Occupying Our Future: Solutions to Capitalist Crisis
RICHARD WOLFF, author of the forthcoming Democracy at Work: Cooperative Solutions to Capitalist Crisis and Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It, in conversation with ANTHONY ARNOVE, co-editor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People's History of the United States
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CHICAGO, IL—Richard Wolff, who the New York Times magazine calls "America’s most prominent Marxist economist," has become known both for his keen analysis predicting the economic crisis years before it took place, and also his articles, radio shows, and video presentations that discuss the crisis and its solutions in language relevant, humorous, and coherent to laypeople. Host of the popular radio show "Economic Update" on New York's WBAI, Wolff has taught Economics at the New School, Yale, City University of New York, and University of Massachusetts.
In advance of his forthcoming book Democracy at Work, Wolf will visit Chicago--where workers at Serious Materials, previously Republic Windows, recently occupied their workplace for the 2nd time--to discuss his compelling new manifesto for a democratic alternative to capitalism, based on workers control of their own workplaces. From his Manifesto For Economic Democracy and Ecological Sanity:
"Workplace democracy would not, for example, move production to other countries as capitalist corporations have done. Workers’ self-directed enterprises would not pay a few top managers huge salaries and bonuses while most workers’ paychecks and benefits stagnate. Worker-run enterprises sharing democratic decision-making with surrounding communities would not install toxic and dangerous technologies as capitalist enterprises often do to earn more profits. They would, however, be far more likely to provide daycare, elder care and other supportive services. For the first time in human history, societies could democratically rethink and re-organize the time they devote to work, play, relationships, and cultural activities. Instead of complaining that we lack time for the most meaningful parts of our lives, we could together decide to reduce labor time, to concentrate on the consumer goods we really need, and thereby to allow more time for the important relationships in our lives...
A new society can be built on the basis of democratically reorganizing our workplaces, where adults spend most of their lifetimes. Over recent centuries, the human community dispensed with kings, emperors, and czars in favor of representative (and partly democratic) parliaments and congresses. The fears and warnings of disaster by those opposed to that social change were proved wrong by history. The change we advocate today takes democracy another necessary and logical step: into the workplace. Those who fear (and threaten) that it will not work will likewise be proven wrong."
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
RICHARD WOLFF is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School in New York. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in New York City. He has a PhD in economics from Yale University, a history degree from Harvard University, and an economics degree from Stanford University. He has authored or co-authored 10 books, over 50 scholarly articles, and 75 popular articles. Wolff’s recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the current global economic crisis. His documentary film on that crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, can be previewed at www.capitalismhitsthefan.com. He has also published Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.
ANTHONY ARNOVE wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Howard Zinn, Chris Moore, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon. This critically acclaimed documentary is the film companion to Howard Zinn’s best selling book A People’s History of the United States and its primary source companion, Voices of a People’s History, which Arnove co-edited with Zinn. Arnove is the editor of several books including The Essential Chomsky, Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions, and Terrorism and War, a collection of post 9/11 interviews with Zinn. He is also the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. He is also on the editorial board of Haymarket Books and International Socialist Review magazine, and with Zinn he cofounded the nonprofit Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
"Brimming with an electrifying explanation of how the "American Dream" evolved into the "Nightmare on Wall Street"...Wolff tautly strings together an economic theory that offers a persuasive explanation of how Wall Street exploded by increasing our indebtedness as individuals and as a nation, at a time when wages remained stagnant. Normally lectures (if you remember them from college) leave a lot of time for day dreaming, but Wolff's explanation is so timely and cogent that you won't want to break away. Beyond Wolff's final conclusion about worker-owned companies, he succinctly has built a case about why leaving the arsonists on Wall Street in charge of putting out the fire that they started is an untenable strategy that will lead to even more economic implosion."
—BuzzFlash.com, reviewing Capitalism Hits the Fan
Jim Plank, 773-583-7884