Thursday, September 6, 2012

David Graeber Explains It All For You -- and Charlie Rose

I have a fairly high opinion of Graeber's thought, though one could say he doesn't really present well on the television machine.

(I remember one of the disputes I engaged in with another Occupy supporter was over teevee appearances by people who don't do television well; she was outraged that someone who was interviewed about a protest action against Monsanto that was going on at the time didn't speak well enough or in the appropriate and expected sound bites, and therefore wasn't communicating. I pointed out that the interviewee did touch on all the important aspects of the protest and said what needed to be said. Expecting everyone who goes on teevee to "speak in teevee-ese" is unproductive. Would the complainer suggest that everyone who doesn't do teevee well should refuse to be interviewed? How would she make that judgement? Needless to say, the person I was arguing with was offended. I pointed out that I know from bitter experience that I don't do television well, and so I personally refuse to do television interviews. But I don't think there should be a general ban on non-telegenic people granting interviews.)

Graeber makes his points -- perhaps a bit quickly and superficially -- in the video above with regard to Debt and Occupy, the nature of the struggle and the death knell of Capitalism (of course we've heard that before!) and he seems to make an awful lot of sense. The problem, of course, is that Our Rulers simply deny it all.

Thus the mess we're in.


  1. "I have a fairly high opinion of Graeber's thought, though one could say he doesn't really present well on the television machine."

    That makes sense, because video is the friend of emotion but the enemy of thought.

  2. Why is it so hard to understand? As long as the economy is not democratized, there is no democracy. Especially now. Especially when capitalism is global and never rests, never sleeps.

    As Rilke said, There is no place that does not see us.

    We have no escape from the economy in modern times, and it isn't democratized. Obviously, if the most powerful sphere in our daily lives is devoid of democracy, how on earth can anyone think we have it . . . etc. etc. etc.

    Capitalism and democracy are mortal foes. They can not coexist. Business itself, of course, long before capitalism, was top down and anti-democratic. But capitalism puts wings on business, lets it cross all borders, extends it into the future, breaks boundaries of time and space. Prior to capitalism, that anti-democratic business was localized, and there was space between it. The Commons existed. It can't exist in the face of capitalism, because capitalism must always take over any space it doesn't already own.

    The losing battle of the public sphere to hold onto ever shrinking parts of the commons.

    The only answer is to reverse the trend and democratize everything -- as Graeber suggests.

  3. Cuchulain There are times when I can't believe Our Betters are as dumb as they seem; there are so many good arguments against the economic course they've chosen, and Graeber gives one of the most concise and easily digested examples.

    Of course democratizing economies is essential. Doing so changes everything. And it isn't Bad Change, even for those who are now on top. But they won't even allow consideration. It must not be spoken, it must not be heard.

    I still can't figure out what their end game is. I don't think they know.

    By now, though, their ultimate fate doesn't seem much better than that of the Bourbons.

    I used to see parallels between the contemporary situation and the reign of Louis XV; now we've moved into Louis XVI territory.

    Better strap in and hang on...