The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Tag: Communist consciousness

Is there a political path to communism?

I got this question on my ask.fm:

“In a recent post you said you didn’t think there is a political path to communism. Can you elaborate on that some? What might a non-political path look like?”

The answer to this question has to begin with the basic premise of historical materialism taken from the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy:

“In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. “

In my reading of this statement, I can only come to the conclusion that communism as a political movement can only arise if the real movement (trajectory) of society ends in communism. To put this another way, a political path to communism is only an expression of real historical changes in the mode of production. Communist politics are nothing more than an expression in political relations of material changes in the mode of production.

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Piketty is singing to our choir

Okay, so here is an argument unfortunately touching on the subject of M. Piketty and the whole inequality thingy. For those who have had enough of the mention of this simpleton’s name, I can only ask you to bear with me for the next 1000 or so words: I promise this will not be a simple regurgitation of what has been previously stated in the arguments of other writers for or against Piketty.

17-4094_hiresI want to draw attention to the parallels between Piketty’s work on inequality and the thinking of activists in the movements for an increased minimum wage, basic income and jobs guarantee. In large measure, Piketty’s work shares many of the same assumptions of activists in these movements and could be thought of as a theoretical argument for them.

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What does it take to beat capitalism when the deck is stacked against us

cardsOn Monday, I showed both the workers and the capitalists view economic choices through the lens of capitalist relations of production. The fact that both classes view the crisis of capitalism through the same filter means the both accept the same false choices in the crisis. It is not true in the least that the working class is brainwashed by the capitalists to act against their own interests. Rather, because both classes see the crisis from their respective positions within capitalist relations of production, they arrive at the same general conclusions.

Those conclusions are consistent with capitalist relations and, therefore, imply a definite outcome: labor exists only to fatten profits.

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“How Capitalism Works” (through the eyes of the working class)

trickledownYesterday, I showed why the inflation\deflation debate is concerned with the consumption of labor power and the debt of capitalist firms. Deflation carries a risk firms will not increase their employment and may go bankrupt because falling prices put pressure on profits.

My post led to the following response on reddit’s Socialism page:

“Too tired to read article but debt becomes worse with deflation because in real terms it is worth more (the corollary is that you can inflate debt away, since the debt which is constant becomes less in real terms after inflation. [Krugman] wrote a good op ed about that on April 4th, called oligarchs and money if memory serves). Aside from that this article seems a little wacky”

So does Krugman’s recent post to his New York Times blog contradict my argument? Well, let’s see:

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“The real fruit of their battles …”

This is part three of a three part series. Part one can be found here; part two can be found here

3. “What Marxists once meant by ‘class consciousness’ is no more.”

wotwuIn the previous section of this essay, I argued, properly understood, Marx and Engels assumed the proletarian social emancipation does not take the form of a conflict with the ruling class. To say this has implications for the present crisis is an understatement. I think it goes a long way toward explaining why the most remarkable feature of the present crisis is the lack of a class struggle — which absence has been puzzled over by both bourgeois ideologues and by Marxists.

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“The consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution …”

This is part two of a three part series. Part one can be found here.

Part 2: Bourgeois Consciousness versus Proletarian Consciousness

In part one of this series, I claimed that, in the German Ideology, Marx and Engels argued that the proletarian revolution quote-marxism-is-essentially-a-product-of-the-bourgeois-mind-joseph-schumpeter-165264does not play out the way the bourgeois revolution plays out and it cannot play out that way for very specific reasons. Given this claim, I have to answer the obvious question: If the proletarian revolution is not an assertion of a proletarian class interest against the ruling class, as Marx and Engels themselves asserted, what is it?

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Proletarian consciousness can only be global: a reply to Chris Cutrone

I was reading Chris Cutrone’s “Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today”, when some thoughts occurred to me that I feel necessary to outline. Although this might appear to be polemical that is not my intent. I want to outline my understanding of the subject of class consciousness based on the text, The German Ideology, in hopes of getting some feedback.

In the piece, Cutrone states:

“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.”

wotwuClass, argues Cutrone, is no longer the active expression of the contradictions in bourgeois society that it was in Marx’s day. “Class consciousness” as Marxists define it, “is no more.”

I found this to be a very peculiar argument, since, so far as historical materialism is concerned there is not and never was such a thing as a working class consciousness. Engels and Marx do reference a consciousness in the German Ideology, where they first outline the materialist conception of history, but this consciousness is most decidedly not a class consciousness.

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