István Mészáros speaking earlier this year on the unfinished economic crisis at a London Counterfire forum emphasizing his position that this crisis will result in the further concentration of capital and a massive attack of austerity…nail. on. head. He also emphasizes that what we are seeing is not a conjunctural crisis of capitalism, but a systematic crisis. I’m not sure if I find his overall thesis convincing. In the end, given the cyclical nature of capitalist reproduction what’s the difference between a conjunctural and a systemic crisis? Scale perhaps, or results maybe, but neither of these have, in my opinion, fully revealed themselves as of yet, so I can’t arrive at some of Mészáros’ conclusions. That said, he has been a close observer and keen chronicler of capitalism’s workings and saw clearer this spring that, while others were rejoicing and promoting (marketing) the end of the crisis, the crisis was far from over. We use the tools of analysis to see trends and in some cases events, but they are different sorts of prognoses though deeply related. Mészáros offers both and in doing so raises many valuable questions, at the very least.
If ever there was a time to make some good old-fashioned structural analysis popular, now is it. Done correctly the dynamism an honest debate and a living movement produce might add a dynamic corrective to any determinist heresy that might arise; the analysis framing the issues and offering the reaching, out-stretched finger to new possibilities. Given the four months or so that have passed since this was recorded I would say that Mészáros grasp of the situation was and is far superior to Timothy Geithner or Barney Frank or the liberal’s darling Robert Reich and the progressive’s darling Paul Krugman. More proof that, in the midst of these stormy economic seas, Marx remains the best ‘navigator’ we have. I just hope the train doesn’t hit me, I’m still bruised and working myself to my feet from the last one to barrel through.