Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Capitalism as a Very Bad Way of Organizing Communism

with 5 comments

Aaron suggested on Twitter the other day that David Graeber was threatening to eclipse Žižek as the go-to theorist of the revolutionary left. We’ll have to see about long-term sustainability—is there a Graeber bubble?—but in the short term at least it definitely seems possible. Today, he’s talking to Rebecca Solnit in Guernica.

Communism is the basis of all sociology and it’s the basis of cooperation. Within a capitalist corporation, someone says, “Lend me a wrench,” and someone asks, “Yeah, what do I get?” You assume that the idea of each according to his or her abilities, each according to his or her needs—in solving a problem—is actually the only thing that works. And in situations of disaster, there are often communistic notions of improvisation, where you basically exchange hierarchies and all of a sudden all those things that are luxuries that you can’t afford, you have them in an emergency. So I think we need to think of capitalism as a very bad way of organizing communism. Much of what we do is already communism, so just expand it.

But how do we get to “communism” via someone who doesn’t like Marxists and doesn’t really want to talk about Marx?

Written by gerrycanavan

May 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

5 Responses

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  1. He talks about Marx all the time. And I don’t see why communism, especially how Graeber use it, has to be tied into the Marx brand.


    May 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    • Didn’t you find it strange that DEBT talks so little about Marx?


      May 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      • I love the book, don’t get me wrong.


        May 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    • He talks about Marx thoroughly in the Value book. Maybe he feels like it’s all there.


      May 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm

  2. See the comment DG accidentally left in the thread below:

    Well I don’t know about eclipsing Zizek, but I should point out that the line I actually said was “communism is the basis of all sociality.” They didn’t send me the transcripts before printing them.


    May 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

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