Fictitious capital and real compacts

By Anitra Nelson

October 15, 2008 -- Radical Notes -- Perhaps we need a Marxian to sort out the world's financial woes. The insights of Karl Marx on capitalist crises, especially speculation and financial crises, were sophisticated for his time. Indeed, this nineteenth century communist revolutionary called financial assets and loans 'fictitious capital' or 'imaginary wealth' as distinct from 'real capital' -- industrial or productive capital -- such as factories and commodity stocks.

The global economic crisis: An historic opportunity for transformation

An initial response from individuals, social movements and non-governmental organisations in support of a transitional program for radical economic transformation.

Preamble

Beijing, October 15, 2008 -- Taking advantage of the opportunity of so many people from movements gathering in Beijing during the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the Transnational Institute and Focus on the Global South convened informal nightly meetings between October 13 and 15, 2008. We took stock of the meaning of the unfolding global economic crisis and the opportunity it presents for us to put into the public domain some of the inspiring and feasible alternatives many of us have been working on for decades. This statement represents the collective outcome of our Beijing nights. We, the initial signatories, mean this to be a contribution towards efforts to formulate proposals around which our movements can organise as the basis for a radically different kind of political and economic order.

Please sign on to this statement at http://www.casinocrash.org.

Final declaration of the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis

October 11, 2008 -- Academics and researchers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis, held in Caracas October 8-11, 2008. The conference stimulated a wide-ranging debate on the current economic and financial health of the global economy, the new perspectives and the challenges to the governments and peoples of the South posed by the international financial crisis.

The meeting concluded that the situation has worsened in the last few weeks. It has progressed rapidly from being a series of crises in the financial markets of countries in the centre and has turned into an extremely serious international crisis. This means that countries in the South are in a very difficult situation.

The crisis threatens the real economy and, if energetic and effective actions are not taken immediately, all peoples in the world could be drastically punished; especially the least-protected and most-neglected sectors.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments to save the planet

By Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Republic of Bolivia

Message to the Continental Gathering of Solidarity with Bolivia in Guatemala City

October 9, 2008 -- Sisters and brothers, on behalf of the Bolivian people, I greet the social movements of this continent present in this act of continental solidarity with Bolivia.

We have just suffered the violence of the oligarchy, whose most brutal expression was the massacre in Panda, a deed that teaches us that an attempt at power based on money and weapons in order to oppress the people is not sustainable. It is easily knocked down, if it is not based on a program and the consciousness of the people.

We see that the re-founding of Bolivia affects the underhanded interests of a few families of large landholders, who reject as an aggression the measures enacted to favour the people such as a more balanced distribution of the resources of natural gas for our grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as the distribution of lands, the campaigns for health and literacy, and others.

John Bellamy Foster: Monopoly finance capital and the crisis

Interview with John Bellamy Foster for the Norwegian daily Klassekampen (posted from

Don't pay for a failed system

US$700 billion dollars is twice the combined debt of the world’s poorest 49 countries.

By Tony Iltis

October 11, 2008 -- “Meltdown” is a word that one hears a lot on the news these days.

Despite the US$700 billion government bailout of banks in the US, similar (albeit smaller) bailouts in Europe, and various forms of state intervention in the finance industry on both sides of the Atlantic, sharemarkets worldwide are in free fall. Comparisons with the Great Depression of the 1930s are common. Homelessness and unemployment are rising and are set to increase dramatically.

Meanwhile, more quietly but even more relentlessly, another meltdown is occurring: that of the polar icecaps. According to the Western world’s establishment politicians and corporate media, the way to avert catastrophic climate change lies in setting up elaborate emissions trading schemes and carbon markets: that is, relying on precisely the mechanisms that have created the economic meltdown!

Refounding Bolivia: Morales calls for vote on a new democratic constitution

Evo Morales (left) receives a traditional ceremonial staff
at the sacred place of Tiwanaku.
Photo: AFP

By Raul Burbano

October 13, 2008 -- Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for a national referendum on the country’s new draft constitution on December 7. The demand of the Bolivian people for a new and socially, politically and economically inclusive constitution is at the heart of the present political upheaval in that country.

Right-wing forces representing the country’s traditional ruling oligarchy have launched a secessionist movement to balkanise the country, in an attempt to block the constitutional referendum. They have organised murderous fascist gangs to terrorise the population.

They are backed by the US government, whose ambassador, Philip Goldberg, has recently been expelled from Bolivia for his support of the opposition and openly admitted interference in Bolivian political life.

On the other side the vast majority of the Bolivians, more than 67% of whom just voted support President Evo Morales in a recall referendum.

Global warming - No more business as usual: This is an emergency!

By David Spratt

October 10, 2008 -- A year ago I was researching what was intended to be a short submission to the Garnaut review [commissioned to advise the Australian federal government of Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd], when events in the polar north turned the world of climate policy upside down. It was found that eight million square kilometres of sea-ice — an area the size of Australia — was melting, in the immortal words of one glaciologist, "a hundred years ahead of schedule".

Yet the international policy debate carried on as if this had not happened. Out-of-date scenarios, research and observations were being used to propose emission reduction targets that would still lead to catastrophe even if fully implemented.

And so a short submission became a long detour into how the climate debate is being constructed, and the result, with Philip Sutton,  was a book we did not intend to write, Climate Code Red.

Cuba: Lift the blockade!

Statement from the National Assembly of People’s Power

United States: The financial calamity, African Americans and Obama

Barack Obama supporters

By Malik Miah

October 8, 2008 -- The deepening financial calamity exposes how the “fundamentals” of the economy impact on working people, particularly African Americans. The so-called unfettered free market system has been a failure.

The issue of the economy has given the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the first Black candidate for a major party, a big boost. After eight years of Bush-Cheney, Obama should be a shoo-in. Democrats are expected to garner big majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Nuke deal a conduit to import US crisis into India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President George Bush

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation