Food stamp socialism or communism?

by Jehu

The whining Left suffered a mild paroxysm last night when the EBT card system failed. Suddenly they were forced to consider the possibility that their dependence on the fascist state just might lead to widespread crisis. If people are dependent on handouts from the capitalists, something as insignificant as a minor systems failure could threaten millions.

EBT cardSince the EBT system is run for profit, the managers are forced to spend no more on maintaining it than they do maintaining the roads. They must in this area expend no more labor on maintenance than is socially necessary if they want to fatten their bottom line. When the system went down, thousands of families across the nation, who were lined up in queues, could not complete their purchases.

Rather than calling into  question such a fragile system of subsistence, the Left decried the Right for its direct or indirect role. Was this a result of the shutdown? Had the states in question turned off their support? It turned out that it was a “system glitch”, not an act of terrorism by the Tea Party. Still, many on the Left noted the voices on the Right for whom the failed EBT system became a point of entertainment. The Left was angered by this silly display of a lack of empathy with those having no resources but fascist state handouts.

Poverty is not a personal failure, it is as much the product of the mode of production as iPhones. This much is true with regards to the criticism the Left leveled at the Right. But it begs a question: if you know poverty is a product of the mode of production, why do you still support EBT cards? Since the mode of production is global, it is obvious that its product, poverty, is not being created in the US alone, but world-wide. EBT does not and cannot address poverty, since it is only a national system trying to address a global problem.

Since it is obvious the EBT system cannot address global poverty, it must have some other function. EBT is not meant to address poverty; it is a technocratic tool employed by the state to manage “the economy”. The economy is to the total mass of capital is circulation, whose aim is not the abolition of poverty but the production of surplus value. Which is to say, the aim of the EBT system is to manage the production of surplus value and nothing else. EBT is a technical tool, one among many, employed by the fascists to adjust the subsistence of the working class to maximize profits.

The most popular myth among the Left is the argument that the EBT and similar programs were “won by the struggle of working people”. This utter bullshit is either described as the direct fruits of the workers movements’ own effort or as a concession to that movement. In the first variant of this argument, the working class is said to have directly fought for programs like EBT because it wanted to have its subsistence managed by the state. In the second variant of the argument, the capitalists were forced to concede programs like EBT in order to stave off working class militancy.

Not one person on the Left has ever advanced a single piece of evidence, based on the actual historical record, to support either of these claims. You people just make this shit up, you just pull explanations like this out of your flabby reformist asses. I would challenge any of you to produce any evidence whatsoever that either of these arguments are true. You have no evidence, but you continue to spread these lies among the working class that these programs are meant to help them — or even that such a thing is possible in theory.

Even the hardest Left vanguardist communist has no problem describing programs like EBT as the product of the workers’ struggle. From mildest progressive to Maoist-Third-Worldists — all of you shovel this shit into the workers’ movement. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. But, of course, you have no shame at all. You will say whatever is necessary to continue in place the idea among the working class that the fascist state itself is the site of socialism or can somehow be adapted to the needs of the working class. That is your real argument: the existing state is the site upon which you will erect the new society. After the evolution, everything will more or less continue as before, but the employees of the existing state “will work for the working class and not capital”.

The vision of socialism embraced by the Left has nothing to do with the classical vision of communism. Not one of the classical communists had the idea of transferring the power of the capitalists to the state. The idea that motivated these communists was a community of producers cooperating in a single social act of labor to reproduce themselves. In the classical vision of communism, the power of the capitalist was to be transferred directly to the community of producers themselves.

This transfer was made increasingly possible by — but not identical with — the state’s own increasing role as national capitalist. The movement of the working class, therefore, proceeded on its own course alongside the increasing entanglement of the state with capital. The two moved along parallel trajectories, but were never the same — indeed they were irreconcilably antagonistic, since the aim of the state’s entanglement with capital is that of capital itself — its own self-expansion.

Today most of the Left considers these two movements identical, not contradictory. Communism as the real movement of society is thus reduced to the ever increasing entanglement of the state with capital. It has gotten to the ridiculous point that the Left labels anyone who does not demand more state control as enemies of the working class. Fascism — state management of the national capital — is conflated by these morons with Communism. On this basis arises the explanation of the state’s role in which programs designed to manage capital are said to be working class victories.

The state’s increasing entanglement in the mode of production has nothing to do with the workers’ movement — it arises from capital. The same process that leads to concentration and centralization of capital also drives the state to increasingly take control of production. This drive is not consistent with, but stands in antagonistic opposition to, the effort of the social producers to bring production under their control — thus state control is always anti-communistic. It is designed to forestall and prevent the social producers from bringing their own activity under their control.

Every program of the state should be opposed by the working class, not on grounds that — like, for instance, Obamacare — it is insufficient but because it is imposed by capital. Properly understood communism means not only must Obama explain why the state’s entanglement with capital is not Marxist, the Tea Party must also explain why its opposition to this entanglement is not anarchist as well.

The Left has this silly view the capitalist class wants to somehow “de-socialize” social relations — nothing can be further from the truth. The capitalist everywhere and always socialize existing production relations and all relations founded on these production relations. It is not communism that socializes capitalist relations of production, but capitalist relations of production that make communism possible. Even if there were no workers’ movement, capitalism would still drive relentlessly toward communism. It has its own trajectory toward communism that is completely independent of the workers’ conscious aims. For capital this is nothing more than the blind working out of economic laws, unconscious and without any intent or aim but its own self-expansion.

The result is that even if the workers do not consciously grasp their historical mission, it will thrust upon them. They will have to figure it out or they will starve. It does not help the working class to figure it out if communists keep conflating the state’s role as manager of capital with communism. Simply put: capitalism is going to go away and it will take the state with it. If you folks on the Left keep arguing the state is the site of communism, you are only setting the working class up for a catastrophe.