The First World Self-Centeredness of the Ebola Crisis

•2014 10 18 • Leave a Comment

What happens when you combine American hyper-individualism with a lack of education and critical thinking skills? You get conspiracy theorists, a largely American phenomenon. It should by no means be considered limited to the United States the First World in general produces it. As the Third World suffers from the ongoing Ebola crisis First World peoples are finding ways to make themselves out to be the victims.

While travelling through the internet it’s hard not to come across conspiracy websites or their articles. This one I found spoke quite loudly, and prominently displayed the phenomenon I wish to discuss. “Ebo-Lie: Man Living In Ghana Confirms Ebola Is A Hoax” is an article by Truth Seeker Daily that claims there is no Ebola crisis based on the testimony by one man:

“People in the Western World need to know what’s happening here in West Africa. THEY ARE LYING!!! “Ebola” as a virus does NOT Exist and is NOT “Spread”. The Red Cross has brought a disease to 4 specific countries for 4 specific reasons and it is only contracted by those who receive treatments and injections from the Red Cross. That is why Liberians and Nigerians have begun kicking the Red Cross out of their countries and reporting in the news the truth. ”

The article goes on to describe why the Red Cross would deliberately infect people with such a contagion. Essentially with their argument, without even know it, is imperialism. Yes, they claim this ‘hoax’ of a disease in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is all for the purpose of stealing Nigerian oil and Sierra Leone’s diamonds. It goes on to specifically states: “For the past 4 months they have been on strike, refusing to provide diamonds due to horrible working conditions and slave pay. The West will not pay a fair wage for the resources because the idea is to keep these people surviving on rice bags and foreign aid so that they remain a source of cheap slave labor forever. A reason was also needed to get troops on the ground in Sierra Leone to force an end to the diamond miners strikes.”

This is imperialism; the article is almost giving the definition of it. But when they lack critical thinking skills they resort to terrible delusions of conspiracy rather than the simple economic profit motive. Why? Because in the minds of these people capitalism cannot do anything wrong, the freedom to buy things is what freedom really is. So since capitalism can’t do anything bad, it must be some kind of conspiracy by some party somewhere. Capitalism would never demand minimum expenditures for maximum profits right?

In order to justify this position they begin to nitpick for something that doesn’t make sense to them in order to find something to support their erratic view. Take for example this picture/video the article claims is proof that Ebola doesn’t exist as a crisis:

ebola tard

“Oops. Guess they forgot the cameras were rolling,” is what the article claims. If this was a real outbreak of a virus (in their view) then this guy would be nowhere near the victim. Of course what this author fails to understand is how Ebola is spread, through contact and bodily fluids. The victim is encased in enough protective gear that this guy is in no danger. Not to mention he doesn’t touch the victim or come less than a few feet from them. The author has zero ability to simply rationally look at the situation. They’ve built up these insane arguments, why? Lacking rational reasoning skills, they assume it all about them; this must be a plot against them.

The one thing this article speaks to the most is the narcissistic mentality of First Worlders, particularly the ultra-patriot conspiracy types. With this ongoing crisis in Africa where thousands have died from a disease, these conspiracy-minded individuals still find a way to make it all about themselves. This situation is about the insufficiently checked Ebola virus that is causing untold damage to economic and human life. This is about the failure to contain a serious illness that has the potential to kill many, many people. We are witnessing the truth behind capitalism and its failure to help the poor, its failure to develop a vaccine. Even in the bald faced of this reality First Worlders still find a way to make it about themselves rather than recognize the real problem.

Even as thousands die miserable deaths, the First World conspiracy mentality first asks the question: Is this about me somehow? Their immediate reaction is to think of some kind of plot where they can be seen as victims. Their first thought is not how to help people. All tragedies in the world must be related to them somehow; even if they happen in a far away land they can’t pronounce or even heard of before. It must always come back to them because of their self-centered individualist view. This kind of Randian-style individualism is a prime component in the production of this self-victimization. Ebola must be about them and not about the people who are suffering.

Don’t be fooled, this is by no means contained to the conspiracy crowd. Both Democrats and Republicans have taken this crisis and made it about themselves and their own ambitions. Republicans have taken to the media to claim this is all President Obama’s fault. Unceasingly they claim Obama has placed the nation at risk with the open boarders policy. The irony being that Americans citizens are the ones who have brought the illness to America. The outbreak has nothing to do with South American refugees and migrants, yet they use it to push their racist agenda. Meanwhile a few Democrats have attempted to blame Republicans for the outbreak by trying to link Republican demanded budget cuts. For them there is almost nothing beyond political point scoring among the competing interests of the capitalist class.

The fact these groups have twisted a real humanitarian crisis for their own need is reprehensible.

Here is a good example of the First Worldist mentality surrounding deaths from Ebola. How many people a year die from malaria? According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 there was “an estimated 207 million cases of malaria”. The number of people who have died is estimated to be about 627,000. This estimate has an uncertainty range of 473,000 to 789,000. This means there is a possibility of 800,000 people dying of malaria last year. The reason we don’t know for sure is because “90% of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.” In addition, in 2012 “malaria killed an estimated 482 000 children under five years of age. That is 1300 children every day, or one child almost every minute.”

The deaths from Ebola have been relatively insignificant when compared to how many have died over decades from malaria. Yet there seems to be no such outrage against this disease which is far more common. The reason? In my opinion it is because malaria isn’t going to spread to the First World and kill hundreds of thousands. It affects “those people over there” not us here. Once that suffering, or at the very least some kind of threat has the potential of making it to First World people, then they get concerned. As long as what exists doesn’t affect their daily life they care nothing for the suffering that goes on. Once it merely has the potential to affect them that is the moment when we must run to the media and demand action.

Death and disease of this kind is expected to happen in these places. It is not expected to happen here. Stories and facts about disease, malnutrition, death in conflicts are the background noise of the First Worlder’s life. It’s something that happens like the weather, that’s “just what it’s like over there”. This is a reality they’ve come to expect as always being and always will happen. The suffering of fellow human beings in this part of the world is nothing more the “natural” way of things, it doesn’t even warrant any real intervention on. This is the real face of First Worlders, they care nothing for those they stand above in the capitalist-imperialist structure.

What happens when the media scare begins? The First World exercises its economic power to supply a portion of the social product to those who are trembling in a paranoid fear and not those actually suffering. First World people run out and buy all kinds of survival gear fearful of a moment that isn’t going to come. They buy all the chemical suits, masks, emergency food and all other manner of commodities. This happened with every single Chicken Little incident: swine flu, the millennium bug, SARS and countless others. Meanwhile those actually dying of Ebola can’t get access to all the equipment supplies and other commodities they need to help stem human suffering, and you know stopping the disease itself.

The market in its inhuman functioning of supply and demand determines that these products go to those who literally don’t need it instead of those who desperately do. Every commodity has a two-fold value contained in it. It has a use-value and an exchange value which are in contradiction with each other. Use-values vary wildly from commodity to commodity, while exchange-value is usually uniform and qualitatively identical. A commodities’ use -value is what you do with it, how you experience it. The exchange-value can be described as what you have to pay for it, so ‘how much’ is it? This ‘how much’ affects our ability to obtain and utilize the use-values we want or need to have.

contradiction

The exchange-value does not dominate, but can affect the creation and distribution of use-values. When we create commodities for the exchange-value, not their use-value we alienate those products from where they are needed to where they are profitable. The fact any of these use-values ends up where they are needed most is merely incidental. People of the First World exercise their economic power draining wealth and resources away from those who desperately need it most. Charities go out and beg for money to collect enough social value to get that social product to those who actually require their use-values. As the First World steals wealth from the Third World they steal their ability to help themselves. No good comes from First World theft and profits at the expense of Third World peoples.

This is prime reason why the poor of the Third World should never count on the support and assistance of First World people in their fight for liberation. The First World IS the problem.

* * *
Sources:

Ebo-Lie: Man Living In Ghana Confirms Ebola Is A Hoax! , Truth Seeker Daily
http://truthseekerdaily.com/2014/10/ebo-lie-man-living-in-ghana-confirms-ebola-is-a-hoax/

Factsheet on the World Malaria Report 2013, World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/malaria/media/world_malaria_report_2013/en/

Why “Real” Capitalism Can Never Exist

•2014 10 15 • Leave a Comment

ancap symbol

Introduction

We’ve often heard the phrase “that’s not real capitalism” used as a denial for all the undemocratic, horrible, inhuman things capitalism does. Anytime capitalism does something horrible the excuse is made that a “real” free market wouldn’t have done it. This is usually accompanied by all manner of false claims about how the government is actually responsible. After that the usual prefect knowledge fallacy is used to claim that people would by subjective preference not allow it to repeat. In truth these horrible things are the very essence of capital itself and how it operates. Capital cannot be separated from how it functions. This dishonestly comes from “anarcho”-capitalists and sometimes conservatives.

To explain why “real” capitalism can never exist I will be using Marxist economics. The reason being there is a phenomenon, the nature of capital itself, which bourgeois economics doesn’t acknowledge the existence of. The reason why is because it has no way of analyzing it. In the makeup of bourgeois economic theory there is no tool available to explain such phenomenon because capital (in their view) rest on particular preconceived notions about capital itself. One of those is assuming that capital has no particular features to it, that it merely functions as the market dictates.

In bringing this to you I’ve chosen the basis for my argument four contradictions of capital. Having just recently read “17 Contradictions and the End of Capitalism” by David Harvey, there is a ton of valuable information regarding it. These four contradictions are all that is needed to show that this utopian notion of a pure “real” capitalism espoused by Austrian economics is nothing but a fantasy.

Contradiction 1: Use-Value and Exchange-Value

Every commodity has a two-fold value contained in it. It has a use-value and an exchange value which are in contradiction with each other. Use-values vary wildly from commodity to commodity, while exchange-value is usually uniform and qualitatively identical. A commodities’ use -value is what you do with it, how you experience it. The exchange-value can be described as what you have to pay for it, so ‘how much’ is it? This ‘how much’ affects our ability to obtain and utilize the use-values we want or need to have.

The exchange-value does not dominate, but can affect the creation of use-values. David Harvey uses the example of a house. We want to have a particular experience with a house, but we may not have all the money needed to have everything we want in it. That money (exchange-value) is made up of labour costs, raw materials, constant capital, and a portion for profit. The exchange-value of the house has affected our ability to create a use-value.

Houses are created for their exchange-value; the only thing the creator is interested in is what exchange-value he can get for it. The actual creation of a use-value is a means to that end. The builders are looking for a potential exchange-value not to fulfill a desired use-value. Exchange-value takes the driver’s seat in the creation of housing, a human need.

During the housing boom people could not get a hold of the use-value of a home without taking on a huge debt. Once the housing bubble popped those houses became worth less than the amount of money that was paid out to obtain them. This is called a mortgage being ‘underwater’ and a lot of houses are this way right now as a result. Many of those people could no longer afford their homes, so they ended up losing them when payments were not made. The reckless pursuit of exchange-value eventually destroyed the ability of people to obtain and then eventually maintain the ownership of the home’s use-value. When we take into consideration the phenomenon of housing speculation we begin to see how far the exchange-value of a house gets from its use-value, and how much it comes into contradiction with it.

The house is no longer about the use it has or the need it can fulfill, it’s about how much exchange value can be obtained for it.

Contradiction 2: The Social Value of Labour and Its Representation by Money

The exchange-value is a measure of value, the ‘how much’ it’s worth requires a measure. That measure is called money. Money serves several functions, as a measure of value, a store of value and as a means of commodity circulation. How does it proliferate in the political and economic sphere and how does it seem to make the economic world go round?

Money is the means by which someone can make the claim on the product of someone else’s labour which is used to produce the goods and services of society. Capitalism is a society in which we are heavily reliant on other people’s labour for the production of the things we need. All things in society are produced by someone somewhere where labour is exchanged for money. It is the social value of all that activity of all that labouring, that underpins what it is that money represents. Thus, ‘value’ is the social relations between all the labouring activities of the globe.

This social relation is ‘invisible’ to us because we don’t see each other, we see our products instead. This relation creates moral and ethical values that have real objective consequences. ‘Value’ is what makes some commodities cost more than others. These differences in values have nothing to do with their character as use-values (other than the fact that they must all be useful to someone somewhere). It does have everything to do with the social labour involved in their production.

This value is invisible, but it needs a physical existence in order to be used. That physical existence is money. Money is the material manifestation of value and is a representation of that value. In money there is a gap between its physical representation and the social value it represents. Harvey uses the example of a map. It can do a good job of encapsulating the relative value of social labour in some respects, but in others it fails to do so, even misrepresenting it. This is just like the map. It can show you the way through a mountain, but can never describe everything about the passage, or about how hard it is to climb. This disconnection between money and the value it represents is the second contradiction of capital we’re talking about.

Money is inseparable from, but distinct from the social value that makes up its value. Money hides the immaterial social labour (value) behind its material form. What we see is the representation of money and not the reality of that value which money represents. This causes us to end up interacting and believing in something that is false. Just as we can’t see social labour in a commodity we cannot see the nature of social labour in the money that represents it. It is important to note that money cannot be separated from the value it represents. Value cannot exist as an immaterial social relation without money, because the commodity exchanges it facilitates give it this power. This value cannot exist without the physical representation of it and the act of exchange. Money and value are in a dialectical relationship.

This contradiction in money spawns many more contradictions depending on what form that money takes. I will go into some examples of the contradictions in money.

Commodity money (like silver and gold) are rooted in objects with physical qualities. Coins, paper, fiat money and computer digits are merely symbols. The advent of credit money turned everything on its head. Credit money, or money capital, is as good as a capital and it has a use-value because it can be used to generate more value (profit or surplus-value). The exchange-value of money capital is the interest payments you get from it. In the end we get a value put on something that is supposed to measure value. This is what makes money so unique. You cannot do this with other standard measures. You can purchase a kilo of potatoes, but you cannot purchase a kilo itself. Money can be bought and sold itself as money capital, i.e. you can buy the use of $100 for a certain amount of time.

Money began as gold and silver. These precious metals were a good choice because they were desirable, their supply was limited and they didn’t perish via oxidization. The supply of the metals was inelastic which meant they retained their relative value against all other commodities over time (except in times like the California gold rush). Finally the properties of gold are known and can be calibrated. This keeps it stable as opposed to using some other commodity where consumer preference might interfere with it. The properties of gold are used to represent the immaterial value of social labour.

However it’s pretty inconvenient to use a money commodity on a daily basis for small transactions like purchasing a cup of coffee. Can you imagine what it would be like to dole out an exact amount of gold for a Star Bucks coffee? Eventually these were replaced by much more useful and flexible forms of token money like coins and currency notes. Now something important happened here. Money was supposed to give a physical form to the immaterial social labour, now it is represented by a symbol. Representations of money eventually ended up as numbers on a computer.

The elimination of the money commodity and the rise of the fiat money created a whole new set of circumstances. Commodity money was relatively scarce and had a relatively steady supply. Now that money was numbers on a computer, there is theoretically no limit to the amount of money that could be created. Except of course the limits placed by state regulation. The rise of moneys of account and credit moneys place the power of money creation in the hands of individuals and private banks rather than state institutions. State regulation on this is a desperate attempt to manage the money system.

All of these oddities arise because the three functions of money have different requirements if they are to be carried out. Commodity money is good as a store of value but it is highly inefficient for use in commodity circulation. Coins and paper money are good as a medium or means of payment, but they’re not great as stores of value long term. Fiat currency issued by the state with compulsory circulation via taxation, are made subject to monetary policy. These functions themselves are not consistent with each other, but they are also not independent. If money couldn’t store value even for a moment then it would be useless as a means of circulation. But if we’re only looking for a medium circulation, then fake money can do just as good a job as ‘real’ money like silver coins. This is the very reason why gold and silver (stores and measures of value) require coins, paper money and credit money if the circulation of commodities is to remain fluid. Thus we end up with representations of representations of social labour as the basis of the money form.

It is money that allows us to take a commodity to the market and label it with a price. This labeling comes with another set of contradictions. That asking price may or may not be realized depending on the conditions of supply and demand. There is not an immediate correspondence between the singular price and generality value. So what happens with price in real life? As the market determines the price, that price is able to diverge from the value of the commodity. Because of this capitalists try to take advantage of various fluctuations in the market (if not outright cause them), monopoly for example. This can make prices completely diverge from the unified standard of value in production. This quantitative divergence between prices and value presents a problem. Capitalists respond to prices and not values because in the market they only see prices and have no way of seeing the underlying value. As the prices diverge from value it sends misleading information about the commodity to the capitalist which he has to respond to as opposed to the underlying value.

You can put this price tag on anything anywhere whether or not it is a product of social labour. You can put it on a piece of land and extract a rent for its use. I can make all kinds of money via unethical and illegal acts. I can then take that money and use it to purchase a congressman legally through campaign donations like all other big businesses do. There isn’t just a quantitative, but a qualitative divergence between market prices and social values. You can create a ton of fictitious capital – money capital, for activities that generate no value at all, but they are extremely profitable via interest. State debt is used to fight wars funded through fictitious capital. People lend to the state and get a return through interest paid out of tax revenue even though no value was created. Quite the opposite it was destroyed.

Here we face another contradiction of money. Money is supposed to represent the social value of creative labour. This money takes on the form of fictitious capital that circulates eventually ending up in the pockets of financiers and bondholders via the extraction of wealth from all kinds on non-value creating activities. A prime example of this is the housing speculation that blew up in the market’s face in 2008.Betting on mortgages and creating collateralized debt obligations don’t create any value, yet there was an astronomical amount of fictitious capital created.

In money we take a particular use-value (the metal gold) and use it to represent exchange-value in commodity circulation. What we are doing is taking something that is inherently social (social value) and having it represented (in money) in a way that can be appropriated as social power by private persons. This ability to take social power and have it held by a private person is the driving force of all the horrible human behaviours of capitalism. The lust and greed for money power is inevitably the central feature of the body politic of capitalism. All the fetishistic behaviours and beliefs center on this. The desire for money as social power becomes an end in itself which is what warps the neat supply-demand relation of the money that would be required to simply facilitate exchange. This fact is what destroys the capitalist myth of the rational market. This is why there can never be a “truly free market” and why “real” capitalism has never and can never exist.

fraud

Contradiction 3: Private Property and the Capitalist State

Buyers and sells meet each other in the market to exchange money for commodities. This requires that both the commodities being sold and the money that is purchasing them be held by people who have the exclusive right to them. Exchange-value and money both presuppose the existence of individual property rights over both commodities and money.

To understand this contradiction we must first understand the difference between individual appropriation and private property. When you use a commodity you are appropriating it, you eat food, you ride a bike or you use a computer. The use of these things precludes anyone else from using them while you are. There are some things where the use is not exclusionary. A television show is a good example, you watching it does not prevent others from watching it. Then there are other goods called ‘public goods’ that are held and used in common, typically with some restrictions. A public road can be used by anyone, but there’s only a certain amount of people that can use it at a time, and there are limits to what you can do on it. For many processes and things, however, an exclusive relationship exists between the user(s) and the thing being used. This is not the same thing as private property.

Private property is the establishment of an exclusive ownership right to an object or a process whether or not it is being actively used. The very basis of commodity exchange is the presupposition that the commodity produced is not actively needed or wanted by the person who is offering it for trade. Marx defines a commodity as something which has no use-value for the person who produced it, but instead produced it for the purpose of exchange. It is produced for someone else to use. Private property rights are what give someone the right trade away that which is owned. The difference emerges from what are called usufructuary rights (rights that pertain to active use) and exclusionary permanent ownership rights.

To explain the difference Harvey goes into the history of colonial Whites and First Nations peoples. Before European colonization First Nations people were nomadic, they would follow animal herds or move from place to place as food was used up. This nomadic life was brought to an end by the colonizers. This land that was traditionally open for them to use was now the private property of someone who had an exclusive right to it whether they were using it or not. This was the death of the way for life for indigenous North Americans. We see the same thing happening in Africa today. People’s customary and collective resource rights are being converted into an exclusionary private property rights system which is being done via what many people believe to be fraudulent agreements. These agreements take place between village chiefs (who have customarily held the land in trust for their people) and foreign interests. We generally refer to this practice as a ‘land grab’ by capital and foreign interests with the purpose of gaining control of Africa’s land and resources.

Private property rights presuppose a social bond between something that is owned and a legally defined person who is the owner of that something. A newer advancement in this legal framework is the advent of corporations they are defined as legal persons who have the same right to own private property. This social bond is the basis for bourgeois constitutions and their ideas of individual human rights. The legal framework becomes the protection of those rights. This right to ‘private property ownership’ is the focal point of nearly all contractual theories of government.

What private property rights are depend on the particular state power and legal system that codifies, defines and enforces the contractual obligations attach to both private property rights and the rights of legal individuals. This is usually comes with compensation for this service via monetary taxation agreements. Now between the usufructuary and private property rights are several different degrees of mixture of the two which are defined in a social organization or law. This does not necessarily make them open to all people, but they do presuppose sharing and cooperative forms of governance between the members of the social organization. As these common ownership rights were eliminated in favour of a system of individualized private property rights backed by state power, it built the basis for a society based on exchange relations and trade. This is the form consistent with capital circulation and accumulation.

An individualized private property rights system is the very basis of what capital is all about. Capital, exchange-value, and money cannot exist without the legal infrastructure that is private property. This legal infrastructure is fraught with contradiction. This is so because the contradictions of use-value and exchange-value, money and social labour spill over into the individualized private property rights system.

The first contradiction should be the most obvious, the free use of private property as a right is sustained and given authority by the power of the state. This state provides the collective exercise of regulatory power to define, codify and give legal form to those rights and the social bond that holds it all together. Legal definitions of the individual and, hence, a culture of individualism arose with the proliferation of exchange relations, the rise of monetary forms and the evolution of the capitalist state. Some state power is needed to sustain those individualized property rights and laws that protect that individual liberty. This same state must also have a monopoly over the legitimate use of force to resist any opposition to individualized property rights or transgressions against said property. The centralized power of the state is used to protect a decentralized private property system. The advent of corporate personhood essentially takes private property and makes it collectively owned via the collective ownership of the corporation.

The society of market exchange is fraught with problems that require state intervention. There are problems with the provision of collective and public goods (such as highways, ports and harbours, water and waste disposal, education and public health). It also requires a state to not only administer but also secure these institutions via police and military forces funded through taxation.

Most importantly the state exists in order to organize the various social groups in society. Different interests, classes and all other manner of divisions exist in capitalist society. Many capitalist states present democratic institutions and mechanisms of governance to give the appearance of elicit consent as opposed to outright coercion and violence. Of course we know that any democracy under capitalism should be properly recognized as bourgeois democracy, a democracy for the capitalist class not the rest of us. It is however the most efficient and effective means of governance in capitalism. The problem is this leaves people with the false impression that there is an inherent bond between democracy and capital accumulation. The real genius of bourgeois democracy is how to bridge all the different tensions and social views to create a form of governance that protects the desire for individual liberty and freedom.

Market failures are another reason why states are useful. Externality effects are also a problem, the things the market does that causes negative results. The best example is pollution where firms and individuals do not pay for deleterious effects on air, water and land qualities through their actions. These require collective efforts to combat as opposed to individual action. Property is subject to externality effects, the exchange value of housing, for example, is captive to externality effects since investment or disinvestment in one house in a neighbourhood has an effect (either positive or negative) on the value of houses in the immediate vicinity. One form of state intervention designed to cope with problems of this sort is land-use zoning.

Most people agree that there should be some kind of state or other forms of collective action to control or regulate activities that cause great negative externality effects. In this case the state has to trespass onto private property rights in order to protect other private property rights. The question faced by every society of this type is: “How far should the state go and to what degree that encroachment might be based on coercion rather than the building of consent. In any case, the state has to have a monopoly over the legalized use of violence to exercise such functions.

Contradiction 4: Private Appropriation and Common Wealth

The common wealth created (use-values) appears in nearly infinite forms. Every commodity that exists from utensils to the buildings of cities, to food is commodities. The private appropriation and accumulation of this common wealth and the social labour contained in it occurs in two ways. The first is the extra legal activities like robbery, thievery, swindling, corruption, usury, predation, violence and coercion, and unethical practices in the market. The second is individual accumulation through legal measures of the ‘normally’ functioning capitalist system. In bourgeois theory the illegal acts, or black market, or even unethical practices in legal operations don’t count as ‘real capitalism’. Their premise is that these acts are external to private accumulation and thus ‘don’t count’.

This is of course completely false, all these illegal market transactions are the accumulation of social value just as legal transactions. How can this be denied when illegal arms and drug trafficking play such a huge part in the global economy? How can they even claim this when those unethical practices were such a huge part of the global collapse of capitalism in 2008?

Aside from this the very fact that an economy based on dispossession lies at the heart of what capital is foundationally about. The direct dispossession of the value that social labour produces at the point of production is but one (albeit major) strain of dispossession that feeds and sustains the appropriation and accumulation by private ‘persons’ (that is, legal entities including corporations) of large portions of the common wealth.

Bankers have no moral qualms about where their profits and bonuses come from. That money may come from lending money to landlords who carry exploitive rents, merchants who price gouge poor people for food, credit card companies, mortgage foreclosures, or deadly worker exploitation. Private appropriation is infinitely creative when it comes to collecting common wealth. The higher wages workers may get through class struggle in the workplace can all too easily be snatched back by the landlord, the credit card companies, the merchants, to say nothing of the taxman. Bankers use all manner of financial trickery to collect immense profits. Even when they get caught it is, for the most part, the bank (that is, the shareholders) who takes the hit and not the bankers themselves.

At the heart of this process of private appropriation of the common wealth lies the contradictory way in which, as we have seen, money represents and symbolizes social labour (value). The fact that money, as opposed to the social value it represents, is inherently appropriable by private persons means that money (provided it functions well as both a store and measure of value) can be accumulated without limit by private persons. And to the degree that money is a repository of social power, so its accumulation and centralization by a set of individuals become critical to both the social construction of personal greed and the formation of a more or less coherent capitalist class power.

The true ‘evil’ nature of capitalism, the one that religion speaks of can be found here where the distinction between value and price created a gap between the realities of social labour on the one hand and the ability to hang a fictional price label on anything, no matter whether it was a product of social labour or not. Anything can be sold for money even uncultivated land and conscience. The gap between values and price is not just quantitative (where the market affects price) but also qualitative (in that prices can be put on immaterial traits as honour, allegiances and loyalties). This gap has grown larger as capital has expanded in range and depth over time. This phenomenon was theorized by Karl Polanyi, an émigré Hungarian socialist economic historian and anthropologist. He wrote The Great Transformation in 1944 where he gave his ideas.

The markets for labour, land and money are, he pointed out, essential for the functioning of capital and the production of value but they are not commodities themselves. Labour is another word for human activity which goes with the phenomenon of life itself. It is not produced for sale, but for other reasons that cannot be detached from the rest of the life or be stored or mobilized. Land is another word for nature, which is not produced by man. Actual money, finally, is merely a token of purchasing power which, as a rule, is not produced at all, but comes into being through the mechanism of banking or state finance. None of them is produced for sale. The commodity description of labor, land, and money is entirely fictitious.

Conclusion

As we can see the reason why “real” capitalism doesn’t function the way Austrian economics claims it does is due to the inherent contradictions within a system of capital accumulation itself. The inherent failing of Austrian economics is in its denial that the existence of money as a representation of social value allows that value to be perverted. Money as a representation of value means, value is no longer something that is created of human labour and creativity. It is a commodity itself, money capital, which turns the product of labour into something alien to its producer, a form that can and must be appropriated by others.

Breitbart Right Wing Victim Complex Exposes Own Hypocrisy

•2014 10 11 • Leave a Comment

rush-limbaugh

Sometimes hypocrisy is so glaring it can almost physically strike you. It is of course no surprise to any of us that right wing thought is predicated on hate and a self-victimization. The right wing prefers to define themselves by what they hate as oppose to what they support. Of course they support various things; it’s just that the support always takes a back seat to attacking things they hate. When you combine this with their never ending struggle to make White First World heterosexual males the world’s most oppressed group, you end of with an ideology that is blind to its own hypocrisy.

As some may know there has been a grass roots campaign to have the Rush Limbaugh show taken off the air for its racist, sexist, fascist, and homophobic content. It’s a small deal where activists call places saying they won’t listen to his show and tweet about him using the hashtag #StopRush. All of which is pretty mild typical weak liberal activism. The only problem is that it is beginning to work. The consequences for his show have been serious. In August he lost three radio stations in two weeks that were carrying his broadcast. Advertisers are dropping him as well. This is leaving a good deal of his operating budget coming from Koch Brother-owned organizations like FreedomWorks and Heritage Foundation. Over 3,000 advertisers have abandoned him via protests, boycotts, and petitions.

In an effort to defend Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart writer Ben Shaprio penned an article where he decries how an activist from the “Stop Rush” campaign has fantasized about torturing Rush Limbaugh. He points to a piece of fiction written by Matt Osborn a big name in the “Stop Rush” campaign. In it he details violent thoughts he’s had about torturing Rush Limbaugh. Here is the sample that Breitbart gave.

“(He) objected to our masked, armed entry, but was immediately subdued with the help of a taser. We gagged, hooded, and handcuffed the fat bastard before levering him into a wheelbarrow with scrap two-by-fours.”

“Underway, the three of us in back took turns kicking (him) in his stomach with our combat-booted feet (Top using only his solid prosthetic foot)…”

On the whole the work is quite odd even disturbing in some places. Regardless, it is only a work of fiction. I’m sure this bothered Limbaugh to some degree. Is this healthy? I doubt it. But who among us have not hated someone so much we’ve fantasized about torturing or killing them? Probably very few. Instead I’d like to look at the reality of torture as it exists in the real world, not in the works of an activist’s imagination. That reality is as follows, Rush Limbaugh has been a big supporter of using torture in the real world. You’re probably familiar with his ridiculous defense of such torture like the kind that took place in Abu Ghraib it back in 2004.

“Exactly my point. This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it, and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people. You ever heard of emotional release?”

Yes I’ve heard of emotional release, and for some people that is creative writing. The difference between the fictional torture of a person and the systemic actual torture based on religion and national origin for the purpose of false information gathering and pleasure should be obvious. One is a questionable emotional release while the other is a real life act of systemic oppression against a population for the purpose of plundering a countries’ wealth. If this difference is not visible to you, then perhaps it is you who needs to take a look at yourself.

In true right wing manner Breitbart has managed to take a man who has supported some of the most inhuman acts of the global War on “Terror” and make him into a victim of it, to a lesser degree, in a work of fiction. In a true pathological mentality they seek to make themselves the victims as justification for their continuous attacks upon minorities, women, and whoever else. Those who wield the most power in society must make themselves out to be the targets in order to justify their disregard of criticisms of their unjust power.

I’m sure in the mind of Ben Shaprio, Rush Limbaugh really is a victim. That alone says it all. It is only the First World mentality that could possibly see a White First World male millionaire as victim, not the innocent poor Third World people that Limbaugh championed the torture of.

* * *

Sources:

‘Stop Rush’ Activist Fantasized about Torturing Limbaugh, Brietbart
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/10/07/Stop-Rush-campaign

Fading Rush Limbaugh Loses 4 Radio Stations In Three Weeks – Protest Movement Closing In, Daily KOS
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/22/1323651/-Another-One-Rush-Limbaugh-Loses-3-Radio-Stations-In-Two-Weeks-Boycotters-Closing-In

Are the Koch Brothers Funding Rush Limbaugh?, Daily KOS
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/01/1069875/-Are-the-Koch-Brothers-Funding-Rush-Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh Must Be Terrified. He’s Now Releasing False ‘Secrets’ About StopRush & Protestors, Daily KOS
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/24/1331992/-Rush-Limbaugh-Must-Be-Terrified-He-s-Now-Releasing-False-Info-On-StopRush

Regarding the Torture of Others, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/magazine/23PRISONS.html?pagewanted=3&ei=5007&en=a2cb6ea6bd297c8f&ex=1400644800&partner=USERLAND

Woman Sues Sperm Bank after Mixed-Race Child Birth

•2014 10 06 • Leave a Comment
The unhappy mother Jennifer Cramblett

The unhappy mother Jennifer Cramblett

A rather strange story is developing out of Ohio. A White lesbian couple has decided to make a legal filing after experiencing difficulty raising a biracial child which they had from donated sperm. The couple went to the Downers Grove-based Midwest Sperm Bank in 2011 seeking sperm for an artificial insemination. While the pregnancy took hold, it was discovered that the woman was given the wrong sperm. The incorrect sperm came from an African-American man when they had requested a White man. In 2012 the couple was made away of the mistake (which was apparently caused by faulty hand written labeling) but they only now have decided to file suit. The claim which be found here is for ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘breach of warranty’. They claim to have suffered emotional and economic losses.

The sperm bank acknowledged the error and refunded the money of the couple. The couple was aware of the biracial status of the baby, yet only now they have a problem with it. They claim they are ill equipped to raise a child who is mixed race. They cite difficulties with their neighbourhood, getting the child’s haircut, and ‘limited cultural competency relative to African Americans’ and is undergoing a ‘steep learning curve.’ This probably means they don’t know how to raise the baby as African-American.

They say they love the baby but the mother claims she ‘lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and [the baby] Payton’s future.’ She doesn’t appear to have been too specific about what those uncertainties are.

I don’t believe for a second that this lawsuit is really about a mix up of sperm. The women have known since 2012 that the wrong sperm was used. If it wasn’t an issue for them back then, I don’t see what has changed in this regard now. She was aware of the mix up since before the child was born. If this was about the mix up they would have done it right from the beginning and not wait two years. I think what has happened is some lawyer or relative has gotten into the woman’s ear and convinced them to take it to court because they could score a lot of money.

In this case I definitely believe that the parents are racist. They cannot claim that this is not about race when race is entirely what their complaint is about. Their daughter was from donated sperm which was implanted into one of the women. The child is theirs; it’s not like a mix up at a hospital where the wrong child was taken. There are no known health problems, nothing inherently defective at all it’s merely about the child’s race. This is still biologically her child regardless of its skin colour.

I find their excuse for filing the lawsuit now to be entirely phony. While I’m sure the difficulties they claim may very well be true I sense some dishonesty. The parents claim they want money because it has been difficult to raise a biracial child in a predominantly White area. Essentially the area they live in is racist. I think this is what they are really saying. If this is a reason to need money then perhaps they should be suing the neighbourhood for being racist. The racist attitudes where they live are not the fault of the sperm bank. The woman complains that she has to take her daughter to a hair stylist far away to deal with her ‘unique’ hair. I think is probably isn’t true. If she wants specialized hairstyles that are not common to where she lives, then yes she should have to go somewhere to find people who know them.

This child will grow up feeling unloved knowing that her mothers didn’t really want her due to racism. We know the child will find out about this whole incident, it will be impossible to keep this information away from her. This child will one day know that its parents didn’t want her merely because of the race she had no choice over. What would it be like knowing your own parents were racist against you? How difficult will it be to live with the knowledge that your parents disliked the race you are? I see a lot of self-image problems coming for this kid in the future. This will definitely have a negative effect on its psychological and emotional health.

The mother’s statement about the fears, anxieties and uncertainty about the baby’s future makes me wonder what she was talking about. Is she referring to the systematic discrimination faced by African-Americans in job opportunities, education, police interaction, and social status? Would these be the same challenges that every African-American faces? It seems funny to me how racial inequality doesn’t seem to be ‘real’ or a ‘problem’ too many White people until they consider having to face it, or have a loved one face it. While we don’t know if there is no concern over racial inequality or not in this couple’s minds, we do however see it when this kind of incident occurs. People have adopted babies of colour only to find out how real racism really is. It makes me wonder if this is happening to them now, if it is even happening at all.

These concerns the mother’s have are probably the same concerns that all African-American mothers have. They worry about their child being 13% of the U.S. population and 14% of the monthly drug users, but 37% of the people arrested for drug-related offenses. Undue attention by the police like having 80% of the stops made are of blacks and Latinos, and 85% of those people were frisked, compared to a mere 8% of the white people stopped. There are countless statics I can pull up describing the unfair treatment of African Americans. What these mothers are saying is that these possibilities for their child are unacceptable. Meanwhile this is the day-to-day life of many African-Americans. What this White couple considers unacceptable, is the daily life of African-Americans. Think about that. Many White Americans claim there is no racism in the country, yet what they describe as unfair is the reality faced by racial minorities.

Again we don’t know what the views on race are of these women, but we do know that they find a mixed race baby something undesirable. The race of the baby is the centre of the complaint, the difficulties it will face.

Even with all the advantages this baby will have being born in the First World, the race of the child is unacceptable to them. The only hardship they truly face is race. This is infinitesimal compared to what mothers of children in the Third World worry about. They worry about not being able to find clean water, adequate housing, or access to any education. The fact that this baby was born mixed race shows that the difficulty it faces is the racism of the society in which it exists. Even with all the advantages of living the First World, the greatest difficulty, which can be considered unacceptable, is the race of a child.

The First World cannot see beyond its own petty racism which is right in their own faces. Now how can we expect them to see past their First World privilege, their theft of value from the Third World?

* * *

Sources:

Lesbian woman sues US sperm bank after giving birth to a mixed-race child, Gay Star News

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lesbian-woman-sues-us-sperm-bank-after-giving-birth-mixed-race-child021014

Originating Lawsuit

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/chi-pdf-read-the-lawsuit-against-downers-grove-sperm-bank-20140930-htmlstory.html

Quigley, Bill. “Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System.” The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/fourteen-examples-of-raci_b_658947.html.

U.S. Department of Justice. “The Reality of Racial Profiling.” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

http://www.civilrights.org/publications/reports/racial-profiling2011/the-reality-of-racial.html

Is it Time to Legalize Murder?

•2014 10 01 • Leave a Comment

Murder needs to be legalized. Illegal murder only pushes it into the black market, where cartels of thugs can overcharge and abuse their position given a lack of competition. Making murder legal also allows it to be taxed and regulated, so that murderers can work in sanitary and humane conditions, and revenues can be used to lower the budget deficits or increase spending on social programs.

It would also allowed small businessmen to enter the market and provide innovate murder solutions, with a focus on quality and diversity, all the while improving efficiency in murder techniques and devices.

Some argue that this is what the ‘defense industry is for’. My point exactly. Illegal murder only strengthens large providers and stifles competition, leading to unnecessary wars and also making legitimate murder targets like an annoying neighbor or a dickhead at work immune from market forces.

You see, if murder wasn’t illegal, we could attempt to kill each other to settle our differences. Or even better, we could reduce our guilt and increase effectiveness by hiring a trained professional to do it.

There would no doubt also be an incentive for firms to offer complementary guilt reduction service for instance by reassuring us that the killing was quick and painless. Alternatively, there would be the option to also increase our thrill by saying and/or doing the opposite, ie. that the person suffered greatly and his family wept for weeks.

The market would make such choices available, such that killing could customized to better fit an individual’s preferences, compared to now were only a few crude and highly expensive services exist in black market.

Listen, murder was illegal in Maoist China, and yet they had famine that killed 100,000,000,000.000,000 people. If it hadn’t been, people could have attacked and eaten each other much easier, or better yet kill Mao and the regime and thus prevent the famine from ever being engineered in the first place.

How does this help? Because the government restricts the emergence of a properly functioning market. If murder were legalized it could be regulated like any other market service.

Indeed, competition would provide the perfect driver of better murder solutions, insuring that for instance bile and internal organs were cleaned and perhaps donated to a local hospital.

“When you buy MRN Murder Services (TM), whether you realize it or not, you are buying into something bigger then just killing someone: You are buying into a murder ethics. Through our MRN Industries Shared Plutonas Program, we donate more organs than any company in the world: Insuring that poor children who are suffering get the organs they need. Moreover, we invest in and improve murder practices and death worship communities around the globe. It’s a good murder karma! On top of all that, little bits that remain of the dilapidated corpses help decorate our offices & community centers, spreading cultural and artistic awareness.”

There is also the possibility of trading on prospective murders and the economic impact they will have on the certain markets.

Murder options, puts on assassination contracts and the ability to trade such probability estimates in the derivative market have to be a near future option for this potential industry.

We may need an International death regulation act with a regulatory body (Mortality Control Authority) at some stage but they should be limited in power so as to not unduly pinion the free market.

One must also consider the massive spin off effects of this new growth area on the arms industry, pharmaceuticals and chemical firms, tremendously boosting market inputs into all these sectors.

Regulation and licensing of murder through the MCA should recoup significant taxation for various states as well as their increased taxation/ royalties from associated industries in the military industrial complex.

In effect murder makes everyone (of consequence) a winner.

The free market solves everything with no negative effects… ever. Right?

A Quick Refutation of Yugoslavia’s “Self-Administration” System

•2014 09 27 • Leave a Comment

A little while ago I did a Q & A video where I said that Tito was reactionary. I said that Titoists were ‘tankies’ (uneducated poor quality communist) given their very weak understanding of Marxist theory. Titoists obviously didn’t like this and a particular one took exception to it. Essentially his argument was two Tweets that gave the following:

“Yugoslavia differed from the USSR in a significant way, the workers ownership of enterprise.”

“The USSR relied on state-run collectivization. Marxism is against the state even existing…”

There are three things wrong with these statements. First the workers did not have ownership of the enterprises. Second, the USSR did not “rely” on state-run collectivization, they’re supposed to be state-run collectivizes by Marx and Engels own writings. Third, Marxism is not against the state “even existing”. Marx and Engels made it clear that the period between capitalism and communism is a phase of socialism in which the state holds power for the proletariat.

“Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”

- Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, Chapter 4

“Moving in class antagonisms, society up to now had need of the state, that is, an organization of the exploiting class at each period for the maintenance of its external conditions of production, that is, particularly for the forcible holding down of the exploited class in the conditions of oppression (slavery, villeinage or serfdom, wage-labour) given by the existing mode of production.”

[...]

“As soon as there is no social class to be held in subjection any longer, as soon as class domination and the struggle for individual existence based on the anarchy of production existing up to now are eliminated together with the collisions and excesses arising from them, there is nothing more to repress, nothing necessitating a special repressive force, a state. The first act in which the state really comes forward as the representative of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — is at the same time its last independent act as a state. The interference of the state power in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another, and then dies away of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production. The state is not “abolished”, it withers away.The dictatorship of the proletariat is the working class state which oversees the transformation of society from capitalism to communism. By state is meant a special repressive force. It withers away as repression becomes gradually unnecessary.”

- Frederic Engels, Anti-Duhring

The blatant anti-Marxist nature of “Titoism” is laid bare by its most ardent defender, its theoretician Edvard Kardelj. He described in detail Yugoslavoa’s departure from socialism in his work “Directions of the Development of the Political System of Socialist Self-Administration”.

What is the System of “Self-Administration”?

The basic theory of “self-administration” holds that socialism cannot be created by having the proletarian state owning the means of production. Instead “self-administration” claims that it is built through the fragmentation of state property into individual groups of worker collectives, who in theory, own and organize it themselves. To support this idea is to completely contradict both Marx and Lenin.

“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class… “

- Karl Marx and Frederic Engles, The Communist Manifesto, Ch.2

Not carrying this out is a cardinal sin in Leninist theory as well. He made this point very clear when opposing anarcho-syndicalists who refused state ownership.

“…any justification, whether direct or Indirect, of the ownership of the workers of a certain factory or a certain profession for their specific production, or any justification of their right to tone down or hinder the orders from general state power, is a gross distortion of the fundamental principles of Soviet power and complete renunciation of socialism.”

- V. I. Lenin, On Democratisation and the Socialist Character of the Soviet Power

Tito actively opposed state ownership when he brought the “self-administration” law to the People’s Assembly of the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in June 1950.

“From now on state property in the means of production, factories, mines, railroads will gradually go over to the highest form of social ownership. State ownership is the lowest form of social ownership, not the highest form…”

“…the most characteristic acts of a socialist country [is] the transfer of factories and other economic enterprises from the hands of the state into the hands of the workers, for them to manage… “

“…the slogan of the action of the working class – Factories to the Workers! – will be realized.”

- “Factories to the Workers”, Prishtina 1951

This position by Kardelj and Yugoslavian “socialism” is the antithesis of Marxist-Leninist theory. This is however in line with anarchist theory; particularly Pierre Joseph Proudhon’s work “The Theory of Property” where he says:

“…the spontaneous product of a collective unit… can be considered as the triumph of freedom… and as the greatest revolutionary force which exists and which can be opposed to the state.”

In his work on “self-administration” Kardelj literally defends private property when he says:

“in our society such rights as… the right of personal property or, within given limits, also of private property… have special importance…”

On top of this the Yugoslav Constitution also defends private property.

“Private owners have the same socio-economic position, the same rights and obligations as the working people in the socio-economic organisations.”

In the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx states very clearly:

“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

- Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

The Yugoslavian theory of “self-management” could not be more reactionary. It openly without shame defends private property when the whole point of communism (and socialism) is to abolish private property.

One of the most important things done by reactionaries in order to restore capitalism is to decentralize the management of the economy. Afterward eventually there would be a restoration of private property. This is what Yugoslavia did under Tito. All of this is shows that “socialist self-administration” is just anarcho-syndicalism. That’s exactly what Tito’s Yugoslavia was. (In addition there was the whole living off borrowed money from the imperialist nations.)

“Self Administration” in Agriculture

One of the most important aspects of socialism is the organization of agriculture into collectives. The Tito government did have collectives but they were of poor quality not well executed. They were eventually dismantled to become private property once again restoring the kulak class. That new system restored and gave benefit to the great landlords again. The method gave land back to the landlords without causing too much of a problem. At one point 90% of Yugoslav agriculture was in private hands.

Following that the state sold off machine and tractor stations to wealthy peasants and then placed heavy taxes on all peasants. The state owned farms were made into capitalist enterprises that took in foreign investment. Local private businesses made a ton of money from the foreign capital invested. Landowners could rent, buy, sell, and mortgage land. They could also privately buy machinery and hire workers pushing out smaller farms. This is what brought back the bourgeois class in the countryside.

“Self-Administration” Preserving Exploitation

Enver Hoxha adequately explains how capitalism was restored in this manner.

“In Kardelj’s book the individual is mainly considered as a chief element of society – the element which produces, the element which has the right to organise and to distribute production. According to him this element socialises work in an enterprise and exercises its leadership by the so-called workers’ council which are “elected” by the workers and which allegedly regulates – together with the instituted administrative functionaries – the whole fate of the enterprise, the work, the income etc., within the system of “self-administration”.

“This is the typical form of capitalist enterprises where in fact it is the capitalist who rules, surrounded by a large number of officials and technicians who know the situation about the production and organise its distribution. Naturally, the bulk of the profits goes to the capitalist who owns the capitalist enterprise, that is, he appropriates the surplus value. Under the Yugoslav “self-administration” a large part of the surplus value is appropriated by the officials, the directors of the enterprises and the engineering technical staff.”

Enver Hoxha, Yugoslav “Self-Administration” – Capitalist Theory and Practice

Selling the Country to Foreign Capitalists

Yugoslavia news reported on the 16th of August 1950 of new regulative issue of the “Federal Executive Veche” concerning the foreign investments in Yugoslavia.

“Under this law the foreign partners, on the basis of the agreements concluded between them and the organisations of socialised labour of this country, can make investments in currency, equipment, semi-finished and finished products and technology. Foreign investors have the same rights as the local organisations of socialised labour which invest their means in some other organisation of united labour.”

“Under this set of regulations greater interest (on the part of foreigners) is anticipated, because it guarantees the security of the joint economic activity on a long-term basis. Besides this, there is now practically no field in which foreigners cannot invest their means, with the exception of social insurance, internal trade and social activities”.

This investment by foreign capitalists began much industrialization. It produced countless goods, most of which were not even sold in Yugoslavia. To me it seems like they were the precursor to Deng Xiaoping’s selling out of China as cheap labour. It happened then for the same reason as now, the labour was cheaper. The cost of variable capital was lower allowing the foreign capitalists to get more value from that labour. This allowed the foreign capitalists to undercut its competitors whose exploitation was hindered by trade unions.

Defending the Market

The market can exist for some time during socialism, but the goal must be to eliminate it. Kardelj outright defends its continued existence and condemns the removal of it.

“… the free exchange of labour through the production of commodities and the free, self- governed market at the present level of the socio-economic development is a condition for self-government… This market… is free in the sense that the self-governing organisations of united labour freely and with the minimum of administrative intervention, enter into relations of the free exchange of labour. The suspension of such freedom is bound to lead to the regeneration of the state property monopoly of the state apparatus.”

There could be no more flagrant denial than this of the teachings of Lenin, who wrote:

“We must foster ‘proper’ trade, which is one that does not evade state control, it is beneficial to support it …for the free market is a development of capitalism…”

- V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 32

Marx makes it very clear that the market is a huge part of capitalism. Competition is the inner nature of capital, if you want a market that implies competition as well. In doing so you retain the manyness of capital which is a defining characteristic of capitalism and commodity production in general.

“Free competition, as Mr Wakefield correctly sniffs out in his commentary on Smith, has never yet been developed by the economists, no matter how much they prattle about it, and [no matter] how much it is the basis of the entirety of bourgeois production, production resting on capital. It has been understood only negatively: i.e. as negation of monopolies, the guild system, legal regulations etc. As negation of feudal production. But it also has to be something for itself, after all, since a mere 0 is an empty negation, abstraction, from a barrier which immediately arises again e.g. in the form of monopoly, natural monopolies etc. Conceptually, competition is nothing other than the inner nature of capital, its essential character, appearing in and realized as the reciprocal interaction of many capitals with one another, the inner tendency as external necessity.”

- Karl Marx, Grundrisse, Ch.8

Finally Enver Hoxha lays it out:

Thus an anarcho-syndicalist system has been established in Yugoslavia and this has been named “socialist self-administration”. What has this “socialist self-administration” brought to Yugoslavia? All kinds of evil. Anarchy in production in the first place. Nothing is stable there. Each enterprise throws its products on the market and capitalist competition takes place because there is no coordination, since it is not the socialist economy which guides production. Each enterprise goes it alone, competing against the other, in order to ensure raw materials, markets and everything else. Many enterprises are closing down because of lack of raw materials, the huge deficits created by this chaotic capitalist development, the build-up of stocks of unsold goods due to the lack of purchasing power and the saturation of the market with outdated goods. Yugoslavia’s handicrafts services are in a very serious state, too. Referring to this problem at the meeting of Slovenia’s leading activists, Tito could not hide the fact that “Today you have to sweat a good deal to find, for example, a carpenter or some other craftsman to repair something for you and even when you find him you are fleeced so blatantly that it makes your hair stand on end.”

Conclusion

There is so much more that could be said here but that would take longer to write. This is only meant as a quick introduction as to why Tito and Yugoslavia was revisionist. To get the full story and much more information I highly suggest reading Yugoslav “Self-Administration” – Capitalist Theory and Practice by Enver Hoxha.

* * *
Sources:

Enver Hoxha, Yugoslav “Self-Administration” – Capitalist Theory and Practice
Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring
Karl Marx, Grundrisse
Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program
V. I. Lenin, The Tax in Kind
Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto
Joseph Proudhon, The Theory of Property

Review of You, Me and the Bourgeoisie by The Submarines

•2014 09 21 • Leave a Comment

You, Me and the Bourgeoisie by The Submarines… Anti-Capitalist message or just semi-conscious individualism and apathy typical of the 1st world? A Marxist Review.

Many of you may remember this song, shared mostly in instrumental form in the Apple iPhone commercial.

I happened to catch the title of the song once during the commercial, and the title of the song intrigued me. The song itself is catchy, so I thought maybe… just maybe the artists might be sending a revolutionary message, or at least an anti-capitalist one. But why would that be in Apple’s commercial? After all Steve Jobs picks these songs out himself and surely he loves capitalism as much as the next CEO.

Read the rest at Marcel the Maoist Blog

 
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