About

A blog devoted to considering the real movement of society as described by Karl Marx:

This “alienation” (to use a term which will be comprehensible to the philosophers) can, of course, only be abolished given two practical premises. For it to become an “intolerable” power, i.e. a power against which men make a revolution, it must necessarily have rendered the great mass of humanity “propertyless,” and produced, at the same time, the contradiction of an existing world of wealth and culture, both of which conditions presuppose a great increase in productive power, a high degree of its development. And, on the other hand, this development of productive forces (which itself implies the actual empirical existence of men in their world-historical, instead of local, being) is an absolutely necessary practical premise because without it want is merely made general, and with destitution the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced; and furthermore, because only with this universal development of productive forces is a universal intercourse between men established, which produces in all nations simultaneously the phenomenon of the “propertyless” mass (universal competition), makes each nation dependent on the revolutions of the others, and finally has put world-historical, empirically universal individuals in place of local ones. Without this, (1) communism could only exist as a local event; (2) the forces of intercourse themselves could not have developed as universal, hence intolerable powers: they would have remained home-bred conditions surrounded by superstition; and (3) each extension of intercourse would abolish local communism. Empirically, communism is only possible as the act of the dominant peoples “all at once” and simultaneously, which presupposes the universal development of productive forces and the world intercourse bound up with communism. Moreover, the mass of propertyless workers – the utterly precarious position of labour – power on a mass scale cut off from capital or from even a limited satisfaction and, therefore, no longer merely temporarily deprived of work itself as a secure source of life – presupposes the world market through competition. The proletariat can thus only exist world-historically, just as communism, its activity, can only have a “world-historical” existence. World-historical existence of individuals means existence of individuals which is directly linked up with world history.

Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

44 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi. I’m the guy who asked about password access in a comment on your other blog. Now that I’m in, I can see that this is a new blog and that the restricted access must have been inadvertent. I suppose you have just finished setting up and some of the settings still needed tweaking.

    Alas, I’m only writing with a logistical point again. Would you mind terribly much, changing the settings such that the full text of each post is included in the RSS feed (as tyour original blog did)? It is much more convenient for those of us that use feed readers that way.

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to continuing to follow the development of your thought process.

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      1. Jehu, please prescribe books that would constitute “Marxism 101” for a person with little or no background of Marx. I have read The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State by Friederich Engels and it was an eye-opener in many respects. I tried reading The Capital and it showed me flames.The book is impenetrable. I couldn’t go beyond Chapter 2. Please assist

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      2. I would start again with chapter 1 and list the main points Marx makes. I have made a list of my own which you can find here: https://therealmovement.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/why-read-capital-at-all-where-almost-all-introductions-to-capital-go-wrong/

        Once you make a list of what you think are the main points, I would be glad to discuss it further with you. I think mastery of chapter 1 is vital to grasping the rest of Marx’s argument. And I think you will not likely find anyone who does a good job of explaining it. You are the expert here, not so-called authorities.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Dear respected subject, sorry to inundate you on more than one platform now, but did you get my vitally important (haha) email? Sorry, I should’ve introduced myself first. I’m Coops. And hey, I have no credentials either! So allow me to extend my apologies if you were baffled, repelled, put out or otherwise inconvenienced by the ceaseless blather and the random thought vomit that was contained in said (vitally important) email. One of these days I’ll quit being jobless, become more authentically and wholeheartedly jobless, and eventually stop bothering with answering to this whole burdensome and relentless inner drive thing. One of these days. How is that related, you ask? Well, what if (and hear me out) – what if the respecting subject is a surely-somehow-useful example of advanced proletariat individuation? A sort of glimmering anomaly, a beautiful soul amazingly talented at occasionally being ugly for purposes of childlike just-wanting-to-join-in-on-the-fun sort of antics, a dazzling armada of spiritualized illustrations that walk and talk and sometimes even paint themselves. Hit me back, otherwise I will continue to lurk and shoot technicolour arrows at you with my lovingly handcrafted bow. Peace. 🙂

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    1. I attempt to analyze society employing the premises of historical materialism. In this sense I am not a Marxist because most Marxists do not employ historical materialism in their analysis of society.

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      1. OK, but are you for or against Marx’s scientific socialist project? Or is this your way of holding the noses of Marxists to the grindstone? Are you trying to point out the perceived hypocrisy of Marxists, essentially telling them that they should be pushing for far right actions as a means to their desired ends? And are you saying that, to the extent that they do this, you are their fellow traveler, because your desired ends are far right ones?

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      2. I have nothing but contempt for Marxists. Marx spent his entire life producing a scientific theory of how capitalism works, with profound implications for all of mankind. Marxists have completely reduced this theory to a caricature. So, I am not a Marxist in the same way Marx employed that statement. Wherever Marxists diverge from, or distort, Marx, I am not a Marxist

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This is an excellent blog, and I am deep into the treasure trove that is value-form critique. If anyone reading this would like to pick a text from that school of thought and work through it together, just say the word! Postone’s ‘Time, Labor, and Social Domination’, and ‘Marxism and the Critique of Value’ would be my top picks.

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  3. Do I confer correctly that you agree with the “scientific” certainty communism will *result* from capitalism as expressed in the last sentence? Doesn’t that take all will for whatever kind of struggle away and leads to socialdemocratic parlementarism? And isn’t it in contradiction with some basic human qualities that historically seen are hard to overcome, especially somewhat “automatic” by the development of the relations and forces of production? Doesn’t the radical vision on the perfect noblesse of the one’s in power under communism constitute an impossible premise?

    Finally (private) property in the economic sense in the end is just a form of distribution of power. Any social division of labor will have it’s complement in an unequal distribution of power.

    Still I agree that the real movement of society is the object of study, although I don’t think it will lead to communism in the way defined. And (from other parts of your blog) I think Gramsci is the truest Marxist I have read until now (by way of Peter Thomas).

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    1. I think people have the wrong view of what communism is. To place communism in a difference context than the one with which we are familiar, consider that communism is simply 100% unemployment, in which your wages can buy nothing because the money is worthless, you own nothing and democracy itself is a trivial shell game without any sovereign popular content at all.

      Is this not closer to the actual trajectory of society already evident to even the dullest simpleton? There is a commonly held fallacy that communism involves involves a negation of the present trajectory of capitalist society. This is not true. Communism is catastrophe for present society and that catastrophe is inevitable. All that is necessary for this catastrophe to materialize is that we do exactly what we are doing right now — nothing.

      It is likely our consciousness will undergo a radical revision only when we find it actually impossible to sell our labor power and only when, even if we sell it, our wages can buy nothing.

      Is this the preferred way to realize communism? Probably not, but wage slaves are not in the position to experiment with utopian visions of the future. They have to feed their kids. So they likely will keep selling their labor power until this becomes impossible. Confronted by this new situation, they will improvise: communism!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I wish I could share your “optimism” BUT First of all there is the question if one would like to live in such communism. Taking part in production, even as abstract as writing some essay is an essential part of being human for me. Part of this is that somehow society has a say in what it sees as valuable and assigns some kind of reward. Second there is the question of “they will improvise”.

    Anyone having any knowledge of actually organizing anything, let alone complex production processes, will have serious second thoughts on this improvisation. And then: worldwide! This can only mean chaos. Unless capitalism first has produced what some call the Singularity. In which case there is nothing to organize for humans. And probably most goods are produced fully automatic.

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    1. I agree that there is pleasure in e.g. producing an essay but what do you mean by assigning a reward? Would, say, a stimulating response to your essay not be the reward? If, on the other hand, you are implying something like a material reward then does this not imply a contradiction? i.e. you are no longer writing the essay to make a point or for the pleasure of writing it but are instead now starting to think in terms of material rewards – which are irrelevant to the essay?

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  5. Hi, Jehu. I’m a member of a bunch of people who are trying to, as Günther Anders said, change our interpretation of the world so the world ceases to change without us.

    We live in a small town in Catalonia, not much far away from Barcelona. But we are many, or at list some and we also live somewhere else.

    Anyways, we’re trying to contact you because we are quite interested in translating to catalan some of your articles. Not everyone here speaks english, but we’ve been years devoted to aproach Marx and those who we think that understood his fully meaning nowadays(wertkritik, Postone and others).

    Now, we are gonna try to publish a collect of articles of our own and translations as a critic review to start the sparks of these kind of the marxian theory view, which is almost unknown here, in our land.

    What do yo think about it? Would you mind to be translated? If you are somewhat interested in our proposal, we can chat on it through this email: contradiccionsmil@gmail.com

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  6. Some of your comments touch on the conditions for revolutionary subjectivity that echo those of Guido Starosta in his book Marx’s Capital, Method and Revolutionary Subjectivity. Have you read it? Any thoughts?

    Also: is there a book that offers an interpretation of historical materialism that is similar to yours? The Violence of Abstraction by Derek Sayer comes to mind. But you may disagree.

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    1. These are some interesting essays. Thank you for telling me about them. I have no idea whether my thoughts are similar to the ones found in the essays. I will have to read them closely to assess this.

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  7. Completely random, but sometime ago, I stumbled upon a blog written by a self-described leftist physicist. I feel like I got the link from somewhere on this blog, but can’t find it right now. IIRC, the author wrote an article criticizing some rightist arguments about gender (by Jordan Peterson I think) from a statistical/methodological perspective.

    Would anyone happen to know the blog?

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  8. Jehu,
    Seeing as you read and critique others work, I was wondering if you wanted to have a gander at my economists challenge (aka the custodian model) which you can find clicking on the link to my name/handle?

    I am not sure if it falls into the category of communization theory, but if I am not mistaken you are passionate about reducing human enslavement to the capitalist machine

    Incidentally, I was speaking with another economist the other day about my model and whether or not I should present it as a book…if I was I was thinking of using the title:

    HOW TO ESCAPE THE CLUTCHES OF THE CAPITALISTS WITHOUT THEM EVEN KNOWING

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  9. Hi, I just stumbled here by google for “abstract socially necessary” reaching:

    https://therealmovement.wordpress.com/tag/socially-necessary-labor-time/

    Have only read this “About” and will have to come back later to read the rest carefully as it looks VERY interesting to me.

    Meanwhile I noticed your review of Moseley mentioned lack of access to books. So I should immediately tell you about “Library Genesis” (see Wikipedia). If it is blocked at your location (eg UK) details for access are linked from:

    https://thecapitalistcycle.wordpress.com/

    That page describes a particular book, by Maksakovsky, which I hope you may find interesting to download from Library Genesis among several million others (and journal papers).

    Like

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