The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Category: Anti-Politics

Did someone drop yellow vest protesters on their heads when they were infants?

Say you want to hurt Macron, right? Say you want to see him down on his knees begging for mercy.

What do you do?

In France, you spend your free time on weekends protesting his austerity program, right? Eighteen weekends in a row that you could be spending with you family and friends you sacrifice to make the point that you don’t like Macron’s policies.

And then, on each Monday, like good little boys and girls, you report back to work to create more surplus value for Macron, the capitalists and the fascist state, satisfied that you really, really showed that asshole how much you dislike his policies …

… that you made possible with your wage labor on Mondays.

Some important caveats regarding Autonomy’s proposal to reduce the work week

In January of this year, Autonomy Scotland, an independent, progressive think tank, embarked on a new initiative to shorten hours of labor in Britain. This initiative began with the publication of a proposal, “The shorter working week: a radical and pragmatic proposal”.

The extraordinary proposal by Autonomy sets a medium-term goal of a transition to a four day, 32 hour full-time working week by 2025. For firms over 250 employees a non-compulsory option to reduce working hours to 28 hours per week would be provided to all employees. Under Autonomy’s proposal, the public sector would be the first to adopt the shorter working week without a reduction of pay. A board composed of trade unions, government and business leaders would aim to increase productivity in sectors of the economy that have seen low investment in technology.

While I support much of this proposal, I do think there are important caveats that must be mentioned.

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Does the radical Left have a future?

A few more words about Richard Seymour’s great book, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. Let me say that I love this book. I love it not for the argument the author makes, but because he has eloquently put the matter almost exactly where is should be: namely, does radical politics have any future at all?

He appears to say, ‘Yes.’

But I think the implications of his argument is, ‘Probably Not. At the very minimum, the Corbynistas have a very heavy lift to radicalize the moribund Labor Party.’

And, that makes me very happy.

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The Not So Strange Rebirth (Of Zombie Leftism)

Leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates on the third day of the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton, south east England, on September 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

I came across an interesting review of a book by Richard Seymour. The review, by Louis Proyect, is titled Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left. The original book, by Seymour is titled, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. I have not read the book, because, I don’t buy books and this one is not available as a torrent, yet. So, to be quite clear, this is not a review of Richard Seymour’s book; rather, it is a review of some reviews of Richard Seymour’s book — a meta-review wherein I wonder aloud about the strange love-hate relation the radical Left appears to have for fascism.

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Unpopular Opinion: A proletarian revolution is not the way we get to communism

Is a political revolution the best way to get to communism?

This is the stark question raised by a recent article by an anonymous PhD student in theoretical astrophysics who blogs at Cold and Dark Stars. In a recent blog post titled, “Red giants: statistical fat tails and revolutions as inverse risk-management”, the author takes on the problem of devising a credible path to communism.

The problem identified by the writer is this:

“Revolutions are abrupt changes: extreme, highly variable, non-linear, almost unpredictable, but usually under-predicted – in short, they are black swans. I’ve talked about the black swan before – basically it is a pop-finance/statistics term that describes highly impactful but unpredictable events, like the invention of the internet, the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce, or  the October Revolution. Other black swans are earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, and terrorist attacks. This “black swan”  dynamic makes revolutions incredibly epistemically opaque to us, and also bounds the type of questions we can ask about them.”

Communists, on the other hand focus on long-term historical analysis to develop their radical program. There is thus a profound disconnect between the events on which we base our strategy and spontaneous events like a revolution. The question raised by author is what do you do when the event you want to exploit to get to communism has an extremely low probability of happening.

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We must begin to imagine the end of the world

Two huge holes in Endotes appear to be their insistence that catastrophism is wrong and that the catastrophe hasn’t already happened. Anyone who thinks Endnotes adds any new ideas for the problems we face has to address their lack of clear understanding of LTV and strategy.

There are remarkable similarities between Endnotes’ communization and Wilderson’s afropessimism. If Wilderson asserts that the world is irreconcilably anti-Black, Endnotes asserts it is not just irreconcilably anti-Black, but also irreconcilably anti-communist.

I think it is more accurate to refer to communization as “communist pessimism”. There is no room whatsoever for anything approaching communism in today’s world.

To realize communism we must literally destroy the world. Zizek’s observation that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism offers something of a solution for us: we must begin to imagine the end of the world. If the world is irreconcilably anti-Black and if the world is irreconcilably anti-communist, our only option is to seek the complete destruction of the world. I am not speaking metaphorically here. The world itself must actually be destroyed in the Landian sense of that term.

Communism today must be as nihilistic as Landian accelerationism.

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Civil War in Catalonia?

And so Spain’s political-economy finally capitulates to capital after almost a decade of crisis.

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Response to Badiou: After politics, what?

Consider the following popular writers who have to one extent or another disputed the conclusions of Marx’s labor theory of value:

  • Negri and Hardt
  • Foucault
  • Lefebvre
  • (add your own favorite ‘theorist’ here.)

Based on what any one of these writers has written, ask yourself how do we get rid of wage slavery? Do they have any idea? For instance, what is Negri and Hardt’s solution to the problem of abolishing wage slavery? Foucault’s? Lefebvre’s? I mean, these guys write very interesting books. And if you are looking for a pleasant evening reading, any would be fine.

But what do they have to say about abolition of wage slavery that is relevant to what you are trying to do? What strategy do they suggest? Do any of these people give you any suggestions about how you stop being a wage slave? Do any of them speak directly to you and your circumstances as a wage slave?

Tell me where in all of the works by Negri and Hardt do they say, “If you don’t want to be a slave, do this, this and this.” I mean, whatever your criticisms of Marx, at least he said, “If you don’t want to be slaves, form yourselves into a political party, win the struggle for democracy and use the state power to emancipate yourselves.”

Does Foucault offer any ideas on how to end wage slavery? Does David Harvey? So, why do you read them? What possible interest do you have for their ideas? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life reading people who have no idea how to end wage slavery?

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Socialism: Lassallean and Leninist

One of the difficulties of the so-called struggle for socialism is the proliferation of definitions of socialism. These differences fall into two broad categories.

In the first group, we have those socialists who trace their intellectual lineage to Lassalle, including the modern social democracy movement, like the Democratic Socialists in the United States (DSA). The folks in this group typically identify socialism with the existing state, the capitalist state, the dictatorship of capital.

In the second group, we have the socialists who trace their intellectual lineage to Marx. This includes a bewildering array of groups from so-called orthodox Leninist parties like the Communist Party in the United States historically (although not at present) and an even more bewildering array of splinter groups. Folks in this group typically identify socialism with the overthrow of the existing state, and its replacement by a self-governing commune.

(NOTE: I didn’t include anarchists and similar tendencies in the discussion at this point, because they don’t envision any sort of state. Anarchists envision the direct establishment of a stateless, classless society that I here will refer to as full communism. I will address the anarchist view later)

Thus between the first and the second group of socialists we have a difference over whether socialism is possible under the existing state. Lassalleans, like the DSA, assume the existing state is a neutral body that can serve to implement a fully socialist program. Marxists, like most communist parties and their splinter offshoots, assume the state is a dictatorship of capital and must be overthrown prior to the establishment of a fully socialist program.

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Is the struggle for socialism regressive?

Here is a question I recently posed to followers of my Twitter account:

“If full communism is now possible has the struggle for socialism now actually become regressive?”

This is me trying to understand the implications of the idea full communism in one leap is now possible. If full communism is possible right now, what does this imply about the so-called struggle for socialism.

The question probably is startling to my readers. So let me address the implications of saying communism is possible right now.

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