conclusions about a thing you are trying to explain. With any analogy there are limitations and hidden assumptions.

World is certainly changing, but is it for the better or worse? Despite the growing pessimism, we are healthier, safer and have more than any time before in human history. Even poorest kids in USA have way more than I did growing up in Yugoslavia in eighties, and I was relatively well off. I, in turn, grew up with things my father could could only dream about, and he grew up with things his father could only dream about.

Of course, there are real risks at the horizon, but there are also great opportunities. We are living in an age of great personal empowerment, for example, and anyone with a computer and Internet account can start a cascade of change. Replacement organs are around the corner.

And our lives are better, not only in a large leaps, but also in small imperceptible increments. Debilitating mental illnesses for example, that were not even recognized previously are being treated. Growing up, I remember smart kids who had trouble with reading all the way up to high school. Those kids were treated as being stupid, but perhaps they were merely dyslexic. Kids like that would finish trade school - or worse - turn to crime and substance abuse.

It is little improvements like that which are unnoticed, and pushed aside by newly created problems that solutions bring. It is easy to complain about $4 per gallon of gas, but try pushing Toyota Corolla for 30 miles, and all of a sudden $4 per gallon does not seem too bad.

Anonymous

Just because we are "better off" then in other countries does not mean we are truly better off. I feel we as a society look at places that some might think is worst and that pacifies us into thinking that the world we live in is just great but it is not!!! We have a lot of waking up to do individually and collectively. It is amazing to see some of these countries that have issues and see the strength that many of them have that we can actually learn from. We need to open our eyes to see the real truth.

Anonymous

Just because we are "better off" then in other countries does not mean we are truly better off. I feel we as a society look at places that some might think is worst and that pacifies us into thinking that the world we live in is just great but it is not!!! We have a lot of waking up to do individually and collectively. It is amazing to see some of these countries that have issues and see the strength that many of them have that we can actually learn from. We need to open our eyes to see the real truth.

T-Ster

don't you see that Mental illness is a fabrication of the world we are living in or even a product of it?
we live in a word that moves so quickly that we have no time to wait for those that might be a bit slower on the catch up. As a dyslexic my self, i struggled through school, but i think that was more to do with the fact that i was being taught facts to pass a test, rather than an understanding of the knowledge i received.
i find im as capable if not more than most 'normal' people i just have to put more time and effort into what i want to do and be more organised.

in a fast paced society where nothing in our lives is set in stone, jobs for life no longer exist, the prospect of getting a job out of education is looking bleaker and people of all ages are under huge amounts of stress and anxiety about what to do with their life's its no wonder that we aren't a 'happy' bunch.

‘Preconception that suffering is a mistake or a sign of weakness or a sign even of illness when in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of peoples suffering’ (Arthur Miller )

i think every one should take note of the quote above and realise that feeling down or depressed isn't a strange unnatural thing, its a human emotion, however this seems to be lost amongst our capitalist society where happiness come from the things we consume, inanimate objects. i think if we want to improve our lives, we need to stop being so obsessed with ourselves and our identity (which is what corporate advertising is out to do) and start interacting with other human beings, go on be crazy and say hi to a stranger, you never know it could change your life?

T-Ster

don't you see that Mental illness is a fabrication of the world we are living in or even a product of it?
we live in a word that moves so quickly that we have no time to wait for those that might be a bit slower on the catch up. As a dyslexic my self, i struggled through school, but i think that was more to do with the fact that i was being taught facts to pass a test, rather than an understanding of the knowledge i received.
i find im as capable if not more than most 'normal' people i just have to put more time and effort into what i want to do and be more organised.

in a fast paced society where nothing in our lives is set in stone, jobs for life no longer exist, the prospect of getting a job out of education is looking bleaker and people of all ages are under huge amounts of stress and anxiety about what to do with their life's its no wonder that we aren't a 'happy' bunch.

‘Preconception that suffering is a mistake or a sign of weakness or a sign even of illness when in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of peoples suffering’ (Arthur Miller )

i think every one should take note of the quote above and realise that feeling down or depressed isn't a strange unnatural thing, its a human emotion, however this seems to be lost amongst our capitalist society where happiness come from the things we consume, inanimate objects. i think if we want to improve our lives, we need to stop being so obsessed with ourselves and our identity (which is what corporate advertising is out to do) and start interacting with other human beings, go on be crazy and say hi to a stranger, you never know it could change your life?

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