Bill Gates/Gender, Race and Class - Belated reply

Fri Dec 28 09:27:54 MST 2001

>To have a "Revolution," not a "revolution," all classes would have to come
>together to change the present form of government, economy.....

 >The oppressed low-class workers overthrew their landlords, making life much

>better for themselves, but making life much much worse for their landlords
>and such. This isn't a revolution, it's just switching the class system so
>that the lowest class becomes the highest class and vice-versa.

>A real REVOLUTION, would require all classes uniting to form a greater

>But as we all know, there isn't a great chance that the computer and oil
>tycoons, and all other rich capitalists of today - would join with the low
>classes and sweatshop workers to make things better. Even so, we cannot
start a Revolution, without >them.

>I'm open to any ideas of either how to convince the Bill Gates of today how
>conditions would improve for them.  -Adam

Every since Karl Marx and Frederick Engels unraveled the factors compelling
economic, social, political and ideological changes in society, those who
have adopted the "standpoint of Marx" (Marxism) use a specific methodology to
explain the theoretical basis of their approach to social life. Certain
words, terms and expressions are used that are part of the arsenal of the
standpoint of Marx. Two such words are "objective" and "subjective," which
are used to describe different sides of process development in society.

By "objective" is meant all that in society existing outside the realm of
"thinking" or cognitive functioning. Subjective means the life of the mind,
its processes and how people come to understand nature and reality. The tree
outside my home has an objective existence, which is not dependent upon my
subjective understanding of trees.

Revolution is considered an objective process in the life of society because
is occurs independent of how we subjectively understand what is happening.
Although the objective and subjective side of living are not separated in
real life, and arise as a unity of existence, these categories help us
explain and understand development. Social revolution as an objective process
of development contains "objective and subjective" features. In a sense, we
cannot "make a revolution," although social revolution occurs as the result
of man.

The revolution taking place in society is witnessed and understood by every
section of North American society to be present in the technological
revolution. This technological revolution is changing the face of our society
and compels people to be reorganized on the basis of changes in what Marxist
have called the means of production. The objective side of the revolutionary
process exists in the ceaseless development of social production, which
revolutionize human relations and compels changes in how we see one another
and understand the life of society.

The technological revolution is transforming society. How we understand this
field of transformation is the field of play for "conscious" revolutionaries.
In a real sense Bill Gates emerged as a leader in the objective
revolutionizing of the means of production because under capitalist private
property relations, production is revolutionized on the basis of capital and
its reproduction. Mr. Gates did not create the revolution or for that matter
write the language for the operating system of what evolved into the personal
computer of today. Nevertheless, his directional sense of the moment allowed
him to emerge as a leader in a field where accidental occurrences, chance and
other factors come into play and operate within the objective logic of
development. If the guys at IBM or Hewlett-Packard knew what Gates
understood, there would be no Microsoft, but they didn't fully grasp the
direction and moment.

Karl Marx summed up the objective process of development in society and his
formulation remains the definitive summation of the objective process.

This applied modality was stated in Marx Preface to A Contribution to a
Critique of Political Economy. The proposition is as follows:

    "In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite
relations that are indispensable and independent of their will: these
relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of
their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of
production constitutes the economic structure of society - the real
foundation on which rise legal and political superstructure and to which
correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in
material life determines the general character of the social, political and
spiritual processes of life. At a certain stage of their development, the
material forces of production in society come into conflict with the existing
relations of production, or - what is but a legal expression for the same
thing - with the property relations within which they had been at work
before. From forms of development of the forces of production, these
relations turn into their fetters. Then comes the period of social
revolution." (end)

This summation is considered the objective side of social development and our
task is to understand this real process - that takes place independent of our
will, so that we know the direction of change. The revolution has already
started and it is being televised.

"At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production
in society come into conflict with the existing . . . property relations"
(and) "From forms of development of the forces of production, these
(property) relations turn into their fetters. Then (THEN) comes the period of
social revolution. "

We are living at such a wonderful moment in history. The transitions from
electromechanical to electro digital production processes creates a societal
capacity to reproduce every conceivable kind of commodity and a capacity to
truly feed the world for little or nothing, in terms of the amount of human
labor. Yet, the existing property relations demand blood money for a slice of
bread. Or better "the material forces of production in society come into
conflict with the existing relations of production, or - what is but a legal
expression for the same thing . . . property relations."

How we understand this process is the subjective side of the objective
process that cast men and women on the stage of history as agents of societal
change or reactionaries - those who seek to preserve old property relations
that limit the field of play of the new emerging productive forces.

Actually, "The oppressed low-class workers" did not "overthrew their
landlords, making life much better for themselves, but making life much much
worse for their landlords and such."

The peasants did not and could not overthrow property relations based on
landed private property. Old property relations cannot be overthrown by the
classes that constitute the unity of society, simply because a system of
production relations is not "fair and just." A social system of production
can only be superseded when
"the material forces of production in society come into conflict with the
existing relations of production."  New social forces must come into
existence, whose development cannot proceed without overturning old social

The development of the means of production creates new social forces or
classes that cannot develop without overthrowing the old social power and
constructing a new set of judicial, social and political laws that represent
its interest. At a certain stage in the development of feudal society a
working class and capitalist class began formation. Small areas of exchange
for small-scale commodity production began developing into cities and these
areas did not respect the power and authority of the King - landed private
property. A period of social revolution began unfolding.

The revolution in China occurred under certain specific conditions and was
led by social forces in military combat with the foreign invaders and
enslaver of their numerous peoples. Years ago the state department
characterized the revolution in China as an extremely radical agricultural
revolt, where communist came to power in the context of World War II. The
vision - subjective understanding, of the victorious party - the Communist
Party of China, was a path of development without private property relations.

We are lucky to live during a period of time that has ushered in a new era -
a brand new phase in the development of the means of production, provided we
grasp, as did Bill Gates, the historical moment. The possibility that exist
today did not exist at the time of the triumph of the Revolution in China.
This initial phase in the digitalization of commodity production - the means
of production, confirms your observation but it is formulated in an inexact
and non-Marxist manner.

"This isn't a revolution, it's just switching the class system so
that the lowest class becomes the highest class and vice-versa."

You are calling for the abolition of all classes unconsciously and this is a
real possibility with a qualitatively higher state of the development of the
means of production. The revolutionaries in China, upon assuming political
authority and becoming masters of societies fate, faced a peasant economy and
had to develop steel industry and an entire industrial infrastructure in
order to enter modern civilization, feed the people and raise the overall
culture of China. You can want communism and then have to figure out how to
develop a clothing industry. What about a universal school system? Forget the
school system what about a book manufacturing industry and teaching people to
read so that they understand the books you are trying to print? What about a
transportation system that can move products - which you don't have yet, to
consumers, who are not yet consumers because you must enter industry and make
wages to become a consumer as distinct from a peasant? In other words
industry had to be developed which means the creation of a vast working class
as opposed to peasants.

Yes, in China the classes representing landed property were overthrown as
rulers and the power of the classes that represent modern production came to
power. Capitalist and proletarians began rapid development, locked in an
irreconcilable struggle. The objective side of the revolution in China meant
the development of the means of production - commodity production and its
technological basis, and this is going to give rise to specific property
relations, which becomes the arena of battle between classes and the social
forces representing class interest.

It is true that "A real REVOLUTION, would require all classes uniting to form
a greater nation" until you reach a historical time frame in which the
technological revolution in the means of production renders labor
increasingly superfluous to the production process and begins destroying
classes themselves. We have reached such a moment in history and Marx saw the
moment more than one hundred years ago.

Industrial production is the unity of proletarians and capitalist - classes,
(and - this "and" is important, a certain technological development driven by
a specific energy source that services electro-mechanical processes) as the
primary force of social production. The Soviet Revolution denied the right of
ownership of the primary means of production to individuals and invested
ownership in the state. The intensity of the struggle was generated
internally on the basis of a low development of the means of production and
we can know describe "low" as all forms of commodity production before the
digitalization of the production process. Heck, in 1950 "low" looked like it
was "high" and "high" was what existed.

The destruction of classes means the destruction of property rights and the
task of the proletarian social revolution is not to make permanent the class
ruler ship of the proletariat but to speed society along the path to
abolition of all classes - all property relationships. It is called a
proletarian revolution because the development into the future is drive by
the working class. However, what is meant is the social revolution that frees
all of society from the chains of commodity production. Marx wrote as the
guiding economic and political principle of the social revolution, "To each
according to their need, from each according to their ability".

Under the new mode of production a Bill Gates would still labor 10 - 12 hours
a day, unrestrained by the profit motive and not because that much labor is
needed from the individual, but because people will labor without profit
motive because it is a quest for innovation and love of "doing." Heck, no one
should work more than 3 hours a day right now, but the capitalist must work
you in a manner where they extract more value from your labor-power that you
are paid in the form of wages. It's a little bit more complicated than that,
but that is a discussion for the future.

The vision that is opening up for millions of people is real and based on the
objective side of the revolution. This vision - the subjective side of the
revolution, has to be shaped by the communism of Marx and Engels, founders of
the science of society. Socialism is a science and has to be pursued as a
science - studied. Time to get into those books.

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