- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Barry vs. Marx

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on November 09, 1999 at 10:42:44:

In Reply to: Go figure posted by Stoller on November 08, 1999 at 18:11:12:

Barry, I haven't read much Marx, but from the little I have read, you seem to go, 1) further than Marx, and 2) further than the leading Marxist party today, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Let's look at some examples. You've gone on record as saying that a peasant who grows his own crops is being exploitative. Now, that begs teh question- who is her exploiting? Society? It's teh same question I'm tempted to ask when i hear someone say suicide ought to be a crime.

If a farmer provides his own labor, then he is receiving the full wage he is entitled to (since value is created by labor, the selling price should equal price of labor, or the wages). In this case teh selling price DOES equal teh wage paid to the worker (himself).
So who can he possibly be exploiting? Himself?

You've stated that peopel shoudl work 1005 of their productive time for society, but also taht they would have 'free time', lots of it. This is confusing. Suppose some guy likes gardening in his free time? that's productive labor, yet it's for himnself? Is it illegal? What if he eats the produce? is it illegalthen? What if he feeds the p[roduce to birds?

If i wrote a book in my spare time, is that productive labor (I hope it will be, someday....) or is it leisure? If teh former it's illegal, if teh altter it's OK, right? But how do you decdie? At what point does it stop being leisure?

Marx said that his ideal was a society where a man can work a few hours at the factory in the morning, then go fishing, hunt a few ducks, read Plato in the evening, etcetera. But according to you, shoudl teh fsihing be illegal because he's engaging in economic activity on hsi own time>?

Before you call me a liberal or libertarian, hold your breath. i ma not a liberal, and I detest liberatrianism even more. The Liberals were the party of Somoza, after all.

Third point. Anti-clericalism. To quote the inimitable Graham Greene, and his fictional Doctor Magiot, there is nothing fundamentally incompatible bwteen Communism and religion. Apparently Marx condemned Henry VIII for closing the monasteries. How does that fit into your anti-clericalism?

Finally. Marx said quite clearly that revolution in Holland, England and America could come through the ballot box. Marx proposed 10 points by which social democracy could be established to pave teh way fro communism. Marx campaigned for socialist parties that sought to win power through parliamentary means.

I'm not really a Marxist theoretically, for reasosn I'll get to eventually- mostly having to do with the atheism espoused by Marx, his preference for materialistic over diealistic explanations of human conduct, and wmy willigness to allow a small fraction of private ownership.However, in practice, i do support the goals of the Marxist parties, at least in the short term. I'll probably be voting for one of the hardline communist parties next year, simply because tehy're the best of teh alternatives (Workers World Party is a possibility, also the Castroist SWP or, if you live in California, teh Peace and freedom Party (formerly a=ffiliated with the Black Panthers.) To quote Pope John XXIII, I can support Marxist practices without supporting Marxist theory.

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