What to do.

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Sat Jan 28 04:14:37 MST 1995


Hi
Could I contribute to the making of Shit. I have done it all my life so there is
no reason for stopping now.

1) I can understand the soul searing problem of being a revolutionary in the
US of A. I was in New York for 36 hours once and my abiding impression
was that nothing could be done but to break it all down and begin again.
This is not a viable approach.  I can see it from the academics point of view
as well. They are likewise not free they have to earn a living.

Any of us who have been in the struggle will have experienced these
problems.

One thing however is sure. All the academic discussions and debate will not
only not solve anything but will come to the wrong conclusions if the
intellectual looses touch with those who he/she is trying to help or
understand.

One of my most abiding experiences is when in 1959 I was banned from
political work but was asked to talk to African workers about socialism. I
explained the Marxian arithmetic of exploitation. I was amazed in that not
only was it so easily grasped, but at the joy in their faces when they realised
that what they knew in their hearts, was right after all.

>And there is the concern that circumstances and miseducation have
>created a working class which lacks the time, skill, or inclination to read
>anything we might write, even if it's about the Greens.

I cannot believe that even in the US of A a socialist has lost totally the ability
to (not talk to the working people) to learn from the working people and
discuss with them. If this is true. Please let me know and I will give the only
advice possible under those circumstances "commit suicide" not a viable
alternative.

>As for avoiding academicism, I think the issue is to decide what
>are the philosophical questions that really matter, and whom do
>you feel you have to answer to, if anyone?

I agree. If we are Marxists we are answerable to the workers. But not them
alone. We are answerable to all the people. That includes the Greens, the
Feminists, ...

> But he did not drag himself down to the level of the gutter -- say, to the
>level of liberation theology or feminist anti-science -- revelling in
>irrationalism and the impotence of intellect.

If you want to clean up the sewer you have to get down into it with a shovel.

When you do you find very nice people. As CRIMJP at rascal.guilford.edu
said in his very much appreciated "in praise of shit."

2) Crisis of capital.

>Total expenditure =
>  workers consumption +
> capitalist consumption +
>trade surplus +
>investment

>Total income = wages + profits

>since total income = total expenditure
>and since he assumes that workers do not save,
>he obtains

  >  total profits = capitalist consumption +
   >                 trade surplus +
>                 investment """"""""""

I seems to me that the above equations, the general discussions, and the
surveys of British economic and social statistics, as well as the plight of the
third word all point to

a) Capitalism survives on a never ending spiral of expansion. This cannot
go on for ever. This tendency for expecting expansion to solve all our
problems is also a strong current in the thinking of Socialists. In South
Africa, this is one of the dangers inherent in the Reconstruction and
Development Program.

The latest buzz word Sustainable growth is a bit better.

>This is in its own way an underconsumptionist perspective,
<but it has the ironical outcome that it predicts that a
>capitalist system will tend to grow faster than a planned
>one (or rather, it explains the observed phenomenon, without
>reference to circumstantial fact--the purges, etc., which
>also played a part in reducing growth).

In the early decades of the USSR the rate of expansion of the economy was
phenomenal. A planned economy works well for an underdeveloped country.
Witness the effect of governmental intervention in South Korea, Taiwan,
Malasia. Whilst not a planned economy there is a strong protectionist and
govermantal intervention.

b) Growth leads to a widening at the gap between rich and poor. This does
not necessarily mean that the poor get poorer. It does mean that the rich get
relatively richer. Especially in the third world.

The gap between the US of A and the rest of the world is obscene. Look at
the use of resources, at the energy used and the waste produced. The
figures are an affront to humankind.

The rate of exploitation of the workers and the rate of profit ala Marx needs
looking at more closely as has been done by Moshe Markover  & E Farjoun
in their  book,  the "Laws of Chaos." Verso 1983. Reality is a bit more
complex than Marx anticipated but he was not basically wrong.

>The "increasing misery" thesis, so often mocked by Marxists and
>non-marxists alike, is underlined by the intensity factor, already

It matters not if there is some dispute about if the misery in increasing or not.
There is still too much unnecessary and manmade misery about.

c)
>(For me, the most interesting philosophical questions have to do with
>the Green challenge to Marxism.

I agree. The crisis is that the expansion will go on in an uncontrolled manner
until the bubble bursts with shattering consequences.

Ecological problems, gene manipulation, ozone holes, pollution, stock
market crashes, the unemployment problem, Rwuanda, Bosnia, Somalia.

No Crisis.

God help us when the crisis comes.
d) That is where the problem lies. Where do we find this God.

> Does anyone want to talk about what happened to Lenin's
>workingclass philosophy once it was established in Soviet party and
>educational institutions, where the masses were forced to learn it and
>believe it and not dispute it?

The god:-- an all powerful communist party , a statutory vanguard, and a
planned economy.

3) There is no GOD there are only human beings. Greens, workers,
academics, communists, socialists..so called decent people. Feminists, do
gooders, reformists, anarchists, trotskyites, religious fundamentalists,
nutters .

The system, the capitalist system, sits there manipulating all of them.

As Milton said in Paradise lost "CHAOS high arbiter sits making chaos worst
confounded".

For Chaos read Capital, and you have it.

For socialists we must encourage and recognise the development of a new
system where CHAOS is replaced by Socialism and it sits making chaos
less confounded.

How to do it.

It seems to me that there is developing a new system. The greens, the Anti
Vietnam war movement, the Anti-Racists, the Environmentalists, all are
taking or have taken a hand and made chaos less confounded. In their
midst were the communists, the socialists, the theoreticians.

There is no God only us. We gotta get organised.

I hope, I believe, there is somebody out there listening.

There must be.

On Friday I witnessed a miracle. A real honest to god miracle.

In the South African High Commission in London, There was held a
memorial meeting to honour Joe Slovo, a communist a revolutionary who
helped lead a guerilla army against the racist in South Africa. Present were
those who planned his assisination, those who murdered his wife Ruth First,
Present was a priest who condemned the Christian who tried to kill this
achiest.

The age of miracles is not past.

Ron Press.
A voice from the mast but not yet an ancestor



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