[Marxism] (no subject)

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 27 16:14:53 MST 2009


Well, time to wind things up for today, so since I've been thinking about 
Comrade Waistline's post-- hey, can I call you Darryl?--all day,  let me try 
to give him something to think about all night.

I want to produce, first, three of the critical points Waistline makes and 
that form the "mega-historical" backdrop to the discussion:

2. a class created by the very social organization of production at a given 
technological level can never supercede the conditions, the contradictions 
of that level and that social organization.

3. a technological "revolution" bursts the "unity of the contradiction," a 
qualitative transformation occurs from contradiction to antagonism where a 
revolution, and revolutionary class has overcome the pre-existing 
technological limits and social relations.

4. Consequently, no social organization of labor, no class relations, no 
property form is every overthrown due to the accumulation or expansion of 
quantitative changes in its mode of production.  No mode of production 
disappears before it has exhausted its ability to maintain its technological 
basis despite, or because of, the accumulation of quantitative changes as 
those quantitative changes, those ontradictions are the expanded 
reproduction of the system itself.
_______________


Based on those three points, what Waistline develops for us in his theory of 
history, in his movement of class struggle, is not so much a historical 
materialism as it is a mechanistic determinism. And from that determinism, 
we inevitably move to some notions of "fate" and/or "destiny" as the reason 
of and for history, as the reason IN history.  Comrade Waistline's views of 
class struggle appear to have  absorbed large quantities of Calvinism 
where, IMO, Marxism is supposed to be?  And what is it about Marxism that is 
so different?  That a revolutionary struggle is one where a class recognizes 
itself as a class, with a specific relation to production,  to the property 
created by that production, and in and by seizing the means of that 
production, emancipates itself, and all of society,  from the limitations of 
that property, and actually begins to make its own history.  If I could 
italicize I would italicize "by seizing the means of production, emancipates 
itself and all of society from the limitations of that property, and 
actually begins to make its own history."

With that distinction between Calvin and Marx, with that difference between 
"destiny" and emancipation established, it is evident that the critical 
analysis of capital penetrates, grasps, and prepares not for the nth 
variation,  nth/nth eruption of the ultimate technology, but for the 
struggle for that emancipation of accumulated labor and living labor, not 
when capitalism  has exhausted its technological innovation, but when 
capitalism cannot achieve, for itself, what it must achieve to be itself--  
expanded reproduction of value, increased accumulation.

In the actual course of that conflict, of that struggle of classes, of the 
struggle of that one class to begin making its own history, then it is not 
that defeat, setback, obstacles, retreat are always the product of bad 
ideas, of bad leadership, bad leaders, but neither is the defeat, the 
retreat, the setback  fate, or destiny, or pre-ordained.  What the defeat 
means is that the class that finds it necessary to make history, to 
acknowledge, apprehend itself as a class, independent of all other classes, 
has had that process of integration and recognition disrupted, retarded, 
stunted. In circumstances, where classes can make their own history-- bad 
ideas, bad leadershp, conscious opposition to class independence certainly 
can and does play a critical role, just as bad tactics, poor generalship, 
lack of discipline, hesitation, indecision, etc can change the outcome of a 
struggle, any struggle, on a battlefield, regardless of the material forces 
ready and awaiting deployment.  Does the name McClellan and his terrible 
generalship of the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign strike 
the right chord with anybody?

Now this doesn't mean that good generals with good armies with good ideas 
and good tactics will always win.  It does mean that without "good," i.e. 
independent class-conscious formations, armies, without "good,"  meaning 
programs and actions that distinguish the need for a social revoluton from 
the need to preserve, or reform, or mitigate the contradicitions of the 
current order, without "good" tactics, meaning tactics that unite the whole 
class in creating distinct organizations of their own power,  the 
revolutionary class will never be able to make its own history.  It will 
remain disorientated while more than an opportunity is lost.  It will remain 
passive when its very life is threatened..


So.... capitalism in its development and lack thereof produces, conflict, 
contradiction, antagonism..  It may produce that conflict or contradiction 
in the midst of  advanced capitalist appropriation.  It may produce that 
conflict in the midst of entirely less developed capitalist production.  It 
may manifest that conflict,  in capitalism's own inability to vanquish the 
pre-existing relations of land and labor that so inhibit its own 
development.  However the precise the circumstances, the specific 
manifestations are unitary in that all mean that the system cannot 
accumulate, reproduce itself, quickly and largely enough to keep control of 
the "battlefield,"  which in this case is history-- and history being 
nothing but the organization of the social relations of production.

So... if it was "correct" for Soviet policy in China to change "after the 
vicious assault of the KMT,"  then why was it not correct for the Soviet 
policy to have changed before such an event to prevent that assault and the 
destruction of the working class?  Was it destiny?  Was it because of the 
underdevelopment of Chinese capitalism?  Why, if Marxism is indeed Marxist 
and recognizes that capitalism cannot permanently expand itself, and that 
capitalism produces periodic, frequent, erratic, occasional manifestations 
of its own obsolescence regardless of its "technological" age,  isn't the 
class of workers supposed to create their own history whenever, and 
wherever, those manifestations of capital arise?  Is it destiny?  Do the 
workers have to be slaughtered to make the world safe for.... for what? 
Technological advance?  The transition from agriculture to industry?  Such a 
view is not Marxist.  It's  the left-wing analogue to capitalism, which 
pretends to resolve just those contradictions and make those transitions, 
but in reality makes no such transition for agriculture to industry,  as in 
China from 1949-1979, and/or accomplishes what it does based in fact on a 
lowering of productivity [as occurred in the first five year plans in the 
USSR].

Comrade Waistline and I agree on many things.  We agree that the Chinese 
Revolution, and the organization of the economy after the revolution would 
never have occurred without the existence of the USSR.  I think we agree 
that the consolidation of the CCP over the Chinese economy was an organic 
extension of the organization in the USSR.

And we agree that Russia was not America.  Still isn't, and never will be--  
which is a good thing.  The world couldn't stand another USA that's for 
sure.  But we don't agree about the Russian Revolution.  Comrade Waistline 
holds to an analysis that is remarkably similar to that offered by 
Mensheviks directly after the dispersal of the Kerensky government, to that 
offered by most establishment historians-- the workers never seized power, 
the Bolsheviks did.  Of course, the bourgeoisie claim it was coup, not a 
revolution.  But that is not the case, the actions by the MRC of the soviet 
in Petrograd were no conspiracy, but the logical necessity of the prior 
actions of the sovietitself.  And in cities outside Petrograd, the struggle 
was not so quiet and brief-- with fighting lasting several days, with many 
members of the soviet, and workers, standing passively by, but many others 
not.

In another facet of the discussion, Comrade Waistline states, in response to 
a question as to how we know that a society has exhausted its ability to 
develop the productive forces:

"The question is poses as a certain stage of   the development of the 
productive forces. Not a certain stage in the  development  of the property 
form embed in the productive forces."

But that is not the case, for the development of the productive forces is 
carried on within the framework, the restraints [don't think I ever 
indicated property forms were embedded in productive forces], the demands of 
the property form.  It, the development of the productive forces, never 
exists apart from that property form that gives the development life.  It, 
that development, never exists indepently of a class driven to organize 
labor in the form that expresses in all its contradictions, or lack thereof, 
that actual organization of the means of production  AND...what production 
means.    In fact, the property form does not develop embedded in the 
productive forces.  The reverse is the true history.  The productive forces 
developed embedded in the property form-- in the organization of land and 
labor.

To say that productive forces "begin their leap" based on a new 
technological form is to mistake the use-value of the means of production 
with their value as commodities.  The technological form creates no leap in 
either the enhancement or destruction of value that exists separately, 
independently, or qualitatively distinct from all previous technological 
forms that were developed and deployed of, by, and in the social relation of 
production, the concrete organization of labor.  And to prove that... I 
suggest we go back and actually look at the semi-conductor industry, its 
impact on value production, its years of high-growth and extra-ordinarily 
high rates of returns, and compare that to the recent history of 
segmentation of the markets into commodity foundry production, and 
value-added production of microprocessors and chips; of overproduction, 
reduced growth rates, and declining returns, and of cyclical nature of 
subsequent periods within the overall structural change in growth rates and 
profitability.

Certainly we can say capital reaches a zenith.  But to claim capital is only 
vulnerable, permeable to revolutionary overthrow after, or during, or 
because of the peak is ignore the real dynamic, the real dialectic between 
means and relations of production, where the conflict and the potential for 
revolutionary overthrow by a class acting independently to make its own 
history is, and is always, materially immanent-- existing not in thought, 
not in consciousness, but existing, pervasive in the actual processes of 
reproduction.
..
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Waistline2 at aol.com>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 6:26 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] (no subject)


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> 1)  No. If you are referring to Soviet and Comintern policy between  1920
> and 1928, rather then the logic of development of the organization of the
> Chinese communist, Soviet policy should have changed after the death of 
> Sun
> Yat  Sen and the violent assault of the KMT against the Chinese communist 
> and
> workers.  The question of "the Chinese workers" or rather the proletariat
> of China could only be advanced based on the Civil War against the armed
> forces  of aggressive Western and Japanese imperialism and their domestic 
> lackey
> ’s.
>
> 2). Mao triumphed for a complex of reason, including having a cast 
> fighting
> army, that created a doctrine of combat sufficient to survive and defeat
> the  enemy. The fate of the Chinese Revolution was inexorably linked and
> fused to the  victory of Soviet Power, from the moment Sun Yat Sen 
> approached
> hthe Soviets for  help. . The CPC did not represent the backwardness of 
> the
> economy. Rather the  backwardness of the economy found expression in the 
> CPC,
> because victory was  impossible without rallying the peasant masses. The 
> CPC
> represented a complex of  forces - classes, fighting the imperial
> colonizers of China.
>





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