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Come read with us: week 1

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Come read with us: week 1

We are starting an online reading group which everyone's welcome to take part in.

We have just launched our online reading group, which will help those of us who cannot be at all places we'd like all of the time to contribute, in our own time and at our own pace.

To kick things off, we decided to read the first half of the 'Boom Bubble and Bust (Capitalism in Crisis)' leaflet (Introduction, The Rise of Corporations and The Warfare State, up to page 23).

If you are on Facebook, you can join the 'event' and share your thoughts about the text here. If you would rather not have anything to do with Facebook, please comment below and we'll copy/paste the discussions on both platforms.

If you would like to suggest stuff to read/watch for the future discussions, please do (by commenting below or on Facebook).

Updated Friday 29th April 2016:

Summary of the Facebook discussion

It argues some of the incorrect postions of the British Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) on state capitalisms and it didnt really get to a particulalrly clear understanding of the battle to restore profitability. Perhaps that was so that it did not appear to be part of the Kliman v Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) debate on the reasons for the financial crisis in 2007/08. It also didn't really give sufficient highlight to the money supply/expansion of credit limitations that were reached at the end of the period of financialisation.

Kliman v CWI (The Socialist Party) argument was about the causes of the 2007/8 financial crisis and how direct, or otherwise was the Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall the prime reason for the crash and had profitability been falling, consistently or not. Plus other matters. It seemed a re-run of old arguments

Page 17 refers to the Stalinists states as state capitalist. These states had no real capitalists in them, as they had generally been physically liquidated. A form of burearatic state planning was in place. The economics of those countries were fundementally different to the capitalist countries. The UK SWP were the major trend in the modern era to advocate this analysis and because of this they made many other theoretical mistakes, including failing to understand the significance of the collapse of stalinism, and the effect that had on socialist conciousness world wide. Ted Grant wrote the historical rebuttal of State Capitalism. Also, in various periods, certain primary industries have been nationalised under state control to allow a weakened capitalism to make better profits in the short term. No new class was created.This was an auxillary function to capitalism and did not represent the natural end of capitalism or an alternative to it. Monopoly capitalism is very different from state nationalised industry.

What is meant by 'crisis' and who is experiencing it? Is a crisis something I want to avoid or fix within existing parameters/systems? Is a crisis of capitalism something which can or needs to be solved within capitalism? There is no such thing as good/green/benevolent capitalism? If what is happening now is an integral part of the pattern or cycle of capitalism/neo-liberalism, is 'crisis' the right word to describe it? If it's not crisis, what do we call it?

Summaries of Marx and Engels writing useful. Repeated references to 'tory' (as opposed to 'neoliberal' or 'tory/labour') misguided as there hasn't been much difference between the two for some 40 years; additional implication of a 'solution' within capitalism.

The boom.and bust cycle of overproduction should not be confused with the post-1973 downturn trend on the world economy

The 2007/2008 super slump is both an extension of that but also something different. It was a massive credit contraction / money supply contraction after a historic period of credit expansion designed to negate the trend since the 1970s.

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