“Finance Depends on Resistance, Finance is Resistance and, anyway, Resistance is Futile” appears in Mediations

Words fail me…

My article “Finance Depends on Resistance, Finance is Resistance and, anyway, Resistance is Futile” has appeared in a special issue of the journal Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group on Before and After Neoliberalism, edited by Imre Szeman.

The article can be found here: http://www.mediationsjournal.org/articles/finance-depends-on-resistance

From the article’s introduction:

This essay advances three provocations to our meditations on “resistance to finance” that highlight the way the digitization, globalization and neoliberalization of the financial sphere over the past 40 years has created new political conditions we ignore at our peril.  Specifically, we cannot afford to address finance merely as a form of economic discipline and power exercised “from above” and limit our understanding of financial agency to the hijinks of smug banking executives.  Instead, I suggest we need to recognize financial power as intimately stitched into everyday life and embracing the entire globe.  Finance relies on a highly demotic mode of agency that demands that individuals become highly competent (or, perhaps more accurately, usefully incompetent) financial actors.  In understanding finance’s dynamism in this way we can deepen our understanding of finance as a distinct social force and as an essential, if crisis-prone, aspect of capitalist accumulation.  All the better to overcome it and reclaim the future from the terror of endless “speculation.”

First I suggest that finance intimately depends on resistance (predominantly as mediated by the state) in order to put critical limits on this aspect of accumulation, for its own good.  Second, I argue that we can understand people’s recent engagements with finance as an ultimately tragic form of resistance to their material conditions of life under neoliberalism.  Finally, I question the term “resistance,” arguing both that finance is a critical element of a form of capital that works today by anticipating and co-opting resistance, and that the time for “resistance” as-such is long past – we need to create more radical material and discursive openings towards a world beyond capitalism if we are to resist finance in any meaningful way.