The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Category: General Comment

How did Newton properly analyse the transcendence of gravity in 1666?

Not to speak ill of the dead, but Wright was an idiot.

Erik Olin Wright, MaxPo Lecture:

“I don’t give any particular reverence to anything Marx had to say about anything because it would be quite astounding that someone in the middle of the nineteenth century would have properly analysed the contradictions of capitalism in the 21st century to understand what the dilemmas of its transformation and its emancipatory transcendence might be.”


“The motion of a rocket from the surface of the Earth to a landing on the Moon can be explained and described by physical principals discovered over 300 years ago by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton worked in many areas of mathematics and physics. He developed the theories of gravitation in 1666, when he was only 23 years old. Some twenty years later, in 1686, he presented his three laws of motion in the ‘Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis.'”

The issue of who is African American is not as simple and straightforward as you think

When Elizabeth Warren claimed to be the descendant of native Americans, everyone naturally scoffed.

When Barack Obama claimed to be African American few questioned his claim despite the fact everyone knew he was not the descendant of African slaves, but a descendant of a gentleman from Kenya.

To be clear, I do not mean in any way to disparage Barack Obama’s father. Nor Barack Obama himself, beyond what he deserves based on his own history, not that of his father. I simply point out that Barack traces his lineage to Africa in a different way than I and millions of Black People do. And this is important to keep in mind.

What I do mean to point out is that it is a peculiarity of racism in America that a people, African Americans, descendants of Africans brought here in chains as slaves and forced to build this country, are always conflated with the color of their skin. They and the millions of other African immigrants, who, like Obama’s father, came to this country after slavery had long ended, have been subject to racial antipathy that attaches itself to this conflation of a people with a skin color.

Black is not a skin color. My mother was black. She could have passed for white on any street in America.

The result of this conflation is that someone like Barack Obama, who has no direct connection to the experience of African Americans, can be sourced as a reference allegedly to speak for African Americans, although his actual connection to African Americans is through his mother’s family to slave masters:

“You know, once again I find myself in the same position as President Obama, we both oppose reparations, and both are the descendants of slave holders,” McConnell said, after he was asked if a report from NBC that his relatives were slave holders changed his views about reparations.

Barack Obama is completely entitled to his opinion on reparations. He is an American and his opinion counts the same as Mitch McConnell’s.

He is not entitled to have a part in our debate as African Americans, nor is that pig, Kamala Harris.

“No Deal is better than … any deal”

That’s the truth of the matter. From the beginning it was obvious that Trump’s advisers did not want any deal, no matter how good it was.

Trump has now struck out the last two times at bat. Next, he faces Xi.


Ben Reynolds discusses his book, “The Coming Revolution”

What if Washington never re-opens?

Based on the Trump’s pattern of behavior in several previous engagements, including:

  • NATO
  • COP24
  • TPP
  • Steel and Aluminum Tarrifs
  • China Tariffs

I think folks may be underestimating how this border wall skirmish with Pelosi unfolds. We might be looking at a 60 to 90 day partial shutdown in Washington before Pelosi realize Trump is serious and capitulates, perhaps longer.

Of course, I could be wrong. But months with a partial government shutdown is becoming commonplace in the advanced countries. Northern Ireland, for instance, at one point went 14 months without a government; while Belgium went 541 days deadlocked.

It is not beyond imagining that a significant portion of Washington will go unfunded for a rather long period of time.

Brendan Cooney, you’re gonna need a re-write on that book

I received this reply from Brendan Cooney, who appears to be very miffed because I criticize him for spreading confusion on the question of abstract labor:

I don’t discuss labor power or surplus value in this chapter because this is a chapter about abstract labor. Similarly, Marx develops the concept of abstract labor in chapter 1 of Capital, but waits until later chapters to develop Surplus Value and Labor Power. However, my chapter does discuss the fact that in a capitalist society workers are developed for their general capacity to do any labor, rather than for specific labors, which is related to the concept of labor power.

However, I really can’t respond to any of your criticism as it is a constantly moving target. First you say that I neglect to say that labor-power and abstract labor are the same concept. Then, when pressed for a citation of this, you provide a citation which does not prove your claim. When I point out the logical fallacy of your claim, you now change your argument to be that I should have “mentioned labor power”, without explaining why this is necessary in order to explain the concept of abstract labor. You have never responded to my criticism of the idea that labor power cannot be the same thing as abstract labor. Then you leap to the claim that I have argued that surplus value can be produced with out producing value… I don’t see the connection. Then onto something about Christopher Arthur, which is completely irrelevant and has nothing to do with my original post.

Oddly, Brendan asserts he does not discuss labor power in his post because he is discussing abstract labor.

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Where are the communizers in France?

The headline says it all: “Thousands of French ‘yellow vests’ protest for fifth Saturday”:

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of French cities on Saturday in the fifth weekend of nationwide demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron’s government, despite calls to hold off after a gun attack in Strasbourg earlier this week.

In Paris, police were out in force to contain possible outbursts of violence. But several major stores, such as the Galeries Lafayette, were open to welcome Christmas shoppers.

Numbers were down compared to Saturday last week.

The critical hint in this news fragment regarding the likely trajectory of the yellow vest protests is not that the number of protesters are declining, nor that Macron’s government has managed to get a handle on containing them. Rather, the hint is prefigured in “Saturday”, the day of the week that has become a recurring moment in the protest.

Saturday is free time away from labor for the protesters. On this day they are free to shop for Christmas, work in their gardens, hang out with friends and family. Some choose to spend this free time protesting Macron’s policies.

Yet, by spending their free time protesting Macron’s policies,, yellow vest protesters concede their protest will not interfere with their wage labor. This seems to be an unconscious recognition of the limitations of their protests. The protesters don’t want to challenge the mode of production as a whole but only insofar as it impinges upon their position as wage slaves.

Can it become more?

With all the gibberish about communization coming from the continent recently, you would think so. The yellow vest protests are a direct challenge to that school.

Except for this brief exchange, however, as far as I can tell the communizers have been remarkably silent:

“…[The] disorder must be pushed further. The moment of the urban riot is itself the limit point of what is now happening: historically it corresponds with two modalities, either the seizure of state power or pushing the state into a crisis to then push for concessions. But this is not 1917, no seizure of state power to then realize a socialist program is conceivable, and we are not in 1968, there were will be no agreements made at Grenelle5. To stick with the urban riot is to remain at a level where the movement still has politics. But if what manifested on Saturday in Paris and everywhere in France returns to the blockades, creates new ones and begins to truly “block the country,” that is to say, to seize itself and to decide from there on its future, one can imagine going from riot to uprising to revolution. But no one can say in which direction this is going, this thing running faster than the whole world: there is no better mark of revolutionary content than this. This movement, because it is a class struggle, bears all that can be today a communist revolution, including its limits, its dangers and its unpredictability: but to reach that point, it will probably be necessary to burn a great deal of things that stand between us, whether it’s cars or social relations.”

The pronouncement does not explain how the protest can be pushed further, but it sets this as the task.


Desmond Wong on Communism

“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!” –Desmond Wong

[I was informed today that this is actually a quote taken from me here. I honestly did not realize this. My apologies to Desmond, who was likely very confused by my citation.]