Paul Mason: a proper thread on his book

June 2024 Forums General discussion Paul Mason: a proper thread on his book

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  • #113130
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    It means, Stuart, as the International says "We want no condescending saviorsTo rule us from their judgement hallWe workers ask not for their favours"Keep waiting for your Messiah, Stuart, jumping ships and leaping on band-wagons on your seemingly endless oddyssy in search for the leader and or the party that you think gives you the truth you seek.It may well be a long journey that will take a long time …but please set off in the right direction…not go back-tracking down the roads that have already been proved to be dead-ends. I think the Communist Manifesto listed several political trends of the time. Feudal Socialism, Petty-Bourgeois Socialism etc etc and now we have Post Capitalist 'Socialism' aka Mason…re-defining capitalism to make it ever so radical sounding but which doesn not take us one step closer towards an actual new society…Wolff and Alperovitz have been in their own way doing much the same. I disagree that the article did not address today's problems and merely repeated what you call sloganeering of dogma.As the article said   

    Quote:
    Some things can’t be replicated in pixels or even by a 3-D printer. Clothing, food, housing, fuel and computers can only be replicated by employing the labor power of exploited workers. Those things are not losing value. Exploitation in the process of production is still at the heart of the global economy. And as long as the value produced by workers is being appropriated and accumulated by capitalists, then we are still in capitalism. Only a self-serving Silicon Valley dreamer or a severely deluded business journalist can argue, with a straight face, that the falling price of ebooks translates into everyone on the planet being able to have plenty of free food. Perhaps Paul Mason ought to do a little experiment on himself: stay in a room with unlimited information. When he gets hungry, he can eat it. He asserts that in today’s economy there is a reduced need for work. This statement is a tremendous insult to the workers in Bangladesh who sewed his shirt, the workers in China who assembled his phone, the workers in Mexico who picked the strawberries for his breakfast, the millions of workers all over the world who produce everything else he so thoughtlessly uses.

    Mason has presented the myopic view with no historic context …and he is the one covering its shortcomings with ideological rhetoric and refusing to look at the world as it is and how it is developing.   

    #113131
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    I'd rather keep jumping ship than stay in the dock.You've turned me into an advocate for Mason for your own rhetorical purposes, but the first thing I said was that I found what he says implausible. I love his journalism because he does exactly what you say he doesn't. He's brilliant at reporting on what's going on in the world while providing historic context. I'm not buying his vision of the future, but if you think he's bought it because he's daft, well, then, you're daft!Why not join the odyssey that seeks for truth? I promise you it's better than grasping hold of one aspect of the truth, then digging in and aggressively defending it against allcomers. 

    #113132
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    And you didn't answer my question, your quote is not relevant. What does it really mean to emancipate ourselves from capitalism through struggle? 

    #113133
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    oddyssy

    I like it !

    #113134
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "Why not join the odyssey that seeks for truth? I promise you it's better than grasping hold of one aspect of the truth, then digging in and aggressively defending it against allcomers."I've been on that trip, Stuart, and eventually returned to home-port.If you follow the other threads you'll know i'm intent upon making sure that it is not merely a safe harbour but a embarkation point for new challenges. But unlike yourself, i have no desire to travel by myself and seek to bring others along on that journey…We simply just need to agree the route and the intinerary….necessay to avoid aimless meandering and wandering.  Yes i am slightly anti-intellectuals in my attitudes and rarely give them the deference those such as Mason no doubt deserve. I shall humble myself before him if you so deem it a requisite for understanding the world.   

    #113135
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    "They skirted the land of the Sirens, who sang an enchanting song that normally caused passing sailors to steer toward the rocks, only to hit them and sink. All of the sailors except for Odysseus, who was tied to the mast as he wanted to hear the song, had their ears plugged up with beeswax." 

    #113136
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    You still didn't answer my question, so I'll have a stab myself. One of the ways in which we can struggle to emancipate ourselves from capitalism is not to be subject to the attitude of mind it tends to cultivate. So, for example, we must strive to learn and educate ourselves, and not be anti-intellectual; to pay our respects to those we learn from, and not be cynical or sneering; to not be so attached to our own limited views that we can't hear those of others… to name just the few that spring to mind. So yes, please do prostrate yourself before Paul Mason, it would be very healthy indeed.

    #113137
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Oh, the quote was relevant, the restatement of the principle of self-emancipation and self-liberation…being actors in the process of history, not spectators. 

    #113138
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    When the men came to Circe's [aka Mason] palace, they heard her singing as she weaved. She welcomed them to her table, but she mixed a potion into their food that erased their memories of home and turned them into pigs. They lingered for a full year. “She gave then all comfortable seats, and made them a posset, cheese and meal and pale honey mixt with Promneian wine; but she put dangerous drugs in the mess, to make them wholly forget their native land. When once they had swallowed it, she gave them a tap of her wand at once and herded them into pens; for they now had pig heads and grunts and bristles, pigs all over except that their minds were the same as before. There they were then, miserably shut up in the pigsty. Circe threw them a lot of beechnuts and acorns and cornel-beans to eat, such as the earth-bedded swine are used to.”

    #113139
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    According to Marx, social being determines consciousness. So what does "social being" look like in early 21st century capitalism? It's probably not possible or meaningful to give a single general answer to that. But as far as the rich countries go, there is a large population of young people who are disaffected politically, excluded economically, and who have little prospect for material advancement or wellbeing. These young people are at the same time incredibly well-educated (by world and historic standards), and, thanks to new technology, well informed about what's going on in the world, and connected to each other. They are, in their own ways, politically active and engaged, and economically active but outside the usual confines of the capitalist and state economy. Now, do such facts have any relevance or interest at all in relation to the question of whether or not it's possible to go beyond capitalism and have a socialist society? If you think yes, then Paul Mason would pretty obviously be a good first port of call for finding out more. If not, then why not? Is it perhaps that you don't really believe that social being is at all relevant to the question of consciousness? Or disbelieve that workers or their material conditions have any relevance to the question of socialism?

    #113140
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I think the tale from Greek mythology you are looking for is that of Scylla and Charybdis:http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Sa-Sp/Scylla-and-Charybdis.htmlNot just Greek mythology, but contemporary Greece too. I think Syriza chose Scylla … or was it Charybdis?

    #113141
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    So Odysseus refused to sail through the strait, but decided to sit there and wait for better conditions? If so, I grant you your victory! 

    #113142
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Posing your own question and then answering it, doesn't get us anywhere, Stuart.Certain assumptions have to be supported. The militancy around the world is not in Silicon Valley. It is in the factories of Dhaka, Manila, and umpteen other Asian cities. The struggle is as old fashioned, as brutal and as bitter as it always was. New technology isn't proving to be liberatory tools but exploitative, oppressive and repressive. That's the world-view i see. Where's your answers for that?        And if we wish to bring experience back to the more familiar ground, i suggest you read the SOYMB blog on the American South and the original article it used as a source. http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2015/07/slavery-returns-to-american-south.htmlAgain, old fashioned capitalist exploitation, nothing fancy. Just the same old shit that there always been…And no-one will be surprised by my conclusion that it is getting worse…not better…Woe, Woe and Thrice Woe…So my anger is righteous at those who want to lead us all off on some Magical Mystery Tour, without destination and without a road-map and without a clue of where we have already been.    

    #113143
    ALB
    Keymaster
    stuartw2112 wrote:
    So Odysseus refused to sail through the strait, but decided to sit there and wait for better conditions? If so, I grant you your victory! 

    Actually he got through (but his crew didn't) but then he was a superhero which I don't think Corbyn or Tsipras are (or imagine themselves to be). Corbyn thinks it will be easy while Tsipras now knows it can't be done.

    #113144
    Quote:
    Some things can’t be replicated in pixels or even by a 3-D printer. Clothing, food, housing, fuel and computers can only be replicated by employing the labor power of exploited workers.

    That's just flat wrong, they are building houses in China using 3d printers, printing will enable production of clothes from gloop.  Robots are increasingly doing the extractive work: this is a problem for the logic of capital, and it is a political problem.

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