The Geography of Class Struggle

Scott Marshall Scott at
Mon Jul 10 08:32:15 MDT 1995

>A) I am not convinced that the strategy pursued by Scott here can meet the
>challenge that Leo posed. It seems to me to be the wrong level of analysis.
>Leo asks what is the relation between industry and international finance
>capital and Scott responds that there are still steelworkers. I simplify
>somewhat, but it is not far from the essence of Scott's reply.

Scott: Yes Howie it is the essence of my reply, but the above is *not* the
essence of Leo's assertion. Leo maintains that basic manufactoring workers
are so desimated as a part of the US working class as to be of no importance
in revolutionary strategy. I'm arguing that they remain essential to a
winning strategy.

>B) Much depends on what one means by the "basic commodities that are
>necessary to human life." First, this would not seem to be a strong
>assertion on behalf of the case that Scott is trying to make. If what we are
>talking about is the production of the most basic necessities of human life
>then we are not talking heavy industry, but agriculture, where the relations
>of production and class analysis become muddied by such phenomena as peasant
>labour and small independent farmers. Second, it strikes me as a surprising
>assertion from someone who has a long experience of work. The fundamental
>importance of the working class does not depend on what is produced (i.e.
>whether it produces essential or inessential commodities) but on how it is
>produced and what this imposes on the people who do the producing.
Scott: On essential commodities - we've reached a certain cultural level
that 'requires' a good deal more than food. Housing, transportation,
recreation, communications, education are all, IMO, essential commodities
for modern life. Heavy and manufactoring industry is essential to the
production of all these human needs commoditites, including in the era of
monopoly agribusiness, food production. (There's not much peasant or even
small farmer labor left in your corn flakes).

As some one who has a long history of manufactoring work, and who has also
been a Communist for many years I believe that while how we are treated and
exploited is important, so is a strategic concept of how to bring the system
down. Revolution, involving the overthrow of a modern monopoly capitalist
state requires some idea of where to find the key revolutionary forces.

Third, if
>one then considers the strategic importance of what is being produced, which
>is an important consideration in its own right, one would have to conclude
>that Windows 95 is more important to US capital than the output of any group
>of mills.

I know this is conventional wisdom in some circles, but see little evidence
that this is so. For example would you say that the whole of the software
industry makes more money than the whole of the steel industry. I don't
believe the facts would bear you out. Or if you're saying that the software
that might be used in the production process is more important than the rest
of the production process including the human labor, then I would say that
again you are wrong. This of course has been the capitalist vulgar argument
since the time of Marx. IE: my looms add as much or more value to my product
as the workers who operate them. Whereas the production of the looms as well
as the production of software involved exploited human labor that is then
also transfered to the final value of the end product.

Certainly Bill Gates became a billionaire by exploiting the brain power of
many severely underpaid programmers *and* the low wages of the production
workers who manufactored the floppies, printed the manuals, produced the
packing materials, drove the delivery vans and trucks etc etc.

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