The newly passed California state budget is one piece of a larger, international state of austerity. As mentioned before, austerity measures are necessary for capitalist social relations to save themselves in times of crisis, disproportionately effect excluded and marginalized populations (in the form of attacks on their already meager living standards or by subsuming more of the population into their ranks) and daily restructuring of social and economic life for all (reconfiguration of security mechanisms, unemployment figures, rates of incarceration, access to resources previously guaranteed by the state, construction of new collectivities or lack there of, etc...). This new budget is without a doubt the most austere the state of California has ever seen. However beyond the severity of the cuts what makes this historical moment interesting is that the lawmakers, politicians, and other managers of capital are admitting what was once taboo: the inability of capitalism to make good on its promises as a rationally functioning and prosperous system:
"The Legislature passed an austerity budget Tuesday night that would cut from universities, courts and the poor, shutter 70 parks and threaten schools but would not — by officials' own admission — restore California's long-term financial health." - L.A. Times, 6/29/11
This suicidal self reflection by the managers of capital presents an intriguing opportunity and inevitable obstacles. Reforms no longer make sense both to those severely affected by them and capital its self. Capitalism has historically created the conditions for its own negation in many forms. Presently this negation in one of its forms is that the basic reforms necessary to save capital are simultaneously destroying it. This is an unavoidable reality - capital's basic mode of life is prolonging it's miserable death.
Reference to the totality of capitalist social relations and its inherently degenerative qualities by the managers of capital presents a twofold situation. On one hand this illuminates basic contradictions, presents a situation where capitalism shows its self as what it is to many people - a system of the current historical epoch that is not natural but constructed historically. On the other hand capital also uses this self-reflection to its own advantage - by a reassessment of political and social mechanisms of control and surplus extraction to save its self. Capital will regenerate its self by any means necessary, even if it means elongating and sustaining it's own suicide.
How we act in this moment is important. We must not respond but attack and defend. Response insinuates a dialogue and conversation that has never existed. To undo capital will mean this attack must come in many popular forms, on all fronts, at all times. There is no path, no runway - only a matrix. We must constantly overcome our own limitations (right now Athens is a good example of why this is important. The street battles are inspiring and strategically necessary but what comes next?). We must always experiment.