Skip to Content

Varoufakis on Marx

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
alanjjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 22/06/2011
Varoufakis on Marx

An inspirational and stirring read

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/apr/20/yanis-varoufakis-marx-crisi...

Quote:
The ultra-rich are an insecure, permanently disgruntled clique, constantly in and out of detox clinics, relentlessly seeking solace from psychics, shrinks and entrepreneurial gurus. Meanwhile, everyone else struggles to put food on the table, pay tuition fees, juggle one credit card for another or fight depression. We act as if our lives are carefree, claiming to like what we do and do what we like. Yet in reality, we cry ourselves to sleep.

Do-gooders, establishment politicians and recovering academic economists all respond to this predicament in the same way, issuing fiery condemnations of the symptoms (income inequality) while ignoring the causes (exploitation resulting from the unequal property rights over machines, land, resources). Is it any wonder we are at an impasse, wallowing in hopelessness that only serves the populists seeking to court the worst instincts of the masses?...The manifesto argues that the problem with capitalism is not that it produces too much technology, or that it is unfair. Capitalism’s problem is that it is irrational. Capital’s success at spreading its reach via accumulation for accumulation’s sake is causing human workers to work like machines for a pittance, while the robots are programmed to produce stuff that the workers can no longer afford and the robots do not need. Capital fails to make rational use of the brilliant machines it engenders, condemning whole generations to deprivation, a decrepit environment, underemployment and zero real leisure from the pursuit of employment and general survival. Even capitalists are turned into angst-ridden automatons. They live in permanent fear that unless they commodify their fellow humans, they will cease to be capitalists – joining the desolate ranks of the expanding precariat-proletariat...Humanity may succeed in securing social arrangements that allow for “the free development of each” as the “condition for the free development of all”. But, then again, we may end up in the “common ruin” of nuclear war, environmental disaster or agonising discontent. In our present moment, there are no guarantees. We can turn to the manifesto for inspiration, wisdom and energy but, in the end, what prevails is up to us.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

ALB
Offline
Joined: 22/06/2011

Just got round to reading this. As an introduction to a re-edition of The Communist Manifesto (which it is) it's not bad and far better than those by AJP Taylor, David Harvey, etc.

Just a mnor point, although it is true that the Manifesto was first pinted in London, at 46 Liverpool Street, Bishopsgate, it is not true that it was "commissioned by English revolutionaries". As its name (and language in which it was published) suggest, it was commissioned by German revolutionaries in the Bund der Kommunisten (Communist League).

On its relevance today Varouflakis writes;

Quote:
Given that it is neither possible nor desirable to annul capitalism’s “energy”, the trick is to help speed up capital’s development (so that it burns up like a meteor rushing through the atmosphere) while, on the other hand, resisting (through rational, collective action) its tendency to steamroller our human spirit. In short, the manifesto’s recommendation is that we push capital to its limits while limiting its consequences and preparing for its socialisation.
This might have been a socialist perspective in 1848 (though the Manifesto clearly expectsnand states that a proletarian revolutioi in Germany is to immediately follow the then attempted bourgeois revolution there), it makes no sense today. It was in fact the perspective of the Social Democratic and Leninist parties when in power: further develop capitalism while trying mitigate the effects of this on the workers. Today, it is socialism that is the immediate issue and has been for years.

robbo203
Offline
Joined: 07/11/2011

There is also this article by Varoufakis which I came across recently in which he claims capitalism is ending becuase it has made itself obsolete.  Unfortunately, he seems to mean by capitalism just the "neoliberal system"

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/yannis-varoufakis-capita....

 

Maybe it is worth trying to contact this guy to engage with him in some sort of political discussion/debate.  He may have some questionable ideas and theories but also others which are not and has quite an inspirational way of putting these across.   Didnt he used to be at the LSE? Has the SPGB attempted to get in touch with him before?

patreilly
patreilly's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/04/2018

robbo203 wrote:

Maybe it is worth trying to contact this guy to engage with him in some sort of political discussion/debate.  

Don't think he would be interested in that.  He is forming a new political party

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/26/greece-ex-minister-yanis-v...

It will be known as MeRA 25 and has the overarching aim of releasing Greece from “debt bondage”.

In other words it's aim is to relieve the Greek ruling class of it's debt. 

 

“We will not mince our words,” he announced at the party’s launch event in a theatre hall in Athens. “[Our alliance] will be people of the left and liberalism, greens and feminists.”

patreilly
patreilly's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/04/2018

and from impossibility to inevitability. (Good slogan for impssibilists)

http://uk.businessinsider.com/yanis-varoufakis-jeremy-corbyn-will-inevit...

Login or register to post comments