[Marxism] Consumer Culture - 3/dialectics
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Sat May 1 08:16:38 MDT 2004
In a message dated 4/30/2004 3:25:58 AM Central Standard Time,
emusis at adelphia.net writes:
>But here's a proposition for debate:
"The fundamental contradiction in the world today is between capitalist
production -- its dynamic compulsion to grow or die -- and the capacity of the
earth to sustain it without exhausting itself and the environment that sustains
all life, and therefore between the rule of capitalists and the survival of
life itself, including especially the rest of humanity as that form of life
conscious of the threat and capable of choosing between utopia or oblivion " <
The law of the unity and strife - struggle, of opposities or contradiction
deals with 'movement and self movement' or internally necessary movement - the
principle of self movement of things. We are speaking of the contradictory
motion within a thing or process and not forms of external collision: This
includes capitalism colliding with the metabolic logic of the earth. The external
collision of a system of production with the metabolic process of earth has been
written about by Marx and Engels, but from the standpoint - in my opinion, of
how the metabolic process creates the form of resolution of contradiction.
This external collision does not create the resolution - at best only its form.
What is being challenged is not the need for urgent action against
environmental destruction on all fronts of the economic, social and political spectrum?
Before retiring in 2001 a series of reports and statements from "Clay Ford"
concerning the Ford Motor Company commitment to the Green Revolution were
issued. CHrysler had won several "Green Awards" the previous year. I worked at
Chrysler Mound Rd. Engine in Detroit and the plant was closed in 2002, with two new
Engine plants built in Detroit - Mack Ave. Engine I & II. These new plants
were given awards as being "Green Friendly." In relationship to the last
generation engine plants, the bourgeoisie can claim a relative "Green Friendly." In
relationship to the automobile as the embodiment of bourgeois production these
plants cannot be green friendly because the metabolic processes of the earth
are already breached. The logic of the bourgeoisie is equivalent to telling an
alcoholic that his problem can be solved by switching brands or drinking less.
A resolution of alcoholism requires total withdrawal from that, which makes
I of course favor a fuel cell power plant as a transition measure, as a
partial resolution of auto emissions. I do not advocate halting automotive
production but rather abolishing the property basis that cast individual
transportation as a society need. There is a place for automobiles - private
transportation, on earth.
The above philosophic formulation, which is the philosophic expression of the
late Comrade Mark Jones thesis, poses the question incorrectly and
consequently non of the advocates have actually traced the origin of "needs" that is the
underlying impulse for why society is configured on this basis. All of the
Comrades see the problem.
The "fundamental contradiction in the world today" remains within bourgeois
production and cannot magically "leap" outside the logic of bourgeois
production on the basis of external collision between the metabolic process of the
earth and a system of production.
The danger in any exposition of dialectics consists in several factors.
Exposition always takes place in a given boundary of the development of the
productive forces, which forces certain feature of the process to come to the fore.
During the time of Lenin and Stalin brief expositions of dialectics
concentrated on the relationship between quality and quantity and even Leon Trotsky's
"ABC of Marxism" is written from this standpoint. Stalin's "Dialectical and
Historical Materialism" is a reasonable guide for the beginner, with no history of
philosophy. A more advanced exposition in history is "A Textbook of Marxist
Philosophy" prepared by the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy (1937). This text
is dated by excellent compared with other expositions written in the time
frame of 1935 - 1940.
The last book I read on Marx method was "Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in
Marx's Method" by Bertell Ollman, which is written for a somewhat different
audience than industrial workers and those with a less than High School education.
One can consult on line the Institute for the Study of the Science of Society
for expositions of dialectics, written in American English for our workers.
The issue of external collision has a prime place in dialectics and the class
struggle in real time and real life. "Real life" means as we live out our
daily activity. External collision is the result of contradiction being replaced
by antagonism and this is marked as an increased polarization and breach
between the two basic components - opposites, that constitutes the internal
compulsion. Contradiction does not become antagonistic but is replaced by antagonism
as a form of resolution.
For instance the proletariat does not become the bourgeoisie, but rather
abolishes itself as proletariat, and along with him the bourgeoisie.
Labor and capital - bourgeoisie and proletariat as forms of property, are the
irreducible elements of bourgeois production. How this process takes place
is what Marx calls society moving in class antagonism. At this stage of
capital - which is not devolution, the proletariat and bourgeoisie takes on new
features. The emergence of speculative capital to leader of the world total social
capital is characterized as an enormous mass of capital that has in fact
broken its connection with the production process or the production of
commodities. This capital is not commercial paper or bonds mirroring, trailing or in
front of investment in production. This is not speculative activity of all the
previous eras, or quantitative boundaries in the expansion of bourgeois
production. We are taking about the existence of a mass of capital absolutely outside
of production and its owners are regarded as capitalist. Marx noted the
beginning of this development in Volume 2 of Capital, the system of credit capital.
This capital outside of production exists as the polar opposite of a
communist class or class of proletarians outside - more than less, the production
process. These two poles of capital are unlike labor and capital in the production
process because their is no bond or connecting tissue between them. These
extreme expressions of polarity exist in external collision by default.
Contradiction is replaced by antagonism.
The external collision is not the need of capitalism to expand versus the
carrying capacity of the earth ("the capacity of the earth to sustain') or the
"mysterious crossing over" of the internal logic of bourgeois production into a
contradiction outside its own self movement.
Let us look at this speculative capital in its external relations to labor
and capital deployed in the process of production. Comrade Jurriann provided
some excellent material on this subject.
>"the money game players have been so successful in creating play money that
for every $1 now circulating in the productive world economy of real goods and
services, it is estimated that there is $20 to $50 circulating in the world
of pure finance--"investment"
funds completely delinked from the creation of real value.
In the international currency markets alone, some $800 billion to $1 trillion
changes hands each day--unrelated to productive investment or trade in actual
goods and services [i.e. an annual capital flow of around $300 trillion]
(...) The world's 200 largest industrial corporations, which employ only one-third
of one percent of the world's population, control 25 percent of the world's
economic output. The top 300 transnationals, excluding financial institutions,
own some 25 percent of the world's productive assets. Of the world's 100
largest economies, 51 are now corporations--not including banking and financial
institutions. The combined assets of the world's 50 largest commercial banks and
companies amount to nearly 60 percent of The Economist's estimate of a $20
trillion global stock of productive capital."<
Let us look at some features of the communist class.
>"Globally, as many as 1 billion people fail to meet life's basic
requirements as defined by the UN. About three-fifths of the world's population in
developing countries live without sanitation. About one-third live without safe
drinking water. One-fourth lack adequate housing; one-fifth live without modern
health services; one-fifth of their children don't make it through fifth
grade; an equal number are malnourished.
Water shortage and contamination kill nearly 25,000 people a day. Diarrhea
kills nearly 4 million children every year. In Bolivia, when the US
multinational Bechtel tried to privatize the water supply, a revolution was sparked.
Now, we can add Bolivia to the list of countries that don't like our policies.
In addition to global inequality, the United States is also experiencing
domestic inequality. According to the US Census, more than 34 million Americans
now live below the poverty line. That's almost 2 million more impoverished
than in 2001. Over 16% of our children live in poverty, almost double the
figures for 2001. The Veterans Administration estimates that on any given night
300,000 veterans sleep on America's streets. The VA estimates that during the
year as many as half a million veterans experience homelessness.
Conservatively, one out of every four homeless males who is sleeping in a doorway, alley, or
a cardboard box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and
served our country."
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