In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Crisis? which crisis?- The silence of the sheep

Posted by seumasach on January 25, 2009


We at inthesenewtimes are not at all surprised by the disappearance of the left in the wake of the crisis they’ve been talking up about for decades. We saw at first hand there refusal to organise seriously against the Iraq war and felt the full force of their attempts to nobble our own oppositional work. There was a time when all this would have been seen for what it is: treachery. Now we have all kinds of sophistic explanations such as  “modern globalized life taking so much energy and personal time from everybody, that nothing is left for thinking, re-thinking – and acting up?’ Incidently, I recall reading Spengler’s Decline of the West years ago and noting with surprise his claim that the left always followed the financiers’ agenda. Since then I have learnt that the Whig financier elite funded Jacobite rebellions in the 18th century and organised  Fenian plots and the 1820 Scottish uprising in the 19th. According to John MacLean, whose integrity , in my view, is beyond question, the early British Communist Party was stuffed full of informants. Since the elite seem to control just about everything, and everyone who is anyone, why not the left?: and why not, then, stand them down or scuttle them when their services are no longer required and the may actually become a liability? Whatever the explanation for the strange death of the left, the main lesson to learn is that they are dead and that the task of resistance falls to ourselves alone.


25th January, 2009

The silence of the sheep. “The crisis of capitalism ought to be the hour of the socialists” and Linke (leftists), wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in its sunday issue of Nov 23rd 2008. “But instead they withdraw into Wahnsinn” (crazyness), the subtitle continues under the headline „Brüder, zum Abgrund“ (Brothers, To The Abyss!).

It is Lenin, who is supposed to have once said „today at the abyss, tomorrow one step further“. Maybe this is remembered nowadays.

Nevertheless, the silence of usually busy activists (as far as I can see, at least in Germany and Europe) is astrange phenomenon.

No one seems to have an answer. Of course answering appropiately is far from easy. But even NGOs like ATTAC stay noticably silent in the financial crisis.

The same with the military intervention in Gaza. There was nearly no public echo of the elsewise everpresent intellectuals (in Europe).


It is not really the case that there is actually no need or no occasion to stand up and speak up.

So… Are the lions tired? Overfed? Have they become toothless? Or indifferent? Have they lost their wits? Or have they lost their guts?

Have they got so accustomed to the system? So comforted by the good life and the luxury of living in safe wealth?

Did the critics of capitalism ever know what they spoke about? This crisis has quieted those who once were thought to be the professionals? Where is qualified advice to be found today?

This silence is a symptom. But a symptom of what?


Debate is not on state of affairs. It is in a state of shock. This is a surprise, at least to me. Nobody seemed and seems to be prepared, although there were enough signs.

Is modern globalized life taking so much energy and personal time from everybody, that nothing is left for thinking, re-thinking – and acting up?


In Germany, the intellectual reactions to the Bankenkrise can be summarized like this: No, we can’t.

Anyway, the silence was not total. A few economy scientists published analytical comments that were usefull. A handful.

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