[Marxism] Marx and LTRPF
thomasfbarton at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 2 21:09:30 MDT 2015
"These days falling rates of profit don't have much political resonance
because the class has been pushed back so far and is relatively atomised,
certainly in terms of consciousness."
It may be the relentless attack on working class livings everywhere is driven, in major part, by efforts to compensate for the falling rate of profit. It may be that the effects of the falling rate of profit, although not of immediate resonance, provide the fuse that brings on an explosion.
Perhaps general extreme working class atomisation may contain a now largely unexpected opposite: a working class somewhere crystalizing and organizing itself to fight for itself, with all that could possibly lead to.
The working class now is a world class.
>From: Philip Ferguson via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
>Sent: Oct 2, 2015 9:40 PM
>To: Thomas F Barton <thomasfbarton at earthlink.net>
>Subject: [Marxism] Marx and LTRPF
>MM wrote: "hat isn't a comfortable message for people who are still looking
>for some theoretical deus ex machina that will sort everything out, if only
>we rub the relevant parts of the three volumes of Kapital together in the
>right way. But it isn't necessarily pessimistic."
>In fact, I'd say it's an optimistic view in the sense that Roberts
>(following Marx and LTRPF) shows that crisis is *inherent* in capitalism,
>the system simply can't escape it and therefore the possibility of
>overthrowing capitalism can't be avoided either. It is always present,
>whether it is really, really weak (as at present) or strong (1930s
>Depression, period at the end of the post-WW2 boom as well).
>I'm not arguing, of course, that immiseration causes revolution -
>frequently it results in demoralisation and passivity. But improvements in
>workers' general conditions leading to rising expectations which are then
>blocked by a slump certainly can help radicalise workers' thinking.
>In New Zealand we had a long period of workers' passivity, from the start
>of the 1950s until the end of the 1960s. The two key factors in this
>passivity were the defeat of the left of the labour movement in a massive
>industrial battle that went on for most of the first half of 1951 on the
>one hand and the long postwar boom on the other hand.
>Workers' expectations rose considerably during the boom. Then, suddenly,
>in 1968 there was a nil general wage order. Rising expectations met the
>impact of the falling rate of profit and the result was a renewal of class
>This went on until the fourth Labour government (1984-1990_ which confused,
>demoralised and largely crushed the working class. The class, however, had
>one more fight in it. This was against the National Party government's
>Employment Contracts Act of 1991. The biggest working class mobilisations
>in NZ history took place, the union bureaucrats took fright and put the
>brakes on, preventing a general strike. The class was smashed and hasn't
>recovered. We've now had 24 years of working class passivity, with only an
>occasional scrap - the scraps which our side has won have produced big
>enough victories to inspire renewed resistance across wider sectors of the
>class while the scraps that have been lost have reinforced the general aura
>of pessimism in the class.
>These days falling rates of profit don't have much political resonance
>because the class has been pushed back so far and is relatively atomised,
>certainly in terms of consciousness. In this atmosphere attacks on Marx
>tend to get some traction, which is why some comrades are attracted to
>Heinrich and others' 'critiques' of the law of the tendency of the rate of
>profit to fall.
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