The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Month: January, 2014

20 questions from comrades on capital and class struggle

capitalmarx3 (2)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.

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Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Eye Suspiciously

Just finished reading the article by a former Occupy person in the most recent Rolling Stone, “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For”. The article shows the potentially perverse results that can happen when the argument of the Left ignores the question of association of the working class.

FORCEDLABORIt should be clear that most of the proposals in Jesse Myerson’s article are not fascistic in and of themselves. Actually, many of them appear directly drawn from the proposals in the Communist Manifesto — for instance, public ownership of land, means of production, and finance. Thus his proposals can be rightly considered a continuation of a long tradition of communist advocacy for radical social change.

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UBI and the ‘Radical Transformation of Society’: Some questions for Peter Frase

miltonfriedmanIn a post, Curious Utopias, Peter Frase defends the idea of universal basic income (UBI) employing arguments that raise at least as many questions about the idea as Frase attempts to answer. While I am not completely dismissive of the idea of a UBI scheme in general, I want to state my reservations in hopes he or someone else will address them.

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I did an interview with KBOO

Here

Chris Cutrone’s Pessimism and the Prospects of Social Emancipation

Chris Cutrone thinks the idea of socialism has been “disenchanted” and this disenchantment is linked to a jarring lack of class consciousness among the working class and the class struggle between capitalist and workers:

“The difference between Marx’s time and ours is not in the essential problem of society, its self-contradictory form of value between wages and capital, but rather in the social and political conflicts, which no longer take the form primarily, as in Marx’s time, of the “class struggle” between workers and capitalists. “Class” has become a passive, objective category, rather than an active, subjective one, as it had been in Marx’s day and in the time of historical Marxism. What Marxists once meant by “class consciousness” is no more.”

rosa-luxemburg-older-rlsIn place of the class struggle of the workers against the capitalists, conflicts of culture, ethnicity and religion replace the struggle over capitalism. Socialism has been replaced with competing notions of social justice that borrow from ancient values; and cultural affinities seem to matter more than socioeconomic interests. Capitalism still determines social relations, but it is no longer recognized. What matter is not one’s class position in society, but “whether one lives in a ‘red or blue state,’ or what one’s ‘race, gender, and sexuality’ are”.

Cutrone’s essay is extremely pessimistic, but is it wrong?

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Marxian Hipsters, Old Skool Marxists and the Abstract and Fetishized Notions of Social Emancipation

worksource-oregon-job-fairThe hipsters of value critique can often be heard describing present society as one founded on an abstract and fetishized mode of social domination. Most of the rest of us have no idea what the fuck any of that means, but we know it sounds pretty impressive. If pressed to explain what this bullshit even means, the value critique hipster might refer to Adorno or some other theoretical heavy, as does the writer of this blog post, “The All-Penetrating Ether of Society: Adorno, Exchange, and Abstract Social Domination”:

“[A]ccording to Adorno, unlike the ‘idealist’ ‘subjective and ‘reflexive’ prognosis of reification, which centres on the undialectical appearance of the thing, and criticism that seeks to dynamize these things, the trouble is with the social ‘conditions’ that structure human interaction.

In Adorno’s view the later is theorized by Marx’s analysis of the fetish character of the commodity, which Adorno reads as a social category that expresses the objective social form of existing social relations.

“the fetish-character of commodities is not chalked up to subjective-mistaken consciousness, but objectively deduced out of the social a priori, the process of exchange.”

Ah!”, I nod in what appears to signal agreement, mostly because I don’t want to expose my complete inability to understand a single damn word the blogger wrote, “Yes, we must objectively deduce something that requires eight semesters of Hegelian philosophy out of something else that requires mastery of Capital, volumes 1, 2 and 3. Uh … by the way, would you like fries with your order?”

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