The Limits of Capitalism

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( T h e B u l l e t ))))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1971 ... January 8, 2020
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The Limits of Capitalism

Laurie E. Adkin

At this point in human history, the limits of capitalism and the limits of our species’ life on Earth have converged. We have never been here before, and we cannot go back.

The political activism of my youth was largely in solidarity with anti-colonial movements in Africa and Palestine, anti-US imperialist movements and dictatorships in Latin America, and solidarity-building between the labour and other social movements around a broad program of democratic, anti-capitalist reforms. In those struggles, there was always an assumption that social transformation could draw upon the resources of a reasonably intact natural world. No more. Capitalism, patriarchy, and racism now threaten to destroy this world, along with its tenuous civilizational achievements. We are all of us, now, face to face with the kind of ‘deworlding’ that traumatized Indigenous peoples following the arrival of colonizers.

We, on the left, keep trying to find analogous moments in human history (the rise of fascism, world war two) when ‘normal’ life is upended and nothing can go... on as before -- including academic work, which must give way to activism on every front. Apart from the threat of nuclear war, humans have never faced a ‘limit’ like this, and even that threat was unlike climate destabilization because at least it could be controlled by disarming the technology. What we have set in motion now, in the capitalocene, is likely beyond technological solutions, notwithstanding Promethean male fantasies of Mars colonies and planetary geological engineering. What we have set in motion is now, at least in part, beyond human control. That is, no re-engineering of social relationships and modes of production will reverse the biological and physical processes that have been unleashed.

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