The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

You don’t ‘build’ communism: It’s not a commodity; it’s free time

There is this recurrent theme in communist literature that portrays communism as if it were a commodity to be produced and it goes something like: We have to build communism. Communism, in this proposal, is conceptualized as a the product of decades of constructive effort.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Anyways, you get the idea: socialism is not a set of social relations but product, essentially the iPhone 7 of historical development. If we want this new fancy society, iSocialism, we will have to build it from scratch beginning now or some time in the not too distant future.

Visions of what this imaginary future will look like once constructed can range anywhere from a banal  Capitalism-without-poverty-and-inequality, to something akin to Jodi Dean’s endless general assembly, where everyone has to discuss every detail of management of society before we all get to work.

Like constructing a bridge or designing a new mall, various models for this new product are displayed. Most of these ideas are dead on arrival, of course; producing more questions than answers and descending into eye-rolling levels of minutiae: How is the production stuff organized? How are things to be distributed? Who will build the roads, take out the trash, get widgets from Guangdong Province to Capetown?

There are 7 billion people on this planet who have to be fed, clothed and sheltered under any mode of production, while simultaneously we are pulling back our species from the brink of a self-inflicted extinction event. These 7 billion people each have their own interests and their own ideas on how to satisfy those interests that may or may not (mostly not) be addressed by any or all of the various blueprints floating around. To make things worse, we have to make critical life and death decisions about basic necessities under a threatening environmental deadline and battered by ruthless economic competition. These are hardly the optimal conditions for making this sort of deliberate, highly complex decisions that would then have to be ratified by billions.

But the model of socialism as a thing to be constructed, built, manufactured, coded or otherwise produced, an analogy borrowed from commodity production, is fatally flawed: communism is not product, it is not a commodity that rolls off an assembly line. You can manufacture an iPhone, assemble a car, construct a house, but you can’t get to communism by any of these methods.

The entire analogy that conceptualizes communism as something to be built has to be rejected: Communism is not soviet power plus electrification of the whole country.

Lenin. Was. Wrong.

If communism is not a product — a commodity — to be built, what is it? Communism is free, disposable time away from production, from labor, from building; time for individuals to realize their own self-development through their self-activity and in association with others. Communism places the entire wealth of mankind at the disposal of fully rounded individuals. There is no blueprint for self-development, no model for self-activity, no necessary form of association — all of these flow directly from individuals who have the sum wealth of humanity at their disposal. You can’t get to communism through a construction project, but only through free disposable time.

To be honest, the radical implications of communism as free disposable time for the mass of society deeply troubles communists. They are so used to thinking of communism as a massive construction project, stretching over decades and involving billions of people, where they serve as project managers, owing to their theoretical clarity. The idea that the new higher society flows directly from the self-activity of individuals is difficult for even the most radical communist to grasp. It seems only right that a billion individuals, motivated by a common will, marching in lock step, can breach the barrier between capitalism and communism far more quickly than a billion self-directed individuals.

The analogy collapses, however, once you realize that the self-directed activity of individuals is itself communism. There is no way individuals marching in lock step can breach this barrier because its the marching in lock step part that has to be abolished. Capitalism trains us to march in lock step, in ever larger phalanxes, precisely to appropriate our surplus labor time as profit. We don’t have to march in lock step to produce what we require, but only to produce surplus value for the capitalists. The expropriators of our surplus labor require us to organized in this way, not to meet our needs, but theirs. In fact, for communism to appear as an empirical necessity, almost all labor must be undertaken solely for this purpose.

In other words, for communism to appear as free time and nothing else, the only real purpose of labor must be the production of surplus value. This is where we are now.

The most deadening conception of communism possible is, thus, the idea that it is something to be constructed, a commodity, product. Historically, this conception of communism might have been justified in early 20th century Russia, but it is now entirely destructive to the idea of communism. Lenin was justified in defining communism as soviet power plus electrification of the whole country, in the same way capitalist exploitation was historically justified by rapid development of the forces of production of material wealth. Both sought to create what Marx calls the material basis for a higher mode of production.

However, we are no more confined to backward forces of production today than the characters in Star Trek — if anything we are threatened by the ever growing superfluity of labor power and means of production. There is no justification whatsoever to remain wedded to Lenin’s conception of communism. We are free to define communism as what it is, free disposable time for the vast majority of society and nothing more. What individuals do with their free time is no more our concern than how they spend their weekends, nor does this free activity require any necessary form apart from their particular aims.

Any definition of communism (or socialism) contrary to free time should be condemned. Communism is free time and nothing else. If you’re not fighting for free time, you are not a communist.

Chris Wright: “… the turn away from commodity money is the monetary expression of the crisis of valorization of capital”

Chris Wright offered this comment to my post, You can’t beat UBI without a real alternative. As a restatement of my argument, I find it far more succinct and intelligible than my own writing. I print it here for readers of this blog to see for themselves.

*****

Hey Jehu,

Do I have this correct below, as far as it goes? I am trying to tease out in my own head why whether or not fiat/nominal/credit money can function as measure of value (which is what fiat currency cannot do, even though it can perform the other functions of money as far as I can tell) matters. You clearly draw theoretical and political conclusions from it about next steps (reduce the working day), what communism is (free time, that is, a world without labor or money, though based on some recent arguments, one has to investigate “labor” as a concept rather carefully, since if it equates with productive activity, then we will never be free of labor despite accelerationist fantasies, though we may well be free of commodified labor or servile forms of labor, that is, productive activity as form of domination), and why orthodox Marxism and the Left in general are functionally apologists for labor and/or money. I do disagree that they are “charlatans” or “liars”, but rather that they have ideological commitments, desires for political effectivity (the militancy/activist gig), and a material existence that strongly lends itself to labor ontologies, market socialism, etc., just like most of the rest of humanity when it comes to thinking this through, they don’t need to lie. they just need to be far more normal and critical than they would like to imagine themselves to be. And frankly, those of us who do not subscribe to such things appear to be crazy. Why wouldn’t we?

Okay, sorry, too much preface.

You argue that we have to ask ourselves: Can fiat currency replace commodity money in the measurement of value as Marx argues real money must do (otherwise it does not act as money and is merely an arbitrary symbol, which for Marx money simply cannot be reduced to)? Your answer is that it cannot, not because you are a “gold bug” and think everything would be okay if we went back to the gold standard and fiscal responsibility, but because the turn away from commodity money (gold or otherwise) to fiat currency is the monetary expression of the crisis of valorization of capital that finds one of its turning points in the 1971-3 conversion to inconvertible paper money, but which had intimations as early as the move to the Gold Dollar standard and Bretton Woods. Given the necessity of money to generalized commodity society (c.f. “The Commodity Nature of Money in Marx’s Theory”, Claus Germer, in Marx’s Theory of Money, Fred Moseley ed., Palgrave 2005 for a clear defense of the necessity of commodity money in Marx), whether or not one has a value-form notion of value, something akin to Postone and Kurz, or an old-fashioned embodied labor theory of value, a crisis of the money-form indicates a crisis in the essence of capital, not merely the surface. Or to put it another way, if the surface of money, the appearance of appearance, is in crisis, then the crisis is fundamental in nature.

The move to IPM reflected a necessary move in relation to the crisis of valorization, in which the superfluity of labor power for the production of material wealth is coming into fatal contradiction with labor as the social form of wealth. It was going to be impossible for gold or any commodity money to represent the total claims to wealth because the amount of “fictitious capital” associated with financial transactions, military production, and other kinds of unproductive labor was increasingly far beyond the amount of value being generated by productive labor. As a result of this, pegging currencies to commodity money would directly express this crisis, but not merely express, it would exacerbate it by causing the total system of payments to become paralyzed.

Thus, currencies had to “float”, that is, become dependent on the stability of states (initially and largely still the stability of the United States and hence the dollar because ot its central role as world currency thanks to its role after WWII and in the purchase of primary commodities, such as oil), who had the ability to print currency on demand to meet quantitative currency requirements, whereas they could not simply add to stocks of money commodity (gold in this case). [Why not? Why not just dig up more gold? Why not go to bimetallism? Why not platinum? Why not simply choose suitable commodity as money commodity? What made commodity money unable to accommodate the crisis of growing quantities f fictitious capital?]

However, this relies on a fundamental irrationality even from the perspective of capital: currency ceases to function as a measure of value, which it had as commodity money, just as with a a 1lb metal weight. That is, a pound of metal that exists only as measure of other “things” with weight, not as a metal object as such, though if it were not also a thing with weight, it could not serve as an objective measure of weight. Same with commodity money. Fiat, not being related to a money commodity, which could be gold, silver, etc., it honestly matters less than that money be a commodity, has no capacity to function as “measure of value”, even as it can function as means of exchange and circulation.

Why should this matter?

Firstly, for everyday people it doesn’t matter.

Secondly, capital seems to get along just fine as is. However, the argument would have to be that not only does this indicate a crisis, but also that it masks the crisis on one level and also exacerbates it on another.

The masking matters insofar as not understanding the nature of the problem precludes grasping the actual situation of capital and the Left then simply expresses the reigning ideology of financialization and is as irrational as ‘economics”. This means that the Left cannot perform the only possible useful task it has, which is to grasp the conditions of the possibility of communism, instead of being defenders of shortening the working week and following on the undermining of money and value, they support 1) more jobs (arbeit mach frei) and 2) Universal Basic Income, which reinforces the validity of more money as solution. Rather, for Jehu the crisis of commodity money indicates that capital itself is bringing about the end of jobs and money and instead of opposing it, we should embrace it with radical conclusions, to the extent that it matters at all what the Left embraces.

You can’t beat UBI without a real alternative

If there is anyone who is as opposed to universal basic income (UBI) as I am, it seems to be Andrew Jackson. His most recent polemic of this failed idea, Basic Income and the left: The political and economic problems details an exhaustive list of defects that are often overlooked or swept under the rug entirely by UBI’s supporters:

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Frederick Harry Pitts and the New Reading of Marx

Frederick Harry Pitts has produced a paper, Beyond the Fragment: The Postoperaist Reception of Marx’s Fragment on Machines, that disputes the idea that changes in the mode of production lead to the breakdown of production based on exchange value and communism. Pitts asserts that, when Marx’s criticism of political-economy is understood as a critical theory of society, it does not predict the breakdown of exchange value. He admits his assertion has implications for radical politics today.

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The schizophrenic debate over the impact of automation

It looks like jobs should be going away, but the impact of automation may be overestimated, says this 2 part series, Nowhere to Go: Automation, Then and Now. Instead of seeing robots replace human labor, we may be witnessing machines progressively marginalizing human beings to menial, low paid labor in sectors characterized by stubbornly low productivity.

In the sixties, communists like James Boggs predicted that industrial labor was destined for abolition. Automation had already crushed the resistance of the working class and would rapidly set them free of productive employment altogether — much as it has already reduced agricultural labor to a negligible expenditure of the social labor day. The industrial proletariat would be left with no place to sell their labor power and nowhere else to go.

However, the writer explains, instead of automation gradually abolishing wage labor as Boggs and many of his contemporaries predicted:

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Why reducing the work week is better than basic income

If you follow my blog regularly, you know I am a stubborn opponent of universal basic income. For reasons I won’t bother to go into here, including support for this dumb idea by people everyone knows have no desire to see the working class’s material position improved, I have concluded UBI is just a bad idea. The alternative I have championed is a general reduction of hours of labor; a policy that by its very nature cannot be used to the advantage of the capitalist class.

Let me make the case for reducing hours of labor and why less labor is far superior to even a generous basic income proposal

*****

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If we don’t drive our own wages to zero, capital can do it for us

On twitter @housetrotter made this extremely pertinent observation:

We make jokes about “after the revolution,” but the fact is I don’t know how we get to revolution and it scares the shit out of me.

Here is the problem:

This statement:

  1. Capitalism
  2. ???
  3. Communism

Practically translates into this statement:

  1. Capitalism
  2. Wages go to zero
  3. Communism

And this statement:

  1. Capitalism (Jobs, jobs, jobs!)
  2. 100% unemployment
  3. Communism

It’s real easy to figure out how we get to communism when capitalism does all the dirty work. It’s that middle part, when wages go to zero and unemployment goes to 100%, that bothers people, I guess. People have a really hard time imagining a future where no one has a job or wages.

Fine. If we can’t figure out how to drive our own wages to zero, capital can do it for us.

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Automation: Celebrating the final victory of capital over wage labor

I hope you have read this article from the World Economic Forum, “After replacing 90% of employees with robots, this company’s productivity soared”. If not, go read it and then come back to this post. I am going to tell you something you probably cannot figure out on your own — not because you are stupid, but because the way capitalism works conceals it from you:

It’s hard to argue against automation when statistics are clearly illustrating its potential. The latest evidence comes out of a Chinese factory in Dongguan City. The factory recently replaced 90 percent of its human workforce with machines, and it led to a staggering 250 percent increase in productivity and a significant 80 percent drop in defects.

Changying Precision Technology Company’s factory used to need 650 human workers to produce mobile phones. Now, the factory is run by 60 robot arms that work around the clock across 10 production lines. Only 60 people are still employed by the company — three are assigned to check and monitor the production line, and the others are tasked with monitoring computer control systems. Any remaining work not handled by humans is left in the capable hands of machines.

According to Luo Weiqiang, general manager of the factory, the number of people employed could drop to just 20, and given the level of efficiency achieved by automation, it won’t be long before other factories follow in their footsteps.

Bullish for automation. Bullish for profits. Bullish for capital.

Perhaps, but let’s follow the process all the way to its conclusion.

Of course, as the writers note, the huge increase in the productivity of labor, “comes at a price, though: our jobs.” But, no matter the immediate costs in employment of wage workers, the capitalists are going to automate, because, at least initially, it is profitable for them to automate. As Marx put it, the reduction of living labor in production “even seems in certain circumstances to be the nearest source of an increase of profits”.

Which means the capitalists will be sawing off the tree limb they are sitting on, expecting the tree to fall, not the limb. They will automate both because it is profitable in the short run to do so and because they have no more idea that labor is the source of their profits than you do.

*****

The way automation works is easy to understand:

First, the capitalists will automate the factories and realize massive increases in profits by slashing the amount of living labor in production and reducing their costs of production. Profit is the motive of all capitalist production and with profits rising employment will be rising along with it.

Profits, profits, profits mean Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Everyone will be overjoyed and we will join hands and sing, “Happy days are here again!” And so on.

Then, while we are busy celebrating the final victory of capital over wage labor, the second part of the automation process kicks in, when the rate of profit plunges. The rate of profit plunges because the same automation that increases profits reduces the amount of living labor, the source of all profits, that is now being used in production. Profit falls because the employment of living labor in production falls. With less profits there is less demand for labor power. When this happens, businesses go bankrupt, millions get thrown into the streets, entire states collapse.

In the first place, consumption conditioned on wage labor was always a farce because it never applied to the capitalists. Now, however, consumption conditioned on wage labor loses even its historical justification because there will be no wage employment to be had no matter how low wages fall. Consumption conditioned on wage labor basically becomes a death sentence for billions of wage workers who can no longer find jobs as a result of the increased productivity of social labor. The less wage labor there is, the harder it becomes to justify conditioning consumption on the performance of wage labor.

*****

We are so fucked, you can’t possibly imagine how fucked we are.

When automation hits the fan, it’s going to trigger every crazy anti-semite, racist, nativist, neo-nazi conspiracy theory nut-job on the planet. In the ensuing catastrophe, all the Alex Joneses will gather their followers and go off trying to find a scapegoat who turned utopia into dystopia overnight. Meanwhile radical parties everywhere will demand still more wage labor to fix the problems caused by wage labor.

At that point, no one will be thinking about “A new world is possible”, because they will be too busy desperately trying to bring back the old world.

This problem cannot be fixed with food stamps, single-payer, UBI or any other scheme to save the profits of the capitalists. Since the problem consists entirely of the fact that less labor is being employed in the production of commodities, it can only be resolved by abolition of wage labor itself; the progressive reduction hours of labor until unemployment disappears.

Make no mistake: we are going to crash big time while, on the one hand, fascist idiots claim reducing labor creates jobs; and, on the other hand, radical idiots claim the problem can be fixed with UBI. No one is prepared for 50% unemployment. If you think neo-nazi groups are a problem now, wait until entire communities, cities, counties, etc. are unemployed; if you think nativism is a problem, wait until citizens are fighting Mexican migrants to pick tomatoes.

The capitalists are now fucking with forces they don’t even begin to comprehend. In a matter of days in 2008, the failure of a bank in New York, brought down governments in Europe. Do you really think you can address the problem of automation with your reformist schemes?

Joseph Choonara explains how NOT to read Capital

So here is a very interesting lecture by Joseph Choonara: “How to read Capital”

From what I can tell, Choonara is an egghead from the Socialist Workers Party of the UK, for whatever that is worth. The lecture is a standard boilerplate presentation very similar to many you have probably watched or attended in the past. As a lecture, it is neither more interesting or more boring than the typical attempt to summarize Capital in 2000 words or less. In his favor, Choonara, unlike Harvey or some other lecturers, sticks pretty close to the text without adding his personal opinion.

On the other hand, Choonara recommends you should read the repugnant David Harvey — and thus earns my eternal scorn.

*****

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The myths and (ugly) realities of proletarian politics

PROPOSITION: The statement, “Political change is possible”, is just another way of blaming the proletariat for making bad choices.

The GOP and the Right blame the poor for making bad economic choices, while the Democraps and the Left blame the poor for making bad political choices. Both parties assume that there is a different possible outcome from present material social relations than increasing poverty. Even if it is admitted by one side or the other this is not true for society in general, both sides hold it is true in the individual case, or for the individual class.

And this message is repeated in various forms: one of the media outlets last week told the story of some speculator who parlayed $600 into $100,000. The moral of the story was obvious: the poor are making the wrong choices. Even if everyone can’t escape poverty, escape is possible through individual ingenuity, hard work and diligence. If you are still in poverty, you must lack one or more of these attributes. However, the narrative is not limited to the Right: the same tale is told by those who promote the Soviet revolution or Swedish social democracy: we can make different political choices with different outcomes.

Thus politically or individually, our circumstances are relatively, at least, independent of the material social relations within which these choices are embedded. Now this has to be true on some level otherwise we can’t explain the Soviet revolution or that lucky speculator, but given the historical evidence is the relative independence of individual and political choices from our material social relations the rule or the exception? If it is the rule, the end of poverty could be had for as little as $600 per person — not a high price to pay.

I would suggest the idea that individual choices are relatively independent of material social relation is one of the grossest fallacies to emerge from the 20th century and from the bourgeois mode of production generally. It emerged because, for probably the first time in human history, our social roles are no longer assigned to us from birth. There is a very high degree of chance and fortune embedded in the mode of production, an accidental quality to our lives. This is huge change from previous modes of production when roles were largely fixed by tradition and this accidental quality of our personal circumstances appears to us as freedom.

Nowhere does this accidental quality of our circumstances — this freedom from fixed and definite social roles — achieve greater expression than among the working class. Having been stripped of everything, the working class, more than any other class, appears utterly free from all fixed and definite social relations. It thus appears free to enter into any role it chooses. The story of the high school dropout who went on to become the founder of Ford is typical of this sort of bourgeois myth-story repeated over and over.

The appearance here, however, is both valid and entirely illusory: It is valid in that we have indeed been stripped of every fixed and definite social relation — cast adrift from society, but, at the same time, we have been cast adrift from the material preconditions for making use of this freedom from fixed and definite roles. We have been freed from the traditional roles inherited from birth, but also from the material conditions on which these traditional roles were founded to create new roles for ourselves. This puts us in the worst of both worlds and neither individual nor political means can overcome this problem. What we lack are the material preconditions required to make use of our freedom from traditional roles and this cannot be fudged.

The critique of both the Left and the Right is that they want us to make choices without having the material means to effect those choices. They think it is sufficient to have individual choice (liberty) or political choice (democracy) and deny the dependence of all choices on the means of life. But if you don’t have access to the means of life, all of your individual and political choices come down to how to get access.

Thus, Left politics can never be more than a crude, vulgar clash between proletarians over access to the means of life. Any attempt to elevate this nasty competitive conflict for survival to the aim of proletarians is as crude and vulgar as the competition itself. In the end, proletarian politics is all about a crude struggle for survival and efforts to erect barriers against the competitive pressures other proletarians.

There is no more future in proletarian politics than there is a future for proletarians themselves. The proletarians are, in the first instance, nothing more than the detritus thrown off from class society, its refuse, its waste product. In the second instance, they are daily being rendered superfluous even as a condition of bourgeois society. Proletarians have no future, no place in society, no function but to serve as pool of cheap labor or cannon fodder for imperialist outrages. This is not their world and the next world is not for them either. As a class they are nothing more than the end of the line for class society, its ultimate destination. We can only pass to the next society as individuals, the class itself must perish, its politics must perish. Politics is nothing more than a means of delaying the inevitable.

We need to stop promoting the idea that proletarian political revolution is possible; as a political force the proletarians have been exhausted for more than 100 years. We have never known the proletarians as a class capable of seizing power and managing society. That is a 19th century portrait of the proletarians that has been invalid since they slaughtered each other for their own bourgeoisie. That proletariat, the proletariat of the first international, is never coming back and we need to deal with that reality. We have to learn to accept it and move on.

If the problem we face is not politics itself, then you are forced to blame the way people are doing politics. Like the Right and the Left, communists are blaming the poor individual or political choices people are making. Basically, they are saying that if people made better individual or political choices, we wouldn’t have an Obama or a Trump.

Do communists really want to be in the position of parroting (in a slightly altered form) the talking points of the Democraps and GOP?

  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because they don’t vote for communists.”
  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because they voted for opportunists like Syriza.”
  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because they got fooled by Obama.”
  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because Clinton sold them out.”
  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because Bush stole the election.”
  • “Proletarians keep getting screwed because they are racist.”

Every defeat of the proletariat is rationalized in such a way that the issue of politics itself is never called into question; every defeat is attributed to one incidental defect of democracy or another.

Here is the thing: A rejection of politics should leave us with nothing: no strategy, no tactics, no demands, no aims. This is only right, since our strategy, tactics, demands and aims have all been focused on politics and winning political power. Since the time of the Manifesto, the standard boilerplate is that the proletariat would seize state power and undertake its own emancipation Rejection of politics is the rejection of this standard boilerplate.

This assertion will raise a lot of eyebrows, even if it flows directly from my argument, but remember: according to the Manifesto, the taking of state power was always assumed to be “economically insufficient and untenable”. The folks who proposed to seize political power never for even one instant believed the seizure of political power was itself sufficient. I am only adding here that it is also not necessary. If, as I have argued, politics is a dead end now, nothing in communist literature suggests we need a political starting point.

Let me give you an idea what that means. In the Manifesto, Marx and Engels write: “The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.” However, what happens if the “settling of matters” is decided in favor of the bourgeoisie? What happens then? Is the revolution finished? I ask this because the period between 1914 and 1945 looks a lot like things were “settled” in favor of the bourgeoisie. By and large, we haven’t heard a peep out of the proletariat since then.

Yes, people may point to 1968, but that is mostly complete bullshit blown up in the imaginations of radicals — 1968 never really challenged the rule of capital.  Similarly, the civil rights movement was suppressed and its leaders murdered or bought off. The labor movement collapsed in short order. Nothing is left of any of the struggles of the sixties. So, you radicals can stop patting yourselves on the back. The reality is that the conflict was settled between 1914 and 1945 and our side got its ass handed to it, bigly. The proletarian political revolution was exterminated in Auschwitz with the Jews, Gypsies and the disabled. Some may still anticipate a rebirth of the proletarian political revolution; I am not one of those people. I think it is finished.

But the communist movement of society is not finished; that movement necessarily ends with communism. The caveat is that this movement is not itself political; although it was expressed in the political conflict between classes. It is a material movement; the development of the productive forces of society, which carries in its wake a social transformation. The productive forces of society are no more than the material precondition for this transformation.

The defeat of the proletarians didn’t halt this movement; in fact the defeat like all of those suffered by the proletarians only accelerated the development of the forces of production. It added new impetus to the expansion of the world market, increased the population of the propertyless, and drew nations into closest possible intercourse. It has concentrated political, military and economic might into the hands of Washington, and stripped nation states of their sovereignty. It has, in other words, made it possible to conceive of a global communism founded on the highest level of development of the productive forces. A local communism based on undeveloped forces of production and limited intercourse and bound by superstition — a communism of poverty — is no longer possible in our time.

But these achievements come at a price: in an era where each nation is utterly dependent on its economic relations with other nations, and competition has developed to a point where workers separated by thousands of miles are now in direct competition with one another, the possibility of a single working class effecting meaningful national political change no longer exists. People who keep fucking around with national politics have no hope for success. Moreover, the domination of national governments by capital is so firmly entrenched there is no possibility the two can be separated. There are no national economies anymore and no basis for a national economy to be recreated.

How can there be a national politics without a national economy? It’s a pipe-dream.

My argument then is that people keep making “the wrong individual and political choices” because all individual and political choices are wrong. People are, of course, free to continue making whatever choices they want, but nothing about our society suggests any of these choices are relevant. Most people on the Left accept that individual choices cannot significantly change outcomes, but they refuse to accept that this might be true for political choices as well.

In fact, the problem is not which party, politician or program you choose, but democracy itself. Our democracy is now as empty of real material content as the American dollar is empty of value.