Ron Press anclondon at
Sun Jun 4 09:01:01 MDT 1995



I was in Moscow a few years after the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Told to me by a party member.

An American stands beside his big car in a Moscow street. "You
Russians have nothing like this. This is the way to travel in

Russian. " When we travel we use tanks"

The context is important. To  me the listener,  it was an
important way for the party comrade to criticize the invasion. It
was "Legal" non punishable. To the Czechoslovakian it would not be
funny at all.

I have found humor to be a powerful weapon in public meetings.
There is nothing better than to make the opposition appear
ridiculous. Such criticism is much more acceptable than simple
cold logic.

I have also found that in every country there is a group marked
out for the butt of jokes. In South Africa it was " Van der Merva
" jokes. He was the stupid one. It was not against a class or a
religion. It was subtly against the Nationalists. In East Germany
there was some northern province or region that all the stupidity
resided. In the UK it is the Irish.

Humor is a tool and like all tools it has it's uses and abuses.


>>>>>>>>>>>>> Labor theory of value.

Justin Schwartz <jschwart at>

it, is a useful one in the context of understanding
exploitation--in particular in the notion of surplus value as a
qualitative notion. Exploitation is (wrongful) appropriation of a
surplus produced by labor

The above snippet caught my eye.

I have always wondered at the inability of workers by brain, or
workers on relatively high salaries to say that they are not
exploited but that the manual laborers, the low paid are. The
third world workers are heavily exploited but exploitation is
eliminated in their own countries, USA UK etc.

If VALUE is thought of as that produced by LABOR and added to this
is a qualitatively different thing INTELLECTUAL EFFORT, then

1) it explains to me why workers by brain do not so easily
understand the marxist politician when they say that intellectuals
are exploited.

2) it also leads on to the suggestion that trade unions should
when talking to brain workers (Managers, programmers, graphic
artists......) should talk of the expropriation of  INTELLECTUAL

3) This creates a unity between the two categories of workers,
those mainly by physical labor and those mainly by intellectual

Comments please!!!!


The discussion on the question of constitutions and
capital/socialism seems to me to have mixed up two things. This is
perhaps peculiar to the US constitution.

Rights, and structures.

The Constitution of the old USSR was very democratic in parts. It
was useless because the democratic parts were never used.

The Constitution of the old Bop (A Bantustan in South Africa) was
non racist and quite democratic.

Constitutions are more often abused than used.

Human rights are another thing.

The right to life, free speech,  housing, a job,

I know there are several layers of such rights. They depend on the
political era of their institution. At the birth of Feudalism
there certain human rights were recognized which had been denied
under slavery. Similarly there was an expansion of human rights
under capital. There was an expansion of human rights under the
forms of socialism that came into being, The right to education,
health care, a job as examples. One of the problems was that some
of the rights won under capital were taken away under the form of
socialism developed.

In the USA as I understand it the constitution with it's
amendments is both a constitution and a bill of rights. These
apply to a capitalist system.

Some of the rights will apply to a socialist system as well but
socialism must expand the scope of human rights above and beyond
those at present in the USA.

Ron Press.

PS. Albi Sachs one of the Big noises now in the Supreme court in
SA has written extensively on human rights in SA. He was the one
who had his arm brown off by a fascist bomb in Mozambique during
the struggle.


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