Last Saturday, November the 12th, David Harvey visited Occupy London Stock Exchange. The author—amongst others—of A Companion to Marx's Capital and Spaces of Global Capitalism described Occupy LSX as "a marvelous kind of site" and invited the protesters to "keep at it, keep at it, keep at it." We publish below the full speech, transcribed by Elaine Castillo.
"This is, this is absolutely fabulous, this is fantastic. I mean, you know, this is great—I couldn’t imagine that London could get like this! And you’re doing a really, really great job. And this is really, I think, going to change things.
Because one of the things that I think we’re learning over the last few years actually and particularly over the last few months, is that it’s people—on the street, in the squares—that really matters, in the end. Because that’s the only political force we’ve got.
David Harvey writes on feral capitalism and the UK riots:
"Nihilistic and feral teenagers" the Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.
The word "feral" pulled me up short. It reminded me of how the communards in Paris in 1871 were depicted as wild animals, as hyenas, that deserved to be (and often were) summarily executed in the name of the sanctity of private property, morality, religion, and the family...
But the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians cheat on their expenses, feral bankers plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone's bills, shopkeepers price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world.
Benjamin Kunkel has written a lengthy article on David Harvey for the London Review of Books. Nominally a joint review of his recent books The Enigma of Capital and A Companion to Marx's Capital, it engages with Harvey's entire body of work, and especially his seminal The Limits to Capital.
Over recent decades, the landmarks of Marxian economic thinking include Ernest Mandel's Late Capitalism (1972), David Harvey's Limits to Capital (1982), Giovanni Arrighi's Long 20th Century (1994) and Robert Brenner's Economics of Global Turbulence (2006), all expressly concerned with the grinding tectonics and punctual quakes of capitalist crisis. Yet little trace of this literature, by Marx or his successors, has surfaced even among the more open-minded practitioners of what might be called the bourgeois theorisation of the current crisis.