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Anticapitalist MeetUp 13 September – an Introduction to Anticapitalism

5 min read
Periodically, ACM readers might want an introduction to anticapitalism. This emerges because of the disinformation propagated by kakistocratic clowns like Trump, who enables neoliberal capitalism while pursuing kleptocracy and monopolizing violence. This is important as yesterday Trump signed an executive order that had no effect on big pharma, and endorsed extrajudicial killing as “retribution”.

To that end here’s one of many introductory readings for those wanting to get a handle on anticapitalism, as some Democrats do wish to tame and reform capitalism, neutralizing its human and environmental harms while not explicitly endorsing many anticapitalist objectives or the tactics of many activists. You could even be antifa without being anticapitalist.

Below the fold is a more technical description of a search for analytic tools to critique regional economic policy.

As a start you might read Erik Olin Wright, How to be an anticapitalist today (2015)

The idea that capitalism can be rendered a benign social order in which ordinary people can live flourishing, meaningful lives is ultimately an illusion because, at its core, capitalism is unreformable. The only hope is to destroy it, sweep away the rubble, and then build an alternative. As the closing words of the labor tune “Solidarity Forever” proclaim, “We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old.”

But how to do this? How is it possible for anticapitalist forces to amass enough power to destroy capitalism and replace it with a better alternative? This is indeed a daunting task, for the power of dominant classes that makes reform an illusion also blocks the revolutionary goal of a rupture in the system. Anticapitalist revolutionary theory, informed by the writings of Marx and extended by Lenin, Gramsci, and others, offered an attractive argument about how this could take place.

While it is true that much of the time capitalism seems unassailable, it is also a deeply contradictory system, prone to disruptions and crises. Sometimes those crises reach an intensity which makes the system as a whole fragile, vulnerable to challenge.…

Here’s one of many videos, I just chose something done recently:

Even more foundationally, you should read these books, they will lead you to the primary sources (remember that we strive to be ecumenical in ACM):

Ultimately the ideological frontiers remain in the academy, even as the subtext for a socialist economy would be to eradicate inequality. Like the distribution among universities of analytic philosophy versus continental philosophy, those heterodox economic studies are distributed as unevenly as its ideological absence among the dominant neoclassical, orthodox economic studies represented in academia. Often it is the arbitrary personnel division between college departments of business and economics. Darn those “unjustified hierarchies”.

82% of economists claim that statements and arguments should be evaluated on the content only, but the results of the study show the exact opposite.


One important step that helps identify the appropriate changes necessary to minimize the influence of ideological biases is to understand their roots.

As argued by prominent social scientists (e.g. Althusser 1976, Foucault 1969, Popper 1955, Thompson 1997), the main source of ideological bias is knowledge-based, influenced by the institutions that produce discourses. Mainstream economics, as the dominant and most influential institution in economics, propagates and shapes ideological views among economists through different channels.


For example, when a statement criticizing “symbolic pseudo-mathematical methods of formalizing a system of economic analysis” is attributed to its real source, John Maynard Keynes, instead of its fictitious source, Kenneth Arrow, the agreement level among economists drops by 11.6%. Similarly, when a statement criticizing intellectual monopoly (i.e. patent, copyright) is attributed to Richard Wolff, the American Marxian economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, instead of its real source, David Levine, professor of economics at the Washington University in St. Louis, the agreement level drops by 6.6%.…

Even as there’s an information economy there’s also a cost-efficient political economy of disinformation that often operates in 2020 as successful as it did in 2016.

The Russian objective is to create an illusion of deep-seated divisions between people like you and people who aren't like you, so that you won't be able to agree on anything.

Disinformation has its own kinds of maps/charts and in terms of value can benefit capitalism in terms of producing propaganda and uncertainty. However there are tools like this one, Fighting Disinformation Online A Database of Web Tools.

Here's a notional example: Suppose you and a neighbor agree that your property taxes are too high, but disagree on issues related to sensitive topics like race relations or immigration. You start seeing online memes focusing on extreme views on these topics. Those memes evoke strong reactions, painting the issue as a battle between two extremes. You begin thinking of your neighbor based on this false dichotomy. The neighbor becomes one of “them” rather than a person with whom you had some commonality. After all, it's difficult to agree on most anything when you and your neighbor view each other as racist or anti-American.

The Russian objective is to create an illusion of deep-seated divisions between people like you and people who aren't like you, so that you won't be able to agree on anything.…


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