Enough-The Personal Politics of Resisting Capitalism

Enough, a new online project by Dean Spade and Tyrone Boucher:

The ubiquity of capitalism in the U.S. can limit our ability, even in radical communities, to conceptualize creative responses to oppression and injustice. This can manifest both in how we build movements (reproducing bureaucratic, hierarchical, business-type models; packaging and “selling” social justice work to foundations in exchange for grants), and in how we deal with personal finances in our own lives (defaulting to patterns like hoarding, excessive consumerism, and individualism in how we conceptualize our lives and futures and economic security).
We’d like to address some of the ways that class privilege and capitalist dynamics function even within communities and within the lives of individuals working to fight oppression and economic injustice. It can feel taboo to share details about things like income, inheritance, class background, debt, and spending. Silence and secrecy about money make it difficult for us to challenge ourselves and each other when classist dynamics arise. Social conditioning trains us to hoard money rather than share it and build community. We want to get people talking about building shared values and practices around wealth redistribution, because we think figuring out how much is enough, and when to give away money, are key under-discussed questions in anti-capitalist politics.

I know I just added them to my google reader. They also encourage submissions.
Via Feministe

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  • feminismforever

    That’s fantastic!

  • annaplum

    I’ve heard a lot about hoarding lately, but I’m not sure how it’s defined in these contexts. Is saving for retirement–even a comfortable retirement–hoarding? I agree that CEO benefits are out of control compared to the people that work for them–I don’t think they add THAT much benefit to their companies. But I’d like to remind everyone here that the economy is NOT a zero-sum game. There’s not a fixed amount of money, and folks who have a lot of it are not directly depriving those who don’t. There IS such a thing as the creation of wealth (the presidential “creation” of jobs–not so much), and those who save up capital and take the risks to start up businesses that employ others (and ultimately create a great good in so doing) deserve to be rewarded.
    If I could offer a prescription to feminists out there, it’d be: “make as much money as you can, be smart about saving, and be generous with it, use your money to help other folks become self-sufficient.”

  • Alice

    annaplum: There IS such a thing as the creation of wealth…
    Indeed, that is a point often lost on anti-capitalists. I agree with a lot of what they identify as problems, but once we start talking about how to go about fixing them I run into a brick wall, and one of the many bricks therein is the idea that the wealthiest nations of the world got that way by taking wealth from other nations, ignoring the fact that when the entire world was economically equal, it was because everyone was equally poor.

  • Chickensh*tEagle

    Hey, I admire the successful started-with-nothing entrepreneur as much as the next American. It’s just that there can come a time when it’s no longer appropriate to wish more power to ‘em. Which I guess would be the general point of “Enough.”

  • http://www.womanist-musings.com/ Renee

    To me Capitalism is the cult of I. We have naturalized it as a way living despite the fact that it is clearly irrational. We have become indoctrinated with a false sense of entitlement as a way of justifying this soulless system. I worked hard to get where I am, why should I be penalized for this. It’s not my fault third world nations are so poor they should do something about their government. I don’t give money to the homeless because they will probably spend it on booze. It’s not my child why should my tax dollars go to support her or him? There are jobs out there, people just don’t want to work.

  • Alice

    I posted this in a comment on the post Renee linked, but it’s worth posting here as well, and in just about any place where people might have the idea that the modern world is largely divided between rich and poor. Mostly, people are in the middle these days.
    Debunking Third-world Myths

  • cheezwizard

    Thank you, annaplum and Alice. I’m not sure how we reached the consensus that market economies are bad for women, but I find the notion baffling.

  • FuckDecaf

    I think part of the reason that the market=bad for women viewpoint exists is that traditional “women’s labor” has not been valued in a market economy.
    I don’t personally think that a market economy is inherently bad for women, but I see historical reasons for that line of thinking.

  • wax_ghost

    I also don’t think there is anything wrong with capitalism, per se. It’s when it is taken to the extreme, when humanity the realities of human lives are forgotten – as has been done in America – that I despise it.
    Also, maybe our definitions are different but hoarding is not necessarily a direct result of capitalism. There has always been good reason for hoarding, from before the time when we were barely walking upright.

  • Alice

    I also don’t get the connection between hoarding and capitalism. No competent capitalist hoards their wealth, as it must circulate to be useful. The wealthy are never keeping their money in one place, but sending it out into the world as investments and capital for the creation of business and so forth. Even people who simply keep money in a bank account are financing the issuing of loans by that bank, thanks to our fractional reserve system.
    When people do hoard, capitalism grinds to a halt, as happened in the Great Depression.

  • Mina

    Now I’m curious, how do Spade and Boucher take anarcho-capitalism into account?