Three Crises: Thirties – Seventies – Now is a radical education project on capitalism and social change. By gathering documents and analyses and sharing direct experiences of today’s political economy, it aims to give readers and participants a better understanding of the ongoing crisis of neoliberalism – and therefore, a better chance to intervene. The bankers and their military backers should not be the only ones to make history!
CONCEPT: The development of capitalism is marked, every thirty or forty years, by the eruption of extended economic crises that restructure the entire system in organizational, technological, financial and geopolitical terms, while affecting daily life and commonly held values and attitudes. In the course of these crises, conditions of exploitation and domination are challenged by grassroots and anti-systemic movements, with major opportunities for positive change. However, each historical crisis so far has also elicited an elite response, stabilizing the worldwide capitalist system on the basis of a new integration/repression of classes, interest groups, genders and minority populations (whose definition, composition and character also change with the times). In the United States, because of its leading position within twentieth-century capitalism, the domestic resolution of each of the previous two crises has helped to restructure not only national social relations, but also the international political-economic order. Nothing ensures that the same thing will happen again. By examining the crises of the 1930s and the 1970s along with the top-down responses and the resulting hegemonic compromises, we can try to cut through the inherited ideological confusion, gain insight into our own positions within contemporary neoliberal society, identify the elite projects on the horizon and begin to formulate our own possible agency during the continuing period of instability and chaos.
The project was based on initial research by by Brian Holmes and Armin Medosch. It was launched with the collaboration of Amy Partridge and Rozalinda Borcila at Mess Hall in Chicago, on September 17, 2011 – which just happened to be the birth day of the Occupy movement. Full documentation of the eight Saturday afternoon seminars is available on the Mess Hall website. Further Iterations of the project took place at the Autonomous University of Occupy Berlin (thanks to Wanda Vrasti) and at the Campus Expandido program of the UNAM in Mexico City (with the collaboration of Cuauhtemoc Medina). Innumerable presentations and shorter forms of the project have been carried out around In Europe and the Americas. Today, the conclusions of this long study are taking form on a new, in-depth website. But the only real conclusion is the more egalitarian and more ecologically viable world that millions of people are still struggling to bring into being, in the face of neoliberalism’s seemingly endless crisis.