Forum Replies Created
January 1, 2012 at 8:20 am in reply to: Modern versions of ‘Ancient Society’ by Lewis Henry Morgan? #87261
Anthropolgy has certainly moved on since 1877! One of the best books seeking to vindicate the idea of social evolution (which for a while some anthropologists denied) from a position sympathetic to Lewis Henry Morgan is The Evolution of Culture by Leslie A White that first came out in 1959.White was an active member of the DeLeonist Socialist Labor Party of America from 1929 to 1946 writing for the Weekly People, etc and remained a member afterwards till 1959 (he died in 1975). For more info on him and his anthropological theories see here and here.dogmatic wrote:I agree with you on everything except the bold part which has been proven wrong :Okishio’s theorem is a mathematical theorem formulated by Japanese economist Nobuo Okishio. It has had a major impact on debates about Marx’s theory of value. Intuitively, it can be understood as saying that if one capitalist raises his profits by introducing a new technique that cuts his costs, the collective or general rate of profit in society – for all capitalists – goes up.
But the part in bold did not say that competition forcing capitalist firms to innovate so accumulating capital leads to the overall rate of profit in society going down. It just said that it led to capital accumulation (“economic growth”).Maybe your are jumping to the conclusion that because we regard ourselve as Marxists we’re committed to the view that crises are caused by the rate of profit falling as a result of labour-saving capital accumulation. In the debates on this question we have not taken this position. Admittedly, others in these debates have argued this but not us. We’ve argued that because there are counteracting tendency it is not possible to predict how the rate of profit will move, up or down, in the short or even medium run. See for instance this and this.December 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm in reply to: None can be right against the party – even Athiest ex-members #87254
That’s the SWP party not us of course!Brian wrote:He does however make a distinction between the state sector spending and investement and the private sector spending and investment with only the latter actually being the capitalist economy.
Yes, that struck me as odd too. At one point he says that because 35% of GDP passes via the State in the US that means only 65% of economic activity there today is actually capitalist. So, he seems to think (as his father did in Marx and Keynes) that capitalism is essentially private, free market capitalism. But then he also says (very eloquently) that capitalism has never existed without the state (which is true) so there seems to be a bit of an inconsistency here. Surely state economic activity is capitalist too?This said, I don’t think we should nit-pick too much since most of the lecture is good, especially where he develops the point that capitalism is not a system geared to meeting paying demand (let alone to real needs) but one geared to making profits and where he explains who really bears the burden of taxation. A whizz-kid on our facebook site says you can listen to him on taxation by going straight to here.A pity he didn’t answer the question on what a modern, non-capitalist society might be like since he does have the same idea of this as us (classless, stateless, moneyless, wageless) but I suppose this was because he was supposed to be giving an academic lecture. Just hope it wasn’t because he didn’t want to appear utopian.
While we’re talking about banks, here’s a good criticism of the “nationalisation of the banks” put forward by many leftists and why it has nothing to do with socialism (the blogger calls it “communism” while we prefer “socialism” but anyway the two words mean the same).Here’s an extract:Quote:Communist relations preclude the existence of banks and the exchange value they express. Communist relations constitute the antithesis to bank relations whether private or public. The former are directly visible relations while the later are relations of reification. Consequently commodities cannot exist under communism. Products cannot assume the form of commodities under communist relations. They are just products. Consequently money and banks are superfluous.dogmatic wrote:Other than that the real issue is the interest asked on these loans because they add up and create an enormous demand for exponential growth in the economy which is obviously gonna end up in the “weaker” players (including governments) going bankrupt leading to mass unemployment, austerity measures and a continuing vicious cycle which can only be delayed by lending out more.
I’m not sure I agree. It seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Surely it is not the need to pay interest that drives the capitalist economy, but the need to make profits.Banks make loans to capitalist businesses only if they judge that that the business will make a profit of which they can obtain a share as interest (and businesses will only take out a loan if they judge they can make a profit larger than the amount of interest they will have to pay). If banks don’t consider this to be the case then they won’t make a loan even if they have the money. Which is what is happening now. Profit is the problem and not interest as such.The imperative to grow that you mention and which is indeed built-in to capitalism results from capitalist firms competing for profits and having to invest in more and more productive machinery and methods, ie accumulate capital, to remain competitive and stay in the race for profits. What causes unemployment and austerity to increase from time to time is when this competition leads to overproduction (in relation to the market) and a fall in profits. When this happens banks (who had expected to get interest out of future profits, which have now not materialised) and governments (who had expected more tax revenues from the same future profits) find themselves with a “debt problem” but this has been caused not by the need to pay interest but by the fact that profits out of which to pay it have not materialised.But, as you say, whatever causes booms and slumps, the need is to get rid of the profit system and replace it by production for use which is only possible on the basis of the world’s natural and industrial resources becoming the common heritage of all under democratic control.
I don’t know who or which group is behind this statement (probably, as the anti-unionism in it suggests, some “left communists”) but it makes many of the points we would:Quote:Call-out meeting for anti-capitalist activists in the NYC metro area.As the year is ending, the Occupy movement can look back with pride. A lot was accomplished in just a few months time. Our protest has broken the silence on the pain that the system we live under inflicts on the vast majority of the population. It has shifted the debate. It has spread throughout the country and beyond. It has created a space in which all voices can express themselves, in which people talk to each other about their lives and relate it to what’s happening to society. It has protected and expanded this space with creative direct democracy-methods. It has seen itself in continuation of, and in solidarity with, the protest movements in Egypt, Greece, Spain and everywhere against a global system of injustice. And its essential slogan : « Occupy ! » gives a sense of direction to our movement : Let’s occupy our world, make it work for the needs of the 99% !To occupy our world, we must expropriate its current owners, dubbed the 1% but more appropriately described as « capital ». But not everyone in the Occupy movement agrees with this conclusion. So now that the movement enters a new phase, and everyone is talking about what the next step will be, it finds itself at a crossroads. We are all bound together by our outrage over the injustice this system inflicts but we draw different conclusions. Some think our aim must be to reform the system, to change the laws to protect politicians from the corrupting influence of money. Others like us think that, as long as the capitalist core of the system survives, it won’t matter how democratically politicians are elected, they will always be bound by higher laws, the laws of capital. Congress, the Democratic party and its trade union allies, the cops, the mayors, governors etc, are all integral parts of the soulless machine that structures society in the interests of capital. They can never represent the interests of the 99%.In 2012, the spectacle of the electoral circus will suck up a lot of media-attention and it threatens to suck up part of the Occupy movement as well. The challenge to those who refuse to be co-opted by the very forces against whose policies the movement has risen, who don’t want to become foot soldiers for progressive Democrats or the unions, is to pose an alternative perspective to the movement.How to concretize the battle cry « Occupy ! » ? How to resist the forces of co-optation ? How to reach out to the ‘99%’ in the workplaces, whose involvement is vital to our movement ? How will the deepening of capitalism’s crisis in the coming year increase the pressure and affect the spread of the Occupy movement ?These and other questions, the anti-capitalists in the Occupy movement need to discuss. We invite them to do so at an open meeting, on January 8thJanuary 8, 2012 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM The Commons 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (three blocks from the Atlantic Avenue Subway Stop)Issued by : a group of anti-capitalist activists. For more information, write to: email@example.com
Very interesting and confirmation of what we would expect to happen when capitalism gets into more difficulty than usual. There’s an article by a US comrade in the February 2010 Socialist Standard on a similar poll, with a similar but not so striking result, done in 2009. It’s here: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2010/no-1266-february-2010/material-worldamerican-public-opinion-and-s-word
We’ve got “islamo-leftism” here too, originally sponsored by the SWP and now embodied in the Respect Party. Fortunately, this party appears to be going down the drain. These trotskyists bear a heavy responsibility for encouraging “communalist” politics into Britain whereas the socialist policy is to unite workers on a class basis rather than divide them on religious or so-called “ethnic” lines.
It’s well produced but that’s all. Otherwise it’s run of the mill conspiracy theory crap (freemasons, microchips,etc). It’s only saving grace is that the banker is called “Montagu” rather than “Rothschild”.It’s wrong on two main points;1. Although there is a global elite they don’t control what happens in the world. They make certain key decisions and benefit from the way capitalism works but they don’t control it. Nobody does as capitalism is uncontrollable.2. The global elite is not made up just of bankers, not even mainly but of the ultra-rich in other fields too, eg Bill Gates, the oil-rentier sheiks of the Middle East and the Tata family in India. In this year’s Sunday Times Rich List the field of activity of the top two is listed as “steel”, followed by Abramovich and the Duke of Westminister, who are not bankers either.
Here’s another Peter Joseph interview with RT (on 15 September). It’s a good outline of the Zeitgeist case. Interestingly, he comes out as being explicitly against capitalism and at one point even uses the word “democratic” in relation to the “resource-based economy”.We wouldn’t agree with his economic analysis about the debt burden and technological unemployment leading to an economic collapse of capitalism, but to give the man his due he is able to put a good case for a world society without frontiers and without the need for money based on the world’s resources being the common heritage of all.
Here’s their account of what happened. Pity we never got round to organising a presentation there ourselves (as originally intended).
Yes, why not? She’s just been appointed professor of drawing at the Royal Academy so we can write to her there asking about the thinking behind her £50 note design. The letter’s in the post.Let’s hope she doesn’t turn out to be another Sinead O’Connor who in an interview with the NME in 1992 said:Quote:So the only solution to all the problems in the world — starvation, homelessness, joblessness, etc — is to get rid of money (quoted in the January 1993 Socialist Standard).
but who later turned out to have all sorts of weird mystical and religious views.
Thanks. Now we can (and will) use the quote with confidence. I take it it’s from the letter he wrote to the Rev George Bainton on 10 April 1888?The quote appeared in a copy of a letter sent by a member calling himself “Karl Marx II” and writing from Putney to the Morning Leader. The letter was published in the issue of 26 September (if any historian wants to check) but without the part which quoted from Morris.What is interesting is that early Party members should have been aware of what Morris wrote here, which shows a certain continuity from the anti-reformist views of the Socialist League of which Morris was a member from 1884-1890, no doubt via the Social Democratic Federation to which Morris had become reconciled by the time he died in 1896 and from which the Party sprang.
We do get occasional enquiries asking about the “economic calculation argument”. We refer them to this article on this site here:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/depth-articles/socialism/why-we-dont-need-moneyAnd also to this article from the June 1993 Socialist Standard (not yet up here, but available elsewhere on the internet here).So, we’ve got anti-ECA material and we do use it.