[Marxism] The criticism of religion [was: RE: Vnzla:reasonstobeoptimistic]

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Wed Aug 29 19:56:20 MDT 2007

> > However, you apparently presume that such a progressive agenda is
> > within the reach of the Green party, but not the Democratic Party.
> That's right. This is based on an analysis of the post-1970s
> capitalist economy, which is driven by cutthroat competition between
> the US and its rivals. As Bill Clinton said in describing his DP,
> "we are all Eisenhower Republicans". By comparison to Clinton, Nixon
> was a second coming of FDR. To hell with all of them, I say.

I don't think you quite got my point. To put it simply, why isn't the
Green party as much a capitalist party as the Democrats? I'm not
suggesting that folks shouldn't support it for that reason, but that,
everything else being the same, it means that effective political
action is carried out within the structures of capitalism and on the
whole serve to develop capitalism.

Political movements that don't have electoral victory as their short
term aim are consciousness raising efforts or are merely tactical
spoilers (which are not at issue here).

So what is to be done? The political system is clearly set up to
promote the interests of capitalism as its primary aim. Politics is
not the institutionalization of ideas, but of power. If revolution
were on the agenda, a person could reasonably work for that, but if it
is not (I'm not as pessimistic about that as some are here), then
there seems only one sensible thing to do, and that is to become
engaged with the most progressive force available that has a real
possibility to win power or change things. If the Greens are that,
then by all means support them. But no one should suffer from the
illusion that the Greens are not a capitalist party.

My point was that we challenge capitalism by engaging and developing
it, for it is a contradictory system, and the more it develops, the
sooner it will collapse. When its contradiction has sufficiently
deepened (as I happen to believe it really has), then it becomes
possible to mount serious challenges to the system. But such a
challenge must at the very least challenge the regime of private
property in the principle means of production. 

> > Also worth noting is that not a single point in Camejo's plan
> > threatens the capitalist system; they only aim to reform and thus
> > strengthen that system. By voting for Cameja (which I'm assuming
> > is a good thing to do), are you therefore implicitly "supporting"
> > the capitalist system?
> Actually, to strengthen the capitalist system today involves attacks
> on single-payer type health plans as well as all the other safety
> nets associated with the New Deal. The Democrats want to "reform"
> Social Security, have already dismantled welfare, etc. Now there are
> Democrats who say that they are opposed to this and attack the Green
> Party for being spoilers. They function like the "outside man" in 3
> card monty.

Do I understand you correctly that a single-payer health plan is
hostile to capitalism? Of course it isn't. If it were adopted, the
capitalist system would remain virtually unchanged, only now medical
services would be distributed more efficiently or
equitably. Capitalism is not greed; it rests upon the private
ownership of the means of production. How medical costs are paid has
nothing to do with that as far as I can see, for it only involves how
services should be paid for.

New Deal safety nets? Roosevelt was a capitalist, obviously, and his
aim was to restore health to capitalism, obviously. He tried to do
that with safety nets, or with a WPA, or with Social Security,
etc. That Democrats these are dismantling New Deal legislation does
not make them any more or less capitalist than those who wish to
preserve those gains.

_All_ capitalist societies require state intervention to protect and
promote the capitalist system. Capitalist countries that are currently
ahead of the US or are comparable to the US in gross economic terms,
have far more state intervention. Sociologists suggest that the gross
inequality of wealth that is growing the world over, is going to be
very destabilizing. Since those inequalities are not what makes
capitalism tick, you could well bring everyone down to about the same
economic level without any effect on the capitalist system than to
improve the health and stability of capitalism. Just look at some
North European examples. 

I don't see how the question that came up can be addressed at all
without an understanding of the capitalist system, including its
strengths and liabilities.

       Haines Brown, KB1GRM


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