Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tragedy Engulfs Middle East

One Israeli soldier missing.

The tragedy is that only one Israeli soldier is missing.  To end this tragedy, all Israeli soldiers must go missing.  Immediately.  Permanently.

Israel has no "right" to existence, no more than apartheid South Africa had a right to existence.

Nation-states are not established nor preserved by right, but by force.  Israel was established by force; by the force of British imperialism; by the forced dispossession of Palestinians; by the forced seizure of territory in 1948 and 1967.

The Egyptian military, those heroes of the Sinai crossing, that last true bastion of democracy and the Egyptian nation, are besides themselves with glee over Israel's attack on Palestinians.

Soon, some brilliant commentator will suggest that the "Western-inspired" revolt in Syria is all that is preventing Assad, that champion of the Syrian nation, another product of imperialism, from coming to the aid of the Palestinians.  

The existence of a Palestinian people is a mortal threat to the existence of the nation-state, as no national formation can contain, much less resolve, the dispossession and expropriation at the core, its core.  Hence, applause for the murderers, with whispered requests to be just a little less murderous.

Killing children?  That's capitalism.  One soldier missing?  That's a tragedy.  

 







Monday, July 21, 2014

Once Again

Once again, the intrepid pilots of the heroic Israeli Air Force, defied the "steel curtain" of Palestinian raised fists and curses to avenge the memories of the 6 million incinerated in Hitler's death camps by incinerating, blasting, and otherwise slaughtering several hundred Palestinian children. 

"Take that, Goering, you fat bastard!" crowed the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin "Nuke" Netanyahu on national TV. 

Pushing rapidly through the hole the hero pilots had torn in the aggressor childrens' ranks, the intrepid soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces leveled weapons depots cleverly concealed as schools, nurseries, apartment buildings, municipal water services, and gardens. 

"We found your tunnels, Eichmann, you cowardly rat!" announced Nuke in an interview with CNN.

Sadly, upwards of ten and maybe even twenty of Israeli's finest young warrior-princes sacrificed their lives in the never-ending battle to preserve the never-ending battle against those who refuse to understand that being a chosen people means never having to say you're sorry.  Or stop killing. 

Meanwhile, Nuke announced a new trade agreement with the "Third Reich in Exile" group located somewhere, and in various locations, in South America.  Israel will sell the group the latest version of its high-tech industrial ovens, the proceeds from which sales will be used to purchase supplies of  Zyklon B gas from the group I.G. Farben-in-exile.





Monday, July 14, 2014

So What?

So this showed up in the comments section on Michael Roberts' website:

The elephant in the room in all self titled Marxist economists are the effects of labour migration to labour rates as advanced capitalism started to go east in the early 70′s due to the costs of the Vietnam war which triggered the breakdown of the post Bretton Woods financial system.
The companies that could not physically go east started to import workers en masse and massively lowered wage rates at the same time as massively increasing indebtedness. Deindustrialisation in the West is becoming the norm and the Chinese having been recipients of western technology are involved in massive copyright fraud which will collapse eg the German economy.
The old recession hasn’t gone away its just that the capitalist nation states have stepped in to honour the debts of private banks. These banks are now being centralized on a massive scale and by the end of this year 85% of all Eurozone banks will be controlled from Brussels. When the next wave of financial meltdowns occur each country in the EZ wont have more than 4-5 banks forcing one more mergers until we are left with …one.
Either which way monopoly capitalism is losing both its customer base (by lowering the standard of living across the EZ) and its financial base is being centralised across different countries with different histories and languages and work cultures. By allowing those who have perfected the art of bankruptcy in the 20th century to run the EU in the 21st, total bankruptcy once more is on the cards….
Britain on the other hand just prints money, creates hyperinflation for overseas investors in property and the indebtedness of the banks if property was accounted for would be massive but a false sense of security exists as it has the EU model with American financing and appears to be permanently in ‘boom’ even when billions are spent subsidising wages or bailing out banks. As such it its business as usual, nothing learned nothing new gained as if Northern Rock never happened.
And so what?  So this:  this guy's got a point:  we haven't opposed his type, and this type, of  garbage vigorously enough; we have not refuted this xenophobic nonsense with enough data and enough passion to shut up these clowns who think they can camouflage their racism, their jingoism, their inner Le Pen, with allusions to and the illusion of radicalism.

We haven't repeatedly, insistently, called for the end to all immigration restrictions; to open borders.  We haven't repeatedly, insistently, demanded that all workers, in or out of all workers' organizations, take actions in the US to bar the entry of ICE agents into the workplaces.


We haven't refuted the nonsense about "de-industrialization." 

Asset stripping is not de-industrialization.  The growth of industrial output in China, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia is no more the cause of so-called de-industrialization than is the growth of "finance capital."  The de-industrialization is not de-industrialization at all but rather the increase in the organic composition of capital,  improvements in the productivity to labor, accompanied by, and by necessity, attacks on the wage-structure, which is the response to the fall in profitability dictated by the accumulation of capital itself.

We haven't pointed out that for capital what counts is not the accumulation of the means of production, but the accumulation of the means of production as capital, as value-absorbing, value-commanding, value extracting values themselves.  So......so the industrial output of Japan, US, Canada, Australia, the EU may decline as a percentage of world-wide industrial output, but the value added by private industry in the US between 1999 and 2013 increased 35 percent, a rate greater than that of GDP as whole, and this despite the greatest economic contraction in 75 years.

We haven't vanquished this baloney that says workers in the "advanced" capitalist countries "benefit" from the "super-profits" extracted from workers in Africa, Latin America, Asia, when transparently,  the assaults on the workers living standards in the "advanced" countries increases in tandem with the
proportion of global industrial value extracted from those workers in the "less developed" countries.

We haven't been forthright in demanding not only that bourgeois governments default on both their sovereign debt and the debt of financial institutions, but that our program of our party for our class regards such defaults as necessary, unavoidable, and welcome. 

We haven't said flat out that the failure of the financial system, the absolute implosion of capitalism (which is unlikely to occur) is the lesser evil.   We haven't been explicit in pointing out that this is not a case of  wishing that "things get worse, so they can get better," but that the cost to human beings from the collapse of capitalism is less than the cost of maintaining capitalism, as because and since the maintenance of capitalism, much less the expanded reproduction of capitalism, is the most destructive force ever known.  Look at China, Mexico, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, Iran, Egypt, the Marianas, Greece, India.

We haven't risked advocating economic defeatism; that the main enemy is always at home, and home is everywhere.  We haven't stated often enough, loudly enough, that we don't care if China's capitalism and capitalists steals every "trade secret" from the bourgeoisie of Germany, France, Japan, the US, etc. etc. etc.  We haven't said we would welcome the collapse of the German bourgeoisie if that collapse were to be caused by China's disregard of property rights.

We also haven't said that no such collapse will occur from such "theft."

We also haven't said that we have no interest in preventing a collapse of Chinese capitalism, Russian capitalism, Brazilian capitalism, Venezuelan capitalism, because such a collapse is immaterial. What is material is which class will mobilize enough of itself and others with enough power to defeat the other class?  

We haven't pointed out enough how printing money has absolutely nothing to do with impaired or repaired profitability.  We haven't vanquished this mealy-mouthed superficial political economist's tabula rasa, which is nothing but the old supply and demand ideology all dressed up and going in circles.  

We haven't said it often enough, loudly enough, that we have no stake, no interest, no desire in accommodating, preserving, protecting any single aspect of the economic, political, social, cultural disaster that is capitalism.

We haven't said enough how sick we are of the "left"-- the boredom and ignorance it traffics in as it operates as a career-path for "professional revolutionists."  Don't take my word for it.  Just look at the archives of the "Left Forum."

We haven't said the "left" all of it, from top to bottom, stem to stern; from councilist to partyist; from Kautskyists to the self-styled little Trotskys, to the neo-situationists, is a waste of time in a wasting land.

And don't make me say this again.


S.Artesian
July 14, 2014




Sunday, July 06, 2014

Function at the (con)Junction

1.   It is, Marx writes in his introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, that conflict between the means of production and the relations of production that inaugurates the revolutionary struggle.  The struggle itself is for a more complete, thorough, productive, satisfying, emancipatory social organization of labor.  Development as a "thing," as economic growth, increasing  industrial output, expanded GDP, etc.  is precisely not and precisely never the object nor the subject of revolution.  Development of things, "objective forces," is not the subject of history.  History as a "thing" has no purpose.  Development of relations is the subject and the "purpose." Human labor does quite clearly have  a purpose and that is the satisfaction and the creation of  needs.  Once set in motion as a social process, human labor seeks its own emancipation.

Development is not, ipso facto, emancipatory.  At best, and at most, it is the substrate upon which the emancipation of labor rests. Not at its best, development is an ideological category, another fetish whereby power over the needs of humans is assigned to an object when if fact that power is but a product of the already existing incomplete, unproductive constraining, destructive unfree relations surrounding human labor.

In political struggle, "development" is used to smother the revolutionary impulse for the emancipation of labor  by subordinating the condition of that labor, class, to the "nation," the "people,"-- to the improvement of the conditions for exploitation.  It is no wonder that such "revolutions" however much or little they "rip up" the ground of the previous regimes, disintegrate; that all such revolutions become imitators of, and enforcers for, the already "developed" relations of capital. 

2.  The mode of production is that specific, essential, determining, condition of labor by which the society reproduces itself; which is to say, how it reproduces the classes that make up the conditions of labor and that give the society life, however nasty, brutish and overlong that life might be.

Capital compresses and composes the conflict between labor-- that social impulse to satisfaction-- and the condition of labor-- the subordination of satisfaction to the accumulation of value.  Labor has purpose, wage-labor as the condition of labor has the purpose of value expanding value.   

Ownership of the instruments of production, the property of capital, exist as value only to the degree that the value can be captured and transferred by wage-labor to the expanded value of commodity production.   Once the increment of value appreciation begins to decline, that property, that ownership of those instruments, becomes so much dead weight. 

The conflict that Marx identifies as that of the means with the relations of production is in fact the conflict between labor and the condition of labor; between the labor process and the valorization process; between the satisfaction and creation of needs and the accumulation of value.  The conflict materializes itself "economically" as a decline in value; as loss; as a reduction in profit.  This disturbance in accumulation is in fact a disturbance in the ability of capital to reproduce the classes that give it life.  Labor is plentiful; it cannot be employed.  Labor is "tight;" there is not enough stripped, destitute labor while unemployment, shadow employment, marginal employment, temporary employment are everywhere.  Bring in the migrants, the women, the children to be worked to death.  Get rid of the "restrictive" labor laws, unions, regulations that constrain the expansion of capital's greatest achievement, the working poor.

All in all, the accumulation of capital means the accumulated capital cannot exploit the supplies of labor intensively enough to offset the very decline in the rate of accumulation inherent in the process.

3.  At the same time as capital runs up against the limits of its own reproduction, of its ownership, of its property-- when it cannot reproduce the classes of its own existence within its own relations of production-- it runs up against the constraints of other relations of property; of those relations that exist, and persist, even as capital expands to dominate the markets for commodity exchanges. When, after all, capital's own property relations limit its power to reproduce the wage-relation, the class of bourgeoisie and the class of the proletariat; those same limits impede capital's ability to transform all other property, all other production relations, in its own image.

4.    "A definite stage in the development of agriculture whether in the country concerned or in other countries forms the basis for the development of capital.” -Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, Part 1.

He wasn't kidding.  The development of a level of productivity in agriculture,  is essential to allow, to create, the expulsion of the laborer from 1) providing for its own direct subsistence and 2) from the productive process; in this case the dispossession of the producer from his own property, from providing directly for subsistence, creates a condition of labor as value producing and as a cost of production to be reduced in the process of accumulation

The level of productivity  is not, and is never solely the result of an application of technology to cultivation.  It is driven, literally, by a compelling social forces-- that 1) the subsistence of the producer is dependent upon exchanging his/her labor power for a value that is equivalent, more and less, to the cost of keeping bodies and souls together 2) that the owners of the product have no direct use for the product and need to exchange all the product in order to claim a portion of surplus value that is embedded within the mass of all commodities brought to market.

As capitalism confronts that constraint which is itself, the confrontation is expressed in an accommodation to the "pre-capitalist" "non-capitalist" conditions of agricultural production.  The hacienda, the plantation, the great house, the latifundia, all with their co-existing villages, pueblos, share-croppers, tenants, debt peonage, slavery, near slavery, slavery, communes are incorporated in and by commercial exchange.  In Brazil. Bolivia. China. Ecuador. Egypt. Mexico. Philippines. But such exchange is not, does not create, that compelling social force, the need for accumulation; the necessity for transforming the condition of labor.  The lack of that compulsion is then expressed is lower agricultural productivity, in persistent subsistence, and below-subsistence direct production. In Brazil, Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Mexico, Philippines-- to name just a few.

This moment of grand "calcification" was reached by capitalism shortly after the US Civil War, and is marked by the long and ugly retreat from "Radical" Reconstruction.  The subtext, latent content, of the Civil War was the condition of black labor, and the prospects for its emancipation.  Such emancipation could not be realized by and within the constraints of "free soil" farming.  There would be no re-creation of yeoman farming in the South.  There could be no process of differentiation among small independent farmers based on rates and masses of accumulation.  Southern property, plantation property, had to be redeemed, and the redemption was in the sacrifice of black labor.

5. " No matter whether a commodity is the product of slavery, of peasants (Chinese, Indian ryots), of communes (Dutch East Indies), or of stated enterprise (such as existed in former epochs of Russian history on the basis of serfdom), or of half-savage hunting tribes, etc., commodities and money of such modes of production, when coming in contact with commodities and money representing industrial capital, enter as much into its rotation as into that of surplus values embodied in commodity-capital.  The character of the process of production from which they emanate is immaterial.  They perform the function of commodities on the market, and enter into the cycles of industrial capital as well as into those of the surplus-value carried in it.  It is the universal character of the commodities, the world character of the market, which distinguishes the process of the rotation of the industrial capital. [Marx-- Capital Volume 2, Chapter IV, "The Three Diagrams of the Process of Circulation"]

This "ecumenical" quality, which allows industrial capital to absorb the commodities from all modes of production by measuring them as values creates an  evolutionary dead end for an aspiring bourgeoisie emerging from the relations of exchange. And for the revolutionists emerging in opposition. 

 With agricultural productivity impeded by the hacienda, and the commune; with labor fixed to the land, the domestic market for industrial production atrophies in its very gestation. 

Land reforms, as such, are organized around creating a class of small-property holders; a parody of the myth of a self-differentiating peasantry as the basis for capitalist agriculture.  It wasn't then, and it cannot be now.

The significance of capital encountering the limits of value production is that as a reaction, "productivity" of things, of the "forces of production," is advanced against the emancipation of labor.  Capital is thereby preserved, sustained.

S.Artesian
July 6, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's So Gratifying....

... to know that some people really, really, really stick to their principles; cannot will shall not be moved;  that some retain that spirit of defiance, rebelliousness; that at least one remains who is absolutely unrepentant in his ongoing commitment to left-cartoon capitalism, to the support of those former guerrillas now government executives no matter what that government does.

Last year, it was Alvara Garcia Linea of Bolivia.  This year we get, courtesy of that peripatetic blogger, movie reviewer, and all-around bore Louis Proyect, José Mujica, ex-tupamaro, current president of Uruguay and........guess what?....supplier of military and police personnel to the UN forces occupying Haiti.

Proyect reproduces portions of, and the link to, a particularly noxious puff piece of hack writing on Mujica .

The recent achievement by Mr. Mujica's government that precipitates this adventure in blow-job journalism Proyect provides without comment or criticism is Mujica's bold decision to go where no one has gone before-- except the bourgeois governments of the Netherlands, Colorado, and Washington state, and legalize marijuana.

Isn't that great?  Mujica, guerrilla-entrepreneur turned state capitalist, sees in legalizing marijuana.... revenue streams.  Why allow all that money to go untaxed to drug cartels by keeping marijuana illegal?  Shouldn't the government of the people, by the people, for the people get its fare, I mean fair, share of the long green?  Of course it should.

And with that revenue, Mujica can purchase weapons for the military and police he traffics in with MINUSTAH.  Isn't exchange value a wonderful thing, I mean relationship?  Synchronicity is what markets provide. 

Gives a whole different meaning to the Stoner Rifle.  Can't wait to see the movie, Mujica lights up Haiti.  But don't waste time with Proyect's review. 

SA

May 10, 2014




Saturday, April 26, 2014

And Furthermore...........

Furthermore, Marx's analysis, showing that the conditions that determine the tendency of rate of profit to decline are the conditions that accompany the increase in the mass of profits is developed on the basis of the consideration of the total social capital.

Marx is referring to the total social capital; he is analyzing the development of capital as a totality.

Therefore, furthermore,  the more capitalist production develops, the more capital accumulates, the more it reproduces itself, the more it engages wage labor, the greater the mass, and the lower the rate of profit. This is cold consolation, and no compensation for the capitalists, since the increment of the expansion of value– the rate of accumulation is the be all and end all of value production. As a consequence, the distribution of the mass becomes ever more critical– which is why Marx asserts that competition does not cause the rate of profit to decline; rather the decline in the rate of profit determines and intensifies competition.

As, furthermore Marx says in Vol 3 of Capital ["The Law Itself"] “Previous economists, not knowing how to explain the falling rate of profit, invoked the rising mass of profit, the growth in its absolute amount, whether for the individual capitalist or for the social capital as a whole, as a kind of consolation, but this was also based on mere commonplaces and imagined possibilities.”

How does Marx explain the increase mass of profits?– By a massive increase in capital deployed against, engaging, increased masses of wage-labor:

“When the percentage composition in the previous example was 60c + 40v, the surplus-value or profit on it was 40 and the rate of profit therefore 40 per cent. Let us assume that at this level of composition the total capital was 1 million. The total surplus-value and total profit would then amount to 400,000. If the composition were later to become 80c + 20v, the surplus- value or profit on each 100 would be 20 with the level of exploitation being the same. But the surplus-value or profit grows in its absolute mass, as we have shown, despite this decline in the rate of profit or the decline in the production of surplus-value by each capital of 100 and this growth might be from 400,000 to 440,000 say. This is possible only if the total capital that corresponds to this new composition has grown to 2,200,000.  The mass of the total capital set in motion has risen to 220 percent of its initial value, whereas the rate of profit has fallen by 50 percent. If the capital had simply doubled, then at the rate of profit of 20 percent it could only have produced the same amount of surplus value and profit as the old capital of 1,000,000 did at 40 percent. Had it grown by less than this it would have produced less surplus value or profit than the capital of 1,000,000 did previously, although at its earlier composition this would only have had to grow from 1,000,000 to 1,100, 000 in order for its surplus value to rise from 400,000 to 440,000.

“Here we can see asserting itself the law we developed earlier [ volume 1, chapter 25, 2] according to which the relative decline in the variable capital, and thus the development of the social productivity of labor, means that an ever greater amount of total capital is required in order to set the same quantity of labour-power in motion and to absorb the same amount of surplus labour…”

“A fall of 50 per cent in the rate of profit is a fall of a half. If the mass of profit is to remain the same therefore, the capital must double.” 

And, furthermore,  where does this massive increase in capital come from to generate the massive profits? Where can it come from? With the means of production organized as commodities, as values, it can only come from the expansion of value; it can only come from the expanded and/or intensified exploitation of labor-power.

Hence, furthermore,  at a certain point the accumulation of capital sooner or later reaches a point where it must attempt to drive the wage below the value of labor-power, below its costs of reproduction.

At its apotheosis, capital is nothing but primitive accumulation all over again.

Marx isn't kidding when he says of the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall that that tendency is the most important law of capitalist reproduction.   Furthermore.

April 26, 2014