Taxing the rich October article

September 2022 Forums Socialist Standard Feedback Taxing the rich October article

Viewing 13 posts - 31 through 43 (of 43 total)
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  • #224892
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘All I can say to that is that if true, it makes the workers look less than bright, if they can so easily be manipulated and conditioned.’

    Nobody said it was easy to fool the people all of the time but the billions invested in the media etc. to make us believe their lies 24/7 is testament to its success. Some of the great ‘intellects’ of our time dedicate themselves to defend and rationalize the left and/or right versions of capitalism so it clearly has nothing to do with, as you put it, ‘being less than bright’.

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 4 weeks ago by Wez.
    #224894
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘But I always thought that the value of labour-power was unique; because unlike other commodities, it was determined by the combative power of the respective antagonists, the employer and the employee, and the level of wages stemmed from the class struggle,…’

    More to do with the supply of and demand for skilled labour power I would say.

    #224897
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Personally I think many workers do “get” what we are saying about taxes (and subsidies) especially those who are active trade unionists — in fact it will be one reason why they are active in their union.

    I think they can work out too who pays (on who it falls) your $400 in the end.

    #224900
    Matthew Culbert
    Keymaster

    Yes, my members were under no illusions about that and the causes of inflation as well.

    #224903
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘Personally I think many workers do “get” what we are saying about taxes’

    ‘Yes, my members were under no illusions about that and the causes of inflation as well.’

    Wishful thinking I’m afraid – nobody outside of the Party ‘gets it’ in my experience. They also believe they get a ‘fair wage for a fair days work’ and have no clue as to the origin of profit.

    #224904
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Is that view based on what your fellow trade union members think or on what people down the pub do?

    I agree, though, that understanding what we say about tax is not incompatible with believing in “a fair days wage for a fair days work”. In fact it is an aspect of it. Insofar as “a fair day’s wage” means anything it is being paid the value of your labour power. Which implies a higher money wage if the cost of living goes up or take-home pay goes down, because of a tax rise.

    #224905
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    My mother told me that she worked out that she didn’t pay tax by the time she started work at 15, she didn’t join the party until she was in her 60s.

    Prior to joining the party, when she was in the Labour Party and I was in the Socialist Party, it was an area of agreement between us. I think it might of been something he had learned from her grandfather (they talked a lot about politics). I didn’t know him but he was an early member of the ILP and possibly of the SDF, so if it was a common view in the early 20th Century, it woudl seem a sensible link.

    #224907
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here’s an article from 1909 about what the SDP (as by then the SDF had become) said about taxation. We would have inherited it from them but applied it more consistently.

    #224911
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘Is that view based on what your fellow trade union members think or on what people down the pub do?’

    Both plus many highly intelligent people that I have met during 40 years of prosecuting the Party case. They also believe in the need for leaders, that capitalism can be reformed, that profit is payment for risk, that history teaches us nothing and has no meaning, that low taxes and high property values are a good thing, that nobody would work without the carrot and stick of wages and the poverty of unemployment, that war is a necessary evil….need I go on? The conformity resulting from the conditioning by the matrix is mind boggling.

    #224918
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Well, yes, if you put it that way. Most people don’t “get” the socialist case. Otherwise we’d have socialism or be well on our way there. But that doesn’t prevent some of them understanding some of what we are saying, as for example on taxation. No need to beat ourselves up over us supposedly not getting this part of our case across.

    #224919
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘But that doesn’t prevent some of them understanding some of what we are saying, as for example on taxation. No need to beat ourselves up over us supposedly not getting this part of our case across.’

    I take a more holistic (dialectical) view in that our case is integrated and coherent and that to isolate particular elements tends to miss the point. The term ‘counter-intuitive’ used in this debate is, for me, the most interesting and important consideration to emerge. The vast majority think ideologically rather than logically as the result of conditioning. The realization of the perverse coherence of bourgeois ideology across all subjects is an important aid to socialist consciousness. In fact the only reason for us to debate any single issue is to point this out.

    #224920
    ALB
    Keymaster

    The trouble with Freudian-type theories about the working class being psychologically conditioned to want capitalism is that, if valid, they would prove too much. It would mean that socialism would not be possible as these theories don’t suggest a way in which the majority could become unconditioned (how their psychology can be changed) under capitalism. It’s the “who will educate the educators” problem again or, rather, what will uncondition the unconditioners? Marcuse drew a Leninist conclusion from this and argued that a minority (in his case, the marginalised and the declassed) would have to overthrow capitalist rule and after that uncondition the rest of society. However, history shows that a minority revolution leads to minority rule.

    I still think that when humans encounter a problem and there is a solution they will find it by using their ability to reason. We always have.

    #224932
    Wez
    Participant

    ALB – I wasn’t really referring to Marcuse’s theory only that the media subjects us all to a 24/7 normalization of bourgeois ideology and that our case, in that context, will always appear ‘counter-intuitive’. Rather like our case against reformism I think we should always debate single issues like taxation within the framework of ruling class ideology. From their point of view taxation is a bad thing but that from a majority point of view it is a good thing. It is in their interests that we should all believe that high taxation is an evil – hence the propaganda. You have yourself admitted that socialists are different in being able to see this class contradiction and avoid the conditioning. As to why this is the case Marcuse had some interesting ideas but as with the work of Marx we can accept his analysis without always accepting his conclusions.

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