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Constitutional republic as the best model so far

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Jamal's picture
Jamal
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Sep 7 2015 08:08

Also Benzo, ditch the cozy bed side attitude. If your politics continue sucking as bad as they do now, no ones going to give two hopscotching fucks how nice you are, or how many cool threads you start around here.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 15:08
Jamal Rayyan wrote:
Benzo asks us if the constitutional republic is "the best model so far". We say no, he calls us authoritarian. Imagine that.

As if there's nothing at all authoritarian about constitutional republics. No history of violence behind them whatsoever, right? Especially for the common people, right?

I'll go out on a limb here and suggest Benzo isn't anywhere near anarchist, or even "liberal" (maybe if defined in the most conservative, right-wing sense of the word). Benzo sounds more similar to a Commonwealth man from the early 18th century.

He doesn't agree with the dictatorship of the proletariat because he wants Nazis and racist bigots to be free to use their hate speech towards whomever they see fit after the revolution. Let them have their rights, their liberty, their individual freedom he says.

Well, lucky for us, none of Benzo's rampant dilletantism has anything to do with how true reality comes into existence. Because ironically this is the best model so far. Capitalism beats the hell out of fuedalism, you got that one! But nobody has ever asked the proletariat for it's model...the dictorship of the working class...the best model...and it will stay that way if and until the working class wakes up and fulfills it's historical duty.

Benzo mentions working class revolution "which I can't see ever ending a good way".

Well what's a "good way"? Shall we just call up the world leaders and mega-billionaires and invite them over for a nice picnic, and then we politely inform them they no longer wield political power over 95% of Earth's population?

This thread should have ended at posts #15 & #16. There's nothing to talk about beyond that. We are workers, we fight for communism or death, and if that means taking the "bad" route, where that means repressing Nazis, bigots, liberals and constitutional republicans, that's what we'll do.

It is called being civil. You are highlighting why people hate political type folks. Boring and tryhard, rude while anonymous, quiet when in public.

Either be nice or stop talking to me.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 15:19

If anyone does not think constitutional republics are the best model so far, what model currently in existence beats it for standards of living, personal freedoms for the people who love under it?

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Sep 7 2015 15:36

The idea that "anarchism" is simply just an ideology is misuided. Either the constitutional republicans are correct, or the anarchists or correct, or the communists are correct, etc. in their assessments on particular features of bourgeois society. Ideology is not this freely-chosen team-picking up in the clouds of imagined utopias. It is knowingly and unknowingly the result of those things that are currently necessary for social reproduction, which include as a very large determinant, CLASS STRUCTURE. This is an assessment made by communists in general, with various nuances among marxists and anarchists.

Certainly, we don't have to be "slaves to ideology" and most communists in the past have argued that we can educate (Agitate, Educate, Organize!) ourselves about the way the world actually works. Again, once one does this, one quickly see's that the structure of our contemporary society is based on this class structure, where one group in generally is producing the necessities for all, while a non producing group reaps a surplus and governs society through the state.

The state does not protect freedom of speech. You only have freedom of speech to the extent that you effectively fight for it as AGAINST the state. And the state, and Lberal political theorists, have no problem actively restraining freedom of speech, as they've done so many times in the past. The state is the organized force of our general society, which is a CLASS SOCIETY. As the state is pressed to "give more rights" to racial and ethnic minorities, gender minorities, homosexual couples, etc. it does so while maintaining the foundation of property rights.

This idea that Nazi's and Fascists are in danger of having "their rights trampled" is a bit absurd. Frankly; the minor, delusional groups that exist in some places today, DON'T get their rights trampled by the state. We've seen march after march of them escorted police with their swastika flags and protesters at a distance.

Further, the historical origin of the Nazi Freikorps, the Fascist Blackshirts, and the KKK were that of reactionary groups actively suppressing the freedom of speech, but also extinguishing the life, of many German, Italian, and U.S. communists, union organizers, as well as the racial minorities after (and in the case of the KKK, even before) WWI. These groups were also ACTIVELY supported by Liberals/SocDems in their countries. Shouldn't that tell us a little bit about the "best of all possible kinds of government?"

Or should we write a Communist Candide?

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 15:41
Pennoid wrote:
The idea that "anarchism" is simply just an ideology is misuided. Either the constitutional republicans are correct, or the anarchists or correct, or the communists are correct, etc. in their assessments on particular features of bourgeois society. Ideology is not this freely-chosen team-picking up in the clouds of imagined utopias. It is knowingly and unknowingly the result of those things that are currently necessary for social reproduction, which include as a very large determinant, CLASS STRUCTURE. This is an assessment made by communists in general, with various nuances among marxists and anarchists.

Certainly, we don't have to be "slaves to ideology" and most communists in the past have argued that we can educate (Agitate, Educate, Organize!) ourselves about the way the world actually works. Again, once one does this, one quickly see's that the structure of our contemporary society is based on this class structure, where one group in generally is producing the necessities for all, while a non producing group reaps a surplus and governs society through the state.

The state does not protect freedom of speech. You only have freedom of speech to the extent that you effectively fight for it as AGAINST the state. And the state, and Lberal political theorists, have no problem actively restraining freedom of speech, as they've done so many times in the past. The state is the organized force of our general society, which is a CLASS SOCIETY. As the state is pressed to "give more rights" to racial and ethnic minorities, gender minorities, homosexual couples, etc. it does so while maintaining the foundation of property rights.

This idea that Nazi's and Fascists are in danger of having "their rights trampled" is a bit absurd. Frankly; the minor, delusional groups that exist in some places today, DON'T get their rights trampled by the state. We've seen march after march of them escorted police with their swastika flags and protesters at a distance.

Further, the historical origin of the Nazi Freikorps, the Fascist Blackshirts, and the KKK were that of reactionary groups actively suppressing the freedom of speech, but also extinguishing the life, of many German, Italian, and U.S. communists, union organizers, as well as the racial minorities after (and in the case of the KKK, even before) WWI. These groups were also ACTIVELY supported by Liberals/SocDems in their countries. Shouldn't that tell us a little bit about the "best of all possible kinds of government?"

Or should we write a Communist Candide?

My question was whether or not constitutional republics are the best model currently in existence. Not if people think Anarchism is better, which obviously they do on here.

Out of the current models which system offers the most freedom, access to information and rights under the law? My answer would be constitutional republics.

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Khawaga
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Sep 7 2015 16:01
Benzo89 wrote:
If anyone does not think constitutional republics are the best model so far, what model currently in existence beats it for standards of living, personal freedoms for the people who love under it?

Your question is really about hair splitting, but if we go by various rankings in terms of standard (and also in terms of "access to information" and rights) of living the best model so far must clearly be the constitutional monarchy considering that is what the Scandinavian countries are. But that's in practice. It seems like you're more interested in ideals rather than the harsh realities of constitutional republics (and your interest in them makes me suspect that you may be a form of right-libertarian given how all of them harp on about the magical properties of constitution).

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Sep 7 2015 16:03

What is the Anarchist position on Constitutional republics ?

1. Has free trade and democracy lead to the high standards of living in western democracies?
2. Is the standard minimum wage workers can live in the west (relatively extremely comfortable) because of exploitation of the third world
3. Do Anarchists support freedom of speech. I had thought so while I was influenced by anarchist theory but recently advocating free speech under law has had me called a bourgeois moralist, as free speech should not be upheld for anti working class speakers. For example on a anti capitalist forum I know posters called me a fucking liberal for saying everyone should have the right to free speech and free assembly even the KKK, EDL etc and cops deserve fair trials too and arguing some of the police shootings in the U.S were not clear cut injustices.

Abolish them

1. Too abstract a question to make sense of. It's like asking if wheels have lead to a higher standard of living. Yes, but not by themselves.
2. Again, yes and no. It is rather the increased productivity in the realm of necessities that has lead to an increase in the production of other things that have caused a general rise in the standard of living. But there are a lot of other factors here, AGAIN (Class structure, policies).
3. Some anarchists support freedom of speech. Some are ok with not letting reactionaries speak. Some have critiqued antifa as potentially encouraging cross-class alliances with liberals etc. (WWII ring a bell?). Again, I don't see a blanket answer to this. If an esteemed liberal professor is passing off dubious research in support of race theories of history or some other shit, it might be more effective for them to be out-gunned in journals and debates. If a group of workingclass racist morons is beating people up in your neighborhood, somehow I don't think a conversation will solve the problem.

The above were the various questions in your original post. I don't mean to be a dick or anything.

I will say that our current society is better than if it had chattel slavery, jim crow, serfdom, peasants, lords, a powerful and dominating catholic church, kings etc. So I will say that it IS the best existing society.

However "MODEL" as a word is a strange one. Anarchism and Communism emerged when capitalist society was getting up and running. And they effectively highlighted it's flaws, limitations, conceits, centrally, by highlighting the crises of capitalist society, and the types of social relations that emerged in those moments; relations based on the principal from each according their ability to each according their need. These have served as models for revolutionaries many times. The Paris Commune, the Russian and Spanish revolutions. Just to pick three. (Really the russian revolution was part of a huge wave of working class insurrection after going through WWI).

And as a "model" those still exist. But there aren't any communes in the offing at this moment, no.

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Sep 7 2015 16:16
Khawaga wrote:
Benzo89 wrote:
If anyone does not think constitutional republics are the best model so far, what model currently in existence beats it for standards of living, personal freedoms for the people who love under it?

Your question is really about hair splitting, but if we go by various rankings in terms of standard (and also in terms of "access to information" and rights) of living the best model so far must clearly be the constitutional monarchy considering that is what the Scandinavian countries are. But that's in practice. It seems like you're more interested in ideals rather than the harsh realities of constitutional republics (and your interest in them makes me suspect that you may be a form of right-libertarian given how all of them harp on about the magical properties of constitution).

If I was a libertarian I would tell you. Not everything is a conspiracy. And yes there are harsh realities everywhere, but constitutional republics and constitutional monarchies do indeed seem pretty great comparatively to everything else currently around.

I earn minimum wage as does my girlfriend and our life is effortlessly easy and free compared to most people's lives around the world. I don't see why it is so crazy to say that?

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Sep 7 2015 16:28
Pennoid wrote:
What is the Anarchist position on Constitutional republics ?

1. Has free trade and democracy lead to the high standards of living in western democracies?
2. Is the standard minimum wage workers can live in the west (relatively extremely comfortable) because of exploitation of the third world
3. Do Anarchists support freedom of speech. I had thought so while I was influenced by anarchist theory but recently advocating free speech under law has had me called a bourgeois moralist, as free speech should not be upheld for anti working class speakers. For example on a anti capitalist forum I know posters called me a fucking liberal for saying everyone should have the right to free speech and free assembly even the KKK, EDL etc and cops deserve fair trials too and arguing some of the police shootings in the U.S were not clear cut injustices.

Abolish them

1. Too abstract a question to make sense of. It's like asking if wheels have lead to a higher standard of living. Yes, but not by themselves.
2. Again, yes and no. It is rather the increased productivity in the realm of necessities that has lead to an increase in the production of other things that have caused a general rise in the standard of living. But there are a lot of other factors here, AGAIN (Class structure, policies).
3. Some anarchists support freedom of speech. Some are ok with not letting reactionaries speak. Some have critiqued antifa as potentially encouraging cross-class alliances with liberals etc. (WWII ring a bell?). Again, I don't see a blanket answer to this. If an esteemed liberal professor is passing off dubious research in support of race theories of history or some other shit, it might be more effective for them to be out-gunned in journals and debates. If a group of workingclass racist morons is beating people up in your neighborhood, somehow I don't think a conversation will solve the problem.

The above were the various questions in your original post. I don't mean to be a dick or anything.

I will say that our current society is better than if it had chattel slavery, jim crow, serfdom, peasants, lords, a powerful and dominating catholic church, kings etc. So I will say that it IS the best existing society.

However "MODEL" as a word is a strange one. Anarchism and Communism emerged when capitalist society was getting up and running. And they effectively highlighted it's flaws, limitations, conceits, centrally, by highlighting the crises of capitalist society, and the types of social relations that emerged in those moments; relations based on the principal from each according their ability to each according their need. These have served as models for revolutionaries many times. The Paris Commune, the Russian and Spanish revolutions. Just to pick three. (Really the russian revolution was part of a huge wave of working class insurrection after going through WWI).

And as a "model" those still exist. But there aren't any communes in the offing at this moment, no.

OK thanks for addressing my points. What do you make of former Marxists like Hitches who still identified as a Marxist and upheld the dialectic but claim capitalism was still revolutionary and had proven itself to still be the most advanced mode of production. Isn't it a little premature to think capitalism has reached its end in the short time it has been around?

Or do you not think capitalist mode of production is still revolutionary? It still seems to be leading to technological advancement at an extreme rate. Did Marx underestimate capitalism's ability to overcome crisis and such?

And for all the people super angry at me for not having a concrete stance on everything, sorry but I am figuring my opinions out still so please don't keep subtly accusing me of being some troll just because I am not 100% aligned with you.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 16:42
Jamal Rayyan wrote:
Benzo asks us if the constitutional republic is "the best model so far". We say no, he calls us authoritarian. Imagine that.

As if there's nothing at all authoritarian about constitutional republics. No history of violence behind them whatsoever, right? Especially for the common people, right?

I'll go out on a limb here and suggest Benzo isn't anywhere near anarchist, or even "liberal" (maybe if defined in the most conservative, right-wing sense of the word). Benzo sounds more similar to a Commonwealth man from the early 18th century.

He doesn't agree with the dictatorship of the proletariat because he wants Nazis and racist bigots to be free to use their hate speech towards whomever they see fit after the revolution. Let them have their rights, their liberty, their individual freedom he says.

Well, lucky for us, none of Benzo's rampant dilletantism has anything to do with how true reality comes into existence. Because ironically this is the best model so far. Capitalism beats the hell out of fuedalism, you got that one! But nobody has ever asked the proletariat for it's model...the dictorship of the working class...the best model...and it will stay that way if and until the working class wakes up and fulfills it's historical duty.

Benzo mentions working class revolution "which I can't see ever ending a good way".

Well what's a "good way"? Shall we just call up the world leaders and mega-billionaires and invite them over for a nice picnic, and then we politely inform them they no longer wield political power over 95% of Earth's population?

This thread should have ended at posts #15 & #16. There's nothing to talk about beyond that. We are workers, we fight for communism or death, and if that means taking the "bad" route, where that means repressing Nazis, bigots, liberals and constitutional republicans, that's what we'll do.

Funny I am a worker, all my friends and family are, all my work mates are. I don't think their rallying cry is communism or death.This seems like something I would say at 17.

Good job the rest of us working class people are not obsessed with oppressing groups we don't like, because I am pretty sure Anarchism has less support within the working class than almost any other ideology. Ironically the rights you don't care about is what protects you from persecution for you minority held views. Ans i am glad you have that legal protection.

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Sep 7 2015 16:56

You should really read Capital. I know it's a big book (Actually, three big books, and then one more (Theories of Surplus Value) and another (Grundrisse)). But just read Capital vol. 1. If you can, find a group of people to read it with, even better. I would also say, read up on the Brenner debate. Robert Brenner is a Marxist historian that I referenced earlier who discusses the transition to capitalism from feudalism and relies heavily on Marx's discussion of this in Capital. There is a school of historians, the "Political Marxists" that came out of his "thesis." To sum it up, he argues (as Marx does) that Capitalism does not emerge inevitably out of a growth in volume of trade, or even some degree of specialization. Instead capitalism emerges because of changing class relations, and capitalist development is based primarily on these class relations.

Hitchens, was basically a shameless hack. I don't know what went on with him personally, but he went from being a sort of run of the mill Trotskyist (in my understanding) to a sort of neo-liberal whackjob. I think he did it for his own confused sense of prestige.

But Marx himself argued that capitalism was a progessive force, that it systematically develops the means of production (technological innovation) by re-investing a portion of the social surplus into such measures. This is done because capitalist seek to compete with each other to be more profitable. This means that capitalists are always finding new and more labor-efficient ways to produce things. This would be a fundamental human good, if it was not organized for the sake of generating profit. But this also leads to crisis. As one firm finds a new way to make ground beef, using less workers, they can cut that cost. And in reality they are LOWERING THE VALUE of the end product (value is the amount of human labor that goes into something) while keeping the price the same (for a time). As other ground-beef producing firms catch on, they are all forced to price the product closer to it's value in order to compete with eachother. This leads to a general tendency for the rate of profit to fall. This means that capitalist businesses will go bust. Capitalists will go bankrupt. Things, stock options, services once priced at 150,000$ are now priced at 50,000$. And who will eat the loss? Quite often it's the working class.

Capitalist crises were never thought of by Marx as cataclysms that would sound the death knell for the mode of production. Marx pointed out that capitalism overcomes it's own problems by way of crises, it's main problem being that declining profitability. That is, capitalist crises are inevitable until we get RID of capitalism.

There are threads in the forum here where people have read capital, discussed books that serve as good intros etc.

My own syllabus for an intro course on marx might go EDIT (it is intended that this would be in the form of reading and then group discussion):

Excerpts from the German Ideology
Wage Labor and Capital
Value Price and Profit

Michael Heinrich's Intro to the 3 Volumes (it has it's problems)
Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe by Brenner OR
The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism by Brenner
The Origins of Capitalism A Longer View by Ellen Wood

Capital Vol. 1 First 3 chapters
I.I. Rubin, Essays on Marx's Theory of Value

I think that these would set someone for getting through the first volume and understanding a great deal of where marx is coming from. I may be leaving some stuff out.... Any suggestions from others?

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Sep 7 2015 16:58

First, Benzo, Jamal has a reputation for being a bit aggressive. I wouldn't take too much from his posts. Sorry Jamal, but it's true. To him and others, I say play nice.

Quote:
What do you make of former Marxists like Hitches who still identified as a Marxist and upheld the dialectic but claim capitalism was still revolutionary and had proven itself to still be the most advanced mode of production. Isn't it a little premature to think capitalism has reached its end in the short time it has been around?

Here, I feel like you're pulling a bit of a bait and switch - as if this is the real criticism you wanted to make but sort of tried to pull people in with the "models" stuff. Course, maybe that's not the case, so I'll try to make a good faith effort to respond.

One, it was Marx himself who said that “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society." So it seems weird to me to bring up some ex-Marxist to somehow argue that anti-capitalists get it wrong about the continuing revolutionary character of capitalism

Two, I don't think any regular posters are vulgar stagists. Capitalism won't naturally come to end. The working class needs to fight for its abolition and, if we don't, capitalism will either continue or destroy the planet. In other words, no one on this thread has argued that capitalism has reached or is reaching its end.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 16:59
Jamal wrote:
Benzo asks us if the constitutional republic is "the best model so far". We say no, he calls us authoritarian. Imagine that.

As if there's nothing at all authoritarian about constitutional republics. No history of violence behind them whatsoever, right? Especially for the common people, right?

I'll go out on a limb here and suggest Benzo isn't anywhere near anarchist, or even "liberal" (maybe if defined in the most conservative, right-wing sense of the word). Benzo sounds more similar to a Commonwealth man from the early 18th century.

He doesn't agree with the dictatorship of the proletariat because he wants Nazis and racist bigots to be free to use their hate speech towards whomever they see fit after the revolution. Let them have their rights, their liberty, their individual freedom he says.

Well, lucky for us, none of Benzo's rampant dilletantism has anything to do with how true reality comes into existence. Because ironically this is the best model so far. Capitalism beats the hell out of fuedalism, you got that one! But nobody has ever asked the proletariat for it's model...the dictorship of the working class...the best model...and it will stay that way if and until the working class wakes up and fulfills it's historical duty.

Benzo mentions working class revolution "which I can't see ever ending a good way".

Well what's a "good way"? Shall we just call up the world leaders and mega-billionaires and invite them over for a nice picnic, and then we politely inform them they no longer wield political power over 95% of Earth's population?

This thread should have ended at posts #15 & #16. There's nothing to talk about beyond that. We are workers, we fight for communism or death, and if that means taking the "bad" route, where that means repressing Nazis, bigots, liberals and constitutional republicans, that's what we'll do.

The dictatorship of the proletariat isn't "the model the working class chose" it is one a well off German sponger called Karl Marx came up with. You say fuck Bourgeois models, we didn't pick them, but we also as a class have not chosen the dictatorship of the proletariat, in fact almost none of the working class have any interest in the model you propose.

And yes you are right, I don't see doing away with already established rights workers have earned, in the quest for your utopian vision of your politics will lead to anything other than a terrible, authoritarian place to live. This is what most workers think about communism.

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Sep 7 2015 17:02
Chilli Sauce wrote:
First, Benzo, Jamal has a reputation for being a bit aggressive. I wouldn't take too much from his posts. Sorry Jamal, but it's true. To him and others, I say play nice.

Quote:
What do you make of former Marxists like Hitches who still identified as a Marxist and upheld the dialectic but claim capitalism was still revolutionary and had proven itself to still be the most advanced mode of production. Isn't it a little premature to think capitalism has reached its end in the short time it has been around?

Here, I feel like you're pulling a bit of a bait and switch - as if this is the real criticism you wanted to make but sort of tried to pull people in with the "models" stuff. Course, maybe that's not the case, but, so I'll try to make a good faith effort to respond.

One, it was mark himself he said that “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society." So it seems weird to me to bring up some ex-Marxist to somehow argue that anti-capitalists get it wrong about the continuing revolutionary character of capitalism

Two, I don't think any regular posters are vulgar stagists. Capitalism won't naturally come to end. The working class needs to fight for it's abolition and, if we don't, capitalism will either continue or destroy the planet. In other words, no one on this thread has argued that capitalism has reached or is reaching its end.

I don't agree with Hitchens on a lot of his stuff. Specifically foreign policy. However I thought it was interesting to hear him describe himself as a marxist. I am simply interested in hearing Anarchist positions on his claim and arguments against it so I can decide what I believe.

I work and read in my spare time, I am never going to have the natural smarts or reading time people who make a living on these subjects do, hence why I no longer have any clear stances because I am completely reevaluating my politics.

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Chilli Sauce
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Sep 7 2015 17:05

Benzo, I don't feel like that was a response to my post at all.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 17:12
Pennoid wrote:
You should really read Capital. I know it's a big book (Actually, three big books, and then one more (Theories of Surplus Value) and another (Grundrisse)). But just read Capital vol. 1. If you can, find a group of people to read it with, even better. I would also say, read up on the Brenner debate. Robert Brenner is a Marxist historian that I referenced earlier who discusses the transition to capitalism from feudalism and relies heavily on Marx's discussion of this in Capital. There is a school of historians, the "Political Marxists" that came out of his "thesis." To sum it up, he argues (as Marx does) that Capitalism does not emerge inevitably out of a growth in volume of trade, or even some degree of specialization. Instead capitalism emerges because of changing class relations, and capitalist development is based primarily on these class relations.

Hitchens, was basically a shameless hack. I don't know what went on with him personally, but he went from being a sort of run of the mill Trotskyist (in my understanding) to a sort of neo-liberal whackjob. I think he did it for his own confused sense of prestige.

But Marx himself argued that capitalism was a progessive force, that it systematically develops the means of production (technological innovation) by re-investing a portion of the social surplus into such measures. This is done because capitalist seek to compete with each other to be more profitable. This means that capitalists are always finding new and more labor-efficient ways to produce things. This would be a fundamental human good, if it was not organized for the sake of generating profit. But this also leads to crisis. As one firm finds a new way to make ground beef, using less workers, they can cut that cost. And in reality they are LOWERING THE VALUE of the end product (value is the amount of human labor that goes into something) while keeping the price the same (for a time). As other ground-beef producing firms catch on, they are all forced to price the product closer to it's value in order to compete with eachother. This leads to a general tendency for the rate of profit to fall. This means that capitalist businesses will go bust. Capitalists will go bankrupt. Things, stock options, services once priced at 150,000$ are now priced at 50,000$. And who will eat the loss? Quite often it's the working class.

Capitalist crises were never thought of by Marx as cataclysms that would sound the death knell for the mode of production. Marx pointed out that capitalism overcomes it's own problems by way of crises, it's main problem being that declining profitability. That is, capitalist crises are inevitable until we get RID of capitalism.

There are threads in the forum here where people have read capital, discussed books that serve as good intros etc.

My own syllabus for an intro course on marx might go EDIT (it is intended that this would be in the form of reading and then group discussion):

Excerpts from the German Ideology
Wage Labor and Capital
Value Price and Profit

Michael Heinrich's Intro to the 3 Volumes (it has it's problems)
Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe by Brenner OR
The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism by Brenner
The Origins of Capitalism A Longer View by Ellen Wood

Capital Vol. 1 First 3 chapters
I.I. Rubin, Essays on Marx's Theory of Value

I think that these would set someone for getting through the first volume and understanding a great deal of where marx is coming from. I may be leaving some stuff out.... Any suggestions from others?

I spent around 3 months reading vol 1 at 18. I kept having to reread parts and I found Karl Marx seemed to ramble on rather than being at all concise. I did however up until my mid twenties agree with Karl Marx on his main analysis of capitalism, as one where the capitalist class extract surplus value from the workers labour. I also spent around a year trying to understand dialectical materialism I think I had a good grasp of it.

However as I said I had identified as a marxist since my teens and never read anything from any opposing side ever. Now in my mid 20's I had a process of just starting to question everything i believed and read.

I can't get on board with libertarianism, because the entire philosophy seems fishy, as if unregulated markets without a centralised state won't just lead to new I looked where powerful rich people consolidate power and oppress people.

I looked into nationalism, the idea of national identity and pride and conservative ideals are so foreign to me I did some cursory reading before deciding it was ridiculous.

I think Leninism is awful but i am still reading up on that, i am midway through state and revolution.

The only political ideas that have remained somewhat interesting to me from these new ones i have been looking through are constitutionalism and liberalism. I don't identify as any of them but as it stands those are ones i am most aligned with currently. That may and probably will change the more i read.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 17:27
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Benzo, I don't feel like that was a response to my post at all.

Sorry i will give a better one soon. I have been struggling with some issues this week and i am having to go shopping as I am out of food and I am a bit worried about the ensuing panic attack. I will try and deal with your points properly once I return.

Thanks Chilli.

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Sep 7 2015 17:38

There is a lot more to Marx than his theory of exploitation/ surplus extraction. Surplus extraction happens in feudal society. Like I said, Marx is a bit tough to read. That's why it helps to read in groups. It's definitely worth it. I'm of the mind that what is important in Marx is NOT the dialectical shit (he put forward that he just presented his argument dialectically, that it functioned like any other scientific argument). Indeed, "dialectics" is more or less "systematic interdependence" which is an important feature of capitalist society. But too much has been made of "dialectics" as a form of mysticism by New-LEft hacks, maoist types etc. The materialist part is a lot more important, which is why I'd argue for a historical materialism.

This is why I'd recommend the German Ideology, or at least the excerpts found in here: The Portable Karl Marx as well as some things from his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (I think...).

So, I'd say give it another shot? Or check out some of the guides I mentioned:
Michael Heinrich's Introduction: Brief and Easy to Read
There is also this series of videos that are great, if comically edited together:

And then there is this pamphlet put out by the Communist League of Tampa: https://communistleaguetampa.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/marx_read.pdf

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Sep 7 2015 17:40

Also: Picking up and reading Capital is a bit like entering into a 150 year debate at the tail end. He is engaging with a lot of thinkers and conversations with which many people are unfamiliar. That can be really annoying to deal with. That's why shorter works where he presents his arguments more clearly, or introductory texts by our contemporaries are useful.

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Sep 7 2015 18:08
Quote:
I earn minimum wage as does my girlfriend and our life is effortlessly easy and free compared to most people's lives around the world. I don't see why it is so crazy to say that?

You're taking yourself for a walk up the garden path here mate. To be grateful for your life being shit, but less shit to the lives of others maybe fair enough in a personal sense but in a political sense it's submissive nonsense. If you're happy with things being less shit then vote, give to charity, spend your money 'ethically' and most of all make sure that you keep on making your boss richer.
I would ask you this question; Are you pro, or anti capitalist? Coz if you're gonna take a liberal position you're also taking a pro capitalist one. How well does that sit with you?
In the eighties liberalism was dressed up as radicalism but the ideas were pretty popular for a while. How did that turn out? So much liberalism is simply fashion and as the liberals get older and get more entrenched in their acceptance of the realities of capitalism, move up the corporate ladder and look down at the rest from their Ivory tower of ideals, they become just as conservative as the people they speak out against.
As for free speech, they're far more hypocritical than you could ever accuse anarchists of being, take the example of Ferguson, out there in droves in their slogan tee shirts, down with the poor old oppressed black folk, then as soon as the working class black people themselves find their own means of expression, windows are broken or any form of violence is enacted, the liberals suddenly know best and separate themselves from and condemn the very people they are supposedly there to support. These slippery fuckers soon start to protect their own privileged position when anything happens that could tarnish their reputations as the upholders of morality that make them better than everyone else.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 18:46
Webby wrote:
Quote:
I earn minimum wage as does my girlfriend and our life is effortlessly easy and free compared to most people's lives around the world. I don't see why it is so crazy to say that?

You're taking yourself for a walk up the garden path here mate. To be grateful for your life being shit, but less shit to the lives of others maybe fair enough in a personal sense but in a political sense it's submissive nonsense. If you're happy with things being less shit then vote, give to charity, spend your money 'ethically' and most of all make sure that you keep on making your boss richer.
I would ask you this question; Are you pro, or anti capitalist? Coz if you're gonna take a liberal position you're also taking a pro capitalist one. How well does that sit with you?
In the eighties liberalism was dressed up as radicalism but the ideas were pretty popular for a while. How did that turn out? So much liberalism is simply fashion and as the liberals get older and get more entrenched in their acceptance of the realities of capitalism, move up the corporate ladder and look down at the rest from their Ivory tower of ideals, they become just as conservative as the people they speak out against.
As for free speech, they're far more hypocritical than you could ever accuse anarchists of being, take the example of Ferguson, out there in droves in their slogan tee shirts, down with the poor old oppressed black folk, then as soon as the working class black people themselves find their own means of expression, windows are broken or any form of violence is enacted, the liberals suddenly know best and separate themselves from and condemn the very people they are supposedly there to support. These slippery fuckers soon start to protect their own privileged position when anything happens that could tarnish their reputations as the upholders of morality that make them better than everyone else.

I do understand the points you are making but I do genuinely feel kind of ridiculous talking about my oppression. I never tried at school, I got an unskilled job that requires no training, I earn minimum wage and yet my life is better than most royals just a couple hundred years ago, I am living like a god compared to billions of people on this earth.

Me and my partner earn £12,000 combined. we are in the top 7.4% globally. If you earn like 20,000 you are in the global 1%. In the entire history of our species I am living at an unprecedented level of comfort. I still have personal problems, money problems, we all do I am sure. But I think most average people would agree they don't feel oppressed in the marxist sense, even if they are struggling.

I mean I guess my employer is extracting surplus value from be, but I get to work without putting any effort in, without responsibilities and pet paid enough to survive and have a big TV and enough resources to squander making my belly even more jiggly. I am living the dream compared to the poor bastards facing blatant oppression elsewhere.

I get free healthcare, I get cheap public transport. Apart from the unemployed I am on the lowest income level and if I don't feel oppressed I doubt many people earning £30k do either. Maybe apart from in some existential way.

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Jamal
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Sep 7 2015 18:54

Ey mang...Benzo...just a bit of tough love.

I am an aggressive person, I accept that with no hard feelings. I've got a big mouth, too. I don't know how to water this shit down, or filter it out, it's part in parcel of who I am. I've tried. I'm a lot better after I've been puching and kicking things for a few hours, but thanks to neuromuscular disease, most of my dreams have become festering sores which raise, burst and then run all over my life.

You're also right about another thing. I hate society. A fuck ton of people see me as nothing more than batshit crazy because of this. But I'm lucky. I was gifted a great deal of compassion, even more empathy and occassionally find some patience, so I do what I can with that.

What else would you like from me?

Holding hands singing kumbaya might make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but it's not going to stop the trajectory of humankind. We need wellspoken, disruptive, uncapitulating people who can say the shit that needs to be said and do the shit that needs to be done.

They also need to understand that the maxim "communism or death" is not a fucking joke. How this gets all twisted around, with the first-worldism thrown in for good measure insenses me and it always will.

So after having derailed this discussion enough, I'll leave with a basic proposition. Don't be this guy:

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 19:00
Chilli Sauce wrote:
First, Benzo, Jamal has a reputation for being a bit aggressive. I wouldn't take too much from his posts. Sorry Jamal, but it's true. To him and others, I say play nice.

Quote:
What do you make of former Marxists like Hitches who still identified as a Marxist and upheld the dialectic but claim capitalism was still revolutionary and had proven itself to still be the most advanced mode of production. Isn't it a little premature to think capitalism has reached its end in the short time it has been around?

Here, I feel like you're pulling a bit of a bait and switch - as if this is the real criticism you wanted to make but sort of tried to pull people in with the "models" stuff. Course, maybe that's not the case, so I'll try to make a good faith effort to respond.

One, it was Marx himself who said that “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society." So it seems weird to me to bring up some ex-Marxist to somehow argue that anti-capitalists get it wrong about the continuing revolutionary character of capitalism

Two, I don't think any regular posters are vulgar stagists. Capitalism won't naturally come to end. The working class needs to fight for its abolition and, if we don't, capitalism will either continue or destroy the planet. In other words, no one on this thread has argued that capitalism has reached or is reaching its end.

I think Hitchens was claiming it had proven itself still more productive that socialist productive forces in the "socialist" or as we would say "state capitalist" USSR. He had some of this on video and some in Hitch 22.

I also think while we are on the subject that my hopes for the working class ever acting as a unified body and taking control of the means of production is somewhat fanciful. I have had coworkers who even when it didn't benefit them at all screwed me over. I think the cold reality might be a large percentage of workers, like people in the other class, are monumental shit heads. Having got out into the workforce my idealistic view of the working class fell right on its arse. All my friends and family are by comparison to this site racist, sexist reactionaries as are almost everyone including myself I am sure.

I have relatives who are so thick brothers can't be in the same room when their teams play because they fight, actually hit one another, these monkeys will never come around to some form of collective unity or class solidarity.

Sorry I will be bowing out of the thread I am just being a depressing fuck. Apologies.

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Sep 7 2015 19:04

Just to chime in, I'm not sure Marx talks about oppression - and he certainly doesn't talk about oppression at work. He talks about exploitation - us being paid as individuals and a global working class - being paid less than the value we create. He's even got that bit about "be their wages high or low"....

And, to be honest with you, yeah workers in the industrialized countries have it better - as a results of generations of class struggle. And, sure, I'm sure you and your girlfriend can live on 12K a year. You don't have kids, there's still a comparatively strong social welfare state - the NHS, for a start. Try telling a single mother in Detroit making minimum wage with unsteady hours and no healthcare and whose water has just been turned off how good she has it...

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Sep 7 2015 19:09

My last post was crossposted with yours there, Benzo.

To be honest, I still don't think you really responded to that post, but no worries. Again, I hear you about feeling pretty shit about the state of the working class. I'd refer you to post 20 again, my friend.

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Sep 7 2015 19:15

You don't get shit for free. Your isolating things down but on a macro level you are a wage slave and in surplus value you probably create far more than you take.
When I'm working, which I'm not at the moment, I earn well over £30k but I still feel exploited. Why? Because I am exploited! In simple terms I make other people rich with my time and abilities. I'm exploited by paying inflated prices for the basic necessities of life and for the less vital but still life enhancing objects and technology. I'm culturally exploited by being bombarded with imagery and sounds enticing me to hand over my money and time for products I do not need. My emotions are exploited by charities that use capitalism to try to solve problems that were caused by capitalism in the first place. I could go on and on but lest just say that I AM exploited and I'm all too aware of the fact.

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Sep 7 2015 19:24

Benzo, I'll leave, but you please stay. Please stay. We need you here. You're a good guy, after prying you a bit I think you have great insticts and I like yer style dude. Not that you need approval, clearly you are more considerate and patient than me.

We need more rational, level-headed discussion around here and I'm one of the biggest detractors of that because of my knack for being aggressive and confrontational.

Find some good herb bro, you deserve it. Get lifted and read the David Adam's piece. It'll do you good

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Sep 7 2015 19:45

Numbers....

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17512040

Quote:
"If someone in China takes their salary of 1,500 yuan per month and they go to the bank, they will actually get $200," ILO economist Patrick Belser explains.
"But this is not what we use to compute this global average, because what is important here is what people are able to buy with these 1,500 yuan, and this is where we compare to the purchasing power of the US dollars and find that it is actually equivalent to around $400."
Another way of putting it is that the conversion to PPP dollars expresses how much it would cost you in the US to get the equivalent goods and services you can buy with your salary locally.
Let's put the world's average salary - in PPP dollars - of $1,480 a month, or almost $18,000 a year, in context:
It is less than half the average salary of the UK and the United States, where average monthly earnings are just over $3,000 a month, or around $37,000 a year
It is twice the average salary of Bulgaria, and the same as the average salary in Poland
The country at the bottom of the average earnings league is Tajikistan, where the average wage is about $2,700 a year - while the country out on top is Luxembourg with average earnings of around $48,000 a year
You might think that $1,480 a month, or $18,000 a year, is quite high. It comes to $75 a day for a 20-day working month - but it's well known that more than a third of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. How can these two views of global incomes add up?
They exclude huge numbers of people who appear in the poverty statistics but not in the calculations for the average wage - pensioners, children and stay-at-home parents, for example, and even the self-employed.
The number of self-employed is huge. n developed countries about 90% of working people are paid employees, but that figure is lower in many developing countries. For example, in South Asia, where many people are self employed or independent farmers, just 25% of workers are salaried.

This just begins to tap in to some of the problems with the vulgar third worldism of Maoists and "periphery-surplus extraction" theses, which make the target of their analyses the working classes of the U.S. and western Europe, instead of the emerging capitalist classes in places like Thailand, China, South America or different countries in Africa. Indeed, they make THOSE people their ALLIES (Assad, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Stalin, Mugabe etc.) as well as the capitalists in the U.S. and Europe.

I cannot deny that the general social instability of other countries, and indeed the lack of key social resources is a problem; but to be poor is to be poor. Hunger is hunger, whether it is in a rice field in Thailand, or outside Disney World in Central Florida. It would be more telling to look at basic features: Starvation, Access to Healthcare, Literacy, etc. and compare them, then simply income which can be very misleading.

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Benzo89
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Sep 7 2015 19:48
Pennoid wrote:
Numbers....

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17512040

Quote:
"If someone in China takes their salary of 1,500 yuan per month and they go to the bank, they will actually get $200," ILO economist Patrick Belser explains.
"But this is not what we use to compute this global average, because what is important here is what people are able to buy with these 1,500 yuan, and this is where we compare to the purchasing power of the US dollars and find that it is actually equivalent to around $400."
Another way of putting it is that the conversion to PPP dollars expresses how much it would cost you in the US to get the equivalent goods and services you can buy with your salary locally.
Let's put the world's average salary - in PPP dollars - of $1,480 a month, or almost $18,000 a year, in context:
It is less than half the average salary of the UK and the United States, where average monthly earnings are just over $3,000 a month, or around $37,000 a year
It is twice the average salary of Bulgaria, and the same as the average salary in Poland
The country at the bottom of the average earnings league is Tajikistan, where the average wage is about $2,700 a year - while the country out on top is Luxembourg with average earnings of around $48,000 a year
You might think that $1,480 a month, or $18,000 a year, is quite high. It comes to $75 a day for a 20-day working month - but it's well known that more than a third of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. How can these two views of global incomes add up?
They exclude huge numbers of people who appear in the poverty statistics but not in the calculations for the average wage - pensioners, children and stay-at-home parents, for example, and even the self-employed.
The number of self-employed is huge. n developed countries about 90% of working people are paid employees, but that figure is lower in many developing countries. For example, in South Asia, where many people are self employed or independent farmers, just 25% of workers are salaried.

This just begins to tap in to some of the problems with the vulgar third worldism of Maoists and "periphery-surplus extraction" theses, which make the target of their analyses the working classes of the U.S. and western Europe, instead of the emerging capitalist classes in places like Thailand, China, South America or different countries in Africa. Indeed, they make THOSE people their ALLIES (Assad, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Stalin, Mugabe etc.) as well as the capitalists in the U.S. and Europe.

I cannot deny that the general social instability of other countries, and indeed the lack of key social resources is a problem; but to be poor is to be poor. Hunger is hunger, whether it is in a rice field in Thailand, or outside Disney World in Central Florida. It would be more telling to look at basic features: Starvation, Access to Healthcare, Literacy, etc. and compare them, then simply income which can be very misleading.

I think third worldism is a way to try and marxify the anti-imperialist movement. Because without some materialist way of linking entire first world nations populations with imperialism, you are just a wacko with a red star beret. That isn't cool.

infektfm
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Sep 8 2015 22:43

man, if your gonna be a social liberal, at least get on the chomsky train. Harris and Hitchens have both been apologists for the most egregious of violence and racism.

(I don't think chomsky is a social liberal, but he is palatable to them)

(constitutional republics might be the best system yet, I don't know -- if we are going to count all the victories of labor as part of their history -- but really, that doesn't say much, it's not as if we are living at the end of history)