The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Month: March, 2018

Don’t Jump, Go Faster: A reply to our invisible friends

I am in the middle of reading clever monkey’s take on communization from an introduction to an anthology he edited in 2012: “Communization and its discontents”. Clever Monkey is my pet name for Ben Noys, the writer who coined the term “accelerationism”. In this tract, consisting of a collection of writing from the communisation school, it is quite bizarre to find the abolition of wage labor is never mentioned until page 221 of a 282 page pdf. In fact, the term wage labor itself appears in the book perhaps a dozen times out of perhaps 100,000 words. The related term, labor power, is mentioned about two dozen times.

What sort of communism is this that never speaks of wage labor, labor power or abolition of wage slavery?

*****

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Theorie Communiste on Socialization versus Communization: What happened to wage labor?

If you follow me on Mastodon () then you know I have been spending a lot of time reading and re-reading this declaration by Theorie Comuniste: “The suspended step of communisation: communisation vs socialisation”.

Having spent a lot of time over the last two weeks reading it, I have come to the conclusion that the document fails to make the case for communization. The essay attempts (and fails) to draw the line between simple socialization of the social means of production and communization. Both ‘-ations’ pretty much seem to consist of the same thing.

Which is a big problem for me.

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The Real Reason Bretton Woods Collapsed: Constant expansion of hours of labor

I received this very interesting link from @davelab6 from moneyandbanking.com: “Why a gold standard is a very bad idea“.

The article is fascinating because on more than one occasion, some Marxists have accused me of being a gold-bug. The defense of the gold standard, that barbarous relic in the words of John Maynard Keynes, is often held to be a regression to some earlier phase of social production.

For this reason, it helps to get a second opinion on the subject.

*****

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That one time Andrew Kliman tried to school Moishe Postone

 

In a bizarre coincidence, I just received this comment from Matthew Culbert:

“Andrew Kliman, in Reclaiming Marx’s Capital, §8.4 “Postone’s Counter Critique”, reveals Postone’s scientific incompetence on the subject of Marx’s value.”

I think Matt is referring to the same Andrew Kliman who thinks a valueless fiat currency can express the socially necessary labor time required for production of commodities. But perhaps he is referring to another Andrew Kliman.

Kliman is one of those imbeciles who thinks he is doing us a favor by defending Marx — as if Marx needs an imbecile like Kliman to defend him.

Here is Kliman’s argument against Postone:

“By itself, a discussion of Marx’s intentions does not refute the internal inconsistency allegation. Postone does not call his discussion a refutation, but what then is its actual purpose? An internally inconsistent argument is no more consistent after the author’s intentions are clarified than it was before. And if, because of such inconsistency, the intended conclusion cannot be sustained, why do the author’s intentions matter?4 The claims that Capital is internally inconsistent need to be taken seriously, and taken for what they actually are—not elements of a discourse on Marx’s intentions or method, but an attempt to discredit his arguments.”

It doesn’t matter what Marx was trying to do, says Professor Imbecile, if Marx argument contains an internal inconsistency. An argument that contains an internal inconsistency is no help in analyzing capital.

Is this true? What if the process itself contains not one but two aspects, and what if these two aspects were in contradiction to one another — so that one aspect is expressed generally, while the second is expressed only as a “tendency”. This might happen, for instance, if the law of value were fundamental to the mode of production known as commodity production, while the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, which operates only in capitalist commodity production, operated only as a tendency.

In this case we would have to contradictory determinants of capitalistic prices of production: the law of value and the law of the average rate of profit. The contradiction between these two laws necessarily leads to the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. An exposition on how capitalistic commodity prices of production form would then appear to contain an internal contradiction. The problem, however, is not in the exposition of the formation of prices of production as such, but in the capitalistic mode of production itself.

What then is Marx trying to show?

He is trying to show why commodity production must collapse much as he predicted in the Grundrisse. To show why it must collapse he has to show that capitalistic prices of production already contain the necessity for their own collapse. This is quite unlike Bohm-Bawerk’s aim, which is to explain market prices. In Marx’s exposition, market prices are already irrational from the beginning. They express a moving contradiction.

Kliman isn’t even qualified to shine Postone’s boots.

Moishe Postone (1942–2018)

I received sad confirmation of the death of Moishe Postone.

Communization of the Whole World in Five Years or Less: A practical guide

I have been paying more attention to the communization tendency of late. For those who are unaware of this tendency, the communization tendency is a radical offshoot of communism that proposes we set as our immediate goal the complete abolition of property, wage labor and the state in order to directly and immediately establish a fully communist society.

According to Wikipedia,

“In these accounts humanity as a whole, directly or indirectly, would take over the task of the production of goods for use (and not for exchange). People would then have free access to those goods rather than exchanging labor for money, and distribution would take place according to the maxim ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'”

As can be inferred from this short description of communization, communizers dispense with the so-called ‘lower phase’ of communism (sometimes called socialism) and move directly to a fully functioning communist society where that will be no classes, money or state.

The idea is very close to my own view that capital has so developed the social forces of production that society is in the position to move directly to full communism. This is a decidedly different situation than the one that prevailed at the time Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto.

In 1848, the social forces of production had not reached such a state of maturity as to permit the immediate establishment of a communist society. The Manifesto advanced a sort of work around in which the working class would organize itself as a ruling class and do what capital had not yet finished doing: create the material foundation of a fully communist society. In the 170 years since the Manifesto was written, however, much of that preparatory work has been accomplished by capital itself.

What remains for us today is to take control of society and immediately realize full communism; to complete the socialization of labor by ending the buying and selling of labor power.

Unfortunately, as allsotiresome nicely put it, the idea of communization remains “practically and strategically undertheorised”. No one really knows what a movement committed to the immediate establishment of a fully functioning communist society looks like, what its goals are, or how it intends to realize those goals. Communization very much remains just another idea on paper.

This essay is my attempt to help remedy this defect.

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Exacerbating the tendency — why labor hours must be reduced

A redditor,  jakehmw, tore into my argument on hours of labor. He/She made six pretty important points:

  1. While I argue that wage labor must be abolished, jakehmw points out that the proletarian sells their labor-power for a wage out of necessity due to their being propertyless. This cannot change, he asserts, until the means of production are under common ownership. The proletarians must always compete with each other, being propertyless.
  2. jakehmw says my argument on the abolition of wage-labor and intra-proletarian competition is nothing new. Communism has always been defined as an association of producers producing for use. My ideas in this vein are just a rehash of Marx’s early works.
  3. jakehmw asserts that my view Marx suggested depressed wages and competition were linked to overly long hours of labor, (“the more he works, the less wages he receives”), is not entirely correct. Marx did not intend to show that workers are displaced by overly long hours of work, says jakehmw, but by the development of machinery and the division of labor.
  4. jakehmw  thinks the abolition of labor cannot be brought about by a progressive reduction of hours of labor to zero. To abolish wage labor, the means of production must become the commonly owned property of society. Reducing the working day to zero only results in an impossible halting of both the production of use-values and value.
  5. In jakehmw view, the proletariat can abolish itself only by abolishing private property and bringing society’s means of production under common ownership. With this abolition of private enterprises, commodity production must cease to exist out of necessity, since production, having become common property, is consciously regulated as opposed to the law of value and the fetishism of commodities.
  6. Finally, jakehmw takes exception to my idea that the working class must take control of its labor power. He points out that labor-power is one’s ability to perform labor which is reproduced through the material reproduction of one’s physical capabilities and the mental reproduction of one’s mind and senses through socializing, etc. It is both their mind and body — how can that be common property?

Let me say at the outset that, by and large, I accept most of the propositions outlined in these critical statements, although I might quibble with a formulation here or there.

*****

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“Labour itself can only exist on the premise of this fragmentation.” K. Marx and F. Engels

I want to address the big problem I see with communistic subreddits.

To do this, let me first define what I mean by the term, “communistic reddit”: A communistic reddit is a reddit that concerns itself directly with the need for the abolition of wage slavery and the establishment of communism.

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Some notes on Bruno Astarian and Gilles Dauve’s “Everything Must Go! The abolition of Value”

NOTE: This is basically both a sympathetic and tentative review of the book. If I seem a little harsh it is only because I am an asshole so I write that way as well.

*****

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