Bears & Crashes

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Apr 5 07:56:09 PDT 2000

>>> James Farmelant <farmelantj at> 04/04/00 08:23PM >>>

On Tue, 04 Apr 2000 15:25:59 -0500 Carrol Cox <cbcox at> writes:
> Doug is always too tentative. Be bold. People forget false
> predictions and remember the bold valid ones. Leave
> out the maybe. My guess is that almost all of the radical
> upsurges of the last 200 years have come in priods when
> conditions were improving. I think a month by month or
> at least year by tear tracing of economic movement and
> political radicalism in the 1930s would show this to be
> true even then.

That was I recall Tocqueville's view, and I think that history bears this out. Revolutions have usually occurred when a long period of improving conditions was suddenly broken either by an economic crisis (or as in the case of Russia) by military defeat.


CB: Periods of rising expectations.


The experiece of improving conditions having had the effect of strengthening the masses' confidence that their lot in could be improved and hence was not something to be passively accepted as preordained by God or nature. While on the other hand the experience of a sudden reversal of these gains by economic crisis or war convincing them that hope for restoration of their past gains could only come through the overthrow of the status quo.

> One could make a good argument that the movement
> of the '60s died with the economic slump of 1974-75.
> And that the stagnation or continued deterioration of
> wages during the following two decades was a major
> cause of the steady decline of the left during that
> period. It is quite possible that during a real boom
> Reagan could never have broken PATCO -- and
> the "New Communist" organizations of the early '70s
> would have grown and become more flexible rather
> than shrunk and become ever more sectarian.

I think that is quite right. In a real economic boom labor markets become very tight thereby placing workers in a very strong bargaining position in relation to capital. Under such circumstances, most likely not only would PATCO not have been broken but Reagan (assuming that he would have even been elected president under such conditions) would most likely not have even made the attempt to bust the union. This also gets at what is almost surely one of the chief functions of recessions in capitalist economies which is to discipline the working class.

> Carrol
> Doug Henwood wrote:
> > We've had an upsurge in radical political
> > activity in the U.S. over the last several years along with - and
> > maybe because of - the boom.

________________________________________________________________ YOU'RE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR THE INTERNET! Juno now offers FREE Internet Access! Try it today - there's no risk! For your FREE software, visit:

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list