I've got 99 problems but a class analysis ain't one

I've got 99 problems but a class analysis ain't one

Some things should have been left in 2011, the mystifying 99 percent slogan is one.

We are the 99% was the rallying cry of the Occupy movement. While its usage has slipped since 2011, we’re starting to see efforts to revive the slogan as protests against Trump gather pace. This may be because people want to revive the spirit of Occupy itself, whether they just like the slogan, or because the phrase has slipped into the common vocabulary of class analysis and activism in the meantime.

Rather than explaining class relations in an accessible way, the 99% mystifies how capitalism works and leads to a very confusing interpretation of class struggle. It leaves the door open for a conspiratorial view of how capitalism works, and often acts as a cover for reformist, social democratic methods for how to fight it.

First let’s look at the 1%. This generally means the top 1% richest people in the world. Presidents, CEOs, Wall Street Traders. As Naomi Klein recently put it, the Davos Class.

The 99% is literally everyone who isn’t in this group. By design this includes the CEOs of quite a lot of small and medium enterprises, low- to mid-level managers in corporations, trade union bosses and NGO executives, police, prison guards, journalists, aspiring politicians, academics, as well as regular workers and the unemployed. Some early occupy protests had chants like “Cops are the 99%!" "We're fighting for your pensions, too!", usually shouted shortly before the cops tear gassed people rather than afterwards.

The 1% are the billionaires, the tech oligarchs, the Wall Street traders.

The 99% are the people, the vast majority of society.

The 99% has recently been used by the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign , in a recent Guardian article calling for a Global Womens’ Strike on March 8th which mentions it three times, “a feminism of the 99%” counterposed to the feminism of “Lean In”, and was defended vigorously by Conor Kilpatrick in Jacobin as a simple way to figure out what class you’re in.

Capitalism however is not maintained by the actions of the Davos class or the 1%. Rather it’s a hegemonic social system that is maintained primarily through the social relationships of wage labour and commodities.

You have to earn wages to get money.

You have spend that money on rent, utilities and food in order to survive.

Your work either involves the creation/distribution of commodities, or the maintenance (or management) of the workforce itself if you work in sectors like education and health.

If you’re unemployed or imprisoned, you may be working anyway via workfare and prison labour, just on wages and benefits below the rate of subsistence.

Robots might be taking your job, but they aren’t delivering food free of charge to your door each week to make up for it, or wiping your arse when you get old.

These are not hard concepts to grasp, every time you wake up on Monday morning or look at your bank balance they confront you. Every hour you spend at work reinforces the system you’re fighting against one way or the other.

How do we struggle against the 1%? Unless you live in San Francisco, London or New York (or even if you do), you might never see a member of the 1% in real life. What we’re left with is usually symbolic protests inside or outside civic and financial institutions, which locate the source of power as something unattainable and remote. At its worst, talk of ‘bankers’ tends towards structural anti-semitism and locates all the world’s problems in the shadowy conspiratorial meetings held at international summits. Often it results in coalescing around left populist electoral campaigns, which need as broad a constituency as they can possibly have to hoover up disaffected voters.

Despite these limitations, Occupy did get involved with protests that disrupted capital and especially in Oakland made links with workers including the November 2nd 2011 demonstration. These aspects of the movement should be revisited as the reaction to Brexit and Trump gathers pace, but the idea of the 99% should be left behind in 2011 where it should have stayed in the first place. We should also be looking at other recent movements such as the 2010 student occupations and protests in the UK, the 2006 movement against the CPE in France, the 2012 student occupations in Quebec, the 2015 prison strike in the US, the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore against police violence in 2014/15, and the 2006 immigrant strikes in the US.

When you struggle against work via strikes, slow downs, and slacking off, you confront capitalism at the point of production. When you struggle against police violence, evictions, immigration raids and homelessness you confront capital as it maintains property relations and social control. This is class struggle against the processes of class reproduction, counterposed to the static categories and redistributionism of the mainstream left.

Rather than the 1%, these struggles come against the letting agent, the HR department, the police, immigration authorities, property developers, local government officials. Those who enforce borders, wage cuts, gentrification, rent hikes, criminalisation of communities and all the other shit. They cannot be mobilised as part of the 99%, if at all by rejecting their role entirely. The abolition of the police, not their co-operation as we saw at Occupy Sandy. The expropriation of tech CEOs, not their incorporation into cross-class liberal #resistance.

Focusing on the 99% or the 1%, rather than encouraging class analysis, focuses attention away from class struggle and towards protests against abstract and remote actors. Even when owners of companies and housing are far away, the offices, shops, warehouses and housing blocks they own are the places we live, work and shop.

Comments

Chilli Sauce
Mar 2 2017 23:27

Mike, it needed to be written. Thanks for doing it.

strypey
Mar 5 2017 14:19

You say:
"the 99% mystifies how capitalism works and leads to a very confusing interpretation of class struggle."

As a slogan, 'we are the 99%' encapsulates a number of important class realities;
1) the system we oppose is one in which the vast majority is dominated and dispossessed by a small elite. Recent scholarship has shown just how small this elite has become due to corporate globalization ("structural adjustment", "free trade agreements", "intellectual property" and other euphemisms).
2) the people we are talking to, despite their diversity, are all part of an oppressed class, a meta-class which transcends and includes Marxist categories like "lumpenproletariat", "petit--bourgeois", and the "middle class" (public servants, teachers, security guards, soldiers etc) who are increasingly subject to the same kinds of workplace stresses (overwork, casualization etc) as other workers. Guy Standing has called this meta-class 'the precariat'.
3) when the majority refuse to continue passively participating in the system that benefits the 1%, and move their energy into "building a new world in the shell of the old", the 1%'s system cannot continue, and most of us will be better off.
4) we, who call for this revolutionary transition, are not speaking to the listener/ reader as a vanguard party, requiring "the proletariat" to follow us so we can defeat capitalism on their behalf of. We are speaking as equals, desiring the participation of as many people as possible in a shared project of creating and defending new social forms.

You think a less confusing description of a class perspective is...

"...a hegemonic social system that is maintained primarily through the social relationships of wage labour and commodities."

I suspect that to those who don't have a liberal arts education or years spent reading revolutionary literature (ie most people), this sentence would be meaningless. Having read 'Society of the Spectacle', I do know what your sentence means, which is basically what I described above, and what 'we are the 99%' communicates in a simple phrase of everyday language.

The fact that electoral populists like Sanders have appropriated the phrase from the anarchists who coined and popularized it (Graeber et al) just shows that they understand what a broad appeal it has. To reject the phrase on this basis is like rejecting all science technology just because it's been appropriated by the state and capital.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 5 2017 16:46
Quote:
As a slogan, 'we are the 99%' encapsulates a number of important class realities;
1) the system we oppose is one in which the vast majority is dominated and dispossessed by a small elite.

Just briefly, my last boss - owner of the company - made a point of talking about the 1%. She was a good Bernie Sanders supporter and considered herself a good employer. In fact, when we raised some issues collectively, we rec'd an email telling us (and I'm basically quoting here) how if we - the staff - were doing this against Wal-Mart, the owners would support us. But they're just a small mom and pop and how well they treat us, blah, blah, blah...

And, it's true, my boss was definitely not in the 1%, but her class relationship to us was one of exploitation. So I really don't think the fact that me and my last boss were in the 99% encapsulates anything about class realities, I'm afraid.

Mike Harman
Mar 6 2017 11:14
1) the system we oppose is one in which the vast majority is dominated and dispossessed by a small elite. Recent scholarship has shown just how small this elite has become due to corporate globalization ("structural adjustment", "free trade agreements", "intellectual property" and other euphemisms).

Don't know about you, but most of the times I've had a direct class conflict, it's been with a member of the 99%:

Landlords: (raising rent, not doing repairs, evicting me)
Senior managers and bosses: (increasing workload, making it hard not to do unpaid overtime, trying to steal wages etc.)
Police: (kettling, protecting fascist marches, stopping/questioning me outside protest situations for things like 'cycling in daylight', and 'sitting on a park bench with some friends').

If you focus on an 'elite' and absolve everyone else, then you're not in a position to deal with these things. Also you'll end up focusing on redistribution rather than social transformation, i.e. to 'make the elite less powerful' or similar.

the people we are talking to, despite their diversity, are all part of an oppressed class, a meta-class which transcends and includes Marxist categories like "lumpenproletariat", "petit--bourgeois", and the "middle class" (public servants, teachers, security guards, soldiers etc) who are increasingly subject to the same kinds of workplace stresses (overwork, casualization etc) as other workers. Guy Standing has called this meta-class 'the precariat'.

I didn't mention 'lumpenproletariat, 'petit-bourgeios' or 'middle class' once in the post. However it's interesting you bring those up, because when Marx talked about the 'middle class' he meant capitalists (literally the bourgeios), not teachers and librarians. He mostly talks about the capitalist class and the proletariat in Capital, sometimes about landowners and peasants.

Regardless, whatever emphasis or lack of emphasis you want to put on strata within the working class, he didn't say that bosses of companies employing tens or hundreds of people were going to make the revolution. The people who went on and on about petit-bourgeios and 'middle class' were the Bolsheviks in Russia (often while they were putting Tsarist factory owners back in charge of their factories as managers), not Marx himself so much. Similarly we can recognise that the police rely on wage labour, but not treat them as people it's possible to organise with - this is not a hard concept for most people that have ever actually come into contact with the police.

3) when the majority refuse to continue passively participating in the system that benefits the 1%, and move their energy into "building a new world in the shell of the old", the 1%'s system cannot continue, and most of us will be better off.

Most previous uprisings and revolutions were carried out by large, active minorities, with 'the majority' not necessarily on one side or the other. The main barrier to their success was making alliances with representatives of capital like social democratic parties (i.e. exactly what the 99 percent theory encourages) which then ruthlessly crushed them, and/or failing to spread internationally and getting ruthlessly crushed by armies from other countries. It's never been that they didn't include bosses and police in their lists of who to work with in order to get their numbers up.

You think a less confusing description of a class perspective is...

"...a hegemonic social system that is maintained primarily through the social relationships of wage labour and commodities."

You missed out the next two sentences, I think these are pretty clear:

You have to earn wages to get money.

You have spend that money on rent, utilities and food in order to survive.

Unlike, say, the 'precariat', which is just describing the position of the proletariat as it's always been, but claiming it's a recent phenomenon and creating yet more jargon. That's covered pretty well here https://libcom.org/library/19-proletariat-precariat

Spikymike
Mar 6 2017 11:21

I think Mike Harman has got it basically right. It may be true that a libertarian communist society would be most beneficial to humanity as a whole (maybe even the 1%?) and there is a 'humanist' element to the communist project but this doesn't get us very far when trying to analyse the class structures of the modern world or understand how different classes and and social layers are motivated to struggle in practice against the detrimental and dehumanising effects of capitalism on their lives. A moral appeal to the majority 99% on the basis of 'we are all in it together' ignores and confuses the contradictory process of developing and extending collective struggle through conflict. The material basis, motivation, timing and forms of struggle of the different layers of the working class, middle class owners and professionals,, genuine peasants, tribal people and so on are not all the same. And... 'Building' class struggle is not the same as trying to 'build' a new collective property base in the shell of the old. We cannot expect to start a process where we hope to end it.

rosasoros
Mar 6 2017 16:13

This is great! Cheers for writing. Coherent and accessible too, which is important smile

strypey
Mar 8 2017 09:56

Chilli Sauce: read 'Maverick' by Ricardo Semler of SemCo. Workers in a democratic workplace have conflicts too. In SemCo's case, the union was brought in to mediate between workers who felt picked on and the rest of the workers on their team.

Mike Harman:
"Don't know about you, but most of the times I've had a direct class conflict, it's been with a member of the 99%."

Right, and this is exactly the point of 'we are the 99%', the phrase points out to 'them' that they are really one of 'us' and that they too would be better off if they weren't acting on behalf of a system that mainly benefits the 1%. If Chilli Sauce's boss uses 'we are the 99%' to justify mistreating their employees, that's cynical, but the best reply would be "yes, we are the 99%, so maybe you need to address the issues we've raised in the same way you'd want us to, if you were the one being employed".

Mike again:
"Most previous uprisings and revolutions were carried out by large, active minorities, with 'the majority' not necessarily on one side or the other."

Funny, because there's a strong correlation between these vanguardist uprisings and failure to complete a revolutionary transformation. In those few cases where something resembling a successful revolution and a sustainable non-capitalist system did happen (eg Cuba, Nepal), the majority did support the uprising. Thinking that you are part of an enlightened minority that knows what the rest of the people need better than they do is called Leninism, not anarchism.

As for the explanatory power of 'the precariat', whoever wrote this:
"https://libcom.org/library/19-proletariat-precariat"

...clearly hasn't read the book, and based on your comments here, I doubt you have either. That's not a sin, you're not obliged to read it. Unless of course you want your commentary on it to be informed rather than a field of strawman, in which case it does pay it.

SpikyMike:
"A moral appeal to the majority 99% on the basis of 'we are all in it together' ignores and confuses the contradictory process of developing and extending collective struggle through conflict."

I agree it doesn't explicitly include all this, but you can only ask so much of a four word slogan. Saying "we are all part of the working class" doesn't address all that stuff either, as well as excluding anyone who (for whatever reasons) doesn't identify as "working class". The power of 'we are the 99%' is in its broad inclusiveness. Whether those who come together under such a slogan can translate it's basis for commonality into successful action is an important but separate question.

Mike Harman
Mar 8 2017 10:31
Funny, because there's a strong correlation between these vanguardist uprisings and failure to complete a revolutionary transformation.

No that's not vanguardism, this includes all kinds of mass strikes, Spanish Revolution in Spain etc. The CNT had about 1.5 million members in Spain in 1936, this wasn't a majority. Now you might say had they been a majority they'd have one, but you can't treat class struggle as individually persuading people ideologically until you get to a majority of the world's population and then it happens, things are much messier than that. Not to mention situations where people voted for no-strike clauses then went on wildcat a week later (or the many cases unions have broken strikes of their own workers), individual people are messier than that too.

Right, and this is exactly the point of 'we are the 99%', the phrase points out to 'them' that they are really one of 'us' and that they too would be better off if they weren't acting on behalf of a system that mainly benefits the 1%. If Chilli Sauce's boss uses 'we are the 99%' to justify mistreating their employees, that's cynical, but the best reply would be "yes, we are the 99%, so maybe you need to address the issues we've raised in the same way you'd want us to, if you were the one being employed".

Except the interests of his employers were opposed to those of their employees - this one of the results of a system based on wage labour. Your argument seems to be you should persuade your bosses to be nice to you because they're not members of the super-rich?

Spikymike
Mar 8 2017 10:40

strypey, I wasn't and wouldn't simply substitute ''we are all part of the working class'' for ''we are all part of the 99%'' either. Mike Harman started off their text with a criticism of the '99% slogan' but (our combined?) criticism so far is trying to deal with what lies behind that in terms of how practical movements can start and progress through a process of conflict rather than covering over such real material differences with such abstract slogans.

Mike Harman
Mar 8 2017 11:51

Yes, I only used the phrase 'working class' once in the entire piece, and that was when talking about strata within it.

There are all kinds of very narrow conceptions of what the working class is, for example the right (and centre, and left) of the Labour party counterposing 'working class' access to houses/healthcare/jobs vs. immigrants - as if immigrants aren't working class and don't have problems accessing these things). Len McCluskey of the Uniteand Paul Mason are doing this too calling for closed shop unions that can check people's passports before they get a job, high income minimums for immigrants etc.

Then resistance to deportations, landlords and nurses checking people's passports etc. is painted as "middle class".

However to deal with that, we need once again to talk about class struggle (in a heterogenous sense that doesn't rely entirely on workplace struggles) rather than allowing people to get away with 'working class identity politics'.

Mike Harman
Mar 8 2017 16:02
Chilli Sauce
Mar 8 2017 18:51
Quote:
Chilli Sauce: read 'Maverick' by Ricardo Semler of SemCo. Workers in a democratic workplace have conflicts too. In SemCo's case, the union was brought in to mediate between workers who felt picked on and the rest of the workers on their team.

So, I really don't know how this is a response to my post?

If you think I have any love for co-ops, I can assure you, you're dead wrong.

But, to be honest, your response here makes me think you really don't understand the politics of this site (which might be fair enough if not for the fact you've been registered for years) but, more importantly this:

Quote:
If Chilli Sauce's boss uses 'we are the 99%' to justify mistreating their employees, that's cynical, but the best reply would be "yes, we are the 99%, so maybe you need to address the issues we've raised in the same way you'd want us to, if you were the one being employed".

makes me think you don't really understand how capitalism - or class struggle - works either.

strypey
Mar 10 2017 07:34

Mike H and SpikyMike, your rebuttals are mostly fair. I agree no slogan, however broad its appeal, is a substitute for "trying to deal with what lies behind that in terms of how practical movements can start". I do think that revolution can only succeed (ie defeat the old ruling classes without creating new ruling classes) if they engage a majority, but I agree this cannot be done only through polite conversation, but must involve political practice (some of which may involve conflict), although I suspect we disagree fundamentally about the nature of the practice needed (see below). Totally agree about the false dichotomy between categories of "[white] working class" and "immigrant". To the degree that I have anything to add, I think I can do it best by responding to Chilli Sauce

"So, I really don't know how this is a response to my post?"

My point in bringing up the SemCo example is to show that workplace conflict is not always caused by a class antagonism between worker and "boss" (although I agree this exists). Conflict among humans is natural, and even a totally horizontal social system needs mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolution. Respectful negotiations between employers and workers in small businesses can be subversive, if and when they attempt to prefigure a cooperative, mutual benefit approach to conflict. When the people involved in a small business play the antagonistic, competitive roles of "boss" and "troublemaker" assigned to them by capitalism, this can only lead to greater alienation between potential allies, and the entrenchment of hierarchical power (and worse, see below).

Your politics seem to be based on a belief that because all employment involves payment for work using currency ("wage labour"), it is also the same in every other way. You believe that the situation of working for a corporation, where you are separated from your nominal employer ("investors") by multiple layers of (often global) bureaucracy, is exactly the same as the situation of working for someone you know personally and can negotiate with directly, and may heavily outnumber. You believe that anyone who can be conceptualized as "the boss" (the one paying you for your work) is your (class) enemy, and should, on principle, be vilified and battled.

That this belief is factually incorrect is shown by the situation of the self-employed and those working in cooperatives, whose "boss" is themselves, and for whom vilifying and battling "the boss" could only manifest as some form of mental illness. Worse, the belief that anyone who pays you for work must be vilified and battled is a self-defeating prophecy, where your kneejerk habits of "class struggle" against any poor sod who employs you is just as likely to be the cause of a poor relationship with a potential ally as the reaction to it.

A "boss" running a small "business" is in many cases organising a collective effort that is socially necessary (eg growing food, cooking meals) and could continue to be organised in much the same way in a post-capitalist situation, although obviously with some major changes in the relationship between the "business" and the organisations of the wider society. This is particularly the case with cooperatives. The most likely achievement of Insurrectionists who falsely believe they fight a "class struggle" by making these people's lives more difficult than they need to be, is to reinforce negative stereotypes of "anarchism" and "unionism", and prime their "bosses" for recruitment by pro-capitalist libertarianism, green capitalism and other conservative movements. I don't see this as an achievement to be proud of.

"If you think I have any love for co-ops, I can assure you, you're dead wrong."

Your disdain for cooperatives is presumably based on the fact that they have chosen a situation that doesn't allow for vilifying and battling the "boss", which means they have chosen not to engage in "class struggle" (as you understand it). What this reveals is that your politics is a posture of empty militancy, of conflict for conflict's sake. It is the politics of Trump supporters, but with "bosses" and similar bogeymen substituted for the "bad hombre" and "cultural marxist" and "feminizi" bogeymen (or bogeywomen) of the Trumpers. It is the wrong-headed and dangerous idea that capitalism can be destroyed by demonizing certain types of people and engaging in directionless, macho trouble-making.

This conveniently excuses you from the much more difficult task of theorizing and building the cells and organs of a potential post-capitalist political economy, and attempting to defend them against both overt repression, and incremental recuperation. It also excuses you from having to step out of your ideological comfort zone, and make alliances with people who will challenge your politics rather than echoing them back to you in slightly different words. These are among the tasks taken on by those who organise around concepts like "the 99%". These are the tasks that create and maintain the counter-institutions through which you organise your insurrections, and which continue long after you inevitably run out of cannon-fodder, and fail to make any structural change by starting fights you can't finish.

"your response here makes me think you really don't understand the politics of this site"

I find it sad (but not surprising) that you don't distinguish between not understanding you and disagreeing with you. I'm not an @-com (my anarchy isn't easily categorised but has a strong minty flavour, and an appreciation for the uniqueness of situations) but I lurk here as part of a practice of actively looking for ideas that challenge my assumptions, and I occasionally comment to return the favour. If dissenting views are not welcome here, I can respect that, and stay silent.

Spikymike
Mar 10 2017 10:10

strypey, The problem remains that for instance any 'small business' whether individually, family or cooperatively owned has to operate within the objective condition of the competitive capitalist market economy which will drive the decisions of the 'owners' irrespective of their personal motives or character. There is a long history of failed efforts to generate an alternative co-operative economy within the shell of capitalism that would not be profit driven and not exploit it's workers but this has always remained (where such efforts have not been absorbed into the system or simply gone bust) as a marginal entity unable to actually replace capitalism. Class exploitation through the wage labour and money market mechanism operates at a social level across and irrespective of the various forms of property ownership that are necessarily guaranteed by the continued existence of the modern state.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 10 2017 18:55

Strypey, If I were you, basically, I wouldn't make so many assumptions in your posts. You want to know how I feel about co-ops or class struggle, then ask. "You seem to think..." at best means you won't capture the nuances about how how someone feels. At worst, you'll end up strawmanning all over the place. You've done a lot more of the latter.

That said:

Quote:
You believe that the situation of working for a corporation, where you are separated from your nominal employer ("investors") by multiple layers of (often global) bureaucracy, is exactly the same as the situation of working for someone you know personally and can negotiate with directly, and may heavily outnumber. You believe that anyone who can be conceptualized as "the boss" (the one paying you for your work) is your (class) enemy, and should, on principle, be vilified and battled.

This is actually pretty accurate.

If you don't mind me asking, are you employer yourself?

I also wanted to bring in something else you mentioned on another thread:

Quote:
It's a shame that Sturm didn't see that he and the Stardust workers would have all been better off if he'd simply carried on the worker-friendly policies of the previous management. I wonder why he didn't?

So, this thing is, they had very rational, capitalistic reasons for bringing in new policies. It was about having more control in the workplace, over the production process, and squeezing more profit out of the restaurant.

It's only so far as the workers can hit him in the pocketbook that he'll "see" he's better off with the old policies. There are no policies that are ever truly mutually beneficial for worker and management. There's a constant struggle (sometimes open, usually not) where both sides individually and collectively push back against against each other to determine acceptable workplace practices.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 10 2017 19:05
Quote:
What this reveals is that your politics is a posture of empty militancy, of conflict for conflict's sake. It is the politics of Trump supporters, but with "bosses" and similar bogeymen substituted for the "bad hombre" and "cultural marxist" and "feminizi" bogeymen (or bogeywomen) of the Trumpers. It is the wrong-headed and dangerous idea that capitalism can be destroyed by demonizing certain types of people and engaging in directionless, macho trouble-making.

Jesus, just re-read that post - what a load of fucking nonsense.

You yourself clearly don't understand how capitalism works and you don't comprehend the fairly standard communist critique of capitalism most people here on libcom have. Capitalism is not about individuals, that's communism 101.

Of course, you don't have to leave the site because you have "dissenting views", but the more I read from you, the more I'm beginning to suspect you are or have been an employer. And if that's the case...

jef costello
Mar 11 2017 08:10
strypey wrote:
Your politics seem to be based on a belief that because all employment involves payment for work using currency ("wage labour"), it is also the same in every other way. You believe that the situation of working for a corporation, where you are separated from your nominal employer ("investors") by multiple layers of (often global) bureaucracy, is exactly the same as the situation of working for someone you know personally and can negotiate with directly, and may heavily outnumber. You believe that anyone who can be conceptualized as "the boss" (the one paying you for your work) is your (class) enemy, and should, on principle, be vilified and battled.

That this belief is factually incorrect is shown by the situation of the self-employed and those working in cooperatives, whose "boss" is themselves, and for whom vilifying and battling "the boss" could only manifest as some form of mental illness. Worse, the belief that anyone who pays you for work must be vilified and battled is a self-defeating prophecy, where your kneejerk habits of "class struggle" against any poor sod who employs you is just as likely to be the cause of a poor relationship with a potential ally as the reaction to it.

A "boss" running a small "business" is in many cases organising a collective effort that is socially necessary (eg growing food, cooking meals) and could continue to be organised in much the same way in a post-capitalist situation, although obviously with some major changes in the relationship between the "business" and the organisations of the wider society. This is particularly the case with cooperatives. The most likely achievement of Insurrectionists who falsely believe they fight a "class struggle" by making these people's lives more difficult than they need to be, is to reinforce negative stereotypes of "anarchism" and "unionism", and prime their "bosses" for recruitment by pro-capitalist libertarianism, green capitalism and other conservative movements. I don't see this as an achievement to be proud of.

You are describing capitalism in your nfirst paragraph. The one paying for your labour is your class enemy, no matter how nice they are about it. They are the representative of capital which is the system of oppression that as communists we are oppposing.

A self-employed person is not their own boss, they contract themselves to bosses, they are still subject to all the strictures of capital. A self-employed person may be able to set their own hours and prices but unless these respect capital's demands they won't be successful.

Same for co-ops. A co-op must compete on the market which means that they must also respect capitalist norms. If they vilify themselves as bosses it might be when they realise that in order to bring in an order on budget they must work unpaid overtime, or cut pay, maternity leave, holiday, sick pay etc. That's not mental illness, it's recognising the situation.

You seem to understand what capitalism is, but not to realise that it is the problem. A business is a business, whatever ethical standpoint it may claim, or even have, it is still a business. You seem to believe in the idea of the entrepreneur as motor of growth, change etc. That's not how communism works, it isn't really how capitalism works, hence the massive structural problems that are being delayed and pushed back with less and less success.

zugzwang
Sep 17 2017 15:43

.