Germany is against dolarization

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at
Fri Jun 30 21:47:10 MDT 2000

En relación a Re: Germany is against dolarization,
el 30 Jun 00, a las 14:38, David Welch dijo:

> So bald
> assertion and waffle substitute for fact. Well the most obvious point
> to make is that first-world proletarians produce more surplus value
> (because of their higher productivity) so while their lives are better
> in absolute terms, they are relatively more exploited.

Of course, I am not trying to produce evidence of who generates more
surplus value per second. This is not what is at stake, and I do
accept that the rate of exploitation in the First World is higher
than same rate in the Third World (though workers in the high tech
plants of imperialist concerns in the Third World (the only ones who
can be compared to those in the First World) are equally productive,
and are paid much lower wages than in the First World.

But the fact is that this higher productivity of labour in the First
World is possible, in the first place, due to extraordinary surplus
value extracted from the periphery which provides the mass of value
that allows the imperialist bourgeoisie to dodge the tendency of the
rate of profit to fall while keeping a high level of mass consumption
at the core. And, in the second place, in absolute terms, those that
are considered in everyday life, it is not necessary to resort to any
Maslovesque hierarchy of needs to realize that workers who still
enjoy many petty bourgeois "pleasures", including vocal and socially
accepted (or at least tolerated) unions, including ownership of cars
and long periods of paid vacations, etc., do clearly understand that
they are privileged as regards the situation of workers in the Third
World. This is what Rhodes had in mind. And this is what Lenin had in
mind, too. Lenin's _Imperialism_ is just a first approach to the
structural, economic basis of the phenomenon, and the social and
political consequences are barely commented there. The policies
proposed by Lenin for the III International in Baku, however, are
proof that he had in mind much more than was written in that great

> it's usually the bourgeoisie who complain about greedy workers.

Now, David, when I fear I can be insulting, I warn my reader before I
state a word of abuse, in order that the intention of not hurting
personal feelings is clear. I hope (and suppose) that you have stated
the sentence above in the same spirit but forgot the warning. It is
under this condition that I answer that (a) I am not complaining
about the greed of workers in the central countries, but I am stating
bluntly that the consciousness that they have of their privileged
situation as regards fellow workers in the Third World has been a far
more serious problem for our movement that we usually tend to admit,
and (b) that while the individual capitalist complains against the
"greed" of HIS OWN workers, the CLASS of capitalists can, in a
central country, realize their capital only through the mass
consumption of those workers (generalized devaluation through wars or
crises excluded), while the deformed structure of extrovert
capitalism characteristic of the Third World takes our bourgeoisies
to seek a permanent destruction of the standards of living of our
working class because they tend to realize their capital outside our
frontiers, in the First World.

> > But all that
> > imperialism is about is avoiding civil war in the core by
> > overexploitation in the periphery. Not news, in fact
> >
> It is to me. Imperialism (as a distinct stage of capitalism) arose
> because the declining rate of profit forces capitalism to change its
> own laws of motion to survive. I would have thought that was an ABC.

The ABC is that the declining rate of profit will not show up itself
as a mathematical entity, but as an objective tendency which will
either imply (a) a Fascistic regimentation of the working class in
order to enforce a higher rate of absolute surplus value, or (b) the
incorporation of surplus value from an external source. Imperialism
is the option (b), since option (a) implies, in shorter or longer
term, civil war at the core. This is what Rhodes (and Lenin) saw.
Lenin, as I said above, explained the way the machine worked, but the
political consequences are far more complex than a "structural
pulsion towards a change in the basic laws of motion of capital".

> You make it sound as though the motivation for capitalism was to
> satisfy the needs of the working class.

To your ears, only. I hope the paragraph above has explained better.

> > But the French proletarians COULD have gone ahead ("with the leaders
> > heading them, or with the leaders beheaded" is a topical Peronist,
> > that is, national revolutionary, saying in Argentina, which many
> > self- appointed socialists should take note of) and, dammit, DO
> > their revolutions after 1945. They did not. One can have a long,
> > long, long conversation on the role played by Stalinism, and so on.
> > But that is to put one's shit at the neighbour's door. The question
> > is "why didn't the workers steer the French CP to the Left"? If
> > someone gives me a better reason than imperialist expoliation of
> > Algeria, Western Africa and Indochina, then I would not say that
> > they did it because they knew that imperialism, though put them in a
> > subordinate and unpleasant place, had worse places reserved for the
> > rest of the working class on this Planet Earth.
> >
> Well having unleashed the Nazis to smash workers' organisations in
> Germany, imperialism waited for them to do the same in most of the
> rest of Europe (and almost the USSR). All of the imperialist countries
> (except Britain and the US) have experienced the 'openly terroristic
> dictatorship of finance capital' this century, not a nice place to be.

The Third World as a whole is experiencing such a dictatorship, even
under "democratic" disguise, since its very beginning. The fate of
workers at the core can hardly be compared, in this sense, with that
of the workers (and unemployed) in the periphery. I do not deny that
Fascism was the answer of capital to the risk of revolution. But it
was just a momentary answer at the core, while -political forms not
essential here- it is the regular recipe abroad.

> It's also misleading to talk about the 'rest of the working class',
> apart from a few industrializing countries like Korea, most of the
> population outside the periphery are either subsistence farmers or
> soldiers.

I won't be very supercillious here, I will relieve you of the burden
of proof. I will accept this assertion above as valid (which is far
to be, IMHO). In that case, this proves nothing, because "subsistence
farmers or soldiers" is the other name of "reserve army" at the
global level. These people are what the limits to social integration,
imposed by imperialism, allows them to be. They are the mass which
presses on workers in the Third World to ensure their wages will be
lower than the wages in the First World, a basic condition of
existence of imperialism. Read Amin's _Unequal exchange_, David,
where all this is explained in full.

All the above said, I want to stress that I do not deny the
difficulties of socialist politics at the core, and that I always
salute any step ahead by workers there. But the ostrich's way (hiding
the head in a hole, excuse me the ostrichs for the trope) is not the
way of revolutionaries. International solidarity of the working class
must, first and foremost, come to grips with the hard fact that, for
instance, the working class in most European countries and in the USA
tends to rally to the calls of their bourgeoisies against the Third
World, and that this attitude DOES HAVE MATERIAL REASONS BEHIND,
strong material reasons.

A hug,

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at
gorojovsky at

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