Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard, Pamela Nogales, James Vaughn
2020 summer lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society
Panel Discussion by the lecturers James Vaughn, Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard and Pamela Nogales
The red thread running through the lecture series, and the question discussed in this final panel among the lecturers, is the persistence and legacy of the revolution 사전 파일. How does Marxism appear today in light of the American Revolution, and vice versa?
Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation 나혼자 레벨업 텍스트 다운로드. He returns to the Zero Books channel to discuss his 2014 essay “Defending Marxist Hegelianism against a Marxist critique” and to discuss the role that critical theory should play in the struggle for socialism Nintendo Switch nsp.
The Legacy of the American Revolution 2020 summer lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society
6.) Chris Cutrone on the Gilded Age and Second Industrial Revolution
The retrospective view from the present allows for regarding the 20th century as the outcome of the Gilded Age — of the Second Industrial Revolution 나루토 만화 다운로드. We still live in the after-effects of the crisis that conditioned the 20th century. The inability to overcome the discontents of capital from a century ago still swamps us today Download kakaotalk animated emoticons. In the late 19th century U.S., the Second Industrial Revolution was governed by the Republican Party, which was the combined party of progressive liberalism and big capital Download the rain to walk through the night. Progressivism emerged as a reform effort from within the Republican Party against manifest problems of Gilded Age capitalism in the 1890s–1900s — most dramatically under President Theodore Roosevelt and his run for reelection as a Progressive in 1912 Download netflix computer. In America and Europe, discontents with the Gilded Age capitalism of the Second Industrial Revolution manifested in the Socialist Parties of the Second International log4net.dll 다운로드. Liberal capitalism was opposed by a mass industrial workers politics — for instance the Socialist Party of America of Eugene Debs.
“The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution. Yet we are blind and led by the blind. We discern in it no part of our labor movement; no part of our industrial triumph; no part of our religious experience. Before the dumb eyes of ten generations of ten million children, it is made mockery of and spit upon; a degradation of the eternal mother; a sneer at human effort; with aspiration and art deliberately and elaborately distorted. And why? Because in a day when the human mind aspired to a science of human action, a history and psychology of the mighty effort of the mightiest century, we fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present and guide policy in the future.” — W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America (1935)
“Life is tragic simply because the Earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death — ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life 정승환 응급실. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.” — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)
“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. . . . And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson, Paris, November 13, 1787
I QUIT THE “LEFT” in 1993, after the LA riots, the quint-centenary of Columbus’s Discovery and Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — in that order. These events told me that there would be no struggle for proletarian socialism, no Marxism, but only Republicans, riots — and Democrats. In 2020, nothing seems to have changed since 1992 — or 1968.
Riots and republicans
Riots are bad for black people, turning them into targets for police and civilian vigilantes. Racism is real, and in the U.S. it targets blacks. There are no “people of color” but only blacks and more-or-less “white” people (the latter including “black” — African and Caribbean — immigrants, who do not readily identify with historically black Americans, and indeed actively do not) 스택독. During the recent riots, in Chicago’s Little Village, the Latin Kings harassed blacks, pulling them from their cars — they left the white hipsters, “Antifa” or not, alone. During the riots, mostly the police stood by; some people were arrested — and they were disproportionately black. The riots enacted the very anti-black racism against which they protested, ending up confirming it. Does it matter if there are black cops, black police chiefs, black mayors doing it? The glass is swept up (how many [black] workers’ hands will be cut?), streets cleared (how many toxins inhaled by [black] clean-up crews?), and normal life, such as it is, returns. But the bitter after-effects remain (how many stores closed permanently and their [black] workers cast into unemployment?). What was it all for? If the police are defunded or even abolished, private security will not be — nor will the state; but it might be privatized (further), perhaps with black contractors — or not. Perhaps the riots will have in the end been in vain. — Children, be careful what you wish for!
Republicans point out that the U.S. is not
a democracy but a constitutional republic; that it is a nation not of people
but of laws — a nation based on an
idea or ideas: that all are equal, with rights to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness; and all are equal before the law — if not exactly with respect to each other. Republicans hold to the
value of freedom over mere life; that law should prevail and provide the true
meaning of life, over mere living; and that, while generations pass, freedom
endures. This is the — revolutionary — legacy of the American Revolution to which they adhere. And so
The law is not tyranny. Crime is not
revolutionary. Rioting is not the revolution. Trump is not the Tsar; Biden is
not Kerensky; the DSA are not the Bolsheviks (nor the Mensheviks); the anarchists
are not the anarchists 이니셜 d. The Third Precinct is not the Bastille; Jacobin is not the Jacobins; CHAZ/CHOP
is not the Paris Commune. Raz Simone is not Huey Newton or Robert F. Williams; BLM
is not the Jewish Bund; 2020 is not 1917 — or 1968. But it might be 1992.
While 1992 led to the election of the Democrats, in 1968 and 2020 it led and will lead, now as before, to electing Republicans — let there be no doubt. The DNC riots (and George Wallace) led to Nixon’s victory; the Days of Rage and Kent State led to his reelection. In 1992, George H.W. Bush sent in the U.S. military (active duty troops, not National Guard) to “pacify” Los Angeles; and there were dozens of bodies felled in the streets and hundreds more sent to hospitals — thousands to jail. But the riots did not harm Bush’s reelection: Clinton would have lost if Ross Perot had not split the electorate, allowing Clinton to win with a minority of the vote. Donald Trump was a supporter of Perot’s Reform Party (out of opposition to Bush and Clinton’s NAFTA) — before he and Jesse Ventura left in protest later against its Right-wing takeover under Pat Buchanan, a true “America first” nationalist and isolationist. As in 2016, the silent majority will speak again; again, it is only a question of how loudly they will do so. Perhaps more loudly than the vocal minority. Prepare to be gobsmacked — again. Even if it’s Biden/Harris in 2020, it could be Trump again in 2024 — do not expect him (of all people) to go gentle into that good night 너나해 다운로드!
The other event in 1992 that convinced me
of the impossibility of struggle for proletarian socialism was the observation
of 500 years of the Columbian Discovery of the New World in 1492 — which the “Left” protested as the beginning of “500 years of
racism, sexism and homophobia,” neglecting that all human communities, in all
places, ever, for thousands — tens of
thousands — of years, have been
racially chauvinistic and genocidal, enslaved those they conquered and did not simply
kill, were patriarchal, and asserted murderous sexual morality over all their
members; and that the transformation of the world and of humanity in our modern
bourgeois emancipation, of which the Renaissance Italian Columbus’s voyage was
part, was the very first time that the potential for overcoming myriad
generations of racism, sexism and homophobia had ever emerged in history.
Genghis Khan was a protagonist of history
even greater than Columbus, in both action and atrocity — should the people of Asia (and beyond) mourn who and what he made
them? But of course Khan was just a prominent and particularly dramatic example
of what humanity has carved in its blood over the course of millennia — or eons. Only since Columbus has slavery been abolished, genocide
made a crime, and sexual freedom and gender equality been achieved. The epochal
bourgeois revolution, of which Columbus’s Journey of Discovery was part, is the
first — and only — successful slave revolt in history. 1992 marked not 500 years of
oppression but five centuries of liberation, for the entire world. It put an
end to ancestral guilt and began history anew. This change continues to this
day. Its task is not over yet.
In Mexico, Columbus Day is celebrated as
the “Day of the Race,” celebrating the marvelous mixture of European and
indigenous people, the new modern race of Americans. — Shall we regret them as “illegitimate children” instead? Republican
U.S. Congressional Representative Steve King said that all existing human
populations are the products at some time or other of rape and incest, but that
it is not the children’s fault for the sins of their fathers and mothers. —
Shall we prefer that they were aborted?
We are told by those such as the Mayor of Minneapolis and the Governor of Minnesota — the Speaker of the House of Representatives and various Senators and other Governors and Mayors — Democrats, all — that today in the U.S Download focus games. we are living in 400 years of slavery and its effects, of “white supremacy” — really! One wonders whether they are truly ashamed or rather proud to say so; anyway, various Hollywood actors, music and sports celebrities tweet their applause. It must be very kick-ass to be white nowadays. (Remember The New Jim Crow and Orange is the New Black that everybody was reading and watching: Poussey Washington’s death was protested, however that did not end well.) But isn’t present misery much more specific (and much less sexy): the deindustrialization of the past neoliberal capitalist generation; not 400 years of racism but 40 years of postindustrial poverty, in which not only the black underclass but also the black middle class has grown? The unexpected plot-twist after the achievement of Civil Rights reforms in the 1960s against racism was that the working class as a whole would be thrown onto the scrapheap of neoliberal capitalism. A century earlier, the Robber Baron Jay Gould had declared that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other. Is this what we have been seeing for the last generation, the “poverty draft” — not only to the military but the police (including prison guards)? Jean-Paul Sartre asked whether there was any sense to life in a world where there are people whose job is to break our bones. He was right 70 years ago — and is still.
The “white” underclass has also grown since
the 1970s — has been decimated (starved, sickened, bastardized,
drug-addicted, criminalized — lumpenized) — as well:
has this been the “white genocide” that the actual “white-supremacists” (or
“-nationalists”) bemoan? Shall we look forward to a “race war” to settle the
issue; shall we prove the old white racist fears of black revenge true; or are
we beckoned by another future? Frantz Fanon declared that slavery was long overcome,
and said that there is no black mission and no white burden — that he had no desire to crystallize guilt in hearts, and wanted to
move into a future in which children would not scrutinize their color. Fanon
said that excessive consciousness of the body is destructive of our humanity,
psychologically and spiritually: it is not only mortifying but morbid, succumbing
to morbidity. Fanon called on us to reject the destructive impulse of Thanatos,
the Death Drive, and instead to embrace Eros, “to build the world of the You;”
and prayed, “O my body, make of me always a man who questions!”
He was right 70 years ago — and is still.
Slavery is not the remarkable fact of
American history, but its abolition is. The abolition of slavery in the U.S.
was the attempt to prevent, for the whole world, it ever coming back. It is the
extremely brief century and a half of the ban on slavery that is the exception
to history, the difference from countless ages of slavery across the eternity
of time — it is in fact what makes the U.S.
exceptional and indeed the leader of the freedom of the entire world, to this
day. The U.S. is the land of the free and home of the brave — the U.S. banishing slavery has been an act of unprecedented bravery
and freedom, and still is.
But the guilty liberals’ 1619 Project last
year, claiming indelible blackness and the permanent effects of the past visible
in our bodies, will be taught in schools instead. Democrats don kente cloth this
year and take a knee for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. — “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of
— A true mortification of the flesh, but
without any sort of spiritual redemption.
Thomas Jefferson said that the world belongs to the living and not the dead. But in tearing down a statue of Jefferson we might not claim the world that actually belongs to us, the world of not mere life but of living — in freedom — but only the world of the dead. Shall we let the dead’s claims dominate us? Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death!” was not a mere phrase. “Live free or die” does not mean literally dying but not really living. Are we actually living, or is our life rather a living death? Are the living today only the evidence of past death; are we only living monuments to the dead?
Pathology of freedom, or death
When looking up at a statue of Columbus
today, the rage we feel is the frustration and confusion of our liberation. We
hate Columbus for his role in making our freedom inescapable. We blame the
herald and harbinger and seek to kill the messenger for the bad news that, as
Rousseau said, society has forced us to be free. Christopher Columbus the man
is long since dead; but his image haunts us with all the terror — what Fanon called the “pathology” — of freedom. This is the fear and hatred of the revolution —
our hatred and fear of freedom. We feel freedom itself as
an oppression. Of course it has been and continues to be traumatic. But no
destruction of symbols, no matter how furious, can cure our ills. As Freud
observed, what is painful can nonetheless be true. The truth is that we are — painfully — free.
The painful truth is that we are not living
through a revolution in the riots, or even a prelude to revolution; but the
riots are only the expression of pain at the actual revolution in capitalism, a
“cry of protest before accommodation”
to the new post-neoliberal reality, the change at the political Center that is being
led by Trump. We look at Trump and see the effect of Columbus. We look at
Columbus and see Trump. But while we decapitate Columbus, Trump keeps his head — and we brain ourselves. — Children,
don’t let statues fall on your head!
Like Sally’s brother James Hemings, freed
by Jefferson, we might become lost, and drink ourselves to death, after our
manumission. That is our liberty. But the world goes on — and we cannot, or at least ought not to, hate others for living.
They will live and they will die but they
will be free. Free to suffer and free to die, to find their own paths to death — which is the only possible meaning of life. Can our lives (our
deaths) find their true meaning in freedom? Or will we be freed only from “this
and not from our mere mortality? The riots were provoked by the death of George
Floyd and memorialized him: were they a true celebration of his life? Floyd’s
family says they were not. The protests called for convicting the police who
killed Floyd, to hold their lives responsible for his death. The righteous
police will hold the wrongful police to account, and they in life along with
Floyd in death will be sacrificed to redeem our collective guilt, the living
deaths of our own lives, in memory of his dying. Keeanga-Yamahtta
Taylor called the riots a “festival of the oppressed” — but can they be anything beyond what Rosa Luxemburg called the “dance
of bloody shadows without number”?
Can they bring meaning to life, or only to death?
Is the dying of the oppressed the only meaning of our life — is death the only meaning of black life? What will our meaning be — can there be any meaning to us — in history? Beyond riots and Republicans, law and order, and, for now — today and tomorrow — Trump? Will we look only at ourselves, with morbid fascination and rage, and not look beyond ourselves to “the open door of every consciousness”? — Children, I hope that you hope for more than death — for more than mere life! | P
 W.E.B. Dubois, Black
Reconstruction in America (Rahway: Quinn & Boden Company, 1935), 727.
 James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (London: Michael Joseph LTD, 1963), 99.
 Thomas Jefferson, “Correspondence of Thomas
Jefferson,” in The Diplomatic
Correspondence of the United States of America, ed. Edward Livingston (Washington:
Blair & Rives, 1837), 2:116.
 Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann (London: Pluto
Press, 1986), 232.
 The phrase “a cry of protest before
accommodation” is a paraphrase of “Passionate self-assertion can be a mask for
accommodation” from Bayard Rustin in “The Failure of Black Separatism,” Harper’s Magazine (January 1970);
See also, Chris Cutrone, “A cry of protest before accommodation? The dialectic
of emancipation and domination” in Platypus
Review 42(December-January 2012)
available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2011/12/01/cry-of-protest-before-accommodation/>;
Adolph Reed, “Black Particularity Reconsidered,” Telos 39 (1979), later expanded as “The ‘Black Revolution’ and
the Reconstitution of Domination,” in Stirrings
in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era, ed. Adolph Reed
(Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1999); and Adolph Reed, “The
Limits of Anti-Racism: Vague Politics about a Nearly Indescribable
Thing,” Left Business Observer 121
(September 2009), available online at
 William Shakespeare, “Hamlet, Prince of
Denmark,” in Shakespeare: Complete Works,
ed. W.J. Craig (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), 886.
The recent protests against police brutality have raised questions about the revolutionary character of the United States. Platypus argues that any revolution in America for human emancipation would have to build on the legacy of 1776 and not 1619. We see the erasure of 1776 as a fundamental acquiescence to defeat 커피프린스1호점. This is why today we are making the case for 1776 and the promise of liberty yet to be fulfilled.
The red thread running through the lecture series is the persistence & legacy of the revolution. We ask: How does America remain a revolutionary society? How did each chapter of American history give a new impetus to the revolution that began in 1776 페도라 12 iso? Our approach to the American Revolution and the subsequent history of the polity it founded is from the perspective of the bourgeois revolution and its crisis in the Marxist philosophy of history.
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither Download Planet Escape. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.” — Thomas Jefferson, original draft of the Declaration of Independence (1776)
“I go right back to the equality clause. It is ‘all men are created equal.’ I think that’s the key one. And that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness — it’s difficult to know 베어링 3d 다운로드. It’s not quite — he isn’t a pleasure-seeker. And yet he knows that freedom is happiness too. That liberty will enable you to pursue happiness. And how grand it is that in a capitalistic country like this, that he did not follow Locke and have life, liberty and property. And that mystery of the pursuit of happiness suits me just fine winzip 다운로드. If the equality clause will trouble us a thousand years, as [Robert] Frost said [in North of Boston, ‘The Black Cottage’ (1915)], if it’ll trouble us, then the pursuit of happiness will mystify us forever. And I like the trouble and I like the mystery. And that suits me just fine about Jefferson.” — James Cox in Ken Burns’s PBS documentary Thomas Jefferson (1997)
“Whatever else the Civil War was for It wasn’t just to keep the States together, Nor just to free the slaves, though it did both. She wouldn’t have believed those ends enough To have given outright for them all she gave. Her giving somehow touched the principle That all men are created free and equal. And to hear her quaint phrases — so removed From the world’s view to-day of all those things. That’s a hard mystery of Jefferson’s. What did he mean? Of course the easy way Is to decide it simply isn’t true. It may not be. I heard a fellow say so. But never mind, the Welshman got it planted Where it will trouble us a thousand years. Each age will have to reconsider it.” — Robert Frost, “The Black Cottage” (1915)
“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. . . . And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” — Jefferson, Paris, November 13, 1787
“The tone of your letters had for some time given me pain, on account of the extreme warmth with which they censured the proceedings of the Jacobins of France. . . . In the struggle which was necessary, many guilty persons fell without the forms of trial, and with them some innocent. These I deplore as much as any body, and shall deplore some of them to the day of my death. But I deplore them as I should have done had they fallen in battle. It was necessary to use the arm of the people, a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree. A few of their cordial friends met at their hands, the fate of enemies. But time and truth will rescue and embalm their memories, while their posterity will be enjoying that very liberty for which they would never have hesitated to offer up their lives. The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and an Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.” — Jefferson, Secretary of State, letter to William Short, U.S. Ambassador to France, January 3, 1793
“I do not permit myself to take part in any new enterprises, even for bettering the condition of man, not even in the great one which is the subject of your letter [the abolition of slavery], and which has been thro’ life that of my greatest anxieties. the march of events has not been such as to render it’s completion practicable within the limits of time alloted to me; and I leave it’s accomplishment as the work of another generation. and I am cheared when I see that on which it is devolved, taking it up with so much good will, and such mind engaged in it’s encoragement. the abolition of the evil is not impossible: it ought never therefore to be despaired of. every plan should be adopted, every experiment tried, which may do something towards the ultimate object. that which you propose is well worthy of tryal. it has succeeded with certain portions of our white brethren, under the care of a [Christian communist George] Rapp and an [Utopian Socialist Robert] Owen; and why may it not succeed with the man of colour?” — Jefferson to Frances Wright, August 7, 1825
Michael Woodson interviews Chris Cutrone on capitalism, post-neoliberalism and prospects for socialism in the 21st century, for the radio program Living Art on WKPFT 90.1 FM, Houston, Texas, broadcast in two parts, May 28 and June 4, 2020 강철지그 다운로드. Part 1 addresses the difference between Ancient and Modern or traditional civilization and bourgeois society; Part 2 addresses the new contradiction of capitalism with the Industrial Revolution and the task of socialism Download Narcos Season 1.
“Socialism in the 21st century” article referenced in the interview available at:
The present is characterized not only by a political crisis of the global neoliberal order but also by differing interpretations of the cause of this crisis: capitalism Download private videos on facebook. If we are to interpret capitalism, we must also know how to change it. We ask the panelists to consider the following questions: – What is capitalism 더트랠리? – Is capitalism contradictory? If so, what is this contradiction and how does it relate to Left politics? – How has capitalism changed over time, and what have these changes meant politically for the Left Xml? – Does class struggle take place today? If so, how, and what role should it play for the Left? – Is capitalism in crisis? If so, how class-dump-z? And how should the Left respond? – If a new era of global capitalism is emerging, how do we envision the future of capitalism and what are the implications of this for the Left?
ACCORDING TO MARX, capitalism is the contradiction of bourgeois social relations and industrial forces of production. The effect of this self-contradiction of bourgeois society in industrial production is the division of capital and labor 2017 달력 다운로드. It is from this division that the opposed classes of capitalists and workers derive. The class struggle between workers and capitalists is a phenomenon — the phenomenal expression — of the self-contradiction of capitalism. It expresses labor’s contradiction with itself — which is also capital’s contradiction with itself. When referring to “capital and labor” there are actually just two forms of capital — Marx called these “variable and constant” as well as “fixed and circulating” capital — and both refer to labor — Marx called capital “alienated labor.” Labor and capital are two aspects of the same thing in capitalism 리눅스 서버 파일 다운로드. The bourgeois social relations of production are the social relations of labor.
The usual oppositions posed by the labor
movement and by socialism, such as profit vs. human needs (and the needs of the
natural world beyond humanity), are expressions of this self-contradiction of
society in capitalism, the needs of capital as opposed to the needs of labor 아가능불회애니. The
contradiction of capital is not external but internal.
Marx described capitalism as “false
necessity.” What he meant by this was not simply wrong necessity, but rather self-contradictory
necessity. For the needs of capital and the needs of labor are the same. In
becoming opposed in capitalism, there is the conflict of labor with itself as
well as of capital with itself Download powerpoint objects.
In capitalist politics, there is another
phenomenon — expression — of capital’s self-contradiction, namely, the disputes
among capitalist politicians over government policy, which can also express
conflicting interests of different capitalists, including different sectors of
industry, between different capitalist nation-states, etc. Workers employed in
different occupations as well as in industries can thus have different and
conflicting interests, competing over the priorities of social investment in
capital 캔디크러쉬. The opposed aspects of capital — and of labor — are inseparable. Labor
cannot be extricated from capital any more than capital can be from labor.
The goal of socialism is to realize capital
as well as labor — to negate labor as well as capital. It is to realize as well
as negate — overcome — capitalist necessity. What would such Aufhebung [sublation] mean?
Discontents in capitalism take various
different and even opposed forms. The history of socialism itself as well as
the history of capitalism expresses self-contradictory desires and goals. At
different moments in the history of capitalism, the goals of socialism have
taken various different and indeed opposed forms. For instance, socialism has
variously regarded its goals as realizing the potential of capitalist
production as opposed to abolishing capitalist production: achieving
hyper-industrialism versus returning to subsistence primitivism
have both found home at one time or place or another in the struggle for
socialism. Socialism could be defined as both and neither of the opposed
alternatives that capitalism generates as its own positive goals and its own
self-negations. All the various opposed demands arising from the discontents in
capitalism will be both fulfilled and negated — overcome — in socialism.
Capital seeks to abolish labor and labor
seeks to abolish capital — but more importantly in capitalism capital seeks to
abolish itself and labor seeks to abolish itself. By making labor more
productive it becomes less necessary; by producing excess capital it becomes
more superfluous — less a real measure of social value. Labor seeks to abolish
itself in capitalism, and thus to abolish capital, tasking socialism.
Only by encompassing the wide variety of
discontents within the working class and across the history of its developments
in capitalism could the political movement for socialist revolution to overcome
capitalism become adequate to its task and mission, by becoming conscious of it.
Since capital is the product of labor and labor the product of capital, this
would mean encompassing the divisions among the capitalists as well as within
capitalism itself as a total movement of society. The achievement of socialist
revolution would be when the working class can take responsibility politically
for capitalism as a whole. In so doing, the working class would confront the
choices posed by the contradictions of capitalism that are otherwise expressed
by the conflicts between the different capitalists and thus among workers of
the world. All the conflicts exhibited in the world must be grasped as
expressions and various forms of the self-contradiction of capitalism. Such
conflicts are necessary — to be
The false necessity of capitalism as
self-contradictory but opposed real needs can only be truly engaged and
overcome from the standpoint of universal world history.
This can only take place from within the social antagonisms of capitalism, and
not from partial, single-sided aspects of its contradictory totality.
The “workers of the world must unite”
because the world is united in its self-contradiction and crisis in capitalism.
The laborers must themselves take up and overcome the social relations of labor
in crisis in capitalism by assuming the socialist political responsibility for
capital that is eluded by capitalist politics.
Otherwise, the social conflicts in capitalism — between and among its capitalists and workers — will reproduce its contradictions forever. | P
 See the articles in the Platypus Review issue #125 (April 2020) published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first observation of Earth Day, April 22 (the same date as Lenin’s birthday), in 1970 (thus on the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth in 1870), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/category/pr/issue-125/>.
Presented at a Platypus teach-in on the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, April 22, 2020. Video recording available online at: <https://youtu.be/01z8Mzz2IY4>.
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN’S BIRTH, I
would like to approach Lenin’s meaning today by critically examining an essay
written by the liberal political philosopher Ralph Miliband on the occasion of
Lenin’s 100th birthday in 1970
— which was the year of my own birth.
The reason for using Miliband’s essay to frame my discussion
of Lenin’s legacy is that the DSA Democratic Socialists of America magazine Jacobin republished Miliband, who is
perhaps their most important theoretical inspiration, in 2018 as a belated
treatment of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917 — or
perhaps as a way of marking the centenary of the ill-fated German Revolution of
1918, which failed as a socialist revolution but is usually regarded as a
successful democratic revolution, issuing in the Weimar Republic under the
leadership of the SPD Social-Democratic Party of Germany. There is a wound in
the apparent conflict between the desiderata of socialism and democracy, in
which the Russian tradition associated with Lenin is opposed to and by the
German tradition associated with social democracy, or, alternatively,
“democratic socialism,” by contrast with the supposedly undemocratic socialism
of Lenin, however justified or not by “Russian conditions.” The German model
seems to stand for conditions more appropriate to advanced capitalist and
liberal democratic countries.
Ralph Miliband is most famously noted for his perspective of
“parliamentary socialism” But this was not simply positive for Miliband but
critical, namely, critical of the Labour Party in the U.K. — It must be noted
that Miliband’s sons are important leaders in the Labour Party today, among its
most prominent neoliberal figures. Preceding his book on parliamentary
socialism, Miliband wrote a critical essay in 1960, “The sickness of
Labourism,” written for the very first issue of the newly minted New Left Review in 1960, in the
aftermath of Labour’s dismal election failure in 1959, Miliband’s criticism of which
of course the DSA/Jacobin cannot
digest let alone assimilate. The DSA/Jacobin
fall well below even a liberal such as Miliband — and not only because the U.S.
Democratic Party is something less than the U.K. Labour Party, either in
composition or organization. Miliband’s perspective thus figures for the DSA/Jacobin in a specifically symptomatic
way, as an indication of limits and, we must admit, ultimate failure, for
instance demonstrated by the recent fate of the Bernie Sanders Campaign as an
attempted “electoral road” to “socialism,” this year as well as back in 2016 — the
latter’s failure leading to the explosion in growth of the DSA itself 킴스 컨비니언스. Neither
Labour’s aspiration to socialism, whether back in the 1960s or more recently
under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, nor the DSA’s has come to any kind of even
minimal fruition. Thus the specter — the haunting memory — of Lenin presents
itself for our consideration today: How does Lenin hold out the promise of
Previously, I have written on several occasions on Lenin.
So I am tasked to say something today that I haven’t already said before. First
of all, I want to address the elephant in the room (or is it the 800lb
gorilla?), which is Stalinism, the apparent fate of supposed “Leninism” — which
is also a demonstrated failure, however it is recalled today in its own
peculiar way by the penchant for neo-Stalinism that seems to be an act of
defiance, épater la bourgeoisie [shock
the bourgeoisie], on the part of young (or not so young) Bohemian “Leftists,”
in their deeply disappointed bitterness and antipathy towards the political
status quo. “Leninism” means a certain antinomian nihilism — against which
Lenin himself was deeply opposed.
An irony of history is that Lenin’s legacy has succumbed to
the very thing against which he defined himself and from which his Marxism
sharply departed, namely Narodnism, the Romantic rage of the supposedly
“revolutionary” intelligentsia, who claimed — understood themselves — to
identify with the oppressed and exploited masses, but really for whom the
latter were just a sentimental image rather than a reality. Lenin would be
extremely unhappy at what he — and indeed what revolution itself, let alone
“socialism” — has come to symbolize today. Lenin was the very opposite of a Mao
or a Che or Fidel. And he was also the opposite of Stalin. How so?
The three figures, Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky, form the
heart of the issue of the Russian Revolution and its momentous effect on the
20th century, still reverberating today. Trotsky disputed Stalin and the Soviet
Union’s claim to the memory of Lenin, writing, in “Stalinism and Bolshevism” on
the 20th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1937, that Stalinism was the
“antithesis” of Bolshevism
— a loaded word, demanding specifically a dialectical
approach to the problem. What did Lenin and Trotsky have in common as Marxists from
which Stalin differed? Stalin’s policy of “socialism in one country” was the
fatal compromise of not only the Russian Revolution, but of Marxism, and indeed
of the very movement of proletarian socialism itself Vrcano do. Trotsky considered
Stalinism to be the opportunist adaptation of Marxism to the failure of the
world socialist revolution — the limiting of the revolution to Russia.
This verdict by Trotsky was not affected by the spread of
“Communism” after WWII to Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Vietnam, and, later,
Cuba. Each was an independent ostensibly “socialist” state — and by this very fact
alone represented the betrayal of socialism. Their conflicts, antagonism and
competition, including wars both “hot” and “cold,” for instance the alliance of
Mao’s China with the United States against Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact,
demonstrated the lie of their supposed “socialism.” Of course each side
justified this by reference to the supposed capitulation to global imperialism
by the other side. But the point is that all these states were part of the
world capitalist status quo. It was that unshaken status quo that fatally
compromised the ostensibly “socialist” aspirations of these national
revolutions. Suffice it to say that Lenin would not have considered the outcome
of the Russian Revolution or any subsequently that have sought to follow in its
footsteps to be socialism — at all. Lenin would not have considered any of them
to represent the true Marxist “dictatorship of the proletariat,” either. For Lenin,
as for Marxism more generally, the dictatorship of the proletariat (never mind
socialism) required the preponderant power over global capitalism world-wide,
that is, victory in the core capitalist countries. This of course has never yet
happened. So its correctness is an open question.
In his 1970 Lenin centenary essay, Miliband chose to address
Lenin’s pamphlet on State and Revolution,
an obvious choice to get at the heart of the issue of Lenin’s Stalinist legacy.
But Miliband shares a great deal of assumptions with Stalinism. For one, the
national-state framing of the question of socialism. But more importantly,
Miliband like Stalinism elides the non-identity of the state and society, of
political and social power, and hence of political and social revolution Download it in the wind. Miliband
calls this the problem of “authority.” In this is evoked not only the
liberal-democratic but also the anarchist critique of not merely Leninism but
Marxism itself. Miliband acknowledges that indeed the problem touched on by
Lenin on revolution and the state goes to the heart of Marxism, namely, to the
issue of the Marxist perspective on the necessity of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, which Marx considered his only real and essential original
contribution to socialism.
In 1917, Lenin was accused of “assuming the vacant throne of
Bakunin” in calling for “all power to the soviets [workers and soldiers
councils].” — Indeed, Miliband’s choice of Lenin’s writings, The State and Revolution, written in the
year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, is considered Lenin’s most anarchist or at
least libertarian text. Lenin’s critics accused him of regressing to
pre-Marxian socialism and neglecting the developed Marxist political
perspective on socialist revolution as the majority action by the working
class, reverting instead to putschism or falling back on minority political
action. This is not merely due to the minority numbers of the industrial
working class in majority peasant Russia but also and especially the minority
status of Lenin’s Bolshevik Communist Party, as opposed to the majority
socialists of Socialist Revolutionaries and Menshevik Social Democrats, as well
as of non-party socialists such as anarchist currents of various tendencies,
some of whom were indeed critical of the anarchist legacy of Bakunin himself.
Bakunin is infamous for his idea of the “invisible dictatorship” of conscious
revolutionaries coordinating the otherwise spontaneous action of the masses to
success — apparently repeating the early history of the “revolutionary
conspiracy” of Blanqui in the era of the Revolution of 1848. But what was and
why did Bakunin hold his perspective on the supposed “invisible dictatorship”? Marxism
considered it the corollary — the complementary “opposite” — of the Bonapartist
capitalist state, with its paranoiac Orwellian character of subordinating
society through society’s own complicity in the inevitable authoritarianism — the
blind social compulsion — of capitalism, to which everyone was subject, and in
which both and neither everyone’s and no one’s interests are truly represented.
Bakunin’s “invisible dictatorship” was not meant to dominate but facilitate the
self-emancipation of the people themselves. — So was Lenin’s — Marxism’s — political
party for socialist revolution Download one fun man op.
Lenin has of course been accused of the opposite tendency from anarchism, namely of being a Lassallean or “state” socialist. Lenin’s The State and Revolution drew most heavily on Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, attacking the Lassalleanism of the programme of the new Social-Democratic Party of Germany at its founding in 1875. So this raises the question of the specific role of the political party for Marxism: Does it lead inevitably to statism? The history of ostensible “Leninism” in Stalinism seems to demonstrate so. The antinomical contrary interpretations of Lenin — libertarian vs. authoritarian, statist vs. anarchist, liberal vs. democratic — are not due to some inconsistency or aporia in Lenin or in Marxism itself — as Miliband for one thought — but are rather due to the contradictory nature of capitalism itself, which affects the way its political tasks appear, calling for opposed solutions. The question is Marxism’s self-consciousness of this phenomenon — Lenin’s awareness and consciously deliberate political pursuit of socialism under such contradictory conditions.
The history of Marxism regarding rival currents in socialism
represented by Lassalle and Bakunin must be addressed in terms of how Marxism
thought it overcame the dispute between social and political action — between
anarchism and statism — as a phenomenon of antinomies of capitalism, namely,
the need for both political and social action to overcome the contradiction of
capitalist production in society. This was the necessary role of the mass
political party for socialism, to link the required social and political
action. Such mediation was not meant to temper or alleviate the contradiction
between political and social action — between statism and anarchism — but
rather to embody and in certain respects exacerbate the contradiction.
Marxism was not some reconciled synthesis of anarchism and
statism, a happy medium between the two, but rather actively took up — “sublated”
so to speak — the contradiction between them as a practical task, regarding the
conflict in the socialist movement as an expression of the contradiction of
capitalism, from which socialism was of course not free. There is not a
question of abstract principles — supposed libertarian vs. authoritarian
socialism — but rather the real movement of history in capitalism in which
socialism is inextricably bound up 인터넷 보안설정. Positively: Lenin called for overcoming
capitalism on the basis of capitalism itself, which also means from within the
self-contradiction of socialism.
Lenin stands accused of Blanquism. The 19th century
socialist Louis Auguste Blanqui gets a bad rap for his perspective of
“revolutionary conspiracy” to overthrow the state. For Blanqui, such
revolutionary political action was not itself meant to achieve socialism, but
rather to clear the way for the people themselves to achieve socialism through
their social action freed from domination by the capitalist state.
Miliband is at best what Marx/ism would have considered a “petit
bourgeois socialist.” But really he was a liberal, albeit under 20th century
conditions of advanced late capitalism. What does this mean? It is about the
attitude towards the capitalist state. The predecessor to Bakunin, Proudhon,
the inventor of “anarchism” per se, was coldly neutral towards the Revolution
of 1848, but afterwards oriented positively towards the post-1848 President of
the 2nd Republic, Louis Bonaparte, especially after his coup d’état establishing the 2nd Empire. This is because Proudhon,
while hostile to the state as such, still considered the Bonapartist state a
potential temporary ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie. Proudhon’s
apparent opposite, the “statist socialist” Ferdinand Lassalle had a similar
positive orientation towards the eventual first Chancellor of the Prussian
Empire Kaiserreich, Bismarck, as an ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie — Bismarck
who infamously said that the results of the 1848 Revolution demonstrated that
not popular assemblies but rather “blood and iron” would solve the pressing
political issues of the day. In this was recapitulated the old post-Renaissance
alliance of the emergent bourgeoisie — the new free city-states — with the
Absolutist Monarchy against the feudal aristocracy.
The 20th century social-democratic welfare state is the
inheritor of such Bonapartism in the capitalist state — Bismarckism, etc. For
instance, Efraim Carlebach has written of the late 19th century Fabian
socialist enthusiasm for Bismarck from which the U.K. Labour Party historically
— the Labour Party replaced and inherited the role of the Liberal Party in the
U.K., which had represented the working class, especially its organization in
labor unions. The Labour Party arose in the period of Progressivism — progressive
liberalism — and progressive liberals around the world, such as for instance
Theodore Roosevelt in the U.S., were inspired by Wilhelmine Germany that was
founded by Bismarck, specifically Bismarck as the founder of the welfare state.
Bismarck’s welfare state provisions were made long before the socialists were
any kind of real political threat. The welfare state has always been a police
measure and not a compromise with the working class. Indeed socialists
historically rejected the welfare state — this hostility only changed in the
1930s, with the Stalinist adoption of the People’s Front against fascism and
its positive orientation towards progressive liberal democracy.
Pre-WWI Wilhelmine Germany was considered at the time progressive
and indeed liberal, part of the greater era’s progressive liberal development
of capitalism — which was opposed by contemporary socialists under Marxist
leadership. But by conflating state and society in the category of “authority,”
further obscured by the question of “democracy,” Miliband expresses the
liquidation of Marxism into statism — Miliband assumes the Bonapartism of the
capitalist state, regarding the difference of socialism as one of mere policy,
for instance the policies pursued by the state that supposedly serve one group —
say, capitalists or workers — over others. This expresses a tension — indeed
contradiction — between liberalism and democracy. This contradiction is often
mistaken for that of liberalism versus socialism, as for instance by the
post-20th century “Left” going back to the 1930s Stalinist era of the Communist
Party’s alliance with progressive liberals in support of FDR’s New Deal, whose
history is expressed today by DSA/Jacobin.
For Lenin, by contrast, the issue of politics — and hence of
proletarian socialism — is not of what is being done, but rather of who is
doing it. The criterion of socialism for Marxism such as Lenin’s is the
activity of the working class — or lack thereof. The socialist revolution and
the political regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not for Lenin the
achievement of socialism but rather its mere precondition, opening the door to
the self-transformation of society beyond capitalism led by the — “dictatorship,”
or social preponderance, preponderance of social power — of the working class.
Without this, it is inevitable that the state serves rather not the interests
of the capitalists as a social group but rather the imperatives of capital,
which is different. For Lenin, the necessary dictatorship of the proletariat was
the highest form of capitalism — meaning capitalism brought to highest level of
politics and hence of potentially working through its social
self-contradictions — and not yet socialism — meaning not yet even the
overcoming of capitalism.
By equating the capitalist welfare state with socialism,
with the only remaining criterion the democratic self-governance of the working
class, Miliband by contrast elided the crucial Marxist distinction between the
dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism. For Miliband, what made the
state socialist or not was the degree of supposed “workers’ democracy.” — In
this way, Miliband serves very well to articulate the current Jacobin/DSA identification of its
political goals with “democratic socialism.” But, like Miliband, Jacobin/DSA falls prey to the issue of
the policies pursued by the state as the criterion of socialism, however
without Miliband’s recognition of the difference between (social-democratic
welfare state) policies pursued by capitalist politicians vs. by the working
Lenin pursued the political and social power — the social
and political revolution — of the working class as not the ultimate goal but
rather the “next necessary step” in the history of capitalism leading — hopefully
— to its self-overcoming in socialism. As a Marxist, Lenin was very sober and
clear-eyed — unsentimental — about the actual political and social tasks of the
struggle for socialism — what they were and what they were not.
In harking back to the manifest impasse of the mid-20th
century capitalist welfare state registered by Miliband, however through
identifying this with the alleged limits of Lenin’s and greater Marxism’s
consciousness of the problem, but without proper recognition of its true nature
in capitalism, those such as Jacobin/DSA
actively obfuscate, bury and forget, not Marxism such as Lenin’s, or the goal
of socialism, but rather the actual problem of capitalism they are trying to
confront, obscuring it still further.
The “Left” today such as DSA/Jacobin wants the restoration of pre-neoliberal progressive
capitalism, for instance the pre-neoliberal politics of the U.K. Labour Party —
or indeed simply the pre-neoliberal Democrats. Their misuse of the label
“socialism” and abuse of “Marxism,” including even the memory of Lenin and their
bandying about of the word “revolution,” is overwrought and in the service of
progressive capitalism. This is an utter travesty of socialism, Marxism, and
the memory of Lenin.
On the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, we owe him at
least the thought that what he consciously recognized and actually pursued as a
Marxist be remembered properly and not falsified — and certainly not in the
interest of seeking, by sharp contrast to Lenin, the “democratic” legitimation
of capitalism, which even liberals such as Ralph Miliband acknowledged to be a
deep problem afflicting contemporary society and its supposed “welfare” state. By
reckoning with what Marxists such as Lenin understood as the real problem and
actual political tasks of capitalism, there is yet hope that we will resume the
true socialist pursuit of actually overcoming it. | P
Postscript: On Jacobin’s defense of Miliband contra Lenin
Longtime DSA member and Publisher and Editor of Jacobin magazine Bhaskar Sunkara
responded to my critique of Ralph Miliband by interviewing Leo Panitch of the Socialist Register on Jacobin’s YouTube broadcast Stay at Home #29 of April 27, 2020.
Sunkara has previously stated that rather than a follower of Lenin or Kautsky,
he is a follower of Miliband. Sunkara and Panitch were eager to defend Miliband’s
socialist bona fides against my
calling him a liberal, but what they argued confirmed my understanding of
Miliband as a liberal and not a socialist let alone a Marxist. The issue is
indeed one of the state and revolution. It is not, as Panitch asserted in the
interview, a matter of political “pluralism” in socialism.
Panitch, who claims Miliband as an important mentor figure,
spoke at a Platypus public forum panel discussion in Halifax in January 2015 on
the meaning of political party for the Left, and observed in his prepared
opening remarks that in the 50 years between 1870 and 1920 — Lenin’s
there took place the first and as yet only time in history when the subaltern
have organized themselves as a political force.
In his interview with Sunkara on Miliband, Panitch now claims that Lenin’s strategy
which was that of 2nd International Marxism as a whole, for instance by Karl Kautsky,
Rosa Luxemburg, Eugene Debs et al —of replacing the capitalist state with
the organizations of the working class that had been built up by the socialist
political party before the revolution, was invalidated by the historical
experience of the 20th century. Instead, according to Panitch, the existing liberal
democratic capitalist state was to provide the means to achieve socialism. This
is because it is supposedly no longer a state of capitalists but rather one
committed to capitalism: committed to capital accumulation. But Marxism always
considered it to be so: Bonapartist management of capitalism in political liberal
Panitch claims that Miliband’s critique of the U.K. Labour
Party was in its Fabian dogma of “educating the ruling class in socialism
through the state,” whereas socialists would instead “educate the working class
in socialism through the state.” But Lenin and other Marxists considered the
essential education of the working class in the necessity of socialism to take
place through its “class struggle” under capitalism — its struggle as a class to
constitute itself as a revolutionary force — in which it built its civil
social organizations and political parties aiming to take political and social —
power. Panitch condemns Lenin for his allegedly violent vision of the overthrow
of the capitalist state and replacing it with a revolutionary workers state —
the infamous “dictatorship of the proletariat” always envisioned by Marxism.
Thus Panitch condemns the Marxist perspective on proletarian socialist revolution per se. But the question for Lenin and other Marxists was not revolution as a strategy — they were not dogmatic “revolutionists” as opposed to reformists — but rather the inevitability of capitalist crisis and hence the inevitability of political and social revolution. The only question was whether and how the working class would have the political means to turn the revolution of inevitable capitalist crisis into potential political and social revolution leading to socialism. By abandoning this Marxist perspective on revolution — which Miliband himself importantly did not rule out — Panitch and Sunkara along with Jacobin/DSA do indeed articulate a liberal democratic and not proletarian socialist let alone Marxist politics. | P
Presented on a panel with Jamal Abed-Rabbo (Democratic Socialists of America), Patrick Quinn (Solidarity, Democratic Socialists of America) and Earl Silbar at the closing plenary discussion of the 2020 Platypus Affiliated Society International Convention, April 4, 2020.
The 21st century
Last year at the Platypus international convention closing plenary discussion, I spoke on the issue and problem of “Redeeming the 20th century.” There I commented on the phenomenon of the neo-social democratic and neo-Stalinist turn of the Millennial Left in the Bernie Sanders campaign of 2016 and the Jeremy Corbyn-aligned Momentum caucus of the U.K 파랜드 택틱스1. Labour Party. I titled my talk “Statism and anarchy today” and addressed the phenomenon of socialism and Marxism being mistakenly identified with statism and freedom being mistakenly identified with the anarchy of capitalism. — I have been thinking a lot lately about Karl Popper’s liberal “open society” of freedom and unavoidable risk contra socialism’s false and self-defeating promise of security.
In the aftermath of the 2016 election and sudden explosion of growth of the DSA Democratic Socialists of America in response to Trump, I declared the Millennial Left “dead.” At the time, it was commented that my declaration was “sublimated spleen” — repressed melancholy at the losses of the Millennial Left. Now, regarding the growing wave of disease about to engulf us and desperate attempts to stem the menacing tide of misery from economic and other social devastation and dislocation, I am struck by how the Millennial generation has had to endure the worst catastrophes to have occurred during my lifetime, the War on Terror, the Great Recession, and now perhaps the worst plague in more than a century — the gravest scourge since the 1918 Spanish Flu. This does not change the verdict of history, which, as the young Nietzsche recognized, is not merciful let alone sympathetic in its judgments, but is rather relentlessly ruthlessly “critical.” As Marx observed, in his historical moment, and at his similarly relatively young age of 25 years, it is necessary to be “ruthless” in the “critique of everything existing.” And as Engels observed, quoting Goethe’s Mephistopheles, “everything that exists deserves to perish.” — Is this the perishing we deserve?
Back to basics
interest I serve that Marxism not perish entirely, I want to get back to basics
and define the task of socialism properly Download Reaper Tekbon. This means defining the problem of
First, it is important to address what capitalism is not. It is not greed or profiteering, nor is it exploitation — all recognized sins and crimes in this society. Capitalism is not a social system or moral order or set of values — it is a crisis of the social system, moral order and set of values. The society we live in is bourgeois society. We live in bourgeois values and morality. Capitalism is the contradiction of that society and its values. And contradiction does not mean hypocrisy.
observed the phenomenon of “reification” in capitalism, and described this,
among other things, as a reversal of cause and effect.
We commonly identify capitalism with class inequality and hierarchy and its resulting relationships of exploitation, but we are given to think that this is the cause of the problem of capitalism, rather than, as Marxism properly recognized, as the effect of capitalism.
Marxist recognition of
For Marxism, after the Industrial Revolution, capitalism exhibits a crisis of the value of labor in social production. But the value of labor, specifically of labor-time, is still the measure and still mediates the value of social production in capitalism. In short, and without explaining how this works in Marx’s view, it is the self-contradiction of the value of labor time that produces as a result the conflict between the value and social right of capital with the social right and value of wage-labor Download smart bills. In capitalism there is a conflict of social rights between labor and capital; but Marxism understood this as a conflict of labor with itself, since capital was nothing but alienated labor. Reification in Lukács’s sense meant a reversal of cause and effect such that capital appeared as a thing separate from labor; but as Nikolai Bukharin put it, in The ABC of Communism, capital is not a thing but a social relation. Specifically, it is the self-contradictory social relation of labor with the means of production, or, the contradiction of two aspects of value in social production, capital and labor, namely, between past accumulated dead labor and present living labor.
The self-undermining and self-destructive character of the disparity between the diminishing value of human labor-time in industrial social production and capital as the “general social intellect” of technique and organization in production and the reproduction of society — what my old professor Moishe Postone described after Marx as the “shearing effect” and resulting antagonism between labor and the needs of its reproduction and its results and effects in society — has its expression in the phenomena of inflation, the necessity of interest in credit, and finance as the necessary form of speculation — namely, the claim of the past and present on the future — in investment in production Download the latest 2019.
of massive and constantly increasing productivity in industry is the cheapening
of labor and thus the cheapening of value. But this cheapening threatens the
value of investment and its speculation, hence the crisis of social value in
capital. Attempts to preserve value in capital result in accumulation and
concentration, producing a separate capitalist class of investors, who, in
Marx’s words, are not rich because they are captains of industry, but rather
become captains of industry merely because they are rich: they are capitalists
in the sense of not merely owners of capital, but rather are the agents and
servants of capital. Capital does not follow the dictates of the capitalists;
but the capitalists follow the dictates of capital.
not profiteering because profiteering is compelled by constantly diminishing
value in capital, to preserve the value of investment. All production in
capitalism is in this sense profit-driven, but not because profit is the goal
or the ends of production, but rather because profit is the means by which
capital preserves its value. Workers have an interest in the profitability of
the capital that employs them, to preserve social investment in their work.
Marxism thus considered capitalism to be a general social compulsion to produce and preserve value in the form of capital to which all — everyone — in society are subject. In this sense, everyone in capitalism is a capital-ist, namely a follower of capital.
does not mean money; rather, as we already call it, “human capital,” labor
itself is a form of capital, and is of course the most important form of
capital: Marx called it “variable” as well as “circulating capital.”
value in capital characteristically result — as in the recent Great Recession
— in the twin phenomena of superfluous labor and superfluous money: money that
cannot find investment as capital; and labor that cannot find employment in
social production. This results in the destruction of existing concrete forms
of production — the destruction of the concrete manifestations of capital —
which means the depreciation of money and the unemployment, starving and perishing
of the workers, the idling of machines and factories, the bankruptcy and
dissolution of firms etc.
All of this
is to help explain what Marxism originally meant by capitalism being, not a
social system, but rather a contradiction of the bourgeois social relations by
the industrial forces of production. Bourgeois social relations, for instance
private property, meant the social relations of labor — for as we know from
the bourgeois revolutionary thinker John Locke, the social rights of property
are based in the social rights of labor — namely, the self-ownership of the
workers to freely dispose of their labor as a commodity, for instance in the
employment contract. For Marxism, industrial production represented the
self-contradiction of the social relations of labor.
As Marx and
Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto,
it was capitalism itself which abolished — undermined and destroyed — private
property, not only in the form of capital but also and most importantly in the
form of labor: industrial production abolished the value of labor as a
commodity. Nonetheless, this constant self-destruction of value was the
occasion for its reconstitution and reproduction in different concrete forms
after each crisis in value. In short, so long as there were starving workers
desperate for employment, the social value of labor would be reconstituted —
however it was subject to self-destruction, restarting the cycle of capital
The true task of socialism
arose, from the perspective of Marxism, from this constant self-contradiction,
crisis, destruction, and demand for the reconstitution of the social value of
labor. As such, socialism was an expression of capitalism, namely, an
expression of the contradiction of bourgeois social relations and industrial
forces of production. As the advocacy of the social value of labor, socialism
was an expression of the demands of the reconstitution of the bourgeois social
rights of labor, namely, its social value.
serious thinkers of capitalism have recognized, capital is meant to be a means
to the ends of social production, namely, of serving and sustaining a society
of labor. That capital has reversed this and become an end in itself and social
labor a mere means to capital, this is the perversion that is denounced as
capitalism, or the subordination and domination of society to the dictates of
capital, to the compulsion to produce, reproduce and preserve the value of
labor after it has been diminished, undermined and destroyed by industrial
In this sense, the task of socialism that Marxism recognized in industrial capitalism already nearly two centuries ago remains today.
However, the clarity that Marxism achieved about the true nature and hence purpose or end of this true task of socialism, to overcome the social relations of labor, has been obscured and lost. Instead, we have at present calls for socialism, as were posed already before Marx and Marxism, by pre-Marxian socialism, more naively and less critically consciously, based on preserving the value of labor. Even calls for UBI Universal Basic Income, for instance in the recent Presidential campaign of Andrew Yang, are based on the social value of labor that fails to find monetary compensation on the market.
Supposed “socialism” today means the state and hence political management of capitalism — the administrative maintenance of the working class when capital fails to do so. But this means trying to preserve capitalism against its own self-contradiction and crisis in social production.
Finally, a note on another way that capitalism is characteristically misrecognized, namely as competition and resulting individualism (including the competition of social groups in capitalism as “individuals,” for example nations and other concrete collectives, hence nationalism and other forms of competitive communitarianism): it is the self-contradiction and crisis of value in labor that drives workers against each other competitively in zero-sum games for survival, rather than as the original consciousness of bourgeois society recognized as a function of the development of cooperation: to lose one’s job in an obsolescent industry that loses to competition just means switching to a new and different form of employment. This development of social cooperation in production still occurs in capitalism, of course, but it is the tendency of diminishing and self-undermining value of labor in capitalism that renders such development fragmentary and unfulfilled, unnecessarily destructive and wasteful. So individualism and competition are, again, not the cause but rather the effect of the problem of capitalism. | §