Page 2 of 14 FirstFirst 123412 ... LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 197

Thread: Race, Gender , and Class

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    16,905

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nomadthesecond View Post
    Isn't it funny or even a little ironic that communists are now the world's Industrial Giant?
    Well, to the extent that China is a "communist" country...but would anyone but a few die-hard palaeocon Republicans and the Chinese Communist Party itself describe the country's politics and economics these days as communism, rather than totalitarian state-capitalism with a vestigial socialist veneer?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Well, to the extent that China is a "communist" country...but would anyone but a few die-hard palaeocon Republicans and the Chinese Communist Party itself describe the country's politics and economics these days as communism, rather than totalitarian state-capitalism with a vestigial socialist veneer?
    ha palaeocon!

    I know they're not properly communist, but that in itself is another example of how corroded our political economic terminology is. We simply don't live in the world that most of our political discursive terms were coined to describe. We need new words and new thoughts and most of all a new utopia.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    16,905

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nomadthesecond View Post
    ha palaeocon!
    I dunno if it's really the right word, but I meant the sort of old-fashioned conservative who'd take Chinese 'communism' at face value and view them simply as Them in a cold-war Us and Them binary, rather than a more pragmatic neocon approach i.e. treating them as an uneasy-yet-hugely-important-trading-partner-slash-rival.

    Quote Originally Posted by nomadthesecond View Post
    We need new words and new thoughts and most of all a new utopia.
    Sounds great, sign me up.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    berlin
    Posts
    8,477

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    I suppose I could instead confine it within the boundaries of the political economy of Ancient Egypt, as mysterious to us as it was, no doubt, to the Ancient Egyptians, and that too would therefore be a 'big glaring mistake', especially if I am an Ancient Egyptian.
    why would you confine discourse to any one system? as if any political economy is isolate and cut off from history?

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Except that it isn't, unless you adopt an ahistorical view of history, that there is some unchanging (mysterious) Master Signifier magically outside of history dictating all of history. History is contingent (just as the emergence of modern capitalism was contingent, not pre-ordained). Indeed, efforts at ascertaining the "ahistorical" limit of historicization/resignification repeatedly demonstrate that we don't ever have to accept this ("end of history") limit in any kind of resigned way, but that every historical figuration of this limit is itself contingent and, as such, always subject to a radical questioning and replacement.
    LOL WUT.

    capitalism as a social organizing principle is predicated on previous social models yes? certain conditions were present which gave rise to it yes? the previous social modes evolved from yet earlier ones yes?

    history is contingent only in so far as the events which lead up to a new organizing principle allows.

    or are you saying that capitalism represents a break from history and is somehow divorced from the evolution of human society?

    that would not just be wrong, but moronic.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    why would you confine discourse to any one system? as if any political economy is isolate and cut off from history?
    No, not at all. Capitalism and its agents/apologists propose that it is ahistorical, that it is the end-point of history, both post-history and the 'meaning' of history, that there is no alternative.

    LOL WUT.
    WUT?

    capitalism as a social organizing principle is predicated on previous social models yes?
    No. It is alien to them, busy wiping then out. Successfully.

    certain conditions were present which gave rise to it yes? the previous social modes evolved from yet earlier ones yes?
    Not really. Because night chronologically follows day, it is 'caused' by day?

    history is contingent only in so far as the events which lead up to a new organizing principle allows.

    or are you saying that capitalism represents a break from history and is somehow divorced from the evolution of human society?

    that would not just be wrong, but moronic.
    Your concept of history is ahistorical, that it is pre-determined, and not contingent.

    "We make history, but not in circumstances of our choosing."
    Last edited by waffle; 10-11-2008 at 10:28 PM.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    berlin
    Posts
    8,477

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Capitalism and its agents/apologists propose that it is ahistorical, that it is the end-point of history, both post-history and the 'meaning' of history, that there is no alternative.
    that is exactly what you are doing. deifying capitalism as some evil alien force which invented itself out of nothing, divorced from the social realities which lead up to, gave rise to it, made it possible.

    THAT, my dear waffle, is a-historical.

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    No. It is alien to them, busy wiping then out. Successfully.
    wiping out other systems is the effect of the virus, its modus operandi; not its precondition of being.

    of course capitalism EVOLVED out of, and was only possible with the existence of a set of historical conditions. feudalism and agriculture based economy gave way to big industry, and with technological "advancement" came the necessity of a new organizing principle with which to control the workers, a new mechanism that would regulate the flow of production.

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Not really. Because night chronologically follows day, it is 'caused' by day?
    not an apt metaphor. a better one is when moisture in clouds reach a certain density, rain occurs.

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Your concept of history is ahistorical, that it is pre-determined, and not contingent.
    no, i do not believe in pre-destiny. but i do believe in causality.

    i know where you are coming from:

    The principal instrument used to undermine the old rural communities was land enclosure. By this means common land, to which common rights had become attached by ancient custom allowing even the poorest to have access, was now expropriated into large estates and private hands. Enclosures actually began in the reign of Henry VII at the end of the 15th century. The number of enclosures increased rapidly after the Reformation in the 16th century with the breaking up of the monasteries and the land rights associated with them. But in our period a new systematic approach to enclosure began to develop with the power of the state behind it.
    but this is predicated on an evolution of the means of production, and more importantly, the pre-existence of a deeply divided class structure in which the powerful few subjugated the majority of farmers/workers.

    The process by which the soil was transformed into capital became more and more intensive. The agricultural revolution of the earlier part of the 18th century had massively increased food production by the systematic application of more scientific farming principles such as crop rotation, liming and manuring of the soil, and selective breeding, and had provided the basis for an increasing population. ... The confidence of the new 'progressives' was secured by a new world view which abhorred the untidiness of the natural landscape and which worshipped above all order, system and symmetry - the celebration of nature found in Wordsworth and Constable came as a later reaction against these rationalists.

    The optimism of the age, however, meant absolutely nothing to the labourer. For the mass of the rural population the enclosures were devastating. Whole regions became depopulated. Small farmers now became day labourers and hirelings. Some emigrated to America. Many joined the bands of the destitute who roamed the agricultural districts. Finally they were drawn with a terrible inevitability into the black holes of the growing industrial ghettos.

    The ruling class regarded the whole scene with delight. To them the small landholders had been unproductive and wasteful. They sermonised about the fecklessness of the poor and celebrated their plunder with visions of their own advancement and human progress. In fact the ruling class, despite their ideological pretensions, were clear about the benefits of this shift both for the new capitalism they were inaugurating and for their own interests within it. One Mr Bishton wrote the following: 'The use of common land operates upon the mind as a sort of independence.' When the commons are enclosed 'the labourers will work every day in the year, their children will be put out to labour early' and 'that subordination of the lower ranks which in the present times is so much wanted, would be thereby considerably secured'.

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    "We make history, but not in circumstances of our choosing."
    EXACTLY. our choices are limited to the realities we face, are born into.

    power, which is to say power over others, already existed for thousands of years prior to capitalism. and only with this given, this precondition, was capitalism, admittedly a radical shift, possible.
    Last edited by zhao; 11-11-2008 at 05:46 AM.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    berlin
    Posts
    8,477

    Default

    one of us has the wrong definition of "ahistorical".

    is it me? (i'm probably the lessed versed in theory one)

    but even if it is my position stands regardless of what label is readily slapped onto it.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    North East London
    Posts
    5,944

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Why do you think that? I'm guessing your answer is related to some kind of LTV-type analysis of profit -- but do such notions really have any validity nowadays?
    Well yes, and yes.

    I don't see how you can have capitalism without an antagonism between workers and bosses.

    No doubt we differ on that.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    North East London
    Posts
    5,944

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Turning this upright again, capitalism's deterritorializing of traditional social and geographic (nationalism, religion, family) structures, including gender and racial divisions, along with the pomo obsession with identity/cultural politics, would indeed produce a 'pure capitalism', where all that would remain is the primary social antagonism - the real of class conflict, so increasing the likelihood of revolution.
    Thanks for responding. Yes I can see that, and it seems to me that a "pure" capitalism is unlikely to come about soon as real life is too messy.

    Even if it did, the standard liberal angle on that would be "look how far we have come - capitalism has solved all these evils". Which serves to mystify just as much as:

    Quote Originally Posted by waffle View Post
    Identity politics, which is what mainly characterizes political discourse in the West, denies and deflects from the critique of political economy, seeking to re-territorialize against capital's obliteration of all social significations, often seeking out and inventing easy scapegoats (immigrants, the foreign Other, the poor, etc) and/or resorting to 'unifying' nationalisms (Obama certainly appealed repeatedly to the latter in his campaign, invoking everyone to 'come together' etc), or ultimately, (imperial) war. Many are currently arguing that Obama's success reflects a move from identity politics on to an emphasis on the economy; this may be so to a token extent, but the emphasis appears to be a continuation of neo-liberal policies via an appeal to nationalism ("We can make America Great Again" etc).
    Certainly I can see that scapegoating and moral panics distract attention from the main conflict (cf the socialist cliches about "dividing the class" etc).

    I'm not sure that identity politics is the "main characteristic" of political discourse in the west?

    Surely this depends on the economic conditions anyway - nobody talks about the economy when the economy is running smoothly. And during a crisis everyone is very keen to insert caveats into their speeches "oh well ultimately it's all out of our control but we will do what we can to help".

    It's probably obvious I haven't worked all this through...
    Last edited by john eden; 11-11-2008 at 09:22 AM.

  10. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    I don't see how you can have capitalism without an antagonism between workers and bosses.
    But doesn't that rely on a particularly industrial model (cliche?) of organisation?

    What about in, say, financial services -- at what point do people there stop being the exploited and alienated producers of labour and start being merely overpaid but underperforming actuaries?

    It's quite easy to come up with stuff that contradicts Marx's theories. Which isn't to say that there isn't an element of truth to Marx's writing (some people do badly; others do not), but it does seem a bit strong to say that there can be no capitalism without antagonism between workers and bosses. I can think of two examples right off the top of my head of non-antagonistic/non-exploitative capitalism: self-employment, and robots!
    Last edited by vimothy; 11-11-2008 at 10:04 AM.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    North East London
    Posts
    5,944

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    But doesn't that rely on a particularly industrial model (cliche?) of organisation?
    Not in my experience, and I haven't worked in a factory for 18 years.

    Everyone I know who is self-employed still has to sell their labour to an employer.

    I am completely in favour of full automation alongside the abolition of money and the class system.

    However the introduction of robots under capitalism is usually a way of getting rid of large chunks of the workforce (i.e. another attack on the working class in order to reduce overheads). For example - Wapping.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    16,905

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Everyone I know who is self-employed still has to sell their labour to an employer.
    How so? If you're self-employed you have clients, rather than employers, right? Or would you counter that in this case it's not a meaningful distinction?

    I'd argue that there are big distinctions: the self-employer is obliged only to provide the client with a certain product or service, and how he goes about this is totally up to him (i.e. he sets his own hours and conditions); secondly, the fees he charges for his services, minus overheads, are his to keep as profit. Both of which are generally untrue for an 'employee' in the normal sense, right?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    North East London
    Posts
    5,944

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    How so? If you're self-employed you have clients, rather than employers, right? Or would you counter that in this case it's not a meaningful distinction?

    I'd argue that there are big distinctions: the self-employer is obliged only to provide the client with a certain product or service, and how he goes about this is totally up to him (i.e. he sets his own hours and conditions); secondly, the fees he charges for his services, minus overheads, are his to keep as profit. Both of which are generally untrue for an 'employee' in the normal sense, right?
    I think those distinctions are basically correct, but pretty minor ones.

    The reason I know so many people who are "self-employed" is that there has been an explosion of downsizing and contracting out. I.e. employers have found it to be a cost effective way of getting the same work done.

    This is largely through not having to pay out for holidays, sick leave, pensions or bother which large chunks of employment law (or trade unions). But the work is the same and in general the actual hours worked are the same, if not more.

    The value of what is created for the employer/client is still much greater than that paid to the worker/contractor.

    And of course, the fee paid will be cheaper in some way than what would have been been paid in wages and other benefits to a full employee - otherwise why bother?

    To my mind it is the same thing, except you might have the benefit of getting up when you fancy it and working in your pyjamas. However you then have to scrabble around and compete for new work every few weeks, or run the risk of not getting paid.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    16,905

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    The value of what is created for the employer/client is still much greater than that paid to the worker/contractor.

    And of course, the fee paid will be cheaper in some way than what would have been been paid in wages and other benefits to a full employee - otherwise why bother?
    This is the crux of it, I think.

    Firstly, in what way is the 'value' of the service greater than that paid to the self-employed worker? How can 'value' be described other than as how much people are willing to pay for something? Your statement makes sense for a normal company, which is run by bosses who don't actually do the work that directly leads to the completed product/service (although they are in theory doing something useful to earn their wages - though I know a few people who'd dispute that...) and, moreover, is usually paying dividends to shareholders. But if the fee charged by the worker goes straight into his pocket, how can this be differentiated from the 'value' of the service he provides? (Let's assume for the moment the companies or individuals that hire him aren't operating a 'reverse cartel' to keep prices artificially low, as the major supermarkets are often accused of doing to farmers.)

    Your second point sounds like a great argument for why someone working for himself is really a paradigm of a Marxist collective in miniature: of course he can undercut a company, that's because he doesn't have to earn his boss's wage in addition to his own! In fact he could split the difference and pay himself more than he'd earn if he were working for someone else, while still charging less for equivalent goods/services, right?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  15. #30

    Default

    We may be talking at cross-purposes here.

    Let's say I own a record shop. I employ an under-nourished teen with an asymmetric haricut and pay them the minium wage. I am the boss; they are the (exploited, alienated) worker. A straightforward relationship. And what if I didn't employ anyone, but did the work myself? I would be both boss and worker (surely self-employed people do not sell their labour to anyone else, by definition!) and thus there would be no antagonism between the two groups. So it's false to say that there can be no capitalism without antagonism between the owners of capital and the owners of Arbeitskraft, labour power -- sometimes they are the same person.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •