20 questions from comrades on capital and class struggle
Over the past day or so, several tweeps directed a series of questions/observations to me on the nature of the mode of production classes, the class struggle and the fascist state’s role in the struggle for social emancipation. I found the questions to be very interesting and hope my answers clarify my somewhat unconventional approach to labor theory and communism.
QUESTION: What do you mean by “political”, e.g. “the Left imagines every problem as a political one to be resolved by political means”?
JEHU: Read this, beginning with “history as a continuous process”:
“In history up to the present it is certainly an empirical fact that separate individuals have, with the broadening of their activity into world-historical activity, become more and more enslaved under a power alien to them (a pressure which they have conceived of as a dirty trick on the part of the so-called universal spirit, etc.), a power which has become more and more enormous and, in the last instance, turns out to be the world market. But it is just as empirically established that, by the overthrow of the existing state of society by the communist revolution (of which more below) and the abolition of private property which is identical with it, this power, which so baffles the German theoreticians, will be dissolved; and that then the liberation of each single individual will be accomplished in the measure in which history becomes transformed into world history.”
In my opinion, the world market is the phenomenal expression of the fragmentation of the conditions of labor, a condition that can only be overcome by the association of social producers. The class (political) struggle is only a phase through which the proletariat passes — it was never its final constitution. The world market can only be overcome by an association that is itself bound up with world history. This cannot occur within the confines of a national politics. The problem is that communists today think on a too small scale. They are small minded idiots. They cannot think beyond the limits of national borders and national differences.
QUESTION: So, a class struggle on a massive scale. The class struggle is not dead. It has merely moved to another scale.
JEHU: There is no class struggle, because there is no other class. There is only us and our fragmentation into nations. We call it the separation of ownership and control — smaller capital hand their capitals over to larger ones. Getting rid of the fragmentation of the working class is the point. Not the other class.
QUESTION: Why would the national capitalist want to produce surplus-value when this cannot realize profit?
JEHU: For the same reason an individual capital would want to produce surplus value even thought it cannot be realized within the firm
QUESTION: If the surplus-value cannot be realized, and productivity is at the same time increased, then profit must fall. No?
JEHU: Yes. It leads to the contraction of total capital, resulting in a scramble among national capitals for a share in total surplus. This, of course, leads to wars of redivision.
QUESTION: You mean the contraction of the expansion rate of capital?
JEHU: No. At a certain point this must result in an absolute contraction, not merely stagnation.
QUESTION: But why would [the capitalist continue to produce], if it would cost him profit?
JEHU: This is what leads to the export of capital to the outlying regions of the world market to compensate for the fall in the rate of profit.
QUESTION: But if there is a working class, then there must also be a capitalist class. Or would you consider someone like Bill Gates a worker?
JEHU: The capitalist class has been rendered superfluous — this already began in Marx and Engels day and they noted it. We call it the separation of ownership and control — smaller capital hand their capitals over to larger ones. Gates is not a worker. He is part of the management apparatus of the state. I would think of him the same as an enterprise manager in the soviet system. In the soviet system, these guys were called the red bourgeoisie.
QUESTION: Could you provide me with a source?
JEHU: Yes. Here. In the passage, Engels states:
“If the crises demonstrate the incapacity of the bourgeoisie for managing any longer modern productive forces, the transformation of the great establishments for production and distribution into joint-stock companies, trusts, and State property, show how unnecessary the bourgeoisie are for that purpose.”
Over a period of time, the capitalist class is rendered completely superfluous to the mode of production. Marx also covers this in detail in chapter 15 of volume 3 of Capital.
QUESTION: So, a capitalist. It should not matter whether they are red, fascist, liberal or otherwise.
JEHU: What matters is that this formation is not a class; it is the state. Once the state becomes the capitalist, national politics is abolished. I am sure my explanation for why there s no class struggle is superior to people who call the working class backward. The working class is not backward, it has simply lost its class (political) character. Which is to say, a society composed almost entirely of proletarians now faces the state and must put an end to it. To put an end to the state these proletarians must put an end to their divisions and undertake management of society.
QUESTION: And this would not be a political act? This would not be class struggle?
JEHU: No. The act is directly anti-political. Association among workers of all countries. The “enemy” here are the divisions of the class, not something external to it. It cannot emancipate itself by confronting something external, but must face its own fragmentation.
QUESTION: And why would the totality of the working class management of society not constitute a “state”?
JEHU: An association of social producers, not a state. The proletarians cannot overcome their internal divisions by force of arms — they are either divided in reality or not.
QUESTION: I agree that the capitalist class has rendered itself more and more superfluous, but it must still exist as a class.
JEHU: Yes — about .1% of the population. Not even a negligible factor in the problem today. Getting rid of them entirely is simply a matter of ending Washington’s deficits.
QUESTION: Hm, according to some Marxists, it is about 5%, including smaller capitalists. — Oh. I was mistaken.
“Marxism argues that societies are run by ruling classes who while constituting a small minority of total population, say 1%, nevertheless consist of quite a large number of people, maybe 40,000 in Ireland or half a million in Britain.” (Source)
JEHU: Oh, well that changes everything. Frankly, I do not trust the analyses of Marxists. They are mostly incompetent academics. The argument is interesting empirically, but labor theory differs from Marxism in that it does not require any capitalist class at all. The capitalist is only the ideal personification of a social relation.
QUESTION: It does not? LTV can only apply to capitalism, which necessitates a capitalist and a working class, I believe.
JEHU: Not really. Although this is a very popular myth among Marxists, it is not true at all.
QUESTION: Before capitalism, value might have existed, but it was pretty much irrelevant then. and the point of communism is to abolish value, which would also destroy the validity of LTV afterwards. What would be the mistake in my reasoning, according to you?
JEHU: You would, on your premise, be unable to explain “how capitalism works” without reference to a capitalist class. Thus, you would be unable to explain why the Soviet union collapsed. And ask any Marxist, they are unable to explain it either. The SU collapsed for the same reason capitalism worldwide must collapse. We actually witnessed the collapse of capitalism in our lifetime, but never recognized it. Production for production’s sakes, for profit, for surplus value. It must lead to the collapse of capitalism without any other force. Even people like Kliman, who thinks the SU was capitalist, can’t see its collapse for what it was.
QUESTION: I would say that the USSR collapse was a re-integration in the world market, which transformed the red bourgeoisie into a (neo)liberal bourgeoisie.
JEHU: Instead of “reintegration”, suppose it was the bankruptcy of a national capital? Or better yet, a catastrophic terminal devaluation?
QUESTION: If there is no capitalist class, then we must conclude that the working class is exploiting itself by the state, because the working class has been historically conditioned that way. Then the working class would only have to recognize that it is actually exploiting itself?
JEHU: That term has been used. But I like Marx’s better: the worker competes against himself as a member of his class. That it is competing against itself and must put an end to competition. Putting an end to competition cannot happen except through association. Another way to state it: The class has no real enemy except itself — it must put an end to itself.
QUESTION: But trade unions and parties do not count as valid working class associations?
JEHU: The workers’ association must be global, since competition is now global Nothing less than global association will put an end to competition.