File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 199


Date: Sat, 11 Oct 1997 11:10:22 +0200
Subject: Re: M-I: Re: Get back in the kitchen and rattle them pots & pans!


Doug quotes me and answers:

>So what is the moral agenda of big capital?
>
>Making money, of course. Sex sells, and family disintegration can be good
>for the bottom line. I've yet to read Arlie Hochschild's book, but it seems
>that lots of Americans - can't speak for the rest of the world - are
>throwing themselves into work because their domestic lives are so fucked
>up. Their domestic lives are f'd up in large part because of capital, but
>who cares, if it sustains the class hierarchy and makes the rich richer?

1 The moral agenda of big capital is making money. Fine.

2 Who cares? Wrong question. Who suffers? is better. It's not a subjective
thing, exploitation is objective. Subjectivity comes in in relation to
political responses. Here it's obvious that people do things they're not
aware of doing. And as long as there's no mass authoritative revolutionary
working-class leadership they'll go on acting without consciousness of what
they're doing.


>>What was the moral agenda of
>>big capital in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s? It was of course to support
>>anything that weakened the working class in its struggle, demobilized it
>>and derailed any potential mass revolutionary movements.
>
>This is not Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. There is no mass revolutionary
>movement, as you might have noticed.

Doug didn't notice that I wrote "potential" mass revolutionary movement. He
left the point about the working class in struggle uncommented, which was
just as well because it looks like he'd want to claim there is no struggle,
but that'd be risky given the UPI strike and the action of the west coast
longshoremen (in other words, not just struggle, but successful struggle,
given the present balance of class forces).

Perhaps Doug could enlarge on the important qualitative differences between
big capital now in the States and big capital then in Germany?


>Part of the reason is that people are
>lost in atomization and consumerism. If you think that Wall Street and the
>Fortune 500 want to turn power over to Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, you're
>even more out of it than I imagined, Hugh.

Atomization and consumerism are symtoms of bad class leadership and
organization, not causes of it.

I wrote that capital's agenda was "to support anything that weakened the
working class in its struggle". I should have added that subjective wants
have little to do with it. Capital would support Louis Proyect or little
pieces of green slime in power if it helped them survive a crisis and let
them keep exploiting the working class.

It'd be ironic to dig out quotes from the German imperialists of the 1920s
to show what they thought of Hitler and the Nazis. I'm sure there would be
plenty of left observers of the time ready to write: "If you think that
Krupp and Deutsche Bank want to turn power over to Adolf Hitler you're even
more out of it than I imagined, Leo".


>>All of this is on
>>the agenda of the Christian right, so Doug is just splitting hairs to
>>insist on some "moral" dimension to all this where big capital is somehow
>>less rabidly dangerous than paranoid petty-bourgeois proto-fascists. That
>>is to deliberately shift the focus off the most important social impact of
>>this kind of thing.
>
>Deliberately? You don't know the first thing about U.S. culture or
>politics, obviously. This is a very weird place, America.

What's Doug trying to say here? That big capital is a less dangerous enemy
than  paranoid petty-bourgeois proto-fascists? This is like saying the HIV
virus is less dangerous than common germs that can kill people whose immune
system the virus has wiped out.



>>Surely Doug doesn't think capitalism is not in crisis?
>
>We've been here many times before, Comrade Rodwell. No, capitalism is not
>in crisis.

Well, that's all right then. Not in crisis means healthy. So what's to stop
imperialism just getting on and saving the world? How come a healthy
capitalism still hasn't got its act together in the ex-workers' states? How
come the workers in the imperialist countries are so disaffected?? Maybe
they're not organized in revolutionary parties yet, but they are very
uninterested in supporting the projects of capital and in fighting its wars
for it.


>There is no revolutionary movement anywhere in the world.
>There's fragmented resistance, but nothing coherent, and nothing to make
>the haute bourgeoisie lose sleep over.

There are plenty of revolutionary movements in the world. There is no mass,
authoritative international, revolutionary movement yet. There was one that
grew out of the October revolution. It was slowly strangled and perverted
by the Stalinist counterrevolution. It has got to be rebuilt in the
struggles of the working class by revolutionaries organized around a
Bolshevik-Leninist programme.

The coherence will come. If the bourgeois aren't losing sleep over it,
they're welcome.

>>Or that labour
>>shortages are homogeneous and universal, with available jobs equally open
>>to unskilled women and graduate men?
>
>How about unskiled men and graduate women? Unskilled men are doing very
>badly in the U.S. labor market. There is still plenty of sex
>discrimination, in the labor market and absolutely everywhere else in U.S.
>society, but the gender gap for year-round fulltime workers in the U.S. has
>reached an all-time low.

Well, well, so things are moving in the right direction, it seems...

All for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

At least we were spared the other half of the litany, about the Boss always
being stronger.

Cheers,

Hugh




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