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08/12/2011

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Frank Pasquale

Doug Henwood has warned that crisis is much better for fascism, repression, and consolidation of oligarchy. I think Ben Friedman's work there is solid, too. But AJ Sutter has a good critical review of Friedman's correlations, and of course FDR stands as a great counterexample.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Thanks Frank (nice to see you commenting here!).

I think the Left once thought in general that times of severe socio-economic crisis were ripe for radical social and political transformation but that belief included the premise of a violent revolution and was more persuasive before Gramsci explained the value and logic of the model of the "war of position," that is, the primary significance of a socio-cultural struggle for hegemony on the terrain of civil society. While Gramsci was not entertaining the prospect of a non-violent social revolution, I suspect the conditions for same, combined with Gramsci's insight, suggest we not take for granted the propitious character of dark times.

FDR, with the help of World War II, did in fact save capitalism from itself but I'm inclined to think that today a neo-Keynesian inspired way out of this global economic morass will (or can) only be short-lived and, in any case, has yet to be formulated in a manner by elites that is compelling or inspiring to electorates in the hyper-industrialized nation-states. In short, I take Henwood's concerns quite seriously although the final (or 'next') act has yet to be written.

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