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199

Disassembly Required, or, This Will Not Be Easy

4
terms
12
notes
Needs summary

Mann, G. (2013). Disassembly Required, or, This Will Not Be Easy. In Mann, G. Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism. AK Press, pp. 199-258

200

[...] the main ideologues and beneficiaries of neoliberalization managed, amazingly, to spin the collapse they precipitated into a story about the profligate irresponsibility and unrealistic expectations of workers, students, and the unemployed. The massive holes in every capitalist nations public and private finances were perfuntorily redefined as the result of popular desire to "live beyond our means," from which the masses must be weaned once and for all. The answer elites proposed, and proceeded to impose, looked a lot like an IMF structural adjustment plan--austerity, privatization, liberalization--with an emphasis on austerity, a program of vicious cuts in public subsidies and state retrenchment designed and managed by exactly the same individuals and institutions who created the crises in the first place.

[...] to listen to Euro-American austeritites talk, you would think austerity is how capitalists say the rosary, a market-imposed penance for "our" sins.

the "living beyond our means" argument would have a lot more stock if there weren't such massive inequality

—p.200 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] the main ideologues and beneficiaries of neoliberalization managed, amazingly, to spin the collapse they precipitated into a story about the profligate irresponsibility and unrealistic expectations of workers, students, and the unemployed. The massive holes in every capitalist nations public and private finances were perfuntorily redefined as the result of popular desire to "live beyond our means," from which the masses must be weaned once and for all. The answer elites proposed, and proceeded to impose, looked a lot like an IMF structural adjustment plan--austerity, privatization, liberalization--with an emphasis on austerity, a program of vicious cuts in public subsidies and state retrenchment designed and managed by exactly the same individuals and institutions who created the crises in the first place.

[...] to listen to Euro-American austeritites talk, you would think austerity is how capitalists say the rosary, a market-imposed penance for "our" sins.

the "living beyond our means" argument would have a lot more stock if there weren't such massive inequality

—p.200 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

the five eurozone nations that were considered weaker economically following the financial crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain

201

The southern nation-states (the so-called "PIIGS": Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) have private financial institutions no more stupid or myopic than banks in Germany or France

the reason they were affected more is because their systems were less robust

—p.201 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago

The southern nation-states (the so-called "PIIGS": Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) have private financial institutions no more stupid or myopic than banks in Germany or France

the reason they were affected more is because their systems were less robust

—p.201 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago
208

[...] remember that southern Europeans are often "racially" subordinated in Europe, similar to the way in which African Americans are positioned in the US: they are coded as lazy, dishonest, and biologically inferior even and sometimes most in their own countries [...]

footnote 75

—p.208 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] remember that southern Europeans are often "racially" subordinated in Europe, similar to the way in which African Americans are positioned in the US: they are coded as lazy, dishonest, and biologically inferior even and sometimes most in their own countries [...]

footnote 75

—p.208 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

(noun) one hundredth of one percent (as in the yield of an investment)

212

"Basis point" is the finance term for 1/100th of a percent

—p.212 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago

"Basis point" is the finance term for 1/100th of a percent

—p.212 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago

a curve on a graph in which the yield of fixed-interest securities is plotted against the length of time they have to run to maturity

215

As long as they were earning higher interest on the money loaned than they were paying on the money borrowed, it worked. But when the market went through turmoil, and the short term looked riskier than the long term, the yield curve "inverted"

footnote 80. on why Spanish banks failed

—p.215 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago

As long as they were earning higher interest on the money loaned than they were paying on the money borrowed, it worked. But when the market went through turmoil, and the short term looked riskier than the long term, the yield curve "inverted"

footnote 80. on why Spanish banks failed

—p.215 default author
notable
1 year, 4 months ago
222

On the contrary, the explanation is far more straightforward: capital won. Sometimes with armies, sometimes with persuasion, sometimes with money, and sometimes by accident, but it won. For at least the last thirty or forty years, and this is increasingly true in nominally "noncapitalist" nation-states like China also, capital has proven richer, more powerful, more expansive, more convincing, and more real than any other political economic force on the planet. It is not a myth, it is not an elaborate hoax, and its wealth and dominance are not fictitious or illusory. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it has written the political economic rule book by which the world plays, and defined the terms and means by which one might "legitimately" break those rules. Socialists may have lost their ideological fire, or they may have read the writing on the wall and decided that given the options available to them, and the ultimate political and economic objectives to which socialism aims, i.e., the long-term betterment of citizens' everyday lives, their constituencies had to play by the rules, and the rules rule against being socialists.

on socialist parties in Spain endorsing austerity

"capital has proven richer, more powerful, more expansive, more convincing, and more real than any other political economic force on the planet. It is not a myth, it is not an elaborate hoax, and its wealth and dominance are not fictitious or illusory. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it has written the political economic rule book by which the world plays, and defined the terms and means by which one might "legitimately" break those rules" -> think about this

—p.222 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

On the contrary, the explanation is far more straightforward: capital won. Sometimes with armies, sometimes with persuasion, sometimes with money, and sometimes by accident, but it won. For at least the last thirty or forty years, and this is increasingly true in nominally "noncapitalist" nation-states like China also, capital has proven richer, more powerful, more expansive, more convincing, and more real than any other political economic force on the planet. It is not a myth, it is not an elaborate hoax, and its wealth and dominance are not fictitious or illusory. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it has written the political economic rule book by which the world plays, and defined the terms and means by which one might "legitimately" break those rules. Socialists may have lost their ideological fire, or they may have read the writing on the wall and decided that given the options available to them, and the ultimate political and economic objectives to which socialism aims, i.e., the long-term betterment of citizens' everyday lives, their constituencies had to play by the rules, and the rules rule against being socialists.

on socialist parties in Spain endorsing austerity

"capital has proven richer, more powerful, more expansive, more convincing, and more real than any other political economic force on the planet. It is not a myth, it is not an elaborate hoax, and its wealth and dominance are not fictitious or illusory. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it has written the political economic rule book by which the world plays, and defined the terms and means by which one might "legitimately" break those rules" -> think about this

—p.222 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
224

[...] however "radical" we might imagine our politics, we must recognize ourselves in it. If we cannot see in it the actual material and social constraints experienced by real living individuals and groups in their everyday attempts to make and remake a way to be in the world, then we will never find a way out of it. If we cannot understand that capitalism, and the agency of the billions of people who have little "choice" but to embrace it, is a product of far more than the trickery and ill-will of a few, an effective mass-based anticapitalist politics is in my mind a pipe-dream.

—p.224 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] however "radical" we might imagine our politics, we must recognize ourselves in it. If we cannot see in it the actual material and social constraints experienced by real living individuals and groups in their everyday attempts to make and remake a way to be in the world, then we will never find a way out of it. If we cannot understand that capitalism, and the agency of the billions of people who have little "choice" but to embrace it, is a product of far more than the trickery and ill-will of a few, an effective mass-based anticapitalist politics is in my mind a pipe-dream.

—p.224 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
225

[...] Capitalism so saturates everyday life, particularly in the global North, that even many who actively oppose its power reproduce its hegemony in many of the acts necessary for merely being in the world. It determines the ways and means through which we live, and consequently, we live it into being. [...]

Of course the will to change will be a key component of the tools for change, but there are also structural, historical, and contingent forces at work that militate against a naive plan to "build a dream" that does not emerge from and build upon the world in which we live. We cannot start with an idealized Utopia at the end of history and work backward to figure out how we get there. History is filled with evidence of the failures of utopianism, whether it takes the macro-form of the Bolshevik revolution, or the micro-form of escapist "international communities." Mark and Engels' critique of utopian socialists, those who believe history can be readily broken or dismissed, still stands. We must begin from where we are.

—p.225 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] Capitalism so saturates everyday life, particularly in the global North, that even many who actively oppose its power reproduce its hegemony in many of the acts necessary for merely being in the world. It determines the ways and means through which we live, and consequently, we live it into being. [...]

Of course the will to change will be a key component of the tools for change, but there are also structural, historical, and contingent forces at work that militate against a naive plan to "build a dream" that does not emerge from and build upon the world in which we live. We cannot start with an idealized Utopia at the end of history and work backward to figure out how we get there. History is filled with evidence of the failures of utopianism, whether it takes the macro-form of the Bolshevik revolution, or the micro-form of escapist "international communities." Mark and Engels' critique of utopian socialists, those who believe history can be readily broken or dismissed, still stands. We must begin from where we are.

—p.225 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
227

[...] If all we want is noncapitalism, then it seems to me the surest way to get there is to leave it to the capitalists--the terrible knowledge of this truth is in fact the fundamental premise of Keynesianism. [...]

[...] I think that strategy would be disastrous. Capitalism may be undone this way, but the costs will be borne disproportionately by those who benefit least from the existing system. [...]

—p.227 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] If all we want is noncapitalism, then it seems to me the surest way to get there is to leave it to the capitalists--the terrible knowledge of this truth is in fact the fundamental premise of Keynesianism. [...]

[...] I think that strategy would be disastrous. Capitalism may be undone this way, but the costs will be borne disproportionately by those who benefit least from the existing system. [...]

—p.227 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
230

[...] capitalist money, as a social relation or institution, militated against all meaningful political change. Because it must carry and stabilize value across time and space, and because all or virtually all exchange takes place via money, money is at root a promise that the future, here or elsewhere, will be basically the same as today. If it were not, no one would trust money as the expression of value, and then it would not be money. [...]

—p.230 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] capitalist money, as a social relation or institution, militated against all meaningful political change. Because it must carry and stabilize value across time and space, and because all or virtually all exchange takes place via money, money is at root a promise that the future, here or elsewhere, will be basically the same as today. If it were not, no one would trust money as the expression of value, and then it would not be money. [...]

—p.230 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
235

[...] That basically nobody willingly immigrates from the capitalist to the noncapitalist parts of the world is not merely a function of ideology. The fact that in many cases it is the power of capital, via neocolonial imperialism or environmental destruction, that makes noncapitalist life so hard does nothing to diminish immediate need. It is one more reason to be anticapitalist, but we must recognize that for many in the global North (though not all), it is in fact relative privilege that provides the security to seek something beyond capitalism, and much of that security is provided by the power of capital.

—p.235 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] That basically nobody willingly immigrates from the capitalist to the noncapitalist parts of the world is not merely a function of ideology. The fact that in many cases it is the power of capital, via neocolonial imperialism or environmental destruction, that makes noncapitalist life so hard does nothing to diminish immediate need. It is one more reason to be anticapitalist, but we must recognize that for many in the global North (though not all), it is in fact relative privilege that provides the security to seek something beyond capitalism, and much of that security is provided by the power of capital.

—p.235 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

a Castilian Dominican friar, and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain's movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as "The Spanish Inquisition

236

Some [...] see immediate potential for a radical and socially just anticapitalism in the disintegration of the euro and the fall of the Torquemadas of neoliberal austerity

—p.236 default author
unknown
1 year, 4 months ago

Some [...] see immediate potential for a radical and socially just anticapitalism in the disintegration of the euro and the fall of the Torquemadas of neoliberal austerity

—p.236 default author
unknown
1 year, 4 months ago
237

[...] This is what Gramsci and Poulantzas, in their own ways, said too. At present, the state, within its territory and in its participation in multilaterial institutions and contracts, is the essential means by which capital's hegemony is legitimized and protected. Consequently, it is the principal institutional means by which to influence the distribution of the material means for human well-being. At least in the near term, the state's legitimacy as the mechanism of distribution is axiomatic: it is the legitimate mechanism of distribution within its territory because it is the state. Via a suite of widely accepted domains of responsibility--taxes, fiscal spending, monetary governance, social programs, labour regulation, market oversight, etc--the state is the distributional centre of gravity. If mass anticapitalist movements are to emerge in the global North, at least, then anticapitalists must work to gain control of this hegemonic distributional mechanism. [...]

—p.237 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] This is what Gramsci and Poulantzas, in their own ways, said too. At present, the state, within its territory and in its participation in multilaterial institutions and contracts, is the essential means by which capital's hegemony is legitimized and protected. Consequently, it is the principal institutional means by which to influence the distribution of the material means for human well-being. At least in the near term, the state's legitimacy as the mechanism of distribution is axiomatic: it is the legitimate mechanism of distribution within its territory because it is the state. Via a suite of widely accepted domains of responsibility--taxes, fiscal spending, monetary governance, social programs, labour regulation, market oversight, etc--the state is the distributional centre of gravity. If mass anticapitalist movements are to emerge in the global North, at least, then anticapitalists must work to gain control of this hegemonic distributional mechanism. [...]

—p.237 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
239

[...] most of these movements, through no fault or lack of imagination of their own, are embedded in an overwhelmingly capitalist matrix. They are islands in an ocean. More islands are always a welcome sight, but the ocean remains.

on local anticapitalist movements for specific things

inspo for framing my analysis of potential solutions

—p.239 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] most of these movements, through no fault or lack of imagination of their own, are embedded in an overwhelmingly capitalist matrix. They are islands in an ocean. More islands are always a welcome sight, but the ocean remains.

on local anticapitalist movements for specific things

inspo for framing my analysis of potential solutions

—p.239 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
241

[...] The most fundamental problem with capitalism, and the reason it must be rejected, is that it is structured, in its very operation, to make it impossible for millions and even billions to be free in any meaningful sense. The critique of capitalism has little to do with how well it provides for the people of the world relative to what came before (feudalism, slave-plantations, etc.), or with a need to defend the disastrous attempts to resist it (Stalinist "communism", faux-socialist kleptocracy, etc.). Anticapitalism has to do, rather, with the fact that capitalism is not good enough. It is unacceptable.

connects with my thoughts on capitalism as this adolescent stage

diss inspo for the conclusion (that the current system of info capitalism is unacceptable because of the lack of freedom)

—p.241 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] The most fundamental problem with capitalism, and the reason it must be rejected, is that it is structured, in its very operation, to make it impossible for millions and even billions to be free in any meaningful sense. The critique of capitalism has little to do with how well it provides for the people of the world relative to what came before (feudalism, slave-plantations, etc.), or with a need to defend the disastrous attempts to resist it (Stalinist "communism", faux-socialist kleptocracy, etc.). Anticapitalism has to do, rather, with the fact that capitalism is not good enough. It is unacceptable.

connects with my thoughts on capitalism as this adolescent stage

diss inspo for the conclusion (that the current system of info capitalism is unacceptable because of the lack of freedom)

—p.241 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago
241

[...] Some, of course, hedge their bets, saying capitalism is "the best we can do," or the "least bad" way of organizing our political economic lives. That, it seems to me, is horseshit, and not a shred of evidence supports it. At my most generous, I might grant that capitalism, relative to what came before, is among the better ways developed thus far, but [...] why would we accept something because it is the best "so far"? Imagine if we had stopped at leeching or slavery because they were the best methods for medicine and agriculture we had developed "so far".

—p.241 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] Some, of course, hedge their bets, saying capitalism is "the best we can do," or the "least bad" way of organizing our political economic lives. That, it seems to me, is horseshit, and not a shred of evidence supports it. At my most generous, I might grant that capitalism, relative to what came before, is among the better ways developed thus far, but [...] why would we accept something because it is the best "so far"? Imagine if we had stopped at leeching or slavery because they were the best methods for medicine and agriculture we had developed "so far".

—p.241 by Geoff Mann 1 year, 4 months ago