crisis to commons

16 pg pdf (2009) by midnight notes collective ( promissory notes from crisis to commons

[don’t remember where/who recommended it.. david graeber in bibliography .. so assuming somehow connected via that]




the bullet that pierced alexis’s heart was not a random bullet shot from a cop’s gun to he bod of an *‘indocile’ kid.. ti was the choice of the state to violently impose submission and order to the milieus and movements that resist its decisions.. a choice that meant to threaten everybody who want to resist the new arrangements made by the bosses in work, social security, public health, ed, et c..

*indocile: difficult to teach or discipline; not submissive.

daily reminders.. the world’s masters will spare no atrocity if the demanded sacrifices are refused.. the bombs dropped on the defenseless population of gaza have been exemplary in this regard.. they fall on all of us, as they lower the bar of what is held to be a legit response in the face of resistance..


how did this crisis develop and what does it signify for anti-capitalist/social justice movements seeking to understand possible paths out of capitalism.. this pamphlet is a contribution to the debate on these questions.. as the crisis deepen and revolutionary possibilities of our time open up..

all too often.. explanations of the crisis take us to the rarified stratosphere of financial circuits and dealings, or the tangled, intricate knots of hedge-funds/derivatives operations – that is, they take us to a world that is incomprehensible to most of us, detached from any struggles people are making, so that it becomes impossible to even conceptualize any forms of resistance to it


1\ long term sources of crisis

comparison often made between present crisis (2009) and great depression.. a capitalist ‘solution’ is often sought after in a replica of the new deal. however the profound differences between great depression and present prevent a return to new deal policies

similarities: epicenter in speculative investments; capitalists’ refusal to continue to invest in production in face of diminishing returns; products of over production and under consumption.. gluts in profit.. ‘credit crunch’

the drive to make profits by attacking workers’ wages undermined the very condition of profitability.. since commodities produced must be bought to make a profit

the result, it is argued, is the ‘financialization’ of the econ system. where investment in production is no longer profitable enough.. more/more capital invested in loans/bets.. this financialization has benefited form and strengthened the effort to monetarize and marketize all actions w/in society, from eating dinner to planting seed in a garden

graeber f & b same law

objective of dominant econ strategy of last 30 yrs (often called ‘neolib’) to bring world econ back to a pre new deal stage of ‘free market’ capitalism..

the new deal solutions (unions, increased wages, welfare state) is not in the cards today.. the new deal was struck in the context of an orgnaized, rebellious wrokforce int eh us, empowered by years of marches, by revolts against unemployment and evictions and by 1000s ready to march on washington w their eyes turned to soviet union.. we are in a very diff world now.. although class struggle continues .. in no way can today’s waged/unwaged workers in the us match the political power and organization level they achieved in the 1930s


i don’t think that’s the way to go anyway.. but doesn’t seem like a good argument?.. no match?

and.. today we have means to org in a legit diff manner.. if we could just hear it

ie: 2 convers as infra


w arrival of neolib.. all previous deals were off (back to wage hierarchy and debt)

according to this argument, the culmination of the 1997 asian crisis was the stimulus for the full financializaiton of the system – the attempt to ‘make money from money’ .. once making money from production no longer sufficed

leaped to world of hedge funds and derivatives and intensified availability of credit for us working class.. so would by good in china/asian nations

one important point (they left out): fall rooted in capital’s inability to a\ increase exploitation by decreasing wages b\ reduce value of capital involved in production due to inability to pass to workers cost of environ damage..


reason for on b\: depends on being able to ‘externalize’ harm.. it is only when there is a mass refusal to allow this externalization to pass that eco issues become ‘pressing’..

there is a worldwide recognition that we aren’t just in another round between workers and capitalists to see how to org the econ.. there is catastrophic climate change .. social/environ breakdown.. clearly can’t be any more profit making business as usual..

2\ immediate causes and consequences

neolib globalization was an ambitious project. had it succeeded it would have changed the very defn of what it is to be human into ‘an animal that trucks/barters self to highest bidder’


why did neolib globalization fail?


paradoxically.. neolib has thrown a new dimension of struggle between capital and the working class w/in the domain of credit.. mortgages, student loans, credit cards, 401k’s..

workers in us has to pay greater share of cost of own reproduction (housing, health, ed) at very moment their real wages were falling

‘financialization’ is not simply a capitalist plot; it too si a process/product of class struggle

caste ness

credit ties workers to the real estate and stock markets.. however.. an important achievement for workers to be able to ‘use someone else’s money’ in order to have a home w/o worrying aobu tent increases.. to have access to ed that might make for higher wages in the future.. to have an auto that makes a wider range of jobs/contacts possible.. this dangerous working class strategy hovered between suing credit system to share in collective wealth and debt peonage.. answered desire to have legal claim to house, car, commodities, better paying job.. but w poison

and for things that are de humanizing anyway.. ie: ed, rent, commute ness.. property ness

if you owe bank 1000 and can’t pay.. you are in trouble.. but if you owe bank 1b and can’t pay.. bank is in trouble.. what is often not mention is that if 1m people each owe bank 1000 and can’t pay, then bank is still in trouble

strike debt ness.. walkaway ness


3\ opps (of crisis) from diff classes

a\ capital: more power to financialization; 2\ disciplining us working class’s role as debtor and play in fin system; 3\ justification of environ plunder; wage reduction; land expropriation in 3rd world thru revival of ‘debt crisis’ – vomit of sap’s.. new wave of neo-colonialism


b\ working class: mystery that it was delayed and sporadic response.. (on protests et al).. undoubtedly obama’s election campaign (offered non revolutionary exodus from crisis) absorbed enormous political energy and directed it away from the street .. his failure after evoking hope still remains (2009)


(lists tons of strikes around the globe).. w common slogan ‘we will not pay for your crisis’

4\ constitution of the commons in crisis

the crisis has shown for all who have eyes to see that state and market have certainly filed in their claim to provide secure reproduction of our lives.. we need to construct collective forms of life and social cooperation, beyond the market/profit system.. both in area of production and reproduction.. we need to regain sense of wholeness of our lives.. of what we do.. so that we stop living in state of systematic irresponsibility toward the consequences of our actions that capitalism fosters

ie: cure ios city

this is the constitutional perspective we can bring to every struggle. by ‘constitutional’ we do not mean a document describing the design for a state, but a constitution of a commons ie: the rules we use to decide how we share our common resources..

human\e constitution ness

ie: rules of how we share 2 conversations as infra to undo our hierarchical listening.. so that 8b people can grok what enough is.. how we can have/need via the dance

as the indigenous american put it, in order to collectively eat from a dish w one spoon, we must decide on who gets the spoon and when.. this is so w every commons for a commons w/o a consciously constituted community is *unthinkable

i think our thinking we have to *think/constitute it is a huge part of the problem..

ie: who says there’s one spoon? esp today.. maybe we’re just going off false info .. from ie: tragedy of the non common ness

first we need to establish what violates our rules as we are constituting the commons ie: can’t live in country with: hunger; debt; et al

i think that angle.. wastes/sucks our energy (what we can’t rather than what we can et al.. starting w can’t assumes/perpetuates the manufactured ness we are trying to let go of .. no?)

let’s do this first.. what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

the time has come for us in the anti capitalist movement to pose a constitution of rules by which to share the commons of past labor and present natural resources and then concentrate on building political networks capable of realizing it

ie: 2 conversations as infra


a new constitution which recognizes the rights/liberties of the people and which defends the weak in the face of the powerful

rather.. sans rights ness.. with no need to defend.. as the infra/org is based on the essence of human being.. so based on something 100% of us already crave..

makes talk of ie: weak/powerful; inspectors of inspectors; et al.. irrelevant

we should formulate demands, objectives, programs of struggle around the main elements of our lives – housing, work, income – all in view of guaranteeing our livelihoods, building cooperation and solidarity, and creating alts to life in capitalism..

don’t we have enough evidence the same old song doesn’t work.. this would be us perpetuating the spinning of our wheels..

we need to go deeper than: housing; work; income;..

let go

we need to build a movement that puts on its agenda its own reproduction

regeneration ness.. ie: cure ios city

we have to ensure that we not only confront capital at the time of the demonstration or the picket line, but that we confront it collectively at every moment of our lives

that’s a huge part of our broken feedback loop.. we keep focusing on defense.. rather than.. living as if we’re already free.. et al.. ie: if 8b people legit free.. picket lines would seem a waste.. if we thought of them at all..

this is our constitutional politics. it is not a list of demands or grievances, but an expression of who we are becoming ie: our constituting our being

yeah.. great words.. (let’s do that).. but your ie’s keep sounding like lists/demands.. ie: (see following for instances)

for instance: let’s guarantee housing to each other.. this means not only ‘no’ to evictions..

there’s a better way.. there’s a nother way

for instance: let our struggle over housing be a struggle for the reorg of work reproductive of daily life on a collective basis.. enough so spending time in solitary cages w trips to he mall as the climx of our sociality.. it is time for us to join w those who are *reviving our tradition of collective, cooperative living..

don’t know if we ever legit had *it.. (has to be all of us or the dance won’t dance)

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness..  everyone in sync..

let’s try ie: in the city.. as the day.. ness

for instance: let’s struggle in such a way to disable the mechs that perpetuate our exploitation and divisions

why struggle? we’ve been showing that doesn’t work.. how about we create a mech that perpetuates the irrelevance of exploitation and divisions (ie: it has to be designed w 100% of us in mind.. something we all already crave.. something deep enough that we all already have it in common)

to ensure that our struggles are not used to divide people on basis of differentially dished out rewards/punishments, we must *continually raise the issue of reparations..

yeah.. we’ve shown *that is a waste of energy.. same song ness.. wrong focus

let go.. moten abolition law et al

there’s a better way..

for instance: let’s call for a life wehre our survival does not depend on constant war on the people of the earth and on our own youth..


for instance: let’s speak against prisons


for instance: let’s also speak about male violence against women

structural violence et al

for instance: let’s revive our social imagination after decades of defensive reactions to neolib enclosures and determine new constitutions of the commons

yeah.. that.. but let’s imagine deeper.. ie: sans constitution ness

2 ie’s (of imaginaries)

1\ future commons: access to land (potatoes) and knowledge (computers)

everything needs to be commons.. or it won’t work (not to mention we’ll keep spending our days/energy determining/deciding what is/isn’t)

2\ wage system dismantled – ubi ness


 let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence.. w/ubi as temp placebo.. needs met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring

3\ agri as mixed crop.. organic.. part of housework of everybody

4\ financial system replaced by credit unions that can decide where to put community resources

we need to let go of money (any form of measuring/accounting)


5\ characteristic of revolutionary struggles that move beyond capital

inside (institutions/state/market) and outside


characteristics of struggles.. they:

1\ subvert class hierarchy

won’t happen until we undo our hierarchical listening

2\ increase class unity

no classes.. just nationality: human

marsh label law

3\ build inclusion

has to be all of us .. across the board.. or it won’t work

inclusion has to be there from the get go

brown belonging lawthe opposite of belonging.. is fitting in.. true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.. it requires you to be who you are.. and that’s vulnerable.. –Brené Brown

4\ strengthen commons – how can the working class on small/large scales create forms of exchange that are or tend toward being de commodified.. create markets (forms of exchange) that do not rule lives and livelihoods..

 try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence .. w/ubi as temp placebo.. needs met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring.. and we get to have\need ness

we have to let go.. ie: 10-day-care-center\ness

5\ enhance local control – local is not a geographical term.. it means decision taken as close to those involved as possible.. so have a real voice in decisions.. this puts on table who makes decisions and how

voice ness is a farce.. seats at the table is a distraction..

ie: decision making is unmooring us law

what we need is curiosity over decision making


6\ lead to more time outside capitalist control ie: shorter work week for waged/unwaged

that’d be still in capitalist control

we need to let go of work (solving other people’s problems) and the whole idea of earning a living ness

7\ reduce staggering wastefulness of lives, time, material wealth, health and environ..

8\ protect/restore ecological health.. ie: battles to save jobs in industries that foster eco disaster need to be addressed

as do all jobs

closer human relations to food production are to be fostered

would naturally happen (kiss ground) if people were legit free

9\ bring justice .. real criminals must be brought to justice for healing to occur

won’t have any healing.. unless we heal all of us.. reset to ie: no criminals.. otherwise just spinning our wheels (because.. who’s deciding who’s a criminal or not? need to get to root of healing so that everyone is too busy to do criminalish things)

conclusion: crisis – war – revolution

terrifying mediator between crisis and revolution – war..

doesn’t have to be that way


capitalism in the final analysis is a cold, violent, and murderous system.. thus the most important step in planetary ‘harm reduction’ while we traverse the trajectory from crisis to revolution .. is to disarm the state and capital as much and as soon as possible

we could do it totally .. and overnight..

imagine that..

key is.. it has to be for all of us.. across the board.. from the get go.. and as of yet (in all of history) we’ve not yet been willing to let go enough to see that happen.. just to if it works..