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Andrew Kliman and Individual Appropriation by the Producers...

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twc
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Andrew Kliman and Individual Appropriation by the Producers...

Currently on a bush walk, listening through headphones to a debate between the Marxian economist Andrew Kliman and the libertarian [Mises/Hayek] economist Per Bylund:

   https://youtu.be/J6suGI1Rxmw

Andrew Kliman is arguing the case that we should unwind primitive accumulation — in which pre-capitalist producers were expropriated of their privately-owned means of production — and return them into the ownership of the individual producers.

He is arguing that we should restore the private-ownership world of pre-primitive capitalist accumulation, as by right, as if it were the default mode of social production that has been re-directed by capitalism from its natural course.

Now I trust I haven’t done Andrew Kliman an injustice, as my attention is switching from debate to terrain...

Nevertheless, in the continuing post-debate discussion, Andrew Kliman is pursuing the logic of individual ownership of the means of production by the producers.  And he has arrived at the point where, in principle, he agrees with, or his case is effectively indistinguishable from, that of his libertarian opponent.

Now, this issue of individual ownership of the means of production by the producers should be familiar to socialists, as it was brought to light thanks to the work of Adam Buick — see Adam Buick’s important article: https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1980s/1980/no-909-may-1980/karl-marx’s-declaration-principles.

Marx (1881) fully appreciated the problem of individual ownership of the means of production by the producers, and Marx came out in strong opposition to Andrew Kliman’s solution of “putting capitalist expropriation back into the private hands of the producers”.

Here is Marx’s 1881 ‘Declaration of Principles’ to the French Party of Socialist Workers:

“Considering,

  • That the emancipation of the productive class is that of all human beings without distinction of sex or race;

  • That the producers can be free only insofar as they are in possession of the means of production;

  • That there are only two forms under which the means of production can belong to them:

    1. The individual form which has never existed generally and which is being more and more eliminated by the progress of industry ;

    2. The collective form whose material and intellectual elements are being formed by the very development of capitalist society ;

Considering,

  • That this collective appropriation can only be the outcome of the revolutionary action of the productive class—or proletariat—organized in a separate political party;

  • That such organization must be pursued by all the means which the proletariat has at its disposal, including universal suffrage, thus transformed from the instrument of trickery which it has been up till now into an instrument of emancipation;

  • The French socialist workers ...”

Marx deterministically derives his two numbered clauses (above) from the course of development of capitalist society, which is necessarily preparing the material foundations for establishing socialism and the socialist consciousness for implementing it.

[Little did Marx realize that the course of development of capitalist society would throw up Lenin, and that the brutal course of Lenin’s capitalist primitive-accumulation, that was carried out under the name of socialism, would be the ideal anti-socialist weapon to retard that growing working-class consciousness.]

Marx here treats the means of production as material, excluding abstract thought, as he states that their individual ownership “has never existed generally and is being more and more eliminated by the progress of industry”.

Marx’s case is that the collective form of re-appropriating society’s means of production implies their common ownership and democratic control by all of society.

The Socialist Party’s case is that a socialist mode of production arises deterministically on the basis of such collective common ownership and democratic control, since such conditions establish and guarantee continuation of associative social relations — cooperative relations which transcend the antagonistic class relations of our current capitalist mode of production.

Marcos
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We had those libertarian in the WSM forum, and we swept the floors with their theory. Andrew Killman is a Marxist-Humanist and most MH have not abandoned their Leninists background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALB
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I wonder whether Kliman was not referring to this passage in the famous last-but-one chapter of Volume I of Capital about the "expropriation of the expropriators":

Quote:
The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labour of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.
Which seems to mean that, on the basis of common ownership, individuals will have a right to a share of the collectively-produced product to satisfy their individual needs. What else could it mean?

twc
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Yes, Adam, I agree that:

  • Andrew’s argument relies on Marx’s passage (above),

  • Marx implies common ownership-and-control of the means of production but individual ownership-and-control of personal consumption.

However, Andrew seems to be arguing for:

  • individual ownership-and-control of personal means of production, within common ownership of social means of production (!)

If you can manage 2½ hours to spare I’d be interested in your take on what I find incoherent.

Marcos
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ALB wrote:

I wonder whether Kliman was not referring to this passage in the famous last-but-one chapter of Volume I of Capital about the "expropriation of the expropriators":

Quote:
The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labour of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.
Which seems to mean that, on the basis of common ownership, individuals will have a right to a share of the collectively-produced product to satisfy their individual needs. What else could it mean?

He is basing his thoughts on that passage, but Marx is referring to the expropriation of the capitalist class as a whole, by the whole world working class, to turn the means of production into common possession. The break between Killman and others groups of the Marxist-Humanist movement was based on certain of his incoherency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

robbo203
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I looked up the Marxist-Humanist site and the transcript of the debate was there - or, at least, of Andrew Kliman's opening contribution:  Here is the relevant passage:

 

 

"So forcible expropriation, violence, and repressive state action are what created a new starting point, in which the great majority of the population has to choose between starvation and working under the domination of one or another capitalist. And so, given this new starting point that that they did not voluntarily choose, working people began to “voluntarily” work under the domination of capitalists. And these “voluntary” labor-market transactions “only cement[ ] this situation,” reinforce and perpetuate this new and much-less-free starting point. 
 
A genuinely free society requires that we undo—reverse--this expropriation. We need to return to individual property, in the sense that the direct producers—the folks who do the work--have ownership and control over the means of production--land, tools, raw materials, and so forth-that they need to make a living. 
 
If you are for reversing the forcible expropriation and re-establishing individual property in this sense, you and Marx are on the same side. This is exactly what he envisioned in the culminating chapter of his book, Capital: 
 
“The expropriators are expropriated. 
“… capitalist private property … is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labour of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.” 


Now, it’s conceivable that when individual property is returned to the great mass of people, some of them may want to work under the domination of others, in return for a wage. I find that bizarre, but I admit that it is conceivable—just barely. So what I recommend is--if you’re an absolutist about freedom of exchange: support the expropriation of the expropriators. Then, after that’s been accomplished, advocate that people who possess individual property should be allowed to work under the domination of others--if they so choose. … But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to choose that. "

 

https://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Sto...

 

Its all a bit messy and unclear what Kliman is actually saying here but he seems to be saying that "individual property" is distinguishable from "private property" and, following Marx, is based on the "possession in common of the land and of the means of production".  If that is the case then possibly what he is talking about is not property in the sense of something that you own and can dispose of - something that is alienable which is the essence of private property  - but rather property in the sense of something that you as an individual possess nd use  - namely, your labour power - which in communism would no longer be alienable but subject to your own volition.  Meaning that you as an individual would freely contribute  as you would wish in cooperation with others on an entirely voluntary basis.

 

So really what Kliman seems to be alluding to here is the theory of "possessive individualism" and the "labour theory of property"  - that you should own what you create through you own labour.  Except that Kliman is not talking about the products of your labour since he seems to go along with the idea of common ownership of the means of production but rather with labour itself.  In other words, he is taking the advocates of possesive individualism at face value and subverting their theory by exploiting the very premiss on  which it is based - namely, that your labour power should be your own individual property to use as you choose

 

There is a section in Paresh  Chattopadhyay's book (p.22- 29)  where he discusses Marx's idea of alienated or alienable labour as the basis of capitalist private property.  For Marx private property has a double expresssion - as individual private poprerty and as class based private propeorty.  The tendency in capitalism is for the latter to crowd out the former just as the former tranformed the individual property of the labourer - his or her labour power which  in one sense is physically  inseparable from the labourer - into alienable or private property.  A commodity in other words.

 

In effect, it is in the context of the specificity of the form of property within class property that capitalist private property takes on a second meaning in Marx. Here the starting point is private property considered simply as the "opposite [Gegensatz] of social, collective property," and private property in this sense refers to the property of "private individuals" [Privatleute] in the conditions of production which, again, can have two different "characters," according as these "private individuals" are "laborers or non-laborers" (1962a: 1X9). Corresponding to these two characters, Marx speaks of "two laws" of (private) property. "The first [law] is the identity of labor and property," that is, "private property based on one’s own labor" (1953: 373; 1962a: 802). The second law is the law of "bourgeois" (private) property into which the first law is "transformed" [umschlagt] "by its own inner, unfailing dialectic" (1953: 373; 1962a: 609). According to this second law, the "product of one’s own labor appears as alien property [and] contrariwise, alien labor appears as the property of the capitalist", that is, labor appears as "negated property." Capitalist private property "necessitates [bedingt] the annihilation of private property based on one's own labor". Thus the "separation of property from labor becomes the necessary consequence of a law that apparently started out from their identity" (1953: 373; 1962a: 802,610).

https://libcom.org/library/paresh-chattopadhyay-marxian-concept-capital-...

 

In summary then I  think Kliman is making a distinction between individual private property and individual property insofar as he seems to be agreeing with Marx in saying  that communism - the negation of the negation - does not re-establish private property for the producer but gives him individual property - meaning property that is no longer alienable and therefore no longer takes the form of private property.  Meaning specifically labour power

Marcos
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I read the argumentation of Andrew Killman, but in reality, it is not his idea, he is developing a conception expressed by Raya Dunayevskaya several years ago in her book Marxism and Freedom, and her idea of the negation of the negation, and labour power in a communist society, she was always constantly  talking about the same idea. The point that he is making is the same one expressed by Robbo. He is not talking about individual private property per se. That idea has also been developed by Peter Hudis and Kevin Anderson. It is on this book:

http://newsandletters.org/shop/books/the-power-of-negativity/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

robbo203
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Marcos wrote:

I read the argumentation of Andrew Killman, but in reality, it is not his idea, he is developing a conception expressed by Raya Dunayevskaya several years ago in her book Marxism and Freedom, and her idea of the negation of the negation, and labour power in a communist society, she was always constantly  talking about the same idea. The point that he is making is the same one expressed by Robbo. He is not talking about individual private property per se. That idea has also been developed by Peter Hudis and Kevin Anderson. It is on this book:

http://newsandletters.org/shop/books/the-power-of-negativity/

Marcos, from your knowlege of  the Marxist Humanist project would you say that by the term "individual property" is meant specifically labour power rather than the products of labour power?  So when Kliman writes  about individual property being returned to the great mass of people, he is not actually advocating individualised ownership of the means of production - actually he explictly seems to support common ownership of those means  -  but rather the re-appropriation of labour power by the labourer as an inalienable aspect of his or her person and no longer for sale on the market.

 

This is precisely the point that I was driving at in the thread I started up on "Marx and the Individual".  There is unquestionably a strong streak of individualistic thinking in Marx which is grounded in the premiss of his whole argument about alienation.  That is something which our resident critic LBird does not seem to understand with his knee jerk jibes about the Robbo's and others "individualism"

 

Thats simply not the case.  My ideas and I think those of Marx's too are grounded instead in an "Emergence paradigm" ,  not an atomistic reductionist individualist paradigm such as Mrs Thatcher expressed  - "Theres no such thing as society , only individuals".  I agree  that individuals are real entities on which society is based - how it not be? -  but consider that society has an "emergent" quality about it that cannot  be reduced to - or simply explained by -  the individuals who comprise society.  In other words society  has causal power .  It influences us.  The relationship between individuals and society is thus two way not one way as a true "individualists" would maintain but Lbird does not seem to understand this point

 

twc
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Thanks Robbo and Marcos.

However, for a more incoherent experience than the talk, as published, I suggest (if you can spare the time) listening to the post-debate discussion between Andrew Kliman and Per Bylund — can’t recall, but it starts about an hour from the end. 

Kliman seems to agree wholeheartedly with most, if not all, of the Mises/Hayek proposals.

Have I badly misconstrued something?

robbo203
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twc wrote:

Thanks Robbo and Marcos.

However, for a more incoherent experience than the talk, as published, I suggest (if you can spare the time) listening to the post-debate discussion between Andrew Kliman and Per Bylund — can’t recall, but it starts about an hour from the end. 

Kliman seems to agree wholeheartedly with most, if not all, of the Mises/Hayek proposals.

Have I badly misconstrued something?

 

Gawd, I hope not TWC  I would be sorely disappointed in Kliman if that is the case.  I havent yet listened to the whole talk but will do so. However from the limited evidence  I have so far I dont yet see any grounds for coming to this conclusion.  I think he is using the labour theory of property as a tool to attack capitalism

robbo203
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A thought occurred to me - why not contact Andrew to get a clarification and maybe to make a comment or two on this forum.  Does anyone have his contat details?

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