[Marxism] Marx political economy/notes of consciousness

DLVinvest at cs.com DLVinvest at cs.com
Thu Jun 10 14:05:00 MDT 2004

In a message dated 6/10/04 11:31:52 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 
cbrown at michiganlegal.org writes: 
> CB: It is a lacking in the thinking, beliefs, attitudes of the great mass 
> of
> people. Whether it is a "fault"....
I think it was Werner Sombart who remarked cynically that "socialism in 
America founded on the shoals of roast beef and apple pie..." suggesting that the 
working class, and specifically the organized sector of the industrial 
proletariat, was "bought off' by higher wages (higher proportion of variable capital 
to constant). To the extent this was ever true, the relative exploitation of 
labor in production is only one variable in the formation of class consciousness 
that precedes and results in organization of the class "for itself" from the 
class 'in itself" that is formed in capitalist production and by its 
reproduction and relentless, compulsive (internally driven) expansion across national 
and industrial boundaries. The changes in the technological regime -- induced 
by changes in the composition of capital determined by labor value and yielding 
the tendency for the rate of profit to fall -- do indeed disorganize and 
disorient the working class, and change class consciousness by fundamentally 
changing individual workers' and their families' and whole peoples' and countries' 
relationships to production and to each other. The proletariat is getting 
de-industrialized in the "developed" (industrial and post-industrial) capitalist 
countries, but brought into industrial production by capital where labor is 
disorganized and therefore desperate and therefore realtively cheap. The vast 
majority of the population of the earth is in the final phase of a process that 
will render all but a very few of us humans propertyless in terms of means of 
production, and thus will sharpen all the fundamental contradictions cited by 
Marx between labor and capital, not only anarchy of production/over 
production/unepmployment/"under-consumption", but also the consciousness that these 
contradictions produce. For some, it will be a relative "privilege" just to have a 
temporary job selling labor power for the most meager means of subsistence -- 
in effect, to organize around the demand to be exploited in production rather 
than to starve to death. Will that make for revolutionary class-consciousness 
in say, "nominally socialist" China? If there is a future for us at all, it 
will have to be global, international communism -- "from each according to 
ability unto each according to need." But getting there will take greater 
class-consciousness of all who own nothing but their ability to work -- that is, of 
their essentially propertyless status and how that relates to a class that rules 
because it owns means of production -- and whether they are working or not at 
any given moment will affect their consciousness and the multiracial and 
international alliances that will be necessary to ovethrow the capitalist state(s) 
and the property relations they enforce, anywhere and everywhere we can. It's 
time we started organizing a political formation -- call it a party or what 
you will -- that will raise this idea whenever and wherever we can.

Douglas L. Vaughan, Jr.
for Print, Film & Electronic Media
3140 W. 32nd Ave. 
Denver CO 80211

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