- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on February 08, 19100 at 17:12:59:

In Reply to: continuing posted by Piper on February 07, 19100 at 12:02:16:

: :
: : : Piper: yes well i certainly don't smell revolution in the air so to speak.

: : SDF: You can, of course, re-evaluate after the financial bubble bursts...

: Piper: Assuming it bursts big enough...

SDF: Actually, I was assuming that the movement is ready enough when it happens. Misery does not itself create revolutionary mobilization, despite all Marx's words to the contrary.

: : SDF: My suggestion I guess is what you would call "Allendeism" -- while organizing a popular uprising, something nonviolent like most of the protests at Seattle (and don't forget DC April 17th!), try to get the government to act against the interests of its corporate overlords as Salvador Allende did in a somewhat clumsy fashion in Chile after he was elected President of Chile, and before he was overthrown by US interests. Only do it in a much more grassroots-organized fashion than in the way Allende did it.

: Piper: Yes, i agree, but thta is no guarentee of overthrowing the current order. Mass protest could conceivably result in just moderate reformism or words of condolence but no substance.

SDF: Words from whom? The revolutionary government we elected into power, who should be busy dismantling the old order by the time we begin mass actions? At any rate, when it becomes apparent that leaving the corporations in their current dominance of global society is the main hindrance to the survival of global civilization itself, people will be less likely to accept band-aid solutions. Wait 'til the end of the Era of Cheap Oil...

: Piper: But surely people are prejudiced *just because* other people are different from themselves. Doubtless that is why people became 'prejudiced' against you for wearing a bracelet that you had made at school.

SDF: Prejudice matters with respect to a status system that assigns a position of powerlessness to those being discriminated against, to the financially poor, to legal minors such as I was, etc. If you want prejudice to matter less, then you have to change or eliminate the status system.

: : Creating a democratic economy would of course require education, anti-racist education but more importantly education as regards the economic structure and of ways of changing it.

: Piper: Well, good luck educating the Klu Klux Klan. I think it's very hard (if not impossible) to change the habits of a lifetime (especially when it is irrational). It seems to me that what you are describing would take years to achieve and involve a commensurate amount of civil unrest. (i suppose stoller would say we could just use positive reinforcement!).

SDF: Each one teach one. Any better ideas?

: : : Revolutionaries always criticise reformists for taking too much time to achieve results, but how long is it they have been advocating revolution? 150 years and what do they have to show for it?

: : SDF: Enormous gains in literacy (see once again Freire) and health care, the industrialization of vast peasant nations (Russia, China)... the problem at hand is one of whether revolution can do any more than that, especially as regards the coming ecological comeuppance capitalism will richly deserve for its overexploitation of the global resource bases. And you're right for assuming that, nope, it doesn't look likely right here right now. But I for one refuse to believe that we are reduced to kissing the IMF's butt as the only solution to economic solutions to the global disparity in wealth. More capitalism is not inevitable.

: Piper: Given that the revolution was primarily for the economic weal of the proles, it hardly seems apt to say they have had great gains in literacy, etc. (As somebody once said: 'Show me the money!).

SDF: Look, Piper, after the various revolutions in Nicaragua, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau etc. there have been verifiable and significant gains in literacy and in health care. I don't see why I should prove this to you here and now -- go look it up yourself.

: Given the mindset of the people i would have to say that revolution is at the moment a dim possibility. (Makes me think what we *need* is a revolution of minds...)

SDF: Sure, I agree. Global civilization will probably not learn the lesson of Easter Island as a result.

: BTW I was under the impression that we were already in a post capitalist era (i.e. corporatism). You know, ownership and use of capital separated, obsession with paper profits, obsession with profit motive, relocating industry to third world for cheap labour. I'm not sure a Marxist revolution in such an environment wouldn't just result in mass poverty (supporting structures have been removed).

SDF: "Result in mass poverty"? Huh? Isn't there mass poverty already? Latin America? Africa? SE Asia? As for "supporting structures," is some reactionary alien power going to spirit all the factories and boats away to Mars if they're occupied by the working class? You aren't pretending that the current mode of economic exploitation (i.e. imperialism) has anything that wasn't already there in the 19th century, clearly, so what's that about?

"Post-capitalism," BTW, is a chic phrase of NASDAQ stockholders who like drinking lattes at Borders while reading WIRED. Since the theory of surplus value holds up now as before, "post-capitalism" is merely a "new and improved" sticker placed upon the product "capitalism." I guess they had to change the name because the rate of ideological profit was sinking...

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