exploitation (Dayne)

Greg Schofield gschofield at one.net.au
Wed Jun 20 01:28:34 MDT 2001


Nestor good to hear from you.

I think we may find some little disagreement here but it will be
interesting chatting about it I hope.

I have got myself involved with some lengthy postings, and as you have sent
such a short and concise reply I thought I might continue in the same
conversational way.

> > The pertinent bit is that it can easily be read two ways; 1) that is
> there is no
> > worker's party because they gaily share in the feast or; 2) they share
> in the
> > feast because there is no workers party
>
>I guess a materialist would opt for explanation (1).

I had hoped I had made the two different readings fairly summed-up. And I
would agree that, as posed, number one looks the most inviting. However,
the choosing between the readings hangs a separate question.

Accepting vast amounts of surplus extracted from the "colonies" reaches the
homeland how it is actually deployed becomes the critical thing - afterall
one way of deploying it - the imperial party idea, is very different from
staging the bread and circuses while buying off the leadership idea.

One assumes the the surplus being of some direct benefit, the other of some
benefit but for the most part indirect. The fact of benefit is not in
dispute, just the nature and thereby the effects of it.

My view would be that the general wealth of the imperial home (in its
classical form - Britain rather than old Spain) derived from higher
productivity gained by greater investment that some, but not all, derived
from the surplus gained from the colonies. This is an indirect disbursement
of that surplus. Of the general surplus thus generated, leaders were
brought-off - mainly through "good-works" sometimes directly - however, the
higher standard of living in the imperial homeland where it pertained (not
evenly spread even here of course) was a result of class struggle within
the context of higher productivity brought about by investment in the means
of production (the opposite usually happening in the colonies - as a result
of imperial policy - again uneven in its application).

The question I would pose now turns on this, that the dismantling of the
working class party (or rather its derailing) was in order to dampen
proletarian struggle, hence the benefit was not all that beneficial and in
fact it was an effort to retard the growth in their standard of living and
as political threat.

Enjoying the feast becomes in that context the only reasonable action -
mind you it is not their feast, but they are allowed to gnaw on discarded
bits. Likewise the bourgeois ideology of the proletariat which is always a
condition which corresponds to their political disorganisation in the first
or third world.

My question is then that this pushes the most material option towards
interpretation 2, unless another path is located for how surplus got to the
imperial working class. Is there another path?



>However, it is obvious that the ways in which the Western proletariat is co-
>opted by the imperialist bourgeoisie can be multiple _except for_ a final cut
>in extraction of surplus value. And this is the basic point here. Workers in
>the First World are exploited (in a sense, _more_ exploited than most -
>absolutely not all- workers in the Third World) and this exploitation is a
>qualitative issue, not a quantitative one.

The actual experience of exploitation I don't think is ever comparable in
this you are absolutely right for it is from this qualitative experience
that the particular struggles take on their particular form. I might be
empahsising the same pressures, but this takes place in vastly different
contexts. An aspect of this I will try and treat below.

>It is hard, however, not to take into consideration the fact that the
>_reality_
>of plunder abroad and redistribution within frontiers is an important
>_material_ element in the formation of working class consciousness in the
>core.
>Most forms of working class racism stem from this concrete fact.

Working class racism has material roots (obviously not in racial
differences). I have seen it flare up disgustingly and also evaporate. I
would forget altogether the question of surplus and its distribution in
this as being anything other than a stage setting and would distinguish two
forms of racism as I have been able to distinguish it.

The first is bourgeois racism, the racism which for the most part is
articulate and consists of inter-related ideas. Depending on political
organisation and experience you don't have to go too far to experience
this. I am sure striking up a conversation with any workers near your home
and it would not take too long before some mangled version was pronounced
(of course this will vary from country to country - but the third world is
not immune to it by any measure - talking to Balinese workers will soon
touch on dislike of Javanese and Sumatrans as a race -despite the fact that
little racial difference is discernable).

Sectional divisions should be expected and these are most likely to light
on any distinguishing characteristic and they can be violent as we all know.

However, similar to this is that second form of racism, a racism born of
competition for work, the racism that appears so ingrained in North
American character. This is a practical racism which must be fought
practically, it is not about redressing ideas but forming real bonds of
solidarity for the practical purpose of bettering conditions co-jointly.

It is not difficult to find aspects of this, but I have been surprised to
find amongst many Australian workers where industries have gone overseas,
have not expressed the sort of racism, that in passion, one might expect -
I see this as a very good sign of things to come.

Greg Schofield
Perth Australia




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