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Change the World Without Taking Power: A decade later John Holloway’s challenge still unmet (Final)

March 8, 2013 1 comment

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Part 4: History as a continuous process

One of the real difficulties Holloway’s thesis on the crisis of capitalism poses to a critical analysis is that his very incisive critique of the failings of post-war Marxism is buried under his own terribly flawed grasp of labor theory. For instance, Holloway rightly criticizes the dominant Marxist view of capitalist crises as a potential trigger for a political revolution:

The orthodox understanding of crisis is to see crisis as an expression of the objective contradictions of capitalism: we are not alone because the objective contradictions are on our side, because the forces of production are on our side, because history is on our side. In this view, our struggle finds its support in the objective development of the contradictions of the capitalist economy. A crisis precipitated by these contradictions opens a door of opportunity for struggle, an opportunity to turn economic crisis into social crisis and a basis for the revolutionary seizure of power. The problem with this approach is that it tends to deify the economy (or history or the forces of production), to create a force outside human agency that will be our saviour. Moreover, this idea of the crisis as the expression of the objective contradictions of capitalism is the complement of a conception that sees revolution as the seizure of power instead of seeing in both crisis and revolution a disintegration of the relations of power.

The core of Holloways argument here is correct: post-war Marxists still expect the capitalist crisis to trigger a seizure of state power by the working class. This seizure of state power will then lay the basis for the construction of a communist society by the working class — a wholly fantastic delusion, with little realistic basis whatsoever in labor theory. However, Holloway then replaces this silly erroneous view with his own even more silly erroneous take on labor theory and crises:

The other way of understanding the ‘we are not alone’ is to see crisis as the expression of the strength of our opposition to capital. There are no ‘objective contradictions’: we and we alone are the contradiction of capitalism. History is not the history of the development of the laws of capitalist development but the history of class struggle (that is, the struggle to classify and against being classified). There are no gods of any sort, neither money nor capital, nor forces of production, nor history: we are the only creators, we are the only possible saviours, we are the only guilty ones. Crisis, then, is not to be understood as an opportunity presented to us by the objective development of the contradictions of capitalism but as the expression of our own strength, and this makes it possible to conceive of revolution not as the seizure of power but as the development of the anti-power which already exists as the substance of crisis.

To overcome the post-war Marxist model of capitalism as an objective, autonomist process that continues (only interrupted by the occasional crisis) until it is superseded by an outside force (the proletarian revolution) Holloway argues not that capitalism’s demise is premised on the process of accumulation itself (rather than a political revolution) but that there is no objective process! In contrast to post-war Marxism, Holloway denies there is an objective process underway in the capitalist mode of production, and he doubles down on this stupidity by agreeing with post-war Marxism that there are no forces at work within capitalism that must lead inevitably to its collapse.

In place of post-war Marxism’s assumption that the political revolution will be triggered by a capitalist crisis, Holloway imports the class struggle into capital and proposes, “we and we alone are the contradiction of capitalism”, “we are the crisis of capitalism”. The glaring defect of Holloway’s attempt to resolve the theoretical impasse of post-war Marxism model of social revolution can best be demonstrated by a single chart (below).

Labor Disputes involving 1000 or more workers 1970s-Present (United States)

Labor Disputes involving 1000 or more workers 1970s-present (United States)

The chart is from ThinkProgress, and the writer, Pat Garofalo, states:

“According to an analysis of Current Population Survey data by Matt Bruenig, the number of workers exercising their right to strike has plummeted since the 1970s:

Forty years ago, ‘an average of 289 major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers occurred annually in the United States. By the 1990s, that had fallen to about 35 per year. And in 2009, there were no more than five.’ Declining unionization certainly plays a role in this drop, but as Chris Rhomberg, associate professor of sociology at Fordham University, wrote, so too does labor law that gives employers all the advantages. ‘We have essentially gone back to a pre-New Deal era of workplace governance,’ he wrote.”

If the statement, “we are the crisis of capitalism” is taken to mean the workers’ class struggle produces capitalist crises, there is in fact no crisis at all according to the data supplied by the census department. Holloway needs to explain where he finds the “irruption of the insubordination of labour into the very definition of subordination” in this data. Frankly, when Matt Bruenig actually took the time to leave his progressive friends on Fantasy Island and do the research all he found was the very real and material subordination of the working class to the rule of the bourgeoisie — a class no longer even capable of fighting for its direct economic interests.

The so-called Great Moderation of the 1980s and 1990s was not just, nor even primarily, period of moderating inflation, but a cessation of the class struggle altogether. The collapse of the class struggle experienced over the last three decades, as shown empirically by Bruenig’s data, suggests that insofar as the demise of capitalism results from a subjective cause, it is not likely to happen. When Holloway argues against the classical view of capital as an objective process, he is actually arguing against the idea that the material requirements of the working class (the law of value) are an objective reality that must impose itself on the operation of the capitalist mode of production despite what takes place in the streets. He is arguing these material requirements can only make themselves felt through the class conscious (political) activity of the class. Without this political activity, therefore, a crisis of capitalism cannot be expressed. It becomes inexplicable then why the period of lowest rate of labor discontent is also the period of an incredible financial catastrophe and the collapse of fascist state management of capitalism.

Although the working class has followed the orders of capital to “‘Kneel, kneel, kneel!'”, the result is the collapse of the financial system along with the fascist state economic policy mechanism. The empirical data suggest the crisis that erupted in 2007-2008 resulted from an objective process that is in no way dependent on the political struggle of the working class — i.e., in no way dependent on the class struggle between wage labor and capital.

Wage laborers and labor

As I stated in the previous part of this series, what makes Holloway’s argument worth the time it takes to extract it from his flawed and wholly indefensible presentation of labor theory is that he does not simply import the class struggle into the definition of capital, and redefine the law of value as the “irruption of the insubordination of labour into the very definition of subordination” — both of which ideas are preposterous — Holloway inverts the class struggle so that it is now redefined not as a struggle of wage labor against capital, but as the struggle of wage labor against labor itself.

This inversion might seem like a theoretical ploy to overcome the impasse post-war Marxism encounters because it assumes capitalism will just endlessly loop through crisis after crisis until it is put out of its misery by a proletarian revolution — and to a large extent it is just this. But the real usefulness of Holloway’s theoretical gymnastics is that he can then re-conceive the social revolution in an entirely new way — as an anti-class struggle, a struggle that is both anti-political and anti-economic.

To say this another way, let’s suppose all the material requirements of communism already exist within the existing world market, what would we expect to see? As capitalism drew closer to its ultimate demise, and the working class approached its “final constitution” (Marx’s words to Bakunin), all the fetish forms of bourgeois society — politics, classes, democracy, the nation state, money, commodity, and capital itself — would appear to the working class precisely as that: meaningless fetishes lacking any substance whatsoever — as misery of a growing mass of unemployed workers, rampant speculation produced by a growing mass of superfluous capital, cronyism, empty political promises, accumulating debt, money that depreciates in your wallet, wages whose purchasing power declines from one day to the next and, most of all, labor that produces nothing of any value whatsoever. This would be expressed in a conscious antipathy not just toward this or that facet of present society, but a revulsion with social relations generally, and with the political relation founded on these social relations — a scream.

Holloway is, in effect, not describing an increasingly class conscious working class, but a mass of individuals bearing an emergent directly communist consciousness: a consciousness described in the German Ideology as requiring certain definite material preconditions and which emanates, not from bourgeois relations of production, but directly from the working class itself:

“In the development of productive forces there comes a stage when productive forces and means of intercourse are brought into being, which, under the existing relationships, only cause mischief, and are no longer productive but destructive forces (machinery and money); and connected with this a class is called forth, which has to bear all the burdens of society without enjoying its advantages, which, ousted from society, is forced into the most decided antagonism to all other classes; a class which forms the majority of all members of society, and from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness, which may, of course, arise among the other classes too through the contemplation of the situation of this class.”

Proletarians and Communist consciousness

By inverting the class struggle and showing that this struggle must become a struggle not against capital, but against labor itself, Holloway maintains the working class cannot fight as a class, it can only fight against being a class. Essential to understanding why this is true we have to understand that every time the working class tries to fight as a class politically or economically, it is going to get its ass kicked as a class — it is going to lose. Over time, the response to this constant ass-kicking at the hands of the bourgeois class, naturally enough, is that the class stops fighting as a class, because it has more sense than fucking Marxists. Why would you continue to beat your head bloody against the same fucking wall time and again when you know you are going to lose?

By arguing the class struggle is the core of capital, Holloway does not throw light on capital as the penetration of insubordination into subordination as he believes; rather he shows why the absolute subordination of the working class must penetrate class (political) relations generally. This conclusion is certainly chilling, but simultaneously relieves us of the notions associated with post-war Marxism that some coming economic crisis will trigger a political revolution of the working class — a political confrontation between the classes that leads to socialism. Once we grasp this fact, the data of the last four decades makes sense; we now need not follow the failed post-war Marxist formula that Holloway so effectively critiques.

In addition to decades of empirical evidence the post-war Marxist formula does not work, we now have a theoretical proof derived not just from an argument against it, but an argument that also tries to introduce class struggle into the very definition of capitalist relations. Holloway carries the post-war Marxist argument to its extreme, most absurd, limits by trying to locate the class conflict at the core of capital. But the class struggle is, first and foremost, a political struggle, a struggle between wage labor and capital, bourgeois and proletarians.  Holloway suggests there is no distinction to be made between political and economic relations: therefore, the class struggle must rest on the absolute subordination of the proletarians and it must reflect this subordination.

But this is only the beginning: Holloway’s argument also suggests there is no distinction to be made between capital and labor, reform and revolution, the old society and the new one, the revolution and everyday life, leaders and the masses, what exists and what is denied. To overcome these separations, Holloway argues, “actions must point-beyond in some way, assert alternative ways of doing:”

“The problem of struggle is to move on to a different dimension from capital, not to engage with capital on capital’s own terms, but to move forward in modes in [which] capital cannot even exist: to break identity, break the homogenisation of time. “

Holloway says this means the entire concept of revolution has to be rethought.

Reconceiving social emancipation

In chapter 11 — the final chapter of his book — Holloway must show how we get from a social process where the outcome is not determined by an objective process, to one that intensifies the disintegration of capitalism. Holloway thinks he has already pointed to a solution by redefining the social process “as being itself class struggle”. The crisis is the point at which “the mutual repulsion of capital and anti-labour (humanity) obliges capital to restructure its command or lose control.” The resolution of the crisis can either come through a restructuring of capital’s subordination of labor or a struggle to intensify the crisis.

On one side of this conflict is capital, trying to emancipate itself from labor, to literally make money from money itself through a growing mass of fictitious capital and insane speculative activity. On the other side is labor (or “anti-labor”, or “humanity” — or “what-the-fuck-ever”) whose drive is the refusal of dominance, the scream. Capital has to subordinate the working class once again to the production of surplus value, and this in turn depends on the fact the workers are propertyless. The enclosures of primitive accumulation is extended in entirely new areas (intellectual property), and in new regions (globalization)

Holloway argues the flight of labor (or “anti-labor”, or “humanity”, or “what-the-fuck-ever”) is hopeless until it becomes more than flight from capital, it must become “a reaffirmation of doing, an emancipation of power-to.” Okay, so how do we reaffirm our doing? One would think after ten chapters of criticism of Marxism Holloway would have some new ideas. One would be wrong, however. In the end all Holloway can come up with is this:

“But the recuperation of power-to or the reaffirmation of doing is still limited by capital’s monopoly of the means of doing. The means of doing must be re-appropriated.”

In English, Holloway is stating the proletarians must seize the means of production — put an end to property — that they must bring the forces of production under their control. It seems like pretty standard Marxist boilerplate — and it is — until Holloway says we must rethink this concept as well, a rethinking he then begins in what at first appears to be random thread of mindless gibberish:

“The problem is not that the means of production are the property of capitalists; or rather, to say that the means of production are the property of the capitalists is merely a euphemism which conceals the fact that capital actively breaks our doing every day, takes our done from us, breaks the social flow of doing which is the pre-condition of our doing. Our struggle, then, is not the struggle to make ours the property of the means of production, but to dissolve both property and means of production: to recover or, better, create the conscious and confident sociality of the flow of doing. Capital rules by fetishising, by alienating the done from the doing and the doer and saying ‘this done is a thing and it is mine’. Expropriating the expropriator cannot then be seen as a re-seizure of a thing, but rather as the dissolution of the thing-ness of the done, its (re)integration into the social flow of doing.”

The same is true of our conception of revolution itself: Holloway argues we must get rid of the idea that the social revolution is a means to an end:

“The orthodox Marxist tradition, most clearly the Leninist tradition, conceives of revolution instrumentally, as a means to an end. … Instrumentalism means engaging with capital on capital’s own terms, accepting that our own world can come into being only after the revolution. But capital’s terms are not simply a given, they are an active process of separating. It is absurd, for example, to think that the struggle against the separating of doing can lie through the state, since the very existence of the state as a form of social relations is an active separating of doing. To struggle through the state is to become involved in the active process of defeating yourself.”

Finally, Holloway argues we must rethink what capitalism and communism are all about:

“Capital is the denial of the social flow of doing, communism is the social movement of doing against its own denial. Under capitalism, doing exists in the mode of being denied. Doing exists as things done, as established forms of social relations, as capital, money, state, the nightmarish perversions of past doing. Dead labour rules over living doing and perverts it into the grotesque form of living labour. This is an explosive contradiction in terms: living implies openness, creativity, while labour implies closure, pre-definition. Communism is the movement of this contradiction, the movement of living against labour. Communism is the movement of that which exists in the mode of being denied.”

Holloway reconsidered

It probably is not too much to say, Holloway has no real idea how these three statements hang together as a roadmap for what must come next. And this is because, despite his attempt to break with post-war Marxism, he remains entirely under the thrall of its assumption of a political revolution. Since he has already rejected the idea of capitalism as an objective process whose operation is determined by the law of value, and replaced this objective process with the class struggle, Holloway is at a loss to explain the significance of his insights — he ends the book at the same impasse that can be found in any orthodox post-war Marxist treatment:

“How then do we change the world without taking power? At the end of the book, as at the beginning, we do not know. The Leninists know, or used to know. We do not. Revolutionary change is more desperately urgent than ever, but we do not know any more what revolution means. Asked, we tend to cough and splutter and try to change the subject. In part, our not-knowing is the not-knowing of those who are historically lost: the knowing of the revolutionaries of the last century has been defeated. But it is more than that: our not-knowing is also the not knowing of those who understand that not-knowing is part of the revolutionary process. We have lost all certainty, but the openness of uncertainty is central to revolution. ‘Asking we walk’, say the zapatistas. We ask not only because we do not know the way (we do not), but also because asking the way is part of the revolutionary process itself.”

If the revolution is not the means to an end, it must be the end itself, a permanent feature of society. This leads us back to Holloways concept of communism as “the movement of that which exists in the mode of being denied.” This is an interesting idea, since it suggests communism is already present within existing society as labor theory indicates. Communism, therefore, is not something constructed “after the revolution”, but the actual mode of present society that is denied by capital.

The instrumentalism of post-war Marxism fails precisely because it does not recognize the existence of an already existing communism within present society. This essential blindness of post-war Marxism can be seen when Andrew Kliman stupidly criticized David Graeber for suggesting Occupy act as if the future society already existed. I wrote at the time: “Professor Kliman prefers to “foreshadow” the non-existent, and derides Graeber for asserting the thing foreshadowed in action already exists in embryo.” As a dyed-in-the-wool anarchist, Graeber was actually the real Marxist in the debate, since he acted as if (in Marx’s and Engels’ own words) the premises of communism are already in existence.

If, following Holloway, we act as if communism is already the present mode of society whose existence is being denied by capitalist relations, labor must be the active forms of this denial. Labor itself is activity that denies the existence of an already existing communism. This suggests our focus must be on labor itself, not the state, on putting an end to the active denial of communism. All of this shit is already present in Holloway’s argument. Why it never emerges in his book is completely fucking beyond me.

I think the core of Holloway’s critical argument then can be boiled down to three points:

  1. “To think in terms of property is, however, still to pose the problem in fetishised terms”;
  2. “Expropriating the expropriator cannot then be seen as a re-seizure of a thing, but rather as the dissolution of the thing-ness of the done, its (re)integration into the social flow of doing”; and,
  3. “What is important is the knitting or re-knitting or patch-working of the sociality of doing and the creation of social forms of articulating that doing.”

It is obvious the sociality of doing can only be established by the abolition of wage labor. Wage labor is precisely what alienates the directly social activity of the producers from them and establishes this social activity as a thing independent of them. And putting an end to wage labor puts and end both to the “thingness” of productive activity (commodity production) and the fetish of property (labor power). Everything, in other words, points toward the abolition of wage labor itself, to the end of the working class as a class. By making consumption dependent on wage labor, the actual abundance already present in society appears as scarcity. This scarcity is wholly an artifact of the limited quantity of dollars in your wallet; it is not real.

This is demonstrated by the growing unemployment, an ever increasing mass of speculative capital, and, above all, an ever increasing mass of debt being accumulated in every country at present. Debt cannot buy what doesn’t exist — it presupposes massive quantity of material abundance. In short the formula implied by debt is this: massive debt = massive abundance. The dependence of so-called “economic growth” on the constant accumulation of debt, in other words, implies that all the conditions for communism already exist, save one: abolition of wage labor.

The material conditions for a direct supercession of capitalism by communism already exists empirically in the form of growing unemployment, rampant speculative capital and an ever accumulating pile of public and private debt. The question for us is this: will this communism be imposed on society in a final and complete collapse capitalist relation, bringing capitalist production to a standstill and triggering a catastrophe. Or, will it be realized through the determined fight to progressively reduce hours of labor?

We don’t really have any other choices.

Change the World Without Taking Power: A decade later John Holloway’s challenge still unmet (3)

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

communist-american-flag

Part 3: History as a hall of mirrors

What I find really interesting about Holloway is his determination to carry his argument to its final conclusion, no matter how it appears to conflict with decades of accumulated Marxist dogmas and even his own poor grasp of the basics of labor theory. His attitude can be best summed up by his scathing response to a critique of his book by Daniel Bensaid:

“Spit on history. History is the history of oppression told by the oppressors, a history from which oppression conveniently disappears, a history of Heroes, of Great Men.

Spit on history. History, even our history, is a history in which the struggle against oppression is invaded by the categories of the oppressors, so that it too becomes the history of Heroes, of Great Men, of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao.

Spit on history, because it is the great alibi of the Left, the great excuse for not thinking. Make any theoretical or political argument about revolution and the response of the Revolutionary Left is to bring you back to 1902, to 1905, to 1917, to 1921. History becomes a whirlpool, sucking you into the details of lives long dead. Present political differences become translated into disputes about the details of what happened in Kronstadt over eighty years ago. Anything to avoid thinking about the present, anything to avoid assuming the terrible responsibility that the future of the world depends on us and not on Lenin or Trotsky.”

Not to be misunderstood by his critic, Holloway adds this gem:

“Drive your cart and your plough over the bones of the dead. Yes. First your cart: show disrespect for the dead, for they have bequeathed us a world unworthy of humanity, a world of exploitation and of mass murder in the name of democracy.

And then your plough: plough the bones of the dead into the soil of revolt. Plough their legacy of struggle into the ground to make it fertile. Honour the dead by showing them disrespect.

Do not build mausoleums, or monuments, or even put gravestones for the dead, just use their bones directly as fertiliser. The disappeared are the great heroes of communism: not just those who have been disappeared by state repression, but all of those unseen, unheard people who struggled to live with dignity in a world which negates dignity, the knitters of humanity. The history we need is not so much that of the great revolutionaries, but of those who did their washing and played with their children.”

If History for post-war Marxism has become a hall of mirrors in which we are continually trying to separate the real and reflected images of history, Holloway set out deliberately to smash all the mirrors in this great hall of mirrors.

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Sasha Lilley’s dishonest argument on catastrophes

December 28, 2012 1 comment

sasha-lilley-at-raven-booksInteresting essay by Sasha Lilley: “Apocalypse Now?”  Lilley is convinced, “The left has a long history of catastrophism—expecting collapse to lead to social transformation.” She doesn’t approved of this alleged love affair on the Left with the apocalypse and so she wrote a book to express her disapproval.

I want to say one thing about Lilley’s basic dishonesty: while I was reading von Mises’ book Socialism yesterday, it was clear to my that that idiot began his critique by attempting to decontextualize Marx from capitalism by comparing Marx’s theory to biblical prophecies. This is not an unusual approach by the critics of Marx — Schumpeter did it as well. Marx is the prophet and his followers are religious zealots of the new Kingdom of God. Surprisingly, Lilley tries to pull the same stupid shit in her critique of the inevitable collapse of capitalism.

A new beginning emerging from a fiery end has been predicted countless times before. In 1844, the followers of American Baptist preacher William Miller sold their possessions in anticipation of the return of Christ. What did not, in fact, follow is known as The Great Disappointment. It is unlikely that the aftermath of the 2012 apocalypse will leave such a mark. Who remembers now the rapture predicted on May 21st of last year? Or the follow-up, “corrected” date of October 21st?

In a recent interview as well as in this essay, Lilley equates the inevitable demise of capitalism with “peak oil”, the Mayan calendar, religious inspired prophecies of the end of time, etc. She even tries to tie the inevitable demise of capitalism based on labor theory of value with the odious Malthus’ theory of overpopulation.

However, although she is very dishonest in her argument, she does raise several important questions. I think her complete dishonesty does not in any way detract from the question her essay, interview and book raises.

For one thing she notes catastrophes don’t turn out the way the Left usually imagines them. Lilley argues catastrophes tend to favor the Right more than the Left, so banking on them as a shortcut is at best questionable.

The idea of a cleansing catastrophe flows naturally from reactionary politics. The right thrives on fear. And it has a simple solution for the alarmist scenarios that it is constantly invoking: scapegoat the “enemy”—whether immigrants or other easily targeted populations—and demand authoritarian fixes. These do not work for the left (nor should they). Fear tilts right. Leftists enter into fear mongering at their peril.

I think Lilley is at least partially correct on this, but I think she emphasizes fear far too much. To see the logic of her underlying argument we need look no further than the Great Depression and World War II: The Left was really quite convinced that collapse was coming and it would lead to a proletarian revolution. Well, the collapse did come — but it brought Auschwitz in its wake, along with 80 million more dead in the world war that followed, plus the destruction of the productive capacity of Eurasia.

Not exactly how we all imagined the catastrophe would turn out, huh? But — and this is the fucking point — the catastrophe happened, just as labor theory of value predicted. And this part of the story never appears in Lilley’s argument for some reason. Lilley argues as though the “catastrophists” like Grossman spent their time reading Nostradamus, not Karl Marx when they made their predictions of a catastrophic breakdown of capitalism.

Moreover, the argument that catastrophes favor the Right looks pretty good until you realize the whole of human experience with economic catastrophes only dates to the 19th century. Even if the whole of the empirical evidence supported Lilley’s argument, that evidence is only a very thin slice of human history. Moreover, on the basis of the evidence we can only conclude people try to recreate their previous mode of existence and do so to whatever extent this is possible.

Since following any sort of crisis people set out first to restore their former conditions of existence, the Right, who promise this sort of thing, have an advantage. They pomise a return to some former state when everything was just peachy keen — like the fifties. You lose your job in the biggest crisis in decades, and Obama promises to give you another, while the Left promises to end wage slavery. But you only want a job. So fuck the Left and their silly promises.

I conclude from this that so long as Obama can keep promising jobs, the Left is not really going to get a hearing. So what? Did Lilley expect some other result?

As Lilley notes, the “stargate” did not open on the day of the predicted Mayan apocalypse, and nuclear power plants didn’t meltdown as a result of the Y2K bug — but the economic catastrophe, which many on the Left predicted, did happen. So are we just supposed to ignore the fact that, in fact, as Marx predicted, shit does happen in the capitalist mode of production?

For 40 years, the Austrians have been predicting the bond vigilantes are going to take Washington to task — it hasn’t happened and nothing indicates it is going to happen in the near future despite trillion dollar deficits. For 60 years, Keynesian economists have been predicting the problem of crisis has been solved by the fascist state — it hasn’t happened and this crisis saw Keynesian policies completely fail for the first time. By contrast Marx’s labor theory predicts crises of ever increasing intensity — and it has just kept happening as predicted for 150 years now.

So Ms. Lilley, I predict one day you and the “anti-catastrophist” (i.e., reformist) Left will just shut the fuck up and start listening. Unfortunately, that too will never happen.

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How Did Antistatism Get Here?: A critique of David Graeber’s “Debt”

November 23, 2012 4 comments

In his book, “Debt: The First 5000 Years”, David Graeber levels the accusation against the Left, that it lacks imagination to see beyond present society. I think Graeber’s accusation is accurate and can be seen in his own antistatist (i.e., anti-political and anti-economic) argument. Contrary to Graeber’s argument that money has no essence, it is precisely because money has an essence that fascist state issued debt monies (treasuries) represent a world historical money-form: this debt-money implies money itself has become obsolete.

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The Postone-Kurz synthetic model of value and the transformation problem versus SKYNET

October 3, 2012 8 comments

An explanation of capitalist prices or an explication of capitalist trajectory

I spent a sleepless night this week because it suddenly occurred to me that a synthesis of Postone’s and Kurz models of value is actually predicted by Marx’s transformation equation. If I had any competence in math, I could show why Marx is correctly accused of being “inconsistent” about the transformation of values into prices in the same way quantum mechanics is “inconsistent” in its description of the electron or photon.

Briefly stated when Postone’s definition of value is identical with Kurz’s definition of value; the sum of prices equals the sum of values and the sum of profits equal the sum of surplus value — and the condition for these three is the same: the rate of profit = 0.

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The Sorry State of Anti-Statism, and Other Random Thoughts

January 24, 2012 2 comments

So, last night I put myself through the agony of watching the entire NBC sponsored Republican debate. I don’t normally do this, but since I am such a fan of Brian Williams and his fetish for the British royals and heart-warming feel good stories about people making a difference, I figured, “What the fuck?”

What follows are a few of my (almost) unedited random thoughts:

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Categories: politics