law of value--Chris B.

neil 74742.1651 at
Sun Oct 13 18:15:41 MDT 1996

dear  chris,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

On the law of value:

I meant that the law of value is an expression of the fact  that it is really
the application
of human labor that imparts EXCHANGE value to different  products. The law of
shows that the EXCHANGE value of a commodity is determined by the amount of
necessary (average) labor time expended  to produce that commodity. Hence the
law of value
is an economic law that governs the exchange of commodities. So its existence
and relevance to
a society depends on the extent the exchange of commodities dominates the
economic base
on which that society rests.

Commodity production existed before capitalism rose, but under capitalism
commodity production
is an essential feature. This especiall y  for the commodity human labor power.
The law of value in capitalism is are a reflection of the actual social
relations , private property and class divisions.
Labor power now being a commodity , it is subject to the same laws as all other
but labor power is the source (hidden) of value and the wages system hides also
the fact of the creation of surplus value, profits.

But under socialism, social relations under go revolutionary changes, we will
phase out  wage labor, money  and the production of commodities. Production will
then be for human needs, and this should be determined by all the useful
producers ourselves. Hence with ending of class divided society , the law of
value will no longer operate as this huge albatross aroung the neck of the
collective working class.

This cannot happen overnight and will be the key to socialist success in the
transition period.
After revolution, we may have to temporaily use some kind of labor cards showing
the work the productive  workers contribute their quantity (minimum) to the
social store to be able to take from it.
The labor cards should not be money --as they should not circulate. We need to
phase money out.
In developed socialism, the labor cards will be phased out too, if not sooner.

In real socialism , not state capitalist fraud,  means of production and
distribution  will be social property,
production is planned -for use, a new set of social relations in process, the
law of value
will be a relic of the past.

On So. Africa and worldwide , the real classic  "bourgeois democratic
revolution" is not possible is this period of finance and monopoly like they
were in the 18th-19th cent.. Imperialist realtions are dominant, bourg.
nationalist groups a la the ANC, etc. can only operate as pawns of   imperialist
states/groups who prop them up as long as they will smash up and otherwise
control workers resistance to capitalist robbery. They are then allowed a share
of the booty and trade and "aid".
Interestingly,So.Africa IS industrially quite  developed so it has  a large
working class and it is possible to
have actual direct struggle for socialist revolution there.

On mass struggle,

In the  workers and social movements, revolutionaries work to take the struggle
to the highest level that is possible to challenge class rule. Reformists try to
put brakes on the movement and treat it like a faucet,
supporting opening up for  struggle as pressure against reaction but when their
liberal and soc. democratic
smooth talkers throw down a few loaves of bread and pass out some poverty jobs,
the reformist do all they can  turn down the steam & pour cold water on the
movements (from the inside) and objectively act as agents of bourgoisie to make
sure matters do not really get out of hand for capital.
I guess the arch-reformist USA , the late Mike Harrington said it suavely , "we
seek not to destroy the flag but instead to cleanse it' ,or more crudely,  the
social democrat  F. Ebert in Germany circa 1919 when he united with the right
wing ,"I hate revolution like I hate sin".

On the UN:

This is one of the biggest mystifications of the "left" in the world.
This outfit was set up by the victorious imperialist powers of  WW2. Its
structure  still reflects this and so by the way do most of  its military
"peacekeeper' intervention policies!
It can send the powder blue helmets blazing into the Korean peninsula, the
Congo, the Mid east, etc.
It can embargo and ostracise some  regional bullies, Iraq, etc..
But when it comes down to opposing the big imperialists intrigues, even open
aggression, the US on  Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Panama , US Native People
etc.,  Russia on Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Indonesia in E. Timor, the UNs learned
diplomats sit  there issuing pacifist platitudes  and begging alms from the big
powers to secure ther votes-or silence in their crimes..
The UN serves the biggest capital and militarists that fund it. It has some
agencies that provide needed social services. This does not however mean that it
should be painted up in any kind of liberation of masses colors.

I did not  say we are even  in a pre revoilutionary period, far from it. Of
course the workers rising struggles
on a wolrd scale can however give rise to this once again. These are mainly
defensive and necessary today
but  if they can get to higher political/ organizational levels, gain some
victories , the mass movemnts can  grow again  & take the  strategic initiative
and directly challenge the bourgeois state rule.

I cannot see any "existing socialism" in power  in the world today.
The old state cap. regimes have collapsed  or are collapsing and most  the old
communist movements have  disintegrated.
New  revolutionary parties need to be built along with industrial organizations
as well, & this will not be
an easy process, but renewed mass struggles and communist groups  can lay the
basis for it.

You are correct that we need a serious political  balance sheet that exposes the
mistakes and failures of our past experience as well as the plusses..


     --- from list marxism at ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list