The “long nineteenth century” of class against class climaxed in the labor insurgency that followed the Great Crash of 1929. It seemed to resolve itself in the New Deal. But the questions it raised have endured, resurfaced, and grown more pressing of late.
On Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Day, citizens from around the country should gather at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Let’s call this macabre gathering -- with luck and even worse times, it should be mammoth -- “We Surrender” or “Restore Debtor’s Prisons” or “De-Fault Is Ours” or “Collateralize Us.” And plan on a mirthful day of mourning.
Three moments -- 1911, 1964, now -- coming together compelled me to think about when and why people resist power, why they acquiesce, and why, sometimes, they may believe they are resisting when they are in truth acquiescing. If it is so self-evident that the Triangle Army was compelled to say “enough is enough” back then and act on that resolve, what has happened now?
Does the prospect of deepening economic meltdown and political disarray raise the specter of a social upheaval and, perhaps, the collapse of capitalism, the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression?Does the prospect of deepening economic meltdown and political disarray raise the specter of a social upheaval and, perhaps, the fall of capitalism?