[Marxism] The dilemma of the mainstream

shacht at aol.com shacht at aol.com
Wed Oct 17 18:45:10 MDT 2012


Of course, all that Dan says is correct about the mainstream problem for capitalist countries. He cites 
value added tax, austerity, attacks on the working class wage, etc. But one thing is missing that socialists are going to have to address in the future, if not now.?Not only?are blue collar jobs steadily eroded by mechanization, rationalization, cybernetics, redundancy - whatever you call it - but so are warehouse jobs (blue collar but not in the productive sector, strictly speaking), clerical jobs and financial sector jobs. Not only do you see photographs in the paper of new auto or tool making plants with virtually no workers in them but now payments, deposits, ordering, etc. are going to be replaced with a card.
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Where, as this process continues, does this leave the working class in -for example - the U.S?
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What will become its social weight, percentage of the population, percentage of employment? What are not only the political consequences of this, but historical consequences for socialists?
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If we plot the present trajectory of capital in the United States, wouldn't we see a steady decline in blue collar proletarians working in productive industries directly creative of surplus value? And consistent with that, though in lag, a decline in the ancillary blue collar or white collar jobs: transportation, storage, insurance services, inventory control, clerical, document management, etc., whose role is to facilitate the use value of commodities by rendering them accessible, salvageable and marketable?
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Do we witness the steady advance of public sector, administrative and accounting control jobs that threaten to leave the rest of the population in an impoverished, lumpen mass? This has happened before in history, vide, the later roman empire. But we also seem to be witnessing the political theatricalities that accompanied that historical decline, as well. 
Where once the Roman Senate, having abandoned rational debate (there was nothing for them to debate anymore that had effect) conducted their sessions with politicians taking the floor and tearing their hair and rendering their garments for effect we have two candidates for president acting like children on stage, interrupting, haggling, answering nothing, proposing nothing and just posturing.
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We now have half a dozen imperialist centers of greater or lesser degree in the world now: the USA, China, Iran, France, Germany and Russia. A decaying eastern and central-southern European capitalism readying itself for a fascist movement as readily as a socialist movement. We have China's belligerence in the South China Sea, its search for global assets everywhere, especially buying up resources that not only they, but all the people of the world need. Regardless of intentions, the situation there could easily have (and still may) evolve into a shooting war. We have India, for example, or its industries buying Arctic ice loads to ensure a supply of fresh water. (We even have single hedge funds manipulating the courencies of Sotheast Asia, which sort of makes Soros an imperialist power of one).
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What does all this portend for the future of the world?
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Looking at the American left, what do we see? Or, rather, hear? You jump into the subway and someone sells you a copy of Socialist Worker. Down with sexism, racism and imperialism. And now that we think of it up the working class - but that hardly plays a central role on the surface. Then Against the Current from Solidarity running the risk of turning into a labor reformist set with a newly acquired bunch of intellectuals with Hegelian hangovers. And there the myriad sects, sectlets and discussion groups of varied longevity haunting the Internet. Hopeful harbingers as they are, most of them are devoted to dead ideologies or the perpetuation of Trotskyist/anarchist/libertarian obsessions. Can't this miasma coalesce into one group, multi-tendencied, activist and devoted at a minimum to independent political action?
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Shouldn't such a group be talking about the issues referred to above? Instead of reading the latest pseudo-Hegelian analysis of Capital, literature, feminist theory, semiotics, etc., all of which are pouring out of academia with the finesse of a flood and can only lead to the atrophy of intellect?
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Now, I recognize that many members of this list trace their roots to the SWP. But it seems to me that what James C., Joseph H. or Jack B. did or did not do is not the major problem that the world or the left faces. We can always talk about what we/they did. The problem is What Is To Be Done in the here and now.
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No doubt some will say that all my comments are the result of subjectivism and empiricism. For me they are based on the current reality and the course that has led to it. And of course, Dietzgen, Korsh, Pannokoeck, and others agree.
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Wayne Collins
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-----Original Message-----
From: Dan <d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr>
To: Wayne M. Collins <shacht at aol.com>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 4:19 pm
Subject: Re: [Marxism] The dilemma of the mainstream




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On a very general level, the continuation of Capital accumulation means  
that more money will be taken out of the pockets of the working class :  
1) they will work longer hours 2) their global share of the wealth  
produced will fall 3) their jobs will become "casualized" 4) "austerity"  
means there are drastic cuts in "social spending" (social security,  
health, medicine, education, etc.) 5) increased VAT (an important source  
of revenue for tax-raising averse govts.) means their purchasing power  
will also fall. 
Not one single Western government proposes to reverse any of these  
trends. Quite simply because they are necessary in order for Capitalism  
to survive. Which is the official aim of all Western governments : to  
help employers employ employees. 
Stimulus packages are only meant to enable the process to continue. The  
money is channeled in such a way as to guarantee that financial  
institutions and equity firms get all the surplus value. The problem is  
that those same players are choking on all the money each stimulus  
package provides. 
Profitability is still too low, the standard of living of the working  
class is still too high, investment still too costly, in a nutshell, the  
extraction of surplus-value is still not enough for expanded accumulation. 
 
 
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