- Capitalism and Alternatives -

No, I'm not; your history is wrong

Posted by: Stoller on January 14, 19100 at 20:29:23:

In Reply to: You're arguing in a circle. posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on January 14, 19100 at 11:09:03:

: Barry, we don't need to meet capitalism head-on, or fight in on its own terms. We can stab it in the ass if need be. We should ally ourselves with anticapitalist forces, even if they seem "reactionary" (e.g. protectionists rather than globalizers).

Wrong. The petty proprietors and peasants---as a class---cannot initiate a developed, abundant socialism without the leadership of the proletariat---because petty proprietors and peasants cling to individual private ownership of the means of production (a predicate OF capitalism). Fighting capital 'on its own terms,' as you call it, is actually the private property 'socialism' you endorse. Revolution is NEVER on capital's 'own terms.'

: Let's look at the example that precedes industry: AGRICULTURE. Humanity went from a hunter-gatherer (H/G) existence to an agricultural one. According to your progressive interpretation of history, this should have marked a step forward in terms of human standards of living; farmers should be better off than HG's, otherwise the agricultural revolution wouldn't ahve happened.

True. Surplus only came into existence when agriculture supplanted the Hunter / gatherer mode of production. Surplus, in its turn, revolutionized society, producing culture---and your beloved religion. Now, obviously, this limited surplus wasn't enough for all members of society (the mode of production being too primitive), so surplus was appropriated by a minority...

The whole Marxian paradigm, to make a long story short, is that industrialization has made it possible for surplus to be abundant, abundant enough for all members of society---once the (capitalist) social relations that oppilate industrialization's productive potential are swept aside and new (socialist) social relations are installed. THE MODE OF PRODUCTION STAYS THE SAME. Therefore, your desire to return to a preindustrial mode of production (peasant subsistence farming) is a move backward (hence reactionary).

NJ: The reason that cars weren't available to the people before Fordism is because production was Capitalist, not vbecause it was artisan.

Stoller: Nonsense. Cars are available to almost all Americans now---and capitalism is still here, it's Fordism that has since happened.

: Wrong comparison. The only way you could show that the deprivation was not due to capitalism is to show an example of a non-capitalist, non-Fordist society and then to demostrate that cars are not widely available.

How about most of Africa?

: By the way, cars are NOT 'available to almost all Americans'.

Wrong again. According to Jane Holtz Kay's Asphalt Nation (University of California Press 1997, p. 22) only 9% of Americans have no cars (and 2% are in prison).

Stoller: What a reactionary sentiment, 'give the land back to the peasants.'

: If that's reactionary, fine, so be it. I'm a reactionary. I don't believe that the crimes of capitalism are or were historically inevitable.

The crime of capitalism is not its mode of production; its crime is its social relations.

: No, peasant socialism has thrived in a number of societies; Nicaragua would still be peasant-scoialist today if it wasn't for American terrorism... But I don't see YOUR model, the Bolshevisk, allive and well today either.

The U.S.S.R. proved peasant socialism doesn't work! The insurmountable hardships of installing socialism in a nation not satisfactorily developed by capital for abundance to be produced is the primary reason the 1917 revolution failed. Maybe you should stop taunting the Sparts and engage them in some discussions about dialectical materialism sometime...

Stoller: You argue for some kind of feudal socialism; if such was possible, then socialism would have sprang FROM feudalism (instead of capitalism). Each mode of production carries the seed of the next---this is the lesson of dialectical materialism you ignore.

: You're arguing in a circle. Convince me of the truth of dialectical materialism first, THEN I'll follow you along into its implications. But as my sympathies lie with teh Sandinitas, as opposed to Marxism per se, I have no particular reason to agree with you at this moment in time.

Your history is perverse. You cite the Sandistas as some kind of proof that peasant socialism works. They don't even exist.

: The French REvolution was a philosophical revolution, not an economic one.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is NO SUCH THING as a 'philosophic revolution.' Ideology ('philosophy') only trails behind the dominant material forces of society. ALL revolutions are economic---and the revolution of 1789 was all about the bourgeoisie sweeping aside the feudal mode of production and social relations.

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