Capitalism is a ‘totalizing’ force, like the Holocaust, or slavery. As the thesis goes, a few contained the lot by depriving them of any vision beyond their present walls. We tend to rate capitalism different because were sold patched-up versions, whereas no one imagines a ‘reformed’ holocaust or ‘progressive’ slave-holders.
When it serves, or when circumstances demand, -to prevent Facebook from re-rigging rigged elections, and so forth- we regulate capitalism’s policies, rarely its capital. But policies are as much to blame as prejudice was for the lucrative, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Marx explained this in plain terms, but Marx isn’t part of the discourse. Officially because of his flawed predictions, but that hasn’t excluded Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan, nor our current Democratic leadership, though blind-sided in most elections. Rather, the emphasis on resistance makes him undigestable to the capitalist Left.
Rather, since we fear investors less than errant thugs we find ways for democracy to protect capital. Mind, our constitutional lure invoked democracy to reign it in. But we’ve learned, instead, how to pad and sedate democracy to absorb capitalism’s abuses. Thus, I myself doubt there exist ‘reformed’ or ‘progressive’ capitalisms.
8 months ago Cornell West wrote a scathing critique of Ta-Nehisi Coates, calling him the ‘Neoliberal face of the black struggle’.[i] Some of us were aghast how much fell on…