[Marxism] Voting with feet, not commendable in Argentina
xxxxxxx99 at xxxxxxx.xxx
Sat Sep 5 14:53:12 MDT 2009
First, I’d like to apologize to everyone for the stupid video I sent. It’s a song: “who do you think you are?” by the spice girls, I was just trying to poke some little fun at the question Nestor asked me “who do you think you are?”, but I’ll promise I’ll be more serious from now on, I mean, more dialectical materialist, sorry.
Lueko asked me if saying that the CCP personified the interests of capital was all I was planning to add. It’s not like I want to digress from the first question I posed to Nestor, or Lueko too, I suppose (CCP ‘using’ capitalism, etc. etc.) but I did share an article by Martin Hart-Landsberg and Paul Burkett on how transnational accumulation undercuts the scale to which productivity is expanding in China, and I’ll leave the other ‘less important’ FDI issues aside for now. It’s from the (prissy) historical materialism journal but I think these guys are the ablest I read so far on China and, you know, it’s free, just a click. Yes, I didn’t pick out relevant quotes; I guess that makes me a lazy bastard.
Here it is again: http://legacy.lclark.edu/~marty/China%20Transnational%20Accumulation.pdf
But just what does accumulation mean? –and it’s not like I’m trying to sound arrogant pretending you don’t know, it’s that I like to have things clear, you know, considering that the “issue” of value was one of the most disputed problems in Marxist theory. As S.Artesian has been painstakingly trying to explain, it’s wrong-headed to look at capital as an agglomeration of use-values (GDP and shit like that, what has to be measured is how the mass of value has evolved and I’m not quite sure, nor have the time to go back at them right now, but I don’t think this was duly considered in previous posts) capital is a social relation, viz. the autonomized self-valorization of the commodity form in which private and independent labor is socially metabolized. And where does accumulation come from? It comes from the separation of the workers from the conditions of production. So when one looks at HSR, the important thing to consider is how these conditions are exacerbated. Since surplus-value originates in the production process it is also important to look at how labor relations have developed since the reform period and picture is hardly pretty, here’s some relevant papers by Simon Clarke
But what do all these economic categories have to do with the abstract heavenly question of consciousness?, it’s that unless we look at consciousness as bourgeois political economy does, an agglomeration of ideas, utilities, etc., consciousness, is but the generic way through which humans appropriate their medium, and so it is a result of how this metabolism instantiates itself. Perhaps you’ve heard of the work of Alfred Sohn-Rethel, who wanted to show that the Kantian system, as well as other general scientific and philosophical conceptions, had in fact resulted as the historical result from the act of real exchange, in other words, that the logic itself, and I dare include that of Hegel, is a particular way of thinking which comes from the mode of production, (mental) abstraction then comes from people’s own actions and that is why the fetishism of commodities is an immensely crucial dimension to grasp –incidentally, also the reason why Stalinist ideology had to ‘prove’ this was just Marx masturbating, Althusser being the exemplary spokesman of this tradition, though he moved away from this in his later years- this is how I understand Marx’s critique of Hegel in the Paris Manuscripts. Yes, this I suppose is all very trivially accepted but then why do we go back, and put the question abstractly, ‘how should the CCP use capitalism?’, that is idealist.
The objective perspective starts from looking at capital and what the necessary limitations to conscious political action springing from the determinations which ensue from the analysis are. That probably sounds haughty and anti-dialectical, but, looking at it this way, just to "illustrate", I claim for example that ‘the’ problem as regards our beloved ex-socialist Soviet state (USSR) was that the modality of accumulation, exclusively centered around the production of absolute surplus value, broadly put, with unchanging methods of production, made it impossible for “full-blown” capitalist relations not to reestablish themselves. Is China on the same road to blind productionism?, not in the same exact way, clearly, and though I don't claim that the opponents to S.Artesian here are as blind as to understand the issues involved, it looks to me as though the logic you're putting forth is 'almost' a copycat...then again, there's always the Stalinist hope that Russia will regain its glory and this is all Putin's plan.
But what is the role of capitalist incursion in China? Mainly, I think, that it works to sustain the fragmentation of workers into the two main groups of those with a high level of productive qualifications in evermore scientifically dominated production, and others who are mutilated to being appendices to machinery; this is manifest throughout the world, as far away as Argentina. Because surplus-value originates in the production process, this fragmentation is one of the main determinants of accumulation worldwide; it poses the concerted action of the world’s workers as an immediate political task as I see it.
So here I come to my beloved land which I am so ignorant about. David put the analogy in terms of Peronist nationalizations, and Nestor correctly criticized his factual mistake. But wait, there’s more. Does accumulation ‘linearly’ expand productive capacity all the time? No, but to the extent we explain that by crying out loud: ‘permanent revolution!’, ‘combined development!’ we are being as abstract as Milton Friedman. No, what one has to look at before crying about the parasitic agrarian capitalists of Argentina, which they are, is how the extraordinary rent which they cull out of the interloping of lots of small capitals and industrial foreign “garbage” industries which can’t compete in the world market impinge on accumulation, what is specific about this? And the way I understand it, is that the expansion of accumulation acts as its own negation in putting a stoppage to the scale of production necessary to develop the productive forces in Argentina. So sure we can build lots of purrrty trains and railways, but we live in capitalism, and more shit don’t mean more power for workers just like that.
Here’s a paper by Juan Iñigo Carrera with, to my mind –because I plagiarized all of the above from him-, a very thorough analysis of this and other things. In fact, the paper was written, again for Historical Materialism, specifically in regards to the 2001 events, but it has a lot of what I’m talking about. Because I’m short on time, and I’m lazy, I won’t select quotes for now, but the relevant part related to what I’ve been trying to say starts under the subtitle ‘the specific form of accumulation in Argentina’.
He has other papers here, some in English, most in Spanish:
Get back to school stuff for them and cashback for you.
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